After my old hiking boots caused uncomfortable foot pain during a mid-September hike to Crystal Lakes, I knew it was time to spring for a new pair. Since I've worn the same brand of hiking boots for many years (Lowa Lady Light GTX if you're curious), picking out a new pair is easy - all I do is go to REI's website, give them my credit card number, and hit "purchase."
These aren't the cheapest hiking boots by far but they've always worked well for my post-bunion-surgery, extremely fussy feet. Lots of hikers these days are foregoing boots in favor of lightweight trail running shoes, but I've always preferred the stability and protection boots offer. I feel the extra weight is worth it.
|Shiny new boots - not for long!
After my new boots arrived in the mail, it was time to take them for a test drive. I decided upon a short hike on the Mirror Lake Trail and maybe continuing to Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain. Although the original plan was to get up early to avoid driving in rush hour traffic, my lazy retired self ended up sleeping in. By the time I woke up there was no way I'd avoid rush hour. So I dilly-dallied around the house until nearly 10 am before deciding to set out. Surely traffic would have tapered off by now.
|Vine maple just getting started around Mirror Lake
Well the answer to that - a resounding NO. From where I live, reaching Mt Hood requires a drive through the heart of downtown Portland. Usually by mid-morning freeway traffic has dropped back down to acceptable levels and it's a relatively quick trip. But today, immediately after crossing the Willamette River, I discovered the exit to reach the main eastbound freeway closed. Traffic was diverted north, and my car joined the throng of creeping vehicles searching for a detour. After sitting in traffic for a frustratingly long time (and nearly bagging the whole hike and heading for home) I was finally able to exit the freeway. Zig-zagging through the heart of the city, I found a spot to rejoin an opened portion of the eastbound freeway and continue my journey. All of this rerouting took a good hour - which meant it was nearly 1 pm when I arrived at the trailhead.
|The seasonal transition has begun
Once parked I beelined for the restroom (after sitting in traffic for nearly 3 hours I had to GO!). I then slipped on my new hiking boots and snapped a photo for posterity. (They'd never be this clean ever again.) Happy to finally move my feet, down the trail I went.
|A few spots of color on adjacent hills
|Windy conditions meant no reflections on Mirror Lake
|Panoramic views at this clearing
|Lots of brilliant vine maple on this talus slope
|Colorful vine maple leaves
|Lots of beargrass stalks near the summit
|Perfect Mt Hood view from Tom, Dick and Harry Mtn
|Color on adjacent ski slopes
|Mt Hood view from talus slope
|More vine maple
|On the way back, Mirror Lake lived up to it's name
|Ripples in the lake
|A few people still enjoying the water