Mt. Hood and McKenzie River Trail

This past weekend I got the chance to explore see some waterfalls and some mountains – the perfect weekend if you ask me!

Sunday

Sunday morning started bright and early as I made my way to Albany to meet up with Kristen. From her house, we grabbed her co-worker and then made our way to Mount Hood National Park where we planned to attack the Tom, Dick and Harry Trail by Mirror Lake!

The parking lot was full by the time we got there a little after 9am, so we had to park about a mile up the road before walking to the trail head. Get there early on the weekends to avoid this, but it wasn’t terrible and there was a path to follow along the road.

After about a mile of a lot of dirt switchbacks, we reached Mirror Lake! Our goal was to get to the top of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain, so we didn’t stay too long at the lake and opted to do the loop on the way back. Up, up, up we went until…

Breathtaking.

Snow caps of Mt. St Helens, Mt Ranier and Mt Adams

The trail was easy to navigate since it’s pretty heavily traveled. The last bit to get to the summit was a lot of rocks, but nothing too strenuous. The views were all 100% worth it. We hung out at the time for awhile and all agreed that we could have stayed there forever. But eventually we started to make our way back down.

We went around Mirror Lake the opposite way to see the classic Mirror Lake view with Mt. Hood in the background.

Then we made our way back to the car for a total of 7.2 miles (per my GPS watch). After the hike we headed up to the Timberline Lodge which sits right on Mt. Hood and has ski lifts to take skiiers/snowboarders up towards the top. There were actually people skiing – in July! The lodge was really cool to walk through and check out, so I would definitely recommend a pit stop there if you’re in the area. We ended our day with some lunch at Mt. Hood Brewing Company, then made the trek home!

Monday

I stayed a bit more local and explored the Willamette National Forest area – Shahalie Falls, Koosah Falls, and the Blue Pool were on my list to see!

First up: Shahalie Falls!

The trailhead to the Waterfall Trail actually starts at Sahalie Falls. I got there around 8:45 and there were only 1-2 other cars in the lot.

After stopping to check out Sahalie Falls at the trailhead, I started down the path to Koosah Falls. It was down stream, so downhill and flat which made it perfect to get a little jog in. I ended up speed walking/jogging until I hit Koosah, stopping every now and then to look at my surroundings.

I kept going down to the Carmen Reservoir and debating continuing on to the Blue Pool which I knew was 3 miles down, but I didn’t have service and didn’t have a map.. So I decided to go back up to the car. Once I ran back, I realized that because I didn’t have service, I couldn’t look up how to drive to the Blue Pool either…

Then I remembered that I took a screenshot of the directions the night before when I was researching – WIN! I never would have found it otherwise; there were zero signs leading me to the trailhead, but once I found it I knew I had arrived by the line of cars along the side. To get there, you want to turn at to the Trailbridge Campground sign, take a right once you go over the bridge, continue up the gravel road about a third of a mile and you will see the trail sign on the left.

According to my watch, it took me about 2 miles to get to the pool. The trail is pretty rocky in some parts but follows the river and is fairly flat overall considering some of the other trails I’ve been doing. But before I knew it, I was there…

There is zero filter on this. Zero. The water is THAT blue. It was incredible.

I didn’t make the trip down to the water, but watched a lot of others climb down. One crazy lady even jumped in – I’ve heard the water temps aren’t higher than 40 degrees, no thank you. I could have sat there and stared at the water forever, it was just unreal.

I met a very nice older couple who actually are originally from PA, right outside of Maryland! It’s such a small world and is so fun to meet all of these people. We chatted for a few minutes and they offered to snap some pictures for me, which I was thankful for because my selfie game is only so strong…

After saying bye to my new friends, I hit the trail and headed back to the car. It was about 4 miles total once I got back to my car.

And that wrapped up another solid weekend exploring the PNW. It’s getting harder and harder to justify going back east…

First Few Weekends

As mentioned before, I reached out on Facebook before getting in to Eugene in hopes to find fellow travelers in the are to make friends. Luckily, two girls reached out and I’ve had such a great time getting out and exploring with them these first few weekends! Friends?!

I don’t know if you all have ever been in a place where you know zero people, but it’s hard to find people to be your friend. And when you finally do make plans, oh my gosh, I felt like I was going on a first date. What if she doesn’t like me? What do I wear? What if I don’t like her and want to make an escape? Will she think I’m cool?! Will she even want to be my friend?! Am I trying too hard?! All of these thoughts and a million others run through my brain. But you just have to be confident, go in there, and make a friend. Yay friends!

First Weekend

I met up with a fellow traveler down in Roseburg for an Arts festival – which really meant we skipped the art and went straight to the beer tents. She’s also from the east coast so we had a great time chatting and I got to pick her brain with all of my traveler related questions.

The next day I met up with a friend who actually worked with one of my best friends from PT school – naturally I knew she would be the perfect friend to explore with! We ended up heading down to the coast to Florence where we grabbed lunch before heading for a few hikes!

We went to Thor’s Well, Heceta Head Lighthouse, and trail along the Oregon Coast.

Second Weekend

Weekend two was filled with more hikes and a relaxing day by some epic pools. Explained best by pictures, here’s a photo dump.

First up, Devon and I headed to Lincoln City to check out a few hikes; God’s Thumb:

Next: Cascade Head Trail, a 4.2 mile, 1,200 foot elevation gain hike.

And last, Drift Creek Falls – my first waterfall hike!

On Monday, I headed about 2 hours north to the Opal Creek Wilderness to Three Pools, and omg

 

I could not believe how clear the water was! It was such a great day and I even worked up the courage to jump off one of the smaller “cliffs”. Yolo?

I now understand why travelers always say that it’s like they’re on vacation every weekend – I can’t wait to keep exploring this beautiful land!