Upper Twin Lake, September 29-30, 2015.  8 miles total, less than 1000 ft elevation gained. 



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 August.   

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.

  A late afternoon shot of Mt. Hood from the south end of the lake.

  Evening 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
http://learner.org/jnorth/tm/spring/OwlDictionary.html
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 in Oregon.

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.

  This shot shows a side view of my pack, ready for the walk out.    Hiking is often most pleasant in the morning hours.

The hike was easy and uneventful, but still fun.    It was great to just get out.