Stellar Sunday Snowshoe

By Oliver Brown, junior

LEARNING TRANSFORMS US.

Title: Stellar Sunday Snowshoe

Location: Tom Dick and Harry Mountain

Author/Adventurer: Oliver Brown

Co-Adventurer: Nolan Byrd (my friend)

A typical Sunday morning for me doesn’t really exist. This is because I’ve never experienced one, Sundays for myself only include the Post Meridian time. So when I tell you in my next paragraph I was up at 5:15AM on Sunday, it’s a big deal.

Sunday morning for myself started at 5:15 after four cycles of my blood curdling iPhone alarm. With breakfast, clothes and the all-important electronics laid out in an organized fashion, we were out of the cabin in a semi-orderly manner.

The twenty two minute drive was filled with a nervous but rather exciting vibe. Arriving at the trail head, the world still cloaked in darkness, we suited up in our warmest gear, figured out our snowshoes and disembarked.

It wasn’t any more than a half mile that my biggest fears were confirmed. I was absolutely, completely, extraordinary too warm. The worst part about this predicament is that we were just barely too far from the car for me to justify going back and dumping layers off. Proceeding roughly 2 miles, we came to mirror lake. This was just in time to witness the pre-sunrise colors.

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Rounding Mirror Lake in a counter clockwise manner we came to an opening and our first view of Mt. Hood. The soft morning glow shining on the east side of the mountain.

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Embracing the spectacle of a sunrise on Hood gives me that feeling of a kid in a candy store. Sure other things really get me excited but the sensation of hard work paying off with stunning views and the collective satisfaction of being so small in the shadow of a mountain like hood is an unmatched feeling.

Continuing on, we took countless wrong paths before find the right one that led us up the mountain. If you do this trail in the snow follow the directions on oregonhikerguide.org but know that once you reach the opening past Mirror Lake the website directions don’t really work, so follow the snow shoe tracks leading directly up the mountain. It’s steep at first but eventually the gradient lessens as you will reach and then follow the ridgeline. (You will be fine, promise)

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Climbing the mountain there are an endless amount of spectacular views of hood and the surrounding wilderness.

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After and decent climb (roughly 1.5 miles) we reached the summit of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. Gob-smacked by the expansive views, we pulled the camera back out and snapped a myriad of bangers (Bangers: a word used to describe quality images). From the summit, we could spot five mountain peaks; Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood and Jefferson. As well as a view of the PDX cityscape and Government Camp. DSC_0601

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Embracing the summit for just over an hour, we had refueled and were on our way down. Filled with adrenaline and anxious to reach the car we decided to take a more direct root down the mountain. Tightening our snow shoes we plunged directly down the mountain and went for it; carving our trail was fun at first but I’m not sure if I would suggest it. Lots more work and a bit nerve-wracking at times.

Reaching the real trail once more we headed back down towards the car. By this time it was 11:30 and the mirror lake trail had filled up and became quite busy. The three-ish miles back down to the car was time to reflect on our productive day. Reaching the car by 12:40, Nolan and I both turned to each other and embraced the fact that we would both still be in bed on our typical Sunday.

P.S. ***Multiple websites we checked reported the Mirror lake Trail head parking lot was closed on in the winter due to snow accumulation. Because of this we parked in the Ski Bowl West parking lot and trekked a mile down the highway before reaching the trail head. When we came past the trail head on our way back there were multiple cars parked along the road right next to the trail head. This caused major annoyance to an already fractious and tired mind. I wouldn’t advise you do to park on the side of the road next to the “No Parking Signs” but it seems to be a commonly accepted practice and cuts off two miles off the round tip.***

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