Let me tell you about the most perfect day.
It started with doughnuts, as the most perfect days do. Whenever we drive to the southwest side of the mountain, we try to make a stop at Joe’s, the most hole-in-the-wall doughnut establishment I’ve ever visited (and I’ve visited a lot of doughnut shops in my day). Joe has never let us down.
On this particular day, we were really taking a gamble on the weather. If I remember correctly, it was a cloudy day in Portland, but you never know what you’ll get when you head to the mountains. It had been raining for weeks (this autumn has been particularly wet), so we were eager to see the mountain with a fresh white coat. If nothing else, we figured we could stretch our legs on the trail and enjoy Mount Hood National Forest, which is beautiful in any weather.
We started at Top Spur Trailhead, a place we’d visited a few times before, but took a different split in the trail this time around. (You can check out another amazing hike down the other split, up to McNeil Point, here.) We didn’t know exactly where we were going, but it turned out to be completely magical.
As we got started, we could see the clouds snaking their way over the mountains, and we feared they would completely obscure the mountain before we got to a big viewpoint (which we remembered from this hike). But once we got there, we just had to stop and stare. The fog was rolling over the mountains, but completely disappearing as it fell into the valley. We stood in the fog, which was like standing in the spray of a waterfall, and stared at that big, beautiful mountain. We watched it disappear into a blanket of fog before reemerging every few seconds. It was truly unbelievable. Eventually, we had to just sit down and take it all in.
We kept on around the mountain, hiking in and out of fog and bright sunshine, until we found ourselves in this completely magical meadow that had to be straight out of Switzerland. A snow covered peak, a raging river, and multiple waterfalls coming off the mountains, all seen from one point. Seriously, how can this be real?
We couldn’t quite figure out where the trail went once we reached the river, so we took our sweet time crossing it, hiking up and down until we found the safest spot (a daredevil, I am not). We turned around shortly after the river crossing, but honestly, could have gone on for days. The Timberline Trail is a 40-ish-mile trail that goes all the way around Mount Hood. Hiking the whole thing is definitely on our Oregon to-do list.
We stopped by Jonsrud Viewpoint on the way home to take another gander at that mountain as the sun settled down in the sky.
It was one of those days where you’re just so thankful to be alive.
Here’s to you, Oregon. You never stop impressing me.