Last weekend we decided to grab our most hiking-appropriate clothes and drive an hour and a half towards Mt. Hood, Oregon. On the way there, we decided to stop where a few cars were parked on Highway 26 and headed towards the Mirror Lake Trail which we hiked in sub 20 degrees Fahrenheit and in a hurry because we started late.
I was very proud of myself by the end of it as I had only hiked once before in my life and it was mostly just a long walk in a state park during a nice day.
It was quite an exhilarating experience for me. Not knowing if we would make it back before it got dark, not knowing if I would do well or not, and doing so in such cold temperatures.
After our hike, we headed back to the city of Portland and had a well-deserved delicious meal.
Hiking the Mirror Lake Trail
Just a few steps onto our hike we were entering the deep woods and hubby ran back to the car as he yelled: “be right back!”.
In the meantime, I read the sign stating that the trail was 1.5 miles long to Mirror Lake with a steady elevation gain of 780 feet. The trail was completely snowed in and all the people that had parked on Highway 26 were all on their way back when we were just beginning our way to Mirror Lake. We started around 4 pm.
I decided that it would’ve been good to have some water and maybe some snacks with us (because the sign said so). At least we were warm enough and had the right shoes on.
Hubby came back with his military headlamp.
It was about 20 degrees when we got off the car. I have no idea how cold it got as we kept hiking higher up the mountain.
At the 1.4 mile marker, there is a sign that marks the way to the campsites, the mirror lake loop, and the Tom Dick Harry Mountain.
After many many switchbacks, we made it to Mirror Lake!
We both really recommend all the pieces of our outfits. They kept us warm, dry and comfortable.
Jacket: Carhartt Women’s Cascade Jacket
Hiking Boots: Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot (Absolutely amazing, worth the price, will last forever.)
Underneath – a chunky Peruvian wool sweater I bought at Pike Place Market in Seattle that kept me really warm.
Head and feet: Hat and socks from REI
Jacket: Carhartt Men’s Bad Axe Jacket
Hat: Carhartt Men’s Watch Hat
Boots: Carhartt Men’s Work ST Work Boot
Pants: Carhartt Men’s Weathered Duck Dungaree Relaxed Fit Pant
Undershirt: Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Midweight Crew
Old wool sweater from REI
He’s a bit obsessed with Carhartt.
We only had about 5 minutes to enjoy Mirror Lake and take pictures because we had to head back as soon as possible as it was already 4:45 pm and it was going to get dark fast.
The hike’s difficulty is labeled as easy but this is supposed to be a “Late Spring through late Fall” hike and a two-way 1.5 mile hike. But we basically did a 3 mile hike because we had no rest in between and it was dark on our way back and it was sub-freezing temperatures, and snow and ice on the trail, and had no time at all to “take our time”. So, not “easy”.
I really consider this quite an accomplishment for me given that this was my first ever real hike.
We were really glad hubby went to get the headlamp at the start because we were still heading down the mountain when the beautiful sunset occurred.
It was completely dark when we got to the log bridge which is just a few steps away from the very beginning of the trail. We were basically running down a lot of the time on our way down and we came back in half the time that we went up.
The Perfect Post-Hike Meal
We drove back to the city to have some dinner at a Mexican place we hadn’t been to before in downtown Portland.
Verde Cocina exceeded our expectations. They describe themselves as “Northwest farm to fork ingredients with a Mexican flair” and 100% gluten free.
Our carne asada with veggies and house-made sangria were the absolute perfect post-hike meal.
It was a very fulfilling and accomplished perfect day.Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” Regardless, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. All opinions are mine.