Scenic fall hiking in the Great Pacific Northwest.

What originally started out as a 12 mile hike got whittled down to two smaller hikes within the Mt. Hood National Forest area.

What originally started out as a 12 mile hike got whittled down to two smaller hikes within the Mt. Hood National Forest area. Hike #1 was a three miler to Mirror Lake.

IMG_8741 (1)

Gollum is that you?

Gollum is that you?

Fall was in full effect in CascadiaLand.

Fall was in full effect in CascadiaLand. The wide, well-maintained trail gains roughly 750 feet in less than two miles, following a series of switchbacks through lush forests before arriving at Mirror Lake.

IMG_8608

No time for Tom, Dick or Harry.

No time for Tom, Dick or Harry.

Mirror Lake is a classic glacial cirque lake.

Mirror Lake is a classic glacial cirque lake.

Mount Hood appears just over the tops of the trees lining the lake creating one of the most photographed vantage points in the state. Unfortunately the clouds weren't cooperating on the day we went.

Mount Hood appears just over the tops of the trees lining the lake creating one of the most photographed vantage points in the state. Unfortunately the clouds weren’t cooperating on the day we went.

IMG_8657 (1)

Autumn was everywhere.

Autumn had arrived.

 

IMG_8673 (1)

Crayfish, also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related.

Crayfish, also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related and they were all over Mirror Lake.

Cray Cray

Cray Cray

Once you reach the lake at 1.4 miles, continue the .4 miles around the lake to witness the post card perfect picture of Mt. Hoods reflection in this beautiful lake (when it's not cloudy of course).

Once you reach the lake at 1.4 miles, continue the .4 miles around the lake to witness the post card perfect picture of Mt. Hoods reflection in this beautiful lake (when it’s not cloudy of course).

After a short drive we hit up Little Crater Lake

After a short drive we hit up Little Crater Lake.

The "lake'' is more of a deep, cold springs-fed pool...

The “lake” is more of a deep, cold springs-fed pool 45 feet deep and a hundred feet across.

The water is crystal clear, which reflects the deep blue of the sky on a clear day.

The water is crystal clear, which reflects the deep blue of the sky on a clear day.

The lake was formed by dissolving limestone and is not of volcanic origin.

The lake was formed by dissolving limestone and is not of volcanic origin.

 

It remains near 34 degrees year round because of the properties of the aquifer that feed it.

It remains near 34 degrees year round because of the properties of the aquifer that feed it.