Last summer, the quest to get to Hidden Lake faded with the leaves on the trees after one attempt was aborted due to bad directions from a well meaning person who had been there once. Summer seems to come and go so quickly here in Oregon. It takes forever to get here – think rain and dreary weather into June. But here it is well into September, and we are still experiencing wonderfully balmy weather (for Oregon) – yesterday a nice 78 degrees. So last week, I googled the lake, wrote down the directions for the forest roads involved, imprinted a visual map of the satellite view of the lake surrounded by green trees in my brain, and set off.
It was a bit too late for swimming for me at least, but I wanted to let my dog, Maisie get wet, take some pictures, and have a mini adventure. So off I set, past Cougar Reservoir, right on NF 1980 and up the gravel road. I had stopped by a friend’s house on the way up, and the last words I heard were, “don’t get lost,” but I usually expect to get a little lost and as long as it’s not late at night or my gas tank is empty, I don’t mind the possibility.
The road wasn’t that bad for a gravel road, but it is hard to gauge distance and direction when the roads are winding upwards, and you’re driving only about 15 miles an hour, so I kept my eye for the appropriate turn-off. As my car climbed higher, I decided I had probably passed it, but I wanted to see more.
There is a sense of isolation when one is surrounded by large fir trees high on a mountain that is quite wonderful. There’s a point when I notice that the sounds and anxious energy of human existence have dropped away and instead there is a calm hum of the natural world around me. I feel small and even inconsequential, a speck next to the trees that surround me and the mountain they grow from, and yet I also feel a part of everything that surrounds me, from the wildflowers that grow beside the gravel road, to the rocks, and trees and sky. Finally I decide to turn back to find the lake so that Maisie can have a swim before the afternoon has slipped away.
The lake does have a few other human inhabitants and is surrounded by a marsh-like setting, which I discover when I decide to cut to it through the woods to find some solitude. After falling, and finding it difficult to get up with my camera bag on my back and the uneven reed covered ground (for skiers, think falling in deep powder), I backtrack and take the path.
There’s an old big raft on the other side of the lake with about 5 people fishing off it; it looks like something Huck Finn would have been comfortable with. On my side of the lake, is a family. At first I can just hear the kids’ laughing and playing in the water, but at one point while I am watching fish jump from the water, the family comes into sight, a floating choo-choo train – the parents rowing in a medium size rubber raft followed by three plastic toy rafts for the oldest of the kids. Excitable Maisie needs to be restrained from swimming out and sinking one of the kids. So there is a bit of barking until the family makes their way to a dock to the north and then makes their slow way back again. For the most part, the afternoon is beautiful and peaceful, and there are dragonflies and damselflies galore! Here are my best shots from the day.
Next week I will write about my trip to Florence a couple of days ago. Once again, to view larger versions of some of these photos and many more of my photographs, please visit my site at Etsy, Radiance Cards Photos or for prints including matting and framing at Belinda Greb Photography and Cards. Click on nature photos to see more photography by other nature photographers.