… and how to look cute & functional when exploring the outdoors!
You may remember my 30 Things to do Before 30 post from a few months ago. One of the items on my list is #26: Sleep outside under the stars out of the city. So when I learned that my buddies over at Adventure Mates were planning a weekend backpacking trip in the Mount Hood wilderness, I jumped at the chance to join and cross this goal off my list!
Unfortunately, just days before our backpacking adventure, the weather forecast took a turn for the worst and forced us to change our plans – as adventurous as some of the mates are, no one wanted to go backpacking in the snow (especially me). So instead we rented a few cabins at Government Camp, opting to explore the wilderness during the day and stay warm and cozy by the cabin fire at night.
For a Saturday outdoor adventure, us mates had two choices: a long, rigorous 18-mile hike/run, or a shorter 4-mile loop hike to Mirror Lake. I chose the latter, as my physical endurance is not up to par for a high-elevation excursion (AKA, I prob would have passed out trying to keep up).
The Mirror Lake hike is one of Mount Hood’s most popular. In the warm summer months, it’s difficult to find a parking spot at this trail head due to its stunning views and easy-to-moderate difficulty rating, but at 10am on a frigid, snowy Saturday morning there were few on the trail. From the trail head to the lake loop and back, we hiked just under four miles round-trip, with about 700 feet of elevation gain/loss (uphill on the way in, downhill on the way back). The trail was covered in a layer of snow at the beginning of our trek, but began to melt away to mud and slush by mid-day. For the majority of our hike, the weather was brisk, drippy and overcast, but right as we reached our destination the clouds parted ways for just long enough to get a few extraordinary shots of the snow-covered trees reflecting off the lake (I mean, it is called Mirror Lake for a reason.) On a clear day, views of Mount Hood from the lake clearing are breathtaking.
So what does one fashionista wear in the snowy wilderness?
It’s not easy to look cute in the cold and the rain. Layers are essential – on top I wore a black knit turtleneck under a printed wool button-up and layered a puffy parka (mine of which was not waterproof so I did get a bit soaked). Here, here and here are some great trendy yet functional jacket options. I doubled-up on my leggings, with a thin pair underneath thicker Alo leggings. One pair of fleece leggings would have done the trick as well. A good option here and the Alo leggings I wore here.
On my feet, I opted for fur-lined snow boots. These ones are from Sorel, exact boots here or here. I wouldn’t generally recommend hiking long distances in these snow boots, as they’re heavy and did get a bit uncomfortable by the end of our hike, but they kept my feet warm and completely dry. A pair of hiking boots probably would have been sufficient, but regular sneakers would have gotten soaked and ruined – leave your favorite Nike’s at home.
Don’t forget your gloves, thick socks and a warm beanie for your noggin. Pro tip: a cute beanie will hide your wet, messy hair!
Shop winter items here:
Ultimately, I did not cross anything off my 30 Before 30 list from this weekend’s adventure, but I did leave with about 30 new friends (slight exaggeration but made some great new connections!) Big thank you to Adventure Mates for organizing this eventful outdoorsy weekend and encouraging a fashionista like myself to get outside and out of her comfort zone.
As always, thank you for reading! XOXO