Little North Santiam (I think)

Sometimes, in the woods, you aren’t exactly sure where you end up.  Not that it really matters, surrounded by loved ones and beautiful scenery, but several miles into a river trail that didn’t quite match up with what I had expected, I wasn’t positive that I had gotten onto the actual trail I was looking for. No matter….I did know we were in the Opal Creek Wilderness, an area neither of us had explored before. The trees were huge and exquisite, moss-laden old growth sentinels and we were the only people around….

Opal Creek Wilderness, Oregon

Twin Lakes

It's a long half-mile in thigh deep, unbroken snow

The Twin Lakes trail on Mount Hood is one of those trails that I have no interest in visiting the majority of the year. Combine midweek solitude with one serious snowstorm (4+ feet in one week) still dumping the snowflakes, and the trail transforms. Even just off Highway 35, the silence of the snowbound woods was glorious. 

Higher up, the temperature plummeted, but since no one had broken trail to the lake we remained toasty warm in our shuffling exertion. J.B. and I took turns breaking through thigh deep powder, occasionally catching a hole and going down, turtle-style.  At the lake, gray jays dive-bombed us looking for handouts, their sharp, tiny feet gripping my wind-shocked fingers like needles. They would land, then cock their heads disgruntled at me, and fly away, grumpy with the deception and lack of treats. 

That's right, we made this trail

Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon
~ 5 miles roundtrip, 700 feet elevation gain