Let me just say, straight off the bat, that I loved, loved, loved this hike 1,000 times more this time around than when I hiked it in January. Maybe it was because I wasn’t trudging through snow and navigating ice, maybe it was because this time I could see the reflection of Mt. Hood in the lake (hence Mirror Lake), maybe it was because I didn’t feel like I was going to die by the time I actually reached the lake. Also, bonus that my car didn’t die this time on the way back down the mountain. Likely, it was all those things combined and more. The weather was beautiful, the trail had an amazing woodsy/pine smell, and I felt awesome. All these things were peak for my enjoyment. It was about 72 degrees on the trail, whereas back in Portland, it reached the mid-80’s. The trail temp was perfect.
I won’t go into the full trail play-by-play, since I already wrote a pretty detailed entry about it back in January. If you’d like to read up on it, here’s where that post is at.
Besides the absolutely stunning view at Mt. Hood from the lake itself, I felt that I enjoyed the beauty of the trail itself as a whole a lot more. I noticed so much more than a snow-covered trail offered me 7 months ago, like a huge variety of wildflowers, and the fact that there actually is a trail around Mirror Lake (in Jan. I was kind of winging it, stepping wherever seemed safe). Also, the flowing creeks towards the start of the trail and up by the Mirror Lake loop were so alive and sounded amazing, whereas in Jan. they were basically frozen and trickle-y.
Also, just a kudos to myself, I didn’t feel the need to stop and catch my breath once on the 1.5 mile ascent. It was amazing. Maybe having 17 hikes behind me since the first time I hiked it helped, but I also think the Angel’s Rest trek changed my outlook on what I can do. By comparison, Angel’s Rest was much, much more difficult than this, and the ascent was nearly twice as long and more than twice as high, so coming back to this was practically cake. Not to sound totally boss though, I was definitely a little breathy on my way up, but my legs felt great and I just kept steadily going until I reached the loop. Big bodily improvements are happening 🙂
I was planning to take a good deal of photos as per usual, but realized very early in the hike that I accidentally left my memory card in my laptop. My camera can only store 15 photos without a card, so I decided to save my last pics for the grand view at the lake. I happened upon a very nice older couple who were very happy to take my picture for me. The wife basically posed me to get the optimal full shot of myself with as much background as possible. I very much appreciated that.
I sat by the lake in the sun and took in the view for a good while before heading back down. I realized something today on the descent that I hadn’t paid much attention to: hikers are so freaking friendly. Oregonians as a whole are a pretty friendly lot, but hiking Oregonians are first class friendly. I had more little exchanges and conversations with fellow hikers on the trail today than maybe all my treks yet combined. When you’re hiking solo, it’s very notable. I ❤ my fellow trekkers.
This is absolutely a hike to take in the summer. It’s beautiful, it’s shaded on the path, and when you’re up at the lake and exposed to the sun, you can go in for a dip (quite a few swimmers today). Honestly, this is my favorite summer-specific hike so far. It was very silent and peaceful in the winter, but even with a good deal of folks out there today, it was just perfection. Mirror Lake just went up 7 notches in my book.
Treks Down: 18, Treks to Go: 34