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  • Radford Bean

Indian Summer Paddle Trip to Lost Lake

What's one to do when the weather is sunny and warm in early October? Go paddling, what else. I spent the day with six other paddlers exploring Lost Lake at the base of Mt. Hood. I have to admit I hadn't paddled Mt. Hood since the mid-eighties, so this trip to Mt. Hood was long overdue. It was the first time on Lost Lake for all the other paddlers who joined me.

We couldn't have asked for better weather to paddle, well maybe for calm winds, but except for gusty winds from time to time the weather was beautiful. The wind did put a damper on fishing and photography, and later in the afternoon the clouds started to move in, cutting the paddle trip short. But even the wind and later the clouds couldn't dampen our spirits.

Vine maples aglow in red lined the bank, joined by other trees with their yellow leaves. One of the reasons for visiting and paddling Lost Lake is its proximity to Mt. Hood. In fact, Lost Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in Oregon, probably second only to Crater Lake. When the water is still, Mt. Hood reflects beautifully off the water's surface. I had hoped to capture such a photograph, but the wind stirred up the water, ruining any chance of capturing Mt. Hood's reflection on the lake.

Some paddlers on the lake had success catching rainbow trout. Most were catching 10-inchers or less. I tried fishing for a little while, but I was more interested in photographing Mt. Hood and the lake, especially considering how small the trout were. I guess I am a little spoiled after catching some very large trout during my trip to Upper Klamath Lake, so fishing for small trout seemed non-important.

Getting to the lake required a three-and-a-half hour drive from McMinnville. There was also a $7 entrance fee to get into the resort where the boat ramp is located. The drive up Lost Lake Road provided spectacular views of fall foliage. Fall is definitely the best time to visit Lost Lake--the lake is less crowded, you can be assured of getting a campsite near the lake, and the fall foliage is beautiful.

On the way home, my mother, who had accompanied me on this trip for the first time, and I decided to stop at one of the many fruit stands in Hood River Valley to purchase apples and pears. It was the perfect way to end an almost perfect day.

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