Thursday 21st July
Start: Bushcamp, mile 2084
End: Timberline Lodge, off mile 2094.5
When the alarm sounded today my immediate thought was: 11 miles to real food! We packed up camp in hast. Foregoing getting the stove out, we wolfed down a craptastic breakfast of Poptarts. They are awful.
- We knew we had some hard work ahead of us to make the lunchtime buffet. Timberline Lodge sits nestled in Mount Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak. We had 3000 feet to tackle. Feeling tired, we both put our headphones in, searched for some inspirational music and just walked.
For most of the day the route took us through dense, shaded forest. We seemed to go up and up. Only in the last 2 miles did we reach a ridge and finally get a view. And what a view! Mount Hood was right before us, now so close. Turning around to get our bearings, Mount Jefferson was in the distant horizon. Hood is still half-covered in snow, and the other half is completely deserted of tress, unlike the surrounding area. We were still going up, but now had the added effort of trudging through deep sand too!
What felt like forever later we finally caught sight of the historic Timberline Lodge. It looked nice and close, but one check of the GPS and it was still a mile away! My heart sank. This was thanks to a canyon sitting between ourselves and our destination. By now it was hot, and our water was very low. We could see the ski lift going up the mountain from near the lodge as we rounded our way there. Only when we were very close did I realise that it was moving, and tiny dots were gliding down the mountain!
Yes, it is the end of July and people are still skiing down Mount Hood! I thought we had entered some kind of parallel universe when we crossed a patch of snow where skiers were removing their boots! But no time to ponder, we had a buffet lunch to make.
Feeling disappointed that our room was not ready at 11:30am (we were exhausted), we instead hit the buffet as soon as it opened. I highly recommend it! Lots of different salads, a very tasty homemade cauliflower soup, meats, cheeses, Mac ‘n’ cheese, deserts… I ate half of what most people in the room did but felt instantly very bloated. My stomach gets used to little and often on the trail, so it didn’t respond too well to such a feast.
We discovered that Mount Hood hosts the longest-running North American ski season, ending most years at Labor Day (the first weekend of Sep). It is the tallest mountain in Oregon, with 12 active glaciers, and is considered as the most likely volcano to erupt in the State! I will reveal more about the lodge tomorrow when I have nothing better to do.
For the rest of the day we did our laundry, collected our third resupply box (thanks Marshmeiers), ate, and showered. Dan was mighty happy to get a room cancellation so he doesn’t have to camp tonight. Time to hit the bar!