One of my friends from my freshman year of college just moved back to Portland with her husband. We wanted to the opportunity to spend some time together and since he had to work on Friday, I asked if she would be interested in trying out snowshoeing. She'd never been but is eager to see more of Oregon's beauty, and truthfully it was a great way to spend a day together.
Since it was during the busy long weekend between New Years and when everyone would be heading back to work, I decided to take her to one of my usual routes of Lower Twin Lake, which tends to be less crowded and easier with the dogs.
We stopped at my old standby rental store (Mountain Tracks in Government Camp) to pick up snowshoes, boots, & poles for Sarah to use. Still love that place, even if their prices have increased in the last two years. They also have a great map that is viewable in the bathroom (and available for purchase) that shows many of the snowshoeing paths around Mt Hood.
I remembered what it was like on my first snowshoeing excursion so I made sure to help Sarah with getting her snowshoes on and then we just went at a slow, even pace along the trail. The first time can be a bit of an adjustment, but she did great and I think she truly enjoyed it.
The temps were warmer on this particular day so while the wooded trail looked like it was out of a movie scene, we also had to dodge snow falling on our heads from dripping trees :)
Standing on a corner of the frozen Lower Lake with Roxi:
Anna was running around so she makes two appearances in this pano of the lake :)
At the lake, we ended up chatting with a group of retired couples that had hiked up to the lake for a quick outing. They were great to talk with and it sounds like they routinely set out on adventures ranging from wintering in Arizona, to once a year cabin adventures with old friends, to long hikes in the national parks.
On the way back to Government Camp to return the rentals, we hit some of the worst traffic I've ever been in when coming off the mountain. It took us an hour to make the five miles back to the rental store. Luckily Sarah had snacks and we just enjoyed the opportunity to continue to chit chat together. Also luckily by the time we made it out of the store (and attempted to get dinner at the packed local brewery--no go), some of the traffic had cleared and we were able to make it down to the towns at the base of the mountain without too much additional trouble.
We stopped at a restaurant in one of the small local communities that had great reviews online...and after Sarah and I were willing to move our table twice in order to accommodate an ever-growing group of friends that was dining in the middle of the restaurant...we ended up with a free dinner and an extra round of drinks! AWESOME! I'll give up my table any time for that :) The people were fun to chat with on our way out and truthfully the entire day of introducing Sarah to snowshoeing, catching up over dinner, and chatting with fun strangers was a pretty remarkable day!
The dogs had fun and the day presented the opportunity to work on goals 11 and 9 for the year. I introduced Sarah to a new outdoor activity AND I had the opportunity to EMBRACE the experience and ENJOY time with a wonderful friend, friendly strangers, and happy dog faces. :)