Mt Hood, Oregon's tallest peak as seen from Tom Dick and Harry Mt, and surrounded by a winter wonderland bathed in the finest of alpine light is an image that has eluded me for quite some time. I don't remember what I first had in mind when I began chasing this scene but I do remember my first trip here to this very spot. I followed direction from a guide book and parked at the Mirror Lake snow park ("A wide spot on the highway"). My wife and I grabbed our gear from the car with vehicles careening down the snowy roadway just feet away. The mid-morning snowshoe hike up to the lake was nice. While we were the only car at the trailhead we found several groups at the lake. After pushing all the way to the Tom Dick and Harry summit to find no views of Mt Hood I set up the tripod for a quick portrait.
We made our way back down to the car with visions of pizza and beer putting gusto back into our pace. Once the highway became visible again I realized that my car wasn’t. An inspection of the patch of snow where I had parked revealed a “NO PARKING” note freshly spray painted in pink. Only thing to do was hike a mile down the road to the ski resort. The guy at the pro desk said he saw the “state boys” with my car earlier and recommended a tow company that might have my ride. After a $200 impound fee I finally had my wheels back with a parking ticket waiting for me on the windshield. Could it get any better!?! Fortunately it didn’t.
Fast forward a year to my next attempt at this shot. I started snow shoeing at 2:30am in knee to waist deep powder and -7 degree F temps only to run out of steam just before reaching the lake you see in these photos. I was physically exhausted from breaking trail and only made it half way to my goal. Admitting defeat I began heading back the way I came and watched as the most beautiful light filtered through the snow covered trees. I wanted to kick myself but I couldn’t lift my legs that high.
In the years after, another couple attempts during terrible snow years resulted in a couple seriously lack luster images.
It finally came together for me and timed it right to meet this amazing sunrise. I’m pretty happy to have this to show for all of the efforts. Sometimes it makes me question whether I’ve gone mad or if it was truly worth it. Then I think back at all the adventure, drama, stories, perseverance, and fun I had in the process. You bet it was.