BREAKFAST AT TIMBERLINE
PCT DAY 24: Wednesday July 19, 2017
Mile 2092.1 – Mile 2108.9
16.8 miles (27 km)
Such luxury to still be in my sleeping bag this morning and updating this blog long after the sun came out. I slowly packed and was on my way to Timberline Lodge for breakfast. A stunning 3 miles with views of Mt Hood in front of me. So beautiful in the morning light. As I got closer I could see The Lodge backed by Mt Hood and the peak of Mt Jefferson to the south. Hard to believe that I’ve walked all that way.
So happy to make this wonderful milestone. And even nicer to meet up with Claudia and Lady Bug to share breakfast with. I had met Claudia at Shelter Cove and I met Lady Bug here. So lovely to share great food, bottomless cups of coffee and conversation about the past few days and the plans ahead. Hammer and I visited Timberline Lodge (by car) in October last year on a wet and misty day. So nice to arrive on foot now and experience the slow reveal of Mt Hood. I won’t post photos of the interior of the lodge as I cannot do it justice. But I urge anyone not familiar with this National Treasure to read up on its history. It is a very special place.
I spent a few hours in the lounge, feeling smellier by the minute, recharging my devices, picked up my resupply parcel and headed off back on trail by midday.
As the trail leaves Timberline it follows several glacial valleys. Mt Hood seems to loose some of its majesty so close up. It was a slow couple of miles at first stopping to chat to people out hiking sections of the Timberline trail. About 4 miles out I started to encounter blowdowns which went on for maybe half a mile – some of the biggest trees I’ve seen across the trail. This made for tricky detours on steep slope and loose ground. All I could think of was thank goodness there is no snow as well. Any plans I had about the miles I was going to cover today went out the door. I was also slowed by the stunning flowers lining the trail. I couldn’t help myself, I stopped to take so many puctures. Each flower looked so perfect and there were thousands.
When I came to Sandy Creek, the fun was over and I also thought my hike was over for the day. Sandy Creek is a glacial melt stream which is silt laden and should have been called Silty Creek. Being late in the afternoon it was full and it was flowing fast. Not being able to see through the water was worrying as it was difficult to assess how deep the sections were. I walked almost half a mile upstream to try and find a suitable crossing but nothing looked safe and doable. So I went back downstream and threw rocks in sections to assess depth and finally decided to cross holding onto a log which went partway across and the rest I chanced by slowly crab-like making my way across. The water was up to my knees and while flowing swiftly was not as strong as it appeared in this section. The photos do not show the full magnitude of this creek. My adrenaline levels were definitely high after this. And to add to the already hightened stress levels, as soon as I away from the stream bed I came across a snake in the process of devouring something that may have been a big frog. That’s nature I guess.
After crossing Sandy Creek, I took the Ramona Falls alternative to the PCT and I was so pleased I did. Just at the falls I met up again with Claudia and Lady Bug and another hiker Jess. They were camped at the falls. Lovely to see them again. The falls themselves are remarkable being spread out like a thin fan cascading down a rock face. There is something really gentle and delicate about them.
The rest of the hike on the Ramona trail can only be described as walking through an enchanted forest. Especially the sections of trail that were parallel to a creek. I had a strange sensation of wanting to linger to experience it for longer. Claudia told me about four Australians who were on trail just a bit ahead. And soon after crossing my second heart stopping creek, I met Richard from Jervis Bay and his three friends from Canberra. They were camped just after the Muddy Creek crossing . Nice to hear the accent and hear a little bit about their hike so far. The Muddy Creek crossing while nerve wrecking, was not as bad as Sandy Creek. One of the Aussies fell while crossing Sandy Creek but thankfully was not injured.
I saw on the trail profile that there were almost 3 miles of uphill from Muddy Creek. Although I was tired, I really wanted to get the uphill section out of the way before stopping for the day. End of day miles always drag on slowly and even more so when they are uphill. It was almost 7.30pm when I reached the top of the climb and stopped at the first camp spot I found. I was set up and horizontal in no time. It surprised me to see several Timberline Trail hikers pass by my tent quite late in the evening.