Travel Diaries // Tilly Jane Trail x Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
When I look back on our recent visit to Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, I wouldn't change a single detail of our trip. My ladies and I all had been greatly looking forward to this trip ever since our last adventure to Banff back in August-- spring break seemed to be the best and earliest time to plan our next expedition. While we originally had been planning to visit Jasper for snowshoeing, we discovered to our dismay that the weather conditions made the drive there too treacherous without snow tires and chains. Fortunately, Mount Hood made it very much worth our while to go south of the border!
Ever since we started taking trips together a few years back, we've been addicted to the great outdoors, hiking, spending time together, and taking a much-needed breather from our daily lives. This trip was no different: the long drives were filled with happy conversation, we ate frugal but delicious meals while tucked into our cozy hotel room, watched old rom-coms before we fell asleep at night, and, of course, hiked as much as we possibly could.
After making our way to the town of Sandy the day before, we woke up bright and early for our first hike going up to the Tilly Jane cabin. This was to be the only sunny day of the trip and we intended to savour it to the fullest. On the drive to the trailhead, we drank in the bright sunshine filtering through the tall forest, the mist rising mysteriously in the distant trees, and blue skies beckoning before us.
This day was the only time we got clear views of the majestic Mount Hood, which was covered in a beautiful layer of snow and presented us with its gorgeous face throughout the hike. Sadly, the next two days would be overcast and Mt. Hood would remain in cloudy obscurity.
After finding the trailhead, we strapped on our brand new snowshoes and set off for the 4 km to the Tilly Jane cabin (a return trip of 8 km). This was our first snowshoe hike with actual elevation and I found it exhilarating to get my heart and legs pumping up the snow-covered hills. The first section of the trail traipsed through some thickly forested areas; however, the trees unexpectedly opened up when we hit an area that had been devastated by a forest fire in 2008.
After we reached the adorable Tilly Jane cabin, we decided to push on just a bit further to enjoy a more secluded lunch on a small hill. There we drank our hot tea, food that we have scavenged from our hotel breakfast buffet, and enjoyed the quiet solitude of the forest.
On the return journey back down, we decided to take a quick peek inside the cabin.
If I ever came back to this area, I would love to spend a night in this cozy little cabin. Full of knick-knacks donated by its previous occupants, the Tilly Jane cabin was a delightful place with which to enjoy nature, along with the people who love it dearly.
Our return journey took about half the time it took to ascend (a rule of thumb when snowshoeing) and we found ourselves looking back to see spectacular views of Mount Hood in the background. As the clouds finally cleared, we found ourselves very reluctant to leave the mountain when it was filling our hearts with such joy and peace.
The infamous Mt. St. Helen's glistening placidly in the distance.
When we reached the parking lot, we were amazed by how little time the downhill journey had taken us. We toyed with the idea of hiking another trail while the sunshine lasted; however, since it was already late afternoon, we decided that we would be better off grabbing dinner (McDonald's) and hitting the hot tub.
While the Tilly Jane Trail was our first hike of the year, I've already completed four trails since then and it's just the beginning of April. I'm excited to see just how many hikes I can get in this year-- I believe I was able to hike about eighteen trails last year! Snowshoeing has become a huge love of mine and I am hopeful to get in a few more sunny hikes before the snow melts away.