Day 128: Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood 

August 20, 2017: Hiked Miles 2080.2 to 2103.9 (23.7 total)

I didn’t even hear the alarm go off this morning. Colton had to shake me to wake up. I was in a dead sleep. And did not want to wake up. But there were places to go. Specifically, a buffet 14 miles up the trail. Which seemed to inspire Colton. I don’t think he’s ever got up and started packing so quickly.

We ate and hit the trail by 7:00. Another cold morning. Pants instead of shorts kinda morning. Hiking felt good to warm up. We climbed out of the canyon and onto a ridge and had our first good view of Mt. Hood, our destination for this morning. 

It looked glorious. 

But after a few minutes of beautiful views, we dove back into the green tunnel. 

But our tunnel started to open up a bit and let in a little more light and warmth. It was a nice change from our dark cave of a trail we’ve been on lately.

We passed a ton of day and weekend hikers. We even saw little kids backpacking. I was amazed. What an awesome way to teach your kids about hard work, patience, accountability, and the importance of the outdoors. Good job parents!

We had a steep climb to get up to Timberline Lodge, the lodge at Mt. Hood. We had switchback after switchback and when we finally broke through the treeline the trail turned to soft sand that was practically impossible to climb up. This mountain really was making us work for our lunch. But we did get a great view of Mt. Hood on our way up. 

And you could even see Mt. Jefferson to the south.

It looked like the smoke might have eased up a bit. 

Our stomachs had been grumbling all morning and being able to see the lodge for the last mile of the hike both inspired us to push on and made it seem like we would never get there. We finally rounded the last bend and could see the lodge within reach and this cool old tower: 

We hiked down to the lodge which was packed with both hikers and tourists here for the eclipse. We found out the lodge was totally booked, which I’m sure is rare for the summertime. We left our packs outside and went inside to wash up and attempt to look like we fit in with all these rich, nicely-dressed people. Luckily there were a lot of other hikers there and even a lot of tourists in hiking clothes since there’s probably not much else to do at a ski resort in the middle of summer besides hike, so we didn’t stick out too bad. Although I’m sure the tourist hikers didn’t smell nearly as bad as us.

We found the buffet and got seated. I have a general rule to never go to buffets since the food usually sucks, but Colton had really been looking forward to it so I gave in. 

We had been talking about what we wanted to eat at the buffet yesterday and Colton was set on steak and I had my whole meal planned out: miso soup, a big salad, sushi, and fried chicken. Unfortunately they didn’t have any of that stuff. We both figured it would be like a normal casino buffet, but I guess ski lodge buffets are a little more fancy. 

So I loaded up on fruit and veggies:

And Colton on the meat:

And then we both loaded up on the dessert:

I’d say the best thing was the bread, mushrooms, grapes, and chocolate covered peanut butter balls. Colton liked the pork, veggies, and chocolate chip cheesecake cupcakes. It’s about what you expect from a buffet, everything looks fancy and just tastes so-so, and you eat more than you want to justify spending too much money on it. 

After lunch we sat in the lobby of the lodge to let our food digest, charge our battery packs, and for me to update my blog. We also walked around because it’s such a neat place to check out. It was built in the ’30s when Roosevelt was trying to give the economy a boost with the New Deal.  It actually provided a lot of jobs for Oregonians and was built in a quick 22 months. It is also where part of the movie, The Shining, was filmed. It’s definitely a cool place to walk around. 

We finally decided our food had settled enough and continued on hiking. And on our way out we passed this exciting sign:

I knew we were getting close, but seeing the actual numbers really made it sink in. 

We said goodbye to the cool lodge.

I am totally staying here someday. 

And walked underneath the ski lift which was actually running.

I think most people on it were just taking it up to get a view, but we actually saw a couple people with skis. Although I have no idea why, because where the lift ended there couldn’t have been more than a couple hundred yards of snow, if that. I guess it’s just so they could say they skied in August. 

We walked along the ridges for a bit so we had some views. 

And also had some more sand to trudge through. 

Not the type of thing you expect out here in the forest.

We passed by and over a bunch of creeks and rivers, which I’m assuming are mostly snow run-off.

And could see mountains for as far as the eye could see. 
At one point we heard a helicopter and looked up to see one carrying a bucket. 

We’re fairly far away from all the fires now, so there must be a new one. Grrrrreat, Oregon, this isn’t funny anymore! No more!

We finally found a place to camp when we popped out of the trees and crossed over Sandy River. We were excited to not be camping in a dark forest for once. 

We set up, stretched a ton, and ate dinner. I was amazed and excited to see that Top Ramen recently stopped putting MSG in their ramen. 

Because I’m pretty sure I got a lifetime supply of that stuff when I lived in Thailand for ten months a couple years ago.

As we finished dinner we watched the sun sink into the sky and turn the world the most beautiful colors. 

There’s no better way to end the day. 

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