The day after my hike in the Gorge was a Sunday and it was sunny and warm and I had caught the hiking bug. After morning church I did a little research and decided that my little family and I would drive up to Lost Lake to take a photo of Mt. Hood just after sunset. I mean it couldn’t be that hard right? I looked up the time the sun was supposed to set 5:06, my husband google mapped Lost Lake and said it was a 50 minute drive. I read up on what it would take to hike Lost Lake, apparently it’s a flat hike about 3.2 miles around and easy to do with small kids. We packed up some warm clothes and some water and we were off.
One hour later as we are reaching Hood River we are figuring out that we should have gone up hwy 26 and not through Hood River because this way it was almost a 2 hour drive. So fine, we stopped in Hood River got some snacks and coffee and we were off again to find Lost Lake. After a very windy one-lane road with about 1foot of snow in some spots we arrived just outside the entrance to the Lost Lake campground with about 30 minutes to spare. Now we were confused because ahead there was one gate completely shut and to our left a gate was left just open enough that a car could pass. So we decided that had to be the way in and we took a left, going carefully as we tested out the snow so that we would be able to return and not get stuck. After about 15 minutes we arrived at the end of the road (which we were told would end by a group of three young hikers we had met just about a minute before) walking back up that trail. On our way back we offered them a ride but they decided that they preferred the walk. So back we went to find another way to Lost Lake and finally getting back to our starting point in front of the two gates we got out of the car and walked down the path past the 2nd closed gate.
We made it to the lake but unfortunately not all the way around the lake where, supposedly there is a good spot for photographing Mt. Hood. I got some great photos in none the less and we stayed until it was so dark we could no longer see our car ahead. It got a bit spooky walking up the path to our car it was a good 5 min walk in the dark with two little ones. But the scariest part was just ahead. My husband decided that we would take the shorter route home through hwy 26, well we had no idea what conditions we would encounter having not come up that way. The road leading to hwy 26 was about 20 miles long, small unpaved, lots of potholes, no lights, but the worst part of it was all the trees that had fallen into the roadside through some winter storm they must have had up there. I was holding on to my stomach and my seat, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my whole life and my husband was driving much too fast for me. It looked like we were driving in an S pattern as well as we were down to less than a quarter tank of gas. I was praying so hard that we would make it back down the mountain to a gas station in time, all the while thinking and mentally preparing for possibly being stuck up there over night. Don’t think I’ll be trying that one again soon.