The old adage is to do one thing every day that scares you. During our hike up TDH (I cannot keep writing it out. Sorry not sorry), I did that thing, for a couple of hours straight. Hiking in snow scares the you know what out of me. But let’s be real, the payoff was worth it.
Want to watch the video? You can check it out on our YouTube Channel!
PS. The video is mostly of the initial hike up to the Mirror Lake area…things got a little weird with our GoPro after we started up TDH (hence why the video is called the Mirror Lake Trail).
Let’s start from the beginning, the trailhead for TDH is actually the Mirror Lake Trailhead and it’s NEW! Instead of parking on the side of a super busy highway, there’s now a parking lot adjacent to Ski Bowl, where there are vault toilets (I must reiterate to carry some sort of tissue with you), a big map, and PLENTY of parking. Especially if you show up early.
The first part of the trail is accessible, which is super exciting! Once you cross over the first (of TEN) new bridges, it turns into a dirt trail. This time of year, there was still a bit of snow and ice on the ground on the way to Mirror Lake, but it honestly wasn’t too bad.
The 2-mile-ish trip up to Mirror Lake had some elevation gain, but it was manageable, particularly with the help of a few switchbacks as we neared the lake. The best parts of this trek were the bridges and streams that we passed, and (added bonus) the new trail is SUUUUUUUUPER wide.
We wanted to see Mirror Lake, but first, we had a mountain to climb. And climb we did. After a slight fork, the trail for TDH was flat and had minimal snow. Oh how little we knew. I said out-loud something to the effect of, “This is false advertisement.” I knew it’d get steep, but I didn’t know it’d get so icy. And then we reached the rock field in full sun. No ice. But then. We reached the scariest two snowfields (read: snow-ledges) I’d ever encountered. I grabbed onto vegetation and snow as if my life depended on it, because it did. There was no where to go but down if I had slipped. The second one didn’t have as much vegetation, so I clung to the side of the mountain. The rest of the path had snow intermittently, but it was flatter and had a lot of shrubs and trees, so if I slipped I knew I’d still be safe. Sorry there aren’t any pictures, we were just trying to survive.
Once we reached the outcropping of rocks at the top of the trail (we named that Tom), we made a left and followed the tracks. And then the snow-pack increased dramatically. Heading up wasn’t too bad, we stuck to the human tracks we found and the snow was still in good condition. Just as we lamented one more time that “we have to be getting close to the top,” we found the rocky top.
We could see SOOOO many peaks from the “false summit.” Allegedly you could go a little bit further to get to the real TDH, but we were pleased with our progress, and stopped for our snack.
And then we headed back and tried not to die. Note to self: please wait until all snow has melted on the trail. You might enjoy it more. When we finally made it back to Mirror Lake we rejoiced! And took a lot more pictures.
The way down from Mirror Lake was spectacular. We ran into a lot of friendly faces, had a lot of sunshine, and enjoyed every single step. Once we got back to the trailhead we had our lunch and headed home.
Start Time: 8:20am; Starting Temperature: 48F/8.88C
End Time: 1:00pm; Ending Temperature: 68F/20C