Winter at Tamanawas Falls

I haven’t been up to the mountain in two months, what with other commitments and a wretched cold at the beginning of February that knocked me flat. Worst cold I’ve had in a LONG time. Weeks ago my sis and I had marked this Saturday on our calendars as a snowshoe day, and even though it looks like tomorrow will be better for it she works on Sundays and I have a class, so today was the day!

We headed over to Tamanawas Falls and found the lot empty when we pulled in shortly before 10:00. As we packed up to hit the trail I realized that I forgot my camera. I have never done that before. Nuts! Well, I’d have to rely on my Droid RAZR.

We could see that the snow was hard packed so we left our snowshoes in the car, put on our Yak Trax, and set off.

 

Navigating the bridge was tricky. A ridge of frozen snow ran the length of it.

 

A fallen tree knocked out the railings on the west side of the bridge. It’s amazing that it didn’t take out the whole bridge.

 

Down the snowy trail. Oh that came out so dark! I’ll never forget my camera again!

 

Crossing Cold Spring Creek:

 

Observing the way that snow has piled up and then melted on tops of logs and rocks was really interesting:

 

I love this creek!

 

There was a sketchy section where the snow trail skirted this hillside and became very very narrow. I took this picture on our way out, although it doesn’t really convey how tricky it was to get around that tree.

 

And then we reached the falls. Ah, lovely!

 

The camera on the Droid (or any smart phone for that matter) does not provide a wider angle like I’m used to. This is a stitch of two horizontal shots.

 

We didn’t linger long since Deb had to work this afternoon. We had encountered no one on the hike in and we encountered no one on the hike out. It was such a mild day (probably about 40 degrees) that we saw a family having a picnic at the trailhead picnic table!

Goodbye, winter! I’m done with snow for the season and I’m off in search of sunshine and wildflowers until next winter. I’m SO excited for this:

 

Winter wonderland

Greg and I headed up to Mt. Hood on Sunday to go snowshoeing. Traffic slowed to a crawl in Rhododendron where the two lanes merged down to one and then right after that we ended up behind the slow-moving gravel truck, which was actually okay because the roads were a little slick and it was nice to have fresh gravel to drive on. It made for a slow trek up to Government Camp but we were so busy gawking at the winter wonderland all around us that the slow pace was okay. The trees were snowy/frosty starting about 2,000 feet and it was SO beautiful!

White River was our first choice if the weather was clear and Twin Lakes was our backup. Even though it had been clear for the drive up the clouds started rolling in pretty quickly and the mountain was already vanishing when we left Government Camp. Plus there was a sign that said chains or snow tires were required on Highway 35 and we had neither. So we headed to Twin Lakes.

The scene at Frog Lake Sno Park. Beautiful!!

 

The trail was well-traveled and pretty packed and we had an easy trek.

 

I love snowy trees against a blue sky! (It was REALLY cold out but that was actually okay because if it had been warmer then all that snow would have been sliding off the trees onto our heads!)

 

We got to the lower lake where we had a bite to eat.

 

Gray jays hung around begging for food:

 

Then we headed to the upper lake, which was further away than I remembered. Beautiful snowy landscape along the way:

 

Normally you’d be able to see the tip of Mt. Hood poking up above the trees over there, but it was too cloudy. Glad we didn’t go to White River!

 

More gray jays hung around and did their cute begging thing. Many many photos ensued.

 

Greg at the lake:

 

Then we turned and headed back to the car. One last picture at Twin Lakes Summit.

 

Back at the sno park we made great haste to stow the gear and get the hell out of there. The place was full of idling snowmobiles and the exhaust fumes were overwhelming. I started feeling nauseous. I don’t know how those guys put up with the fumes. On our way to Government Camp for some nosh we saw LOTS of cars parked along the highway near Trillium Lake because the parking lot had filled up. When we passed the ODOT yard we saw that they had spray-painted “NO PARKING” all along on the piles of plowed snow at the entrance. The areas along 26 near the Timberline Road junction were crazy with people putting on or removing chains. Then we got to Government Camp and it took us 15 minutes to drive the business loop from the east end to the Ice Axe Grill (we had to return Greg’s rented snowshoes at the Huckleberry Inn, which is why we drove through the middle of town). There were hundreds of cars, pedestrians, snowshoers, skiers, sledders, and dogs all over the place. It was a madhouse.

On a side note, the icicles on the buildings in Government Camp were wicked.

A beautiful day on the mountain! Really glad we went.