Lost Lake, Oregon

We went camping again, and this time we brought the baby! This was not actually her first camping trip-- last summer we went for one night only when she was 9 weeks old. It was... survivable, but we called it good after one night. Actually, it wasn't that bad at all, but it turned cold and rainy and there was just no point in pushing our luck, so we patted ourselves on the back and went home.

This summer we went back to the same place, Lost Lake Campground, and stayed 2 nights/3 days with Jesse's family. She did great! We did great! (Who do you congratulate more, the parents or the child?) She slept surprisingly well--we brought a pack n play and set it up inside the tent. Naps didn't go great, but we all made it through.

The lake is a beautiful little gem with a 3 mile path encircling it, offering perfect views of Mt. Hood. No motorized boats are allowed on it, so it keeps calm and peaceful, other than the happy screams of stand-up paddle boarders and canoes.

At the beginning of the summer we got ourselves a few wilderness books-- "Pacific Northwest Foraging," by Douglas Deur, "Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast," Peterson Field Guides' Rocks and Minerals, as well as an old Wildflowers book I inherited from my parents. We brought them all to try out foraging! Our most successful find was the salmonberries along the campsite trails (I think they taste fine, others hate them. One guide book called them "insipid."), and the wild huckleberries all around the lake. We picked a bunch, and wrangled the kiddos into picking more, then boiled them with water and brown sugar into syrup and added it to our oatmeal the next morning! I was as impressed as the kids-- me because we picked the berries ourselves, the kids because the oatmeal turned purple.

If You Go:

Lost Lake is about 1.5-2 hours from Portland. It's surprisingly far. There's nevertheless a lot of day use, especially on the weekends. The lake fills up fast! You can rent boats at the main lodge.

Find a swimming spot by hiking down the trail a bit-- our favorite spot is towards the right side when you're coming out of the lodge, just around the corner and past the small bridge.

Lost Lake is a great campground, but it keeps really busy during summer. Reserve ahead of time online. You can find a few non-reservable spots, but it's a risk unless you're arriving on Wednesday or Thursday.