Exploring Northwest US and Canada: Week 4, Day 22, Hood River, Lost Lake, Fruit Loop, Mt Hood

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July 10th 2018
Published: July 12th 2018
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8/1 Debbie, the cook for the Brookside Bed and Breakfast, made a fresh breakfast for the 8:30am seating. Sweetened yogurt with berries was our first course with coffee, OJ and apple cider followed by a large cheese and tomato omelette with sautéed oregano potatoes and two slices of good bacon. Toast and bread options too. More than I could eat (again). The bowl of fresh locally picked local cherries were offered for us to take but in our hurry to get on the road we forgot to bring some with us for the day's adventures.

Over breakfast Debbie gave us plenty of ideas for a packed day of exploration. Taking advantage of Debbie's local knowledge we left the Bed and Breakfast and headed up to Lost Lake stopping first for gas at Windmaster on Tucker Rd, I must put in a plug here for the cheapest gas around and they pump and wash your windows!! A delightful throwback in time.

The temperatures were predicted to go over 100 degrees so heading to the wooded lake sounded like a good idea. The approach to the lake resort was up and down through very twisted and forested mountain roads. The Lost Lake “resort and lodge" consisted of the old fashioned wooden Lost Lake General Store that sold limited sundries, day passes ($8 per car) and boat rentals. A day pass is required even if you plan to take a brief walk. There were a few small cabins for rent (all taken) and a few campsites in the buggy woods around the lake's edge, many with spectacular views of the snow crusted Mt Hood. The water was not very cold and many families were swimming and boating as I would have done on this hot day if we were staying there. We decided to hike the 3 1/2 mile flat woodland trail around Lost Lake and although the temperatures were pleasant enough in the shade accompanied by the few breezes passing by, we were so bothered by biting flies, the first bugs we encountered on the entire trip, that we got about 1/3 of the way around the lake before calling it quits and heading back to the general store to sit on the old wooden chairs and watch the paddlers in their boats. The heat was now predicted to approach 104 today but so far, at noon, we were pretty warm but comfortable, likely because of the cooler wooded lake air. We were told it would be pretty hot inland, even on Mount Hood where we were headed this afternoon.

Leaving the lake we drove inland first to enjoy this area before the heat became unbearable. I was anxious to see the Lavender Valley Farmstand located on the Fruit Loop. The Fruit Loop drive starts and ends in Hood River and includes a variety of fruit groves (cherries! although most were not open), wineries and vineyards, a chestnut farm, and even an alpaca farm, scattered around the 35 mile loop. The Lavender Farm was my stop of choice. And what a stop! Acres of many kinds of purple lavender in long rows under the breathtaking backdrop of the snow covered Mt Hood. The scent of lavender was powerful and bees thrummed everywhere as I walked through the rows. I figured the soothing lavender would calm the bees so they wouldn't be interested in me but the soothing lavender didn't make me less nervous. In the little stand some women gave me a small scythe with which to cut my own bunches of lavender but being allergic to bees I asked if someone could pick a fresh bunch for me. For $5 they did and our car smelled of sweet lavender all the way to Spokane (even after the flowers dried and peppered the car in the exceedingly hot travel days ahead). Still, as we drove away in our lavender scented car, I could feel the relaxing influence of the lavender. Dave could not.

Without a clear understanding of lunch options and distances to our next destination, we began our drive up the incredibly steep switch backed road to Hood Mountain. Along the way we passed a sign for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I couldn’t imagine anyone fool enough to hike that in this heat! When we arrived at the mountain I asked how long the chairlift would run and was told we had 15 minutes to catch the last ride to the top. We ran into the WY’East Day Lodge, grabbed a sandwich to go then hopped on the (expensive for the short duration) Magic Mile Sky Ride and up we went. Some skiers and snow boarders passed us riding down the mountain on the chairlift while others, even in this heat, were skiing in the few patches of snow left on the mountain. It was surprisingly warm as we noshed on our sandwiches on the lift.

When we got off I dug my bare fee in the snow wishing I could have been summer skiing in my shorts. The view was pretty spectacular, on this clear day blue-gray mountains rimmed the horizon and although I didn’t have my bearings, the snow capped mountain in the distance was either Mt St Helen, Mt Jefferson or the Three sisters. Whatever it was it was beautiful. After we had descended from our lofty perch and stepped off the chairlift we walked back toward the lodge passing a sea of color. Brilliant blue broadleaf Lupine, wild Pink Alpine Phlox, bright yellow Sulphur Flower, Pearly Everlasting, and Pussypaws carpeted the woodland floor under the dark hemlocks. The Timberline Lodge, at 6,000 feet, is halfway between the WY’East Lodge and the Magic Mile Sky Ride. A three story stone fireplace sits in the center of the main lobby with comfortable seating surrounding the fireplace. Large glass windows face the south slope of snow-covered Mt. Hood. Decorative themes of Native American, pioneer and wildlife in stone, wood, iron and textiles are repeated throughout the interior. The rustic lodge was dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1937 and is now a National Historic Landmark.

It was time to head back towards Hood River but on the way we wanted to see some farms on the easternmost edge of the Fruit Loop. Most of the orchards were were closed because they were not in season but the Alpaca farm was open with curious black and white alpacas in residence. Hand looms and lessons along with the soft alpaca wool were available for purchase. We touched the luxurious wool but since we live in Florida and I no longer knit, we were off in search of dinner.

Back at the B&B we freshened up, then went up the hill to dinner at Divots Restaurant at the Indian Creek Golf Course overlooking Mt Hood. It was still very hot outside but with the A/C on high inside the contrast was quite chilly. Dave couldn’t take his eyes off the players coming in from their round of golf. I had hoped he would have been able to play either golf or tennis here but unfortunately he was not in good shape. Since it was cool inside we both had a cup of hot mushroom pancetta soup (really good!). Dave had a large Caesar salad (over-dressed but good) and I had caramelized onion, avocado, Pepperjack cheese and cilantro quesadillas. My dinner was very filling (I only ate half of it). Spicy salsa, sour cream and chips came that were barely touched. We are both eating way too much food. We came back to the Bed and Breakfast and even though I was still full I couldn’t resist some fresh cherries and a very good homemade cookie. Sigh.


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