For the Father’s Day Weekend we went to Clear Lake, which is one of our favorite places to camp on Mt. Hood. After dealing with the stress of trying to get ready for 2 years of round-the-world travel, getting our house ready to sell, and trying to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of, we needed a break. With our Coleman tent trailer in tow a and roof full of kayaks we made the 1 ½ hour drive from Portland Friday evening and arrived with just enough light to setup camp without the aid of flashlights. Clear Lake is a very simple campground; no hookups, no showers, no plumbing. The bathrooms are pit toilets and the potable water is from a well with a hand pump. But the place is an excellent escape from the artificial light and fast pace of the city and we always feel refreshed after a weekend of staying there.
Something I have always wanted to do is take photos of the stars at night. I tried it in our backyard a few weeks ago, but after the long exposure required to show the stars the photo looked as if it had been taken during the day. There is way too much light pollution in Portland. But high up in the mountains the sky was dark and filled with countless stars. So around 11pm I setup the tripod and camera and started taking photos of the night sky. Here are some of the results:
Frog Lake and the Search for Jumpy
A couple of miles down the road from Clear Lake is Frog Lake. Frog Lake is a small natural alpine lake with an amazing view of Mt. Hood and home to lots of small frogs that appear later in the summer; hence the name. We had camped there a couple of years ago and our daughter Sydney had fun catching the frogs. She named one of the frogs “Jumpy” and tried to teach him to dance. It was a very funny sight. So now anytime we are in the area we must stop in and look for Jumpy the frog and to see if he had taught the other frogs to dance.
Hike to Tamanawas Falls
We are always looking to try new hikes and we read about one that sounded like a good one to try. The hike to Tamanawas Falls is only 4 miles roundtrip and was said to be kid friendly; perfect for a quick afternoon hike. We invited my uncle Gar to join us and after he arrived to our campsite on his motorcycle we headed out to the eastside of Mt. Hood for our hike. We overlooked one little detail and forgot to pick up a $5 Northwest Forest Pass, something that would cost us a $100 fine if ticketed. Many trailheads elsewhere have pay stations, but not in the Mt. Hood National Forest. We feel it’s kind of dumb to charge people to access public lands. Isn’t that why we pay taxes? Fortunately, there was a campground a ¼ mile from the trailhead and our camping pass would allow us to park in the day use area for free. The trail meanders through a forested canyon along Cold Spring Creek and has several foot bridges. Sydney was a like a little mountain goat running ahead and leaping from rocks and logs and asking every dog owner that she passed if she could pet their dog. We stopped at several scenic spots along the trail to take photos and enjoy the sound of the forest and creek. When we reached the 100-foot high Tamanawas Falls we were impressed! Oregon has a lot of waterfalls and we have seen a lot of them, and this one was amazing.
After our hike we returned to our campsite and cooked up the ultimate camp dinner; chili dogs! Gar had brought along his famous homemade macaroni salad and we had a good feast. Sydney made friends with the kids at the neighboring campsite and they invited her over for s’mores. She is social enough that there shouldn’t be a problem with her making new friends as we travel the world. We enjoyed the evening sitting next to the warm fire and wished we could stay a few more nights.
On Sunday we packed up and made the quick journey home. It’s always nice to get out of the city and spend a few days in nature. Hopefully we will have the chance to do that a few more times before the summer ends.