|at the summit of the Lost Lake Butte Trail|
Ironically we did get lost. Not once - but twice - on the way up. Both times were the result of missing road signs at key intersections outside of Hood River. Fortunately I realized we had missed our turn relatively quickly and once we were on the right track we were able to transition to relaxation mode.
We had two items on our list for the day: (1) have fun and (2) hike to the summit of the Lost Lake Butte.
The drive to the trailhead was long (it took us about 2 1/2 hours to arrive from Newberg) with a feeling of luxury since it was paved the entire way. The trailhead was located inside Lost Lake Resort, a privately owned entity unto itself in the middle of the wilderness. We had to pay a $7 day fee to enter the resort (our Northwest Forest Pass was not accepted). We stopped in the darling General Store for a hiking map and directions to the trailhead.
Lost Lake Butte Trail was the hardest of the plethora of hiking options around the resort. It was a two mile, uphill hike to the summit of the butte and was rated moderate in difficulty. The trail to the butte is entirely in the woods with no view until you reach the top. Katie was not impressed with the amount of sweat expended to reach the top or the pesky flies that swarmed us when we stopped for a break. A few encouraging comments and some local cherries gifted to her from some kind hikers descending put her in better spirits by the time we reached the bluff.
The clearing at the top of the bluff was much smaller than I anticipated. There were four hikers picnicking at the top. Katie and I made a party in a small space. Mt. Hood was on full display - radiant and majestic as always - and made a wonderful backdrop for photos. Mt. Adams was unfortunately cloaked in a cloudy haze. All we could make out was a vague outline of what typically is a very impressive peak.
The two-mile hike back down to the resort was easier and more enjoyable. Oregon has such magical forests and Katie and I enjoyed the sunlight filtering through the towering trees as we walked and talked. I really can't believe she's starting middle school in a matter of weeks. Where has the time gone?
It was a hot day and a dip in Lost Lake sounded very inviting. Lost Lake Resort has a marina with boats that rent by the hour. $12 bought us an hour on the scenic lake in a pedal boat. It was a highlight of the day for both of us. We stashed our backpack and dusty hiking shoes in the compartments on the boat and pedaled out onto the lake. We giggled as Katie figured out how to steer our boat and oohed and aahed at the incredible view of Mt. Hood towering over the forest and the lake. We took turns jumping into the crystal blue water. It was really, really fun.
After we returned our boat we got ice cream cones from the General Store. Dessert before dinner? Why not? We meandered through the day use area and stopped at a viewing platform to take more pictures in the waning late afternoon light.
Reluctantly we began our drive back down the mountain. Katie sang and danced in her seat, using the side mirror as her gauge for her dramatic talents. We stopped in Hood River for dinner and meandered the darling downtown streets looking for an open coffee shop. Our drive home through the Columbia River Gorge was stunning. God painted a sunset so stunning that we stopped to take photos of it.
My favorite part of our day was having no agenda. It was wonderfully relaxing to kill time doing whatever sounded good and fun to us at the moment. No schedule. No set time to be home. All we had to do was be together. And it was amazing.
I'm so grateful for my beautiful Katie Girl and for a day to connect with just her. We're both thankful for the discovery of Lost Lake Resort and will definitely bring the family back for pedal boating and the traditional hike around the lake. Happy hiking.