The Lake in the Heart of the Mountain
[Hood River, OR]
We woke up to the same gorgeous weather in Oregon as we had been for the last three days. Sadly, it was our last day here. I’d been forgetting to take a photo of the amazing view we got from the dining room every morning, so today I finally snapped some pictures. I will miss this view. Most definitely.
After a leisurely breakfast and packing, we found ourselves with a few hours to kill before our late afternoon flight. We decided to head to Lost Lake, 3100 ft up the slopes of Mount Hood. The Native Americans called this lake “heart of the mountains”. The 20-mile drive took us deep into Mt Hood National forest, where we were soon devoured by gorgeous fall colors on all sides. It was as if someone splattered yellow, red and green with a paint brush all around. It was the most gorgeous drive yet, even better than the Historic Columbia River highway.
When we reached Lost Lake, we realized it, too, had succumbed to the government shutdown. The entry point as closed and a gate prevented us from driving all the way down to the lake shore. There were a few other cars parked right outside of the gate, though, so we followed suit. We walked the rest of the way to the shore, about a quarter-mile down the road, then followed a foot path around the North side until we got to a break in the trees. Mount Hood was straight ahead, towering beyond the lake in front of us, basking in the sun light. It was a sight to behold! The foliage of the trees around the lake framed the mountain perfectly. We wished we had all afternoon to enjoy the trail that went all around the lake, but alas, we had to head back to the airport. On our walk back to the car, we encountered a pair of Lost Lake employees, who warned us that we could get fined $275 for being on the grounds despite the closure. We were both outraged. The government doesn’t have the money to keep the lake open, but has money to send people to fine us for enjoying public lands? Gah!
Before this trip, I never knew all of this was within an hour’s drive of Portland. There’s a lifetime of hikes and waterfalls to explore in this area, and I can’t wait to be back!