On the weekend after Thanksgiving, we decided to take a break from building the chicken coop and get out on a hike. I had been seeing everyone's amazing pictures for #Optoutside on Black Friday, and was feeling a little jealous while I was stuck inside working. I had always wanted to explore the trail around Clear Lake, the headwaters of the McKenzie River. Aside from admiring photography other people have taken of the lake, I had never actually been there. Since it's the source of our water, it seemed like a visit was long overdue. Typically the lake is a pretty happening place in the summer with the campground and cabins, and typically it's covered in snow during the winter. With neither crowds, nor snow to contend with, it felt like we were getting a rare opportunity to experience Clear Lake.
The trail started out from the cabins at the resort and went through the woods between the lake and the highway. Periodically the lake peeked through the trees. As the name promised, the water was crystal clear enough to see the bottom of the lake, even on a cloudy day.
I imagine this area is usually under snow during most of the winter, so seeing the bright red dogwood branches, tan colored dead grasses, and bright orange bracken ferns against the backdrop of green trees was unexpected, and quite the kaleidoscope.
This was hands-down one of the most beautiful lake shores I've seen.
As the trail came around the lake's inlet, I was really loving those bright red dogwoods.
We came to a very cool log bridge across the dry riverbed, and this became the McKenzie River trail going around the far side of the lake.
The trail followed right along the lake shore on the other side, and it became more and more "clear" how the lake got it's name. We only went a couple of miles because it was later in the afternoon and we didn't want it to get dark on us, so we turned around, leaving more trail to be seen.
Now I'll be looking forward to coming back in the summertime to finish hiking the trail, and maybe get out there in a canoe. I feel lucky every day to live with these places right in my back yard, and even luckier to get out there and see them at all different times of year. We got our first snow of the season today, so hopefully there will be some exciting snowshoe adventures coming up soon. Always an adventure. That's my life on the McKenzie River.