Upper Twin Lake, September 29-30, 2015. 8 miles
total, less than 1000 ft elevation gained. (edit 2019)
The summer had been moderately busy with family things and I had not
been out into the hills at all. It was really starting
to get to me, and son Ron brought it to a head when he posted the
photos of his latest Olympic Mountain trek. (See http://ronhayward.net/)
I've resigned myself to not being able to do trips like that any
more, but I still wanted to go camping. So I picked an
ultra simple backpack to Upper Twin Lake. This is
not far south of Mt. Hood here in Oregon, so the drive is not far
from home. The weather at the end of September was still
good, finally cooler than the oppressive heat spell of July and
The lead photo shows the lake from the south shore, which is the
only place offering a view of Mt. Hood. The water
level in the lake was as low as I've ever seen it.
I drove to the trail head at Barlow Pass and headed south, reaching
the lake in under two hours. It's an easy trail with
only minor elevation gain. Upon arriving, I
fixed a cup of coffee and just relaxed. A walk
around the lake suggested several possible camp
sites. I ended up on the north edge, although
there was no good reason for this. I had the place to myself
except for a couple of hikers that were in for the
day. It was difficult to get water from the
lake, for it was muddy in most places.
This photo is along the trail into the lake. Almost all
of it was like this through woods. The conditions
were quite dry this year.
late afternoon shot of Mt. Hood from the south end of the lake.
alpine glow on Mt. Hood shortly before sundown.
The evening was quite relaxed, occupied by cooking a freeze dried
dinner, taking a few photos, and just absorbing the
evening. As the sun went down I spent a
couple of hours listening to AM radio. I enjoy listening
with the goal of hearing unusual and distant
stations. It's always fun to get away from the
local electronic noise found in the city. The best
time for listening is the transition from evening to full
darkness. Eventually the endless talk-radio got
boring though. I miss earlier times with a variety
of music and even some actual dramatic
programming. (Boy, that really dates me!)
The trail around the lake was explored several times, for it offered
the views. I went to bed shortly after
dark. While the woods were generally quiet, I did
hear the now familiar "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you" call of
the barred owl. To hear this, visit
The double "who cooks for you" saying could just as well be
interpreted by a poorly formed "QQ" in Morse
code. The barred owl is a species that has
migrated from the eastern US and seems to be replacing other species
The night was comfortable, bordering on warm. A
little portable thermometer said that it got down to about 40 F in
the night. After a couple of hours of stars, a
nearly full moon appeared.
I got up shortly after sunrise and cooked some breakfast and then
packed for the walk out.
shot shows a side view of my pack, ready for the walk
out. Hiking is often most pleasant in the morning
The hike was easy and uneventful, but still fun.
It was great to just get out.