What do you do when you are running out of things to do in Portland during the winter? You slap on a pair of snowshoes and head out into the snow — that’s what you do. My brother and I decided that snowshoeing was a perfect outdoor endeavor in 25 degrees Fahrenheit with a slight chance for blizzard like conditions. After exhausting my supply of long underwear and basically every piece of cold weather gear we set out around Trillium Lake.
Trillium Lake is located just outside Government Camp at the base of the lovely Mt. Hood. On a nice day (think a calm summer day) you can get a great shot of Mt. Hood reflecting off the lake. With a storm rapidly moving in visibility was maybe 1/2 mile so the sweeping vista of Mt. Hood was obscured (another time perhaps). The trail was really busy on the way down to the meadow at the foot of the lake and it was much steeper than I thought when looking at the topo map. A thick layer of ice was crusted on top of the snow from all the warm weather earlier in the week. The snowshoes really handle both ice and snow equally well if a bit ungainly. I never realized snowshoes have metal points under the foot for traction in icy conditions. Anyways the trail sort of meanders around the lake and the crowds quickly dispersed as we moved along the lake. After about a 1/4 mile we had the trail to ourselves and some really nice wintery photos ensued.
One small problem with snowshoeing is you rapidly overheat on any kind of incline and I really could never find a good balance between being too hot or too cold. At the halfway point the snow really started to pick up and we made a beeline back to the truck to get home. The uphill segment to the car was brutal but with a few quick breaks it was over. Will have to make a note to come back here in the summertime.
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation: 800 feet
Time: 2 hours 33 minutes