Swimming with the Salamanders: Rain Visits Mt. Hood’s Trillium Lake

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Rain took her first swim last Sunday…unintentionally.

We were at Trillium Lake looking for an early-season hike. Trillium Lake on Mt. Hood has an easy two-mile trail that circumnavigates the lake with zero elevation gain. There was still snow on the ground, but the day was still pretty warm for April. So warm, in fact, there were dozens of people along the southwest shore of the lake—fishing next to the dam, paddling around in kayaks, or just taking the usual beauty shot of Mt. Hood.

Rain’s first swim happened not long after we set out on our journey. Balancing on the edge of a boulder along the shoreline, Rain was looking into the clear water. Was she looking at a stick? Watching a fish? Hard to know. She started leaning forward and before she knew it, SPLOOSH!

She was only in about 18 inches of water and two feet from being able to walk out, so I knew she’d be okay. Her doggy instincts kicked in and she doggy paddled back to shore. When she came out of the water she looked like a rat dog, as all that undercoat and fluff were sopping wet. Rain shook herself off a few times and we were on our way shortly.

At other access points around the lake I tried to get her to swim some more, but she was content wading in just a few inches to get a better view of the salamanders swimming underwater.

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At certain points around the lake, our trail still had significant piles of snow. Rain’s human companions took these sections carefully, attempting to tread on the sections of dirty snow that had clearly been walked on by all the hikers. At certain points, one false step could send your leg through to the knee.

Rain, however, had other ideas. She was excited! She was happy! She wanted to be unencumbered and go at her own Aussie pace! She sometimes did fall through some of the pre-existing snow holes, but she took it in stride. She was much more concerned about keeping the herd moving as quickly as possible.

It turned out that our “easy” two mile hike was a little more involved than anticipated, but it was still a great next step for Rain. Everyone had fun and got more practice for future outings.

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