The temperatures are skyrocketing here in Portland for the next week which means plenty of people will either be flocking to the coast or to Mount Hood to escape the heat. One popular spot in the mountains is Trillium Lake. This weekend the lake will probably be too jam-packed with sweaty humans to get any great photos, but I happened to visit on a day when no one else was around…
Trillium Lake Fast Facts
- Trillium Lake is a man-made lake. I’m pretty sure the site was chosen for its perfect photo op position to capture Mount Hood, but I can’t find any sources to back up this info.
- The lake was created in 1960 over a portion of the Barlow Road – the final land-based stretch of the Oregon Trail.
- Before this 100-mile road was built in 1846 by Sam Barlow and Phillip Foster (who got a bit ripped off on the naming of the Road), there really wasn’t any way to get covered wagons over the Cascade mountain range. Without any U-Haul trucks, the only way to move your goods to your new home in the Willamette Valley was to wait for nearly two weeks and pretty much sell off your firstborn child to catch one of the Columbia River boats that may or may not make it to your destination depending on what mood the river was in.
- Built in a hurry by a couple of guys who seem to barely know what they were doing (example: they forgot to figure in the cost of building bridges in their estimates), the Barlow Road wasn’t the best road in the world, but the toll was far cheaper than the river passage and ended up being the route of choice for nearly 75 percent of the people who moved out west over the Oregon Trail.
At Trillium Lake, you may even catch some insects having a romantic moment.
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.