Mini Adventurer's First Winter Camping Trip - Hideaway Lake, OR

There is still no real mountain snow, so we drove to Hideaway Lake on Saturday which is at about 4,100' elevation. We planned to take our 7 month old Mini Adventurer, Julian, on his first camping trip (in the winter no less!).

Hideaway Lake is on the way to Timothy Lake (from Estacada) off forest service road 57. Take the paved forest road 58 to the left before 57 turns to gravel. At the fork, take the gravel road 5830 to Hideaway Lake. The road was icy from about North Fork Reservoir on up the mountain. Once on gravel road 5830 there was about 1-2 inches of ice with a light dusting of new snow on top. We took the drive nice and slow.

We arrived at Hideaway Lake campground around lunch time. The temperature was in the mid 20's with no wind and sunny skies. We explored the empty campground before settling on a suitable spot to set up our tent. Katie and our Mini Adventurer stayed warm in the truck while I set up the tent and started a fire in the wood stove. Soon we were all cozy and warm inside the tent.

Hideaway Lake was frozen and the ice appeared to be thick enough in most places to safely walk on. There were several blocks of ice cut out from the lake, possibly by someone ice fishing (not common in our neck of the woods).

Hideaway Lake Campground in the winter     Hideaway Lake frozen in the winter

Katie heard someone outside, so I went to investigate. There was a man dressed in camouflage with a couple rifles who calmly greeted me. He hadn't expected to see anyone else. We chatted for a while and I came to learn there was a large cougar in the area as well as a golden colored black bear he called Blondie. He told me a story about how Blondie had snapped a couple trees in half nearby (which I found later that day). He advised us to be careful especially if we were the type of people who didn't carry a gun. I quickly assured him I had a pistol with me (more to inform him we would not be a good family to mess with). He explained he was retired and was camped in the area with a few other retired people. I got the impression they had been there a while and that they with no intention of leaving anytime soon. He departed and set off in search of the cougar.

A little while later, we were surprised to hear someone else approaching the campground. This time it was the Forest Service law enforcement. I went out and talked to the officer briefly. He seemed very suspicious of me. He drove to the other side of the campground and parked for about 15 minutes before leaving. About half an hour later, he came back and parked again on the other side of the campground without bothering us. He left a little while later. I think he might have been the same officer who hassled us for cutting firewood a couple summers ago while camping at Shellrock Creek campground. Maybe that is why he was suspicious of me. I didn't think we were going to see anyone this weekend with all the ice on the road and cold temperatures, but I guess I was wrong. A couple more vehicles drove up the next morning as well.

Ice on Hideaway Lake     Hideaway Lake frozen in time

We were pretty comfortable inside the tent and Julian seemed to be having a great time. It was nice to just relax in the great outdoors.

Nice and warm inside our tent     Julian and Katie staying warm in front of the wood stove

For dinner, I cooked chicken simmered in salsa with corn in a dutch oven over the wood stove. It turned out delicious. We had cornbread as well that I had baked before we left home.

The Mini Adventurer happily sitting on Daddy's sleeping bag     Cooking dinner on the wood stove

Julian was a little fussy as his bedtime approached which is not uncommon. Unfortunately he continued waking up several times throughout the first part of the night. Katie would calm him back down as I added more wood to the wood stove. Finally he settled down and slept the rest of the night. I had my alarm set for every couple hours to add wood to the wood stove. I kept the tent warm all night to the point Katie didn't have to zip her sleeping bag all the way up.

Frozen Hideaway Lake after sunrise     Julian happy as a clam

Sunday morning felt a little cooler because the wind had picked up. As I dismantled our tent, Katie and Julian huddled together, extracting the last bit of heat out of the wood stove before I packed it up. After the truck was all loaded up, we went on a quick hike around Hideaway Lake. There were a few ice and snow patches, but otherwise mostly bare ground. It was a great way to end our trip. Our Mini Adventurer did great and is ready for his next adventure.

The Mini Adventurer hiking with Dad around Hideaway Lake     The very cold shady side of Hideaway Lake

Gear List

Costco Aluminum Instant 10' x 10' Canopy with Sidewalls
Kni-Co Alaskan Jr Camp Wood Stove
Anodized Aluminum Dutch Oven
Marmot Lithium MemBrain 0°F Sleeping Bag
Alpinizmo by High Peak USA Latitude 20°F Sleeping Bag
Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk XL Portable Bunk Bed Cots
Dream On Me Karley Bassinet (w/1" R-5 foam insulation added)
Mac Sports Padded Tripod Chair with Cup Holder
Century Mighty Lite Single Mantle Lantern
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony NEX-6 Camera w/16-50mm lens
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
Stihl MS270 Chainsaw
Fiskars X25 splitting axe (28")
Kel-Tec P3AT .380 pistol
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass


Post new comment

Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.