Trillium Lake

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 Yearโ€™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! ๐Ÿ™ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!

Frog Lake to Trillium Lake

On Christmas Eve, Michael surprised me with a small breakfast in bed and then we hit the road for an adventure. We drove up to Mount Hood to do the first snowshoeing of the season. No matter how many times we drive up to Mount Hood, that first view of the mountaintop after we turn the corner of Vertigo Corner is breathtaking.

The original plan was to do Mirror Lake. Unfortunately, Mirror Lake is pretty low in elevation and hadn’t received much snow yet.

The back up plan was Frog Lake. It was just on the other side of Mount Hood and it was one we’d never done before. Frog Lake supposedly connected to both Barlow Pass and the Pacific Crest Trail. I asked some snowshoers who were coming back if the trail was okay. They said it was alright, that there wasn’t a lot of snow but it was still enjoyable. I decided we’d give it a try and hope for the best.

We did some of the Twin Lakes Loop here. The tree cover was heavy and the snowfall wasn’t much.

I’m not sure how far we trekked into the woods at Frog Lake but the higher we climbed, the less snow there was. In fact, we turned around when the snow completely disappeared from the trail. It was a bit disappointing.

I think part of the problem is that there hasn’t been much rainfall here in Oregon this last month. It’s been one of the driest winters that I can remember (which I’m loving!) but of course that means not a lot of snow. I made the executive decision to turn around and go somewhere else.

It didn’t take long to get back to the car.

Frog Lake Stats:
Time: 43 minutes
Calories Burned: 225

We drove back up the Mountain and went to the tried and true spot: Trillium Lake. ย By this time it was 12:30 and we were both hungry so we ate our lunches before setting out on the trail. I’d bought us Subway–easy and transportable.

Trillium Lake starts with a steep downhill climb that provides endless amusement when beginnerย skiersย attempt toย maneuverย the curves.

We got to the bottom of the hill and took a right. It was a gorgeous day on the mountain! The sun was out, there weren’t any clouds in the sky and the temperature was pretty warm. It was warm enough that we didn’t need our gloves.

We got to the clearing that is the most picturesque spot of the mountain. There was some cloud cover over Mount Hood but it was still a beautiful sight to see.

After taking some photos we tromped across the open field and came to another fork in the trail. We usually continue on to the left toward Trillium Lake. This time we went right to Barlow Pass. It was a slight but constant uphill trail, passed some cute little cabins nestled among the trees and snow.

We stopped to rest and drink some water further up a bit. I think it was a campground in the summer time.

We decided to turn around and head back to the car. We’d been snowshoeing for about 45 minutes at this point. That’s a good number to turn around at–especially for our first time out of the season. Snowshoeing an exhausting activity that tires you out pretty quickly–usually without noticing it.

The sun was bright and warm. It was probably the best weather we’ve ever experienced on Mount Hood. The temperature was around 45 degrees and there was no wind. Perfect!


The climb back up that huge hill to the car is long, tiring and hard work. My heart rate increased to almost 160 beats! Trust me, it’s a killer.

Trillium Lake Stats:
Time: 1:32
Calories Burned: 505

There was hardly anyone on the mountain on Christmas Eve either–it was nice and peaceful. When we got back home I hopped in the shower for the best shower of my life. Standing underneath that scalding hot water feels amazing after tromping through the snow!

Total Calories for the Day: 730
Mileage: 4.5 miles! Wow!

I am so glad we were able to get up there and do something fun and active in snow.

QUESTION: How did you spend Christmas Eve? Have you ever been snowshoeing before?