Twin Lakes Hike,
July 13 and 14, 2010

This hike was a substitute for one originally planned for the end of June that we had to cancel.   We finally made it a couple of weeks later.   My hiking partner for this junket was to be my 11 year old grandson Peter.   Our goal was Upper Twin Lake.   I suspect nearly every state in our country has at least one set of "Twin Lakes" and this was one of the half dozen such pair for Oregon.   (Sheehan, Fishing in Oregon, Flying Pencil Publications, 2005)    We had originally thought in terms of going in from the north, for that is my usual entrance to this area.  For variety, we decided instead to enter from the south.   Click here to see the map.  
 (Scanned from Green Trails maps.)

We drove up on Tuesday (July 13th) to Mt. Hood's south side and then followed Highway 26 south for a few miles before stopping at the trailhead close to Frog Lake.   The easy trail went east and then north through wonderful Douglas Fir forest.    We enjoyed some Rhododendron that were still in blossom, but there were few other flowers.

Peter at our first rest stop along the trail.

We reached the lower lake in about a mile or so.

Here are a couple of shots of Peter in action near Lower Twin Lake where we ate a little bit of lunch.

Upper Twin Lake, with Mt. Hood behind it, is shown in the two photos above.   This lake is only a half mile from the lower lake.

After checking out the upper lake, we decided to hike a bit further to the north.   The trails are more complicated up there, and there are some that are not included on the map.   After crossing Palmateer creek, we headed toward Palmateer meadow.   A side trail took us to the top of a small peak with a wonderful view of Mt. Hood.   This high point is about a half mile due east of Peak 4925 shown on the map.    Again, click here to see the map.

Peter on top of the small peak with Hood in the background.

This is another view of the small peak, showing Barlow Butte and a shoulder of Mt. Hood.

After a little bit more exploration, we decided to hike back and camp at Upper Twin Lake.    Either lake offered great camping.   We found an excellent spot at the north end of the lake.    After getting the chores done to establish camp, we cooked some dinner.    After that, we decided to hike around the lake.   By now there were two other parties camped at the lake, but they were both well away from us.      While hiking the loop, we noticed a spur trail that went east from the lake.   We decided to follow it for a while just to see what it offered.    This short, after-dinner walk was probably the highlight of the trip.   The trail had a very interesting, "less traveled" flavor, emphasized by a steeper grade than we had seen on the main trail.   At one point we encountered a rock outcrop with about a 100 ft vertical drop off.    Climbing on to the top of this provided a wonderful view of Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood from the spur trail near the upper lake.

Once we got back to camp, we decided it would be fun to build a camp fire.   There was no real reason other than the flavor.   There was a good fire ring at our camp place with abundant wood and tinder.    I rarely build a fire these days, but they are still fun when appropriate.

Our camp fire.

We slept well that night, except for occasional breaks to check out the stars.   The weather was clean for our entire trip and there was no moon to compromise the star show.    We got up the next morning at about 8, cooked some breakfast, packed, cleaned the camp area, threw some extra water on the campfire ashes just to be sure, and headed home.   We took another trip around the upper lake on our way out and then headed to the lower lake.    Once there, we had to explore those shores.   A fisherman's trail completely circled the lake.    

Peter on the trail around the lower lake.

While on the way out, we encountered a solo hiker with his small dog.   They were headed to the lower lake so they could swim.   We prevailed upon him to snap a couple of photos of the two of us.

Peter and Grandpa.

Peter back at the trailhead.