One of the reasons I love Oregon so much is because of how different it looks on any given day. Rain, sun, fog, snow, clouds, hail- they all turn Oregon into something unique. Sometimes when we’re driving through the city on a sunny day after a few days of clouds, the place is almost unrecognizable. The trails are even more incredible because the views change so drastically throughout the year. We hiked to Bald Mountain and then around a bit of the Timberline Trail back in October, and it was a foggy paradise. A few weeks later, in mid-November, we hiked up to McNeil Point in knee-deep snow. Amazing.
We were expecting just a little snow along the trail, and perhaps a bit more up at the final destination. But when we hit snow while driving up to the trailhead, we knew we’d found a real winter wonderland. We’re incredibly thankful to the nice young man who started the hike about 30 minutes before us and gave us tracks to follow through the snow. Without him, we would have had to turn back pretty quickly.
We only got a few peeks at Mount Hood along the trail, as the clouds were being pretty tricky. But my, oh my, what a mountain.
I don’t know how well you can see this in the photo below, but the clouds tend to fill in the valleys and then disappear as they crest over the mountains. It’s one of the most amazing things to watch (and you can see a video of it in this post). We’ve seen it so many times on this particular hike, probably because the only way to get higher than all of these mountains is to climb up Mount Hood.
It was frustratingly windy once we got above the tree line. For some reason, I always forget about the wind until we get there, but our night spent camping at McNeil Point last year was the windiest, loudest, most terrifying camping experience of my life.
Once we reached McNeil Point, we got to enjoy a little respite from the wind and cold inside the old stone shelter. A few more hikers came along after us (including a couple that recognized us from our encounter on this hike a few weeks before!), and we all stood in that shelter for as long as we could before facing the wind again to head back down the mountain.
Here’s to a magical winter in Oregon!