Old Vista Ridge Trail
Some sunshine between the layers of fall snow led me to head out to Laurance Lake for a wilderness loop and some last off trail exploring before the mountains get covered for winter.
I had been wanting to visit some of the viewpoints on the north side of Mt Hood beyond the Vista Ridge Trailhead, but without the long drive there. Several great spots, The Rockpile, Owl Point, Perry Lake, and Red Hill lie between the Old Vista Ridge Trailhead and the new one. These spots see far less traffic than the route heading up towards the Timberline Trail along Vista Ridge, famous for its impressive displays of spring blooming Avalanche Lilies carpeting the burned landscape from the Dollar Lake Fire. I started down low at Laurance Lake, and followed the trail above it to the terminus, than trekked off trail through some beargrass filled forest to the old jeep track road leading to Perry Lake and the old Vista Ridge Trailhead, continuing on to enjoy the viewpoints, and some sunning on Red Hill. To return I headed on the Vista Ridge Trail towards the Timberline Trail but cut steeply down off it, crossing through the Dollar Fire burn at dusk and onto the road to complete a loop back down to the lake.