We have lived in Portland for six years now, and we just started day-tripping to Mt. Hood two years ago! Neither Ian nor I are into skiing or snowboarding, which may explain our delay in venturing out east a little bit. The first time we visited Mt. Hood a few years back, we took our stubborn beagle and our wobbly toddler with us and I wore the wrong shoes. Seriously though, our dog kept running away, our son kept collapsing into the snow, and I couldn’t move, in fear I’d dislocate a hip. You see, we Oregonians aren’t prepared for the snow. If snow so much as sticks to the ground, not even covering all the concrete, schools shutdown, work is cancelled, and grocery stores sell-out due to the “storm”. So back to my shoes, because everything in life always comes back to the shoes you were wearing, am I right? No one in the PNW is prepared for a snow day, so even though our trip to Mt. Hood was a planned day in the snow, it hadn’t crossed my mind to wear a special kind of shoe. So I just wore regular old boots and because of that (well, and our wobbly toddler), our day trip definitely didn’t last the whole day. We went back three times the following year (wearing proper shoes), and we just fall more and more in love with it every time we go. We always discover new pockets of the mountain, just waiting to be explored.
So, when Ian gifted me a little birthday getaway this past January, I chose to go to Mt. Hood! Naturally, as a boring mom of two, all I wanted for my 26th birthday was SLEEP. I did not want to get on another airplane. I wanted a short drive. And I wanted to be in a quiet town with just enough to do.
Timberline Lodge was completely booked, and because lodging in the area is limited, our best option was to rent a townhouse in Government Camp—a three-bedroom townhouse. Did I mention we left the kids with grandma and grandpa? Haha! We certainly didn’t need the two extra bedrooms and bathrooms, but it was nice having our own kitchen to cook in, garage to park in, and a private living room to lounge in while we took turns napping.
We spent our time sleeping in and eating out. We got lost in the woods, sledded through trees, and explored the little Bavarian-style village in Government Camp that we never knew existed. Government Camp is the little town at the base of the mountain, so it still gets LOTS of snow, but has more dining and housing options than being right on the mountain.
We seriously sledded so hard, that on multiple occasions, Ian fell off the sled and slid over the snow leaving blue skid marks on the white snow from his jeans haha!
When we needed a break from the cold, we drove through the most adorable neighborhood right behind the village in Government Camp. Streets named “Yodel Lane” and “Little Trail” were lined with A-frame cabins painted in the most saturated hues. Each home looked liked it’s own uniquely designed gingerbread house, with enormous globs of frosting-- err-- snow on the roof, growing higher with each fresh dusting of snowfall.
Mt. Hood, once again, proved to us that it has so much more to offer than you’d initially think if you just drove straight to the top like we did the first and second and third time we visited. You don’t have to be an experienced skier to enjoy a weekend in the snow, because there are plenty of other areas to explore. We have only ever visited Mt. Hood in the winter, but we are excited to go swim in Trillium or Frog Lake and hike some of the many trails they have around the area once the weather warms up!
Is there a local spot in your area that you like to get away to?