Mt. Hood

Snow Baby

Well Michael and I managed to continue our New Year’s Day tradition! Snowshoeing at Trillium Lake!

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In case you weren’t aware, it had been raining for the last 30 days straight here in Portland. In early December there was actually epic flooding as well. Bad news. Good news? Our mountain finally got SNOW!!! The weather has been pretty good this past week–very little rain but cold, cold, cold. Ice on the car in the mornings, wind chill that will make your eyes water and your joints ache. But still, there was snow on Mt. Hood! Last winter was pathetic (there was no snow in Bend!).

I wasn’t quite sure how it would go this year. I didn’t *think* snowshoeing would be hard pregnant — I mean, it’s really just walking — but I really no idea.

A friend of Michael’s got snowshoes for Christmas and asked if he could join us. We said sure but warned him we didn’t know how much I would be able to do. I knew it would not be like last year where we accidentally ended up doing nearly 5 miles (the entire Trillium Lake loop) which was too much for our bodies to handle, too much for the first time out snowshoeing for the season and WAY too much for Bella’s first time.

We actually ended up leaving Bella home this year. The weather was supposed to peak at around 15 degrees at Government Camp when we planned on being there and that was just too cold for Bella. I think we made the right call, even though we both felt sad that we couldn’t take her out to play in the snow (which she loves). I felt guilty when we got home, too, because she missed out. But it was the right decision–even with her fleece lined jacket it would have been too cold for her on the mountain since she doesn’t have fur or long hair.

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We planned on being up on the mountain by 10 because it’s usually pretty crowded and I’d heard earlier in the week from some people that the lot was full by 10am. We got a little bit of a later start than planned but were at Trillium Lake around 10:30. We got a parking spot (barely) and the lot was even more full when we were done!

I discovered that none of my snow gear fit. I had a feeling it would be tight, but didn’t think it would be unusable. That was disappointing. And since it was going to be such a cold day on the mountain I was a little worried about not being warm enough. I wore my long underwear (those fit for the most part), some sweat pants and a sweater, then wore a pair of Michael’s waterproof cycling pants over that instead of my snow pants. The gators I wore on my legs protected me enough from the snow and I was warm enough but it sure wasn’t good “snow” gear and definitely not breathable materials.

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We set out on the path down the steep hill and then took a right to get the best view of Mt. Hood.

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Gorgeous day!

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Baby bump on the mountain!

Snowshoeing seemed ok. I wasn’t really having any issues. I was definitely slower this year than in years past but I was trucking along. We went by the mountain and came to a fork in the road. The left goes around the lake and that’s usually the route we go. The other fork goes to another sno-park (I think maybe Mazamas?). We took that one instead.

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It was pretty flat in this part. There was a cute little cabin buried in the snow deep in the woods. It had huge icicles on the roof and snowdrifts were doing a good job hiding it.

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We hiked by a creek that I’d never seen before (or maybe just didn’t notice). Around this time my left ankle was starting to bug me a little bit–the achilles tendon. I wasn’t sure why and it wasn’t constant. Later when we were done I realized my hiking boot had come untied underneath all my layers and my gators so that was probably the reason why. It was slightly painful and very annoying.

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We’d been hiking for about an hour and decided to turn around. I was still feeling pretty good but wanted to turn around and be closer to the starting point just in case. If we got back to the base of the giant hill and I felt ok I said we could do the other part of the loop that goes towards the lake but I wanted to wait and see.

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We turned around and hiked back. I got to practice using my new camera on this adventure, which was nice. It takes great photos.

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Someone made a snow Alien:

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We got back to the viewpoint and took a few more pictures and then continued on. I realized I was pretty much done and Michael was, too. His hips were starting to bug him and so were mine.

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The last leg of the journey is the worst. It’s that never-ending climb up the hill to the parking lot. It’s so long and just when you turn a corner and think you’re at the top, you’re not. It’s very deceptive and harder than it looks and it gets me EVERY YEAR. This year was no different. Half-way up the hill I was over it. I was so slow. Just plugged along, taking baby steps because I was tired and starting to get sore. But finally made it to the top and then had to traverse the icy parking lot and the traffic of people trying to fight for spots to park.

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We ended up hiking 3 miles in 2 hours and I burned 793 calories.

It was a good trek out, I’m glad we did it and I’m glad I was ABLE to do it…but I’m pretty sure that was my one and only snowshoeing trek this year. Not having good snow clothes that fit are deterring me from wanting to try again. But I will say, physically, I was okay snowshoeing at almost 30 weeks pregnant. Other than carrying around an extra 20 pounds and being a little slower, it wasn’t that much different!

We were back in the car and heading down the mountain by 1pm, which meant we missed all the afternoon/evening traffic of skiers heading back to town. The pizza place we liked to go to was closed so we ended up getting sandwiches at Subway. I was famished and baby was kicking me for some food. Happy to oblige. Got home and immediately took a long, hot bath with Epsom salts. I knew I was going to be sore the next day!

6pm came around and I felt so depleted and exhausted I actually laid down and fell asleep for a nap. I’m not a napper. Like ever. But I guess the day caught up to me. Dinner was Papa Murphy’s pizza because the burger-fries-milkshake I was craving from a place near the house was closed.   🙁 Oh well. Food was food. I definitely didn’t eat enough calories for the day and I think that’s part of the reason I was so tired. That and trudging through the snow!

Good Start to 2015

On New Year’s Day we continued our annual tradition of heading up to Mount Hood to play in the snow! I love this tradition of ours and we’ve been lucky in that it’s usually a gorgeous day. This year was no different. It was cold, but once you get moving it was comfortable. We slept in a bit and got a late start; it takes about an hour or so to drive up there from our place. We stopped at the Zig Zag Subway to get sandwich for lunch and ate it in the car before we got started.

We did Trillium Lake, one of our favorites. Here are some old posts on it:

New Year’s Eve in the Snow

How to Burn 1100 Calories in One Workout

Frog Lake to Trillium Lake

I like Trillium Lake because it’s fairly easy and it’s groomed. So while snowshoeing is a great workout in itself, there’s no need to make it a lot harder!! Sometimes groomed is nice. The place was packed when we got there, as usual. It’s a popular spot for cross-country skiing.

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Isn’t that puppy cute! It was so tiny and young and it was loving the snow. This was Bella’s first snowshoeing experience. We didn’t really know what to expect. She loves the snow and she loves hiking, I figured she’d love this, too, and I was right. Check out the video here.

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The trail starts out downhill for almost a mile. Which is a bitch on the way back up after you’re exhausted! The day was gorgeous, sunny and the snow was perfect.

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I took a lot of pictures and got some good ones this year. I was really happy with these close-up snow pictures. It’s so hard to capture the beautiful crystals of snow and ice.

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We got to the bottom of the hill and took a right. It’s the usual route we take and just about half a mile up the road you get to the first (and I think one of the best) views of Mount Hood.

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Here is that first view:

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It looks so close, like you could reach out and touch it. Beautiful mountain! Bella was so excited about the snow. She was running and hopping and thrashing around in the fluffy powder. It was so adorable to watch. We put her new booties on and I am so glad we did. I didn’t want her paws to get frostbite, or for her paw pads to tear or anything. We should have gotten a commission or advertising fee from Amazon because we got SO many questions and comments from people wanting to know where we got the booties. Everyone wanted a pair for their dogs. We also saw a bunch of dogs with booties similar to Bell’s. One dog had booties that lit up! It was crazy.

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We got a passing stranger to take our family pictures. I think that will be our Christmas card next year! And the first selfie of 2015:

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We trekked around the loop, away from the mountain and into the forest. We passed by several little (and big) cabins nestled among the snow and trees. Someday…someday we will rent one of those and pack our stuff in and stay there.

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We kept on walking. We were all feeling good. Bella was still pretty high energy and galloping ahead of us on the trail. (We kept her on leash the whole time for safety reasons). We passed by the spot where we have historically turned around and we kept walking. I’m not sure why. We just kept going. We were feeling good, we were having fun, the weather was good. I didn’t remember how long Trillium Lake was to hike the whole thing but I guess I assumed it wasn’t too far.

We got to a fork in the road and realized we’d hiked a lot longer than we were expecting. We took the left fork that we assumed lead back to the Sno-Park (we were correct in that assumption). Trillium is a dog-bone loop — meaning you hike a little ways before you get to the actual LOOP part of the trail. We’ve made that mistake in the past (when we accidentally did like 7 miles at Ramona Falls because we didn’t know what a dog bone loop was!!!).

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So we realized we were like half way through and it was pointless to turn around and go back the way we came. Even though it hadn’t been the plan, we decided to keep going forward and complete the loop. For the first 3 miles I think, things were good. My body was feeling good, Bella was good. But then we got to Trillium Lake and I realized we’d bitten off more than we could chew.

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The lake looked gorgeous. It was partially frozen over. Mount Hood looked amazing in the distance.

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There was a humongous hawk that flew by just as I took the picture. It was a cool scene. Both Michael and I were feeling the fatigue, though. He was able to get reception on his phone and looked up Trillium Lake–which we realized was 4.5 miles roundtrip. Yikes. That was NOT the plan!

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We left the lake and I opened a protein bar and we split that as we hiked. Bella was REALLY slowing down at this point. I was starting to feel super guilty that we took on so much on our very first snowshoe trip with her! 🙁 I kept saying we were terrible parents. Michael said we weren’t. And he was right, Bella was fine just tired.

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When we left the lake the trail went uphill. UPHILL? Are you kidding me??!! Ugh. My knees were GOOD, my body felt fine, no aches and pains but I was TIRED. I could tell my energy was waning and that my body was fatigued. I was stumbling a bit in the snow. This is a huge sign of “we did too much” for me. I think it’s a lethargy and coordination thing for me. It becomes a struggle.

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The hill was going up, up, up. More uphill. And then the trail turns, and it’s more uphill. Then finally it went downhill for a bit. That’s when we got to the original fork in the road, where we’d taken the right turn at the beginning. That gave me a glimmer of hope because I was in the Despair Stage of the hike. I hadn’t eaten enough calories along the hike, we drank water and took a lot of breaks but probably not enough. This is the “we’re never going to make it back!” part of the trip. 😉

Melodramatic, I know. But that exhaustion just sneaks up on you. I think I even told Michael “you and Bella go on without me. Leave me here. Come back and find my body after the snow melts.” Michael told me to get a grip and reached his hand out and we walked hand-in-hand for a bit. Then it was that last mile of uphill climb back to the sno-park!

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I got to the top and happily took off my snowshoes. We’d hiked 4.5 miles in just under 3 hours and I burned 846 calories! Despite that last mile and a half struggle, it was a super fun day, a good start to the new year and a great workout. And Bella had a blast!

At the parking lot I actually ran into two people I know from the Warrior Room! It was crazy to see people I know on Mount Hood. They explained that they had accidentally hiked back to the wrong parking lot and their car was actually about 2 miles up the road! I told them we’d drive them. There was no way I was going to let them hike back, or walk on the road, after they’d just hiked like 6 miles. I know that panic and despair! So they piled into our car with their little dog and we drove them up the road to their car.

After that Michael and I headed home. We stopped in Sandy at Sparky’s Pizza for dinner. We were both exhausted and shaky and needed food asap.

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It was a little hole in the wall with New York style pizza by the slice. I got a slice of Hawaiian pizza and an order of breadsticks. I was so famished. The food tasted amazing! I ate three breadsticks (I intended on only eating 2 but couldn’t stop because they were so good).

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We both felt a million times better after eating. It’s amazing how delicious food is after you’ve exerted so much energy, burned a lot of calories and were overdue for FOOD! FEED ME.

We got home and I immediate fed Bella a giant portion of dog food, which she wolfed down in 2 seconds (like me with the pizza). Bella put herself to bed almost immediately. I took a really hot bath with epsom salts and soaked my tired body. It was fantastic.

I was happy we got to do our snowshoe tradition AND Bella loved it and did well. I was happy that my knees were great and I didn’t have any pains. I was happy the next day when I was sore but not miserably so. I was happy we started 2015 on a positive note!