Alhough Bluejay and Sunkist had already enjoyed the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Timberline Lodge yesterday, they did not hesitate when asked if they wanted to go there again this morning. I was glad about this because I had heard this was one of the best breakfasts on the PCT and I didn’t want to miss it.
We left Huckleberry Inn at 5:50 a.m. to catch the first bus to the lodge.
|Date||Wednesday, August 7, 2019|
|Weather||Mostly sunny and warm with a high temperature in the low 70s|
|Trail Conditions||Mostly easy, gradually downhill trail, though initially very sandy|
We came close to missing it, though, because we were waiting for the bus at the wrong stop. Fortunately, that error was corrected in time.
When the bus dropped us off at the lodge, we first went to the Wy’East Day Lodge, which is the building where I picked up my resupply box yesterday. We went there first to put a few extra food items in a hiker box.
After calculating the mileage to our next resupply stop, Big Lake Youth Camp, we agreed we could get there a little faster than initially planned. That meant less food was needed until then and there was no point in carrying what we didn’t need. It was better to share our extra food with other hikers.
When we arrived at the lodge we discovered the breakfast buffet didn’t start until 7:30. That was a little disappointing because we wanted to get back on the trail, but we decided to wait anyway.
This gave me a little time to wander around the lodge and explore its unique and historical architecture.
If you look at a satellite image of Mt. Hood, you can see how Timberline Lodge got its name. It sits directly at the edge of the timberline that rings the mountain.
The lodge was constructed during the Depression using funding from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and labor from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Gilbert Stanley Underwood, who had designed hotels for Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite national parks, was hired to design this building.
The exterior will look familiar if you've seen Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Steven King’s The Shining. Only a few exterior shots were filmed here for the movie, however. The interior shots were filmed on a sound stage.
Inside, I found several fascinating design details and learned that local craftsmen were used for nearly all of the furnishings. There were a lot of Arts and Crafts details to be found in the furnishings and decorative features. Some of the items in the hotel today are authentic reproductions of the original work of local artisans.
The fire screens hanging in front of the massive fireplace in the center of the vaulted lobby were fashioned from recycled snow chains for automobile tires. The fireplace was made using 800,000 pounds of local stones.
Just as we were about to be seated for breakfast, Sailor arrived. I hadn’t seen him in a month, so it was good to see he was still on the trail.
The breakfast did not disappoint. And as any self-respecting thru-hiker should, we returned to the buffet table multiple times.
After finally reaching the limit of what we could eat, Bluejay, Sunkist, and I left the lodge at 9 a.m. and returned to the trail.
The trail was downhill for most of the day. The steepest part of the descent was in the first 5.3 miles, dropping more than 1,800 feet.
At first, the trail was sandy, just as it had been on the approach to Timberline Lodge a couple of days ago. While still annoying, at least it was easier to walk on the sand going down than going up.
While I was still in cell phone range I received a text message from Dave. He confirmed that he won’t be returning to the trail today, but he still hoped to catch up to us in the next few days.
Eventually, the trail left the timberline and entered a forest, which I was grateful for because the day was warming and it was good to have some shade. The trail also became easier to walk because it wasn’t covered in sand.
Though I had been able to improve the fit of my new shoes on the first day I wore them, my right foot began to hurt. I stopped at a stream to adjust how they were laced and that made a big improvement.
Sunkist also had a problem with her feet and had to stop. The sandy trail may have contributed to our problems today, but at least by now we were walking on a smoother, harder footpath.
The trail crossed Highway 35 at Barlow Pass. We reached that road crossing at 11:30 a.m. It would have been nicer to reach it sooner, considering we had only walked a little more than five miles, but the stops for shoe adjustments added to our time.
We began to make faster time after crossing the highway. The trail continued to be easy. The only stop to make for the next several miles was lunch, which we ate together.
I hiked alone after lunch. At 2:15 I had a difficult time crossing Highway 26. It was a busy highway, and after waiting a couple of minutes for a wide enough gap between cars and trucks I had to dash across.
Farther down the trail, some NOBO hikers gave me a heads up that trail magic was just ahead. Because the time was now past 4 p.m. I was a little concerned that I might miss it.
Thankfully, when I arrived at 4:35, Forrest “Madd Baker” Lemke was still there with his trail magic. He is a well-known trail angel in this part of Oregon because he has been helping hikers for years.
After enjoying our break with Madd Baker, we walked another 2.5 miles to a side trail to Little Crater Lake. By the time I arrived, Sunkist and Bluejay were leaving, but they said the short walk from the trail to the lake was worthwhile.
The water was crystal clear because it was a spring-fed pond. It was tinted a deep blue because of minerals in the water, and though the pond was 45 feet deep, it was possible to see nearly to the bottom.
Ringing Little Crater Lake were many wildflowers, including Douglas’ spirea, also known as hardtack, that attracted bees. Native Americans used this flower for brooms and to hang fish that they cooked.
Some geologists think Little Crater Lake is a maar, which was caused by an explosion when groundwater came in contact with hot volcanic magma.
Little Glacier Lake wasn’t far from Timothy Lake, but I still had three more miles to walk to reach our campsite. The trail followed the shore of the large lake for most of that distance.
There were several campsites along the lake, so I had to slow down several times to scan the area carefully to see where Bluejay and Sunkist had stopped. Eventually, I found them at 7:15 p.m., though it wasn’t easy because the campsite they selected was well off the trail.
I learned I had missed some excitement by being the last one into camp. Bluejay said when she arrived she waved hello to three women who were camped nearby, only to discover that one of them was completely naked.
By the time I had pitched my tent and walked down to the lakeshore to collect some water, the sun was setting. For being a high-mileage day, it wasn’t stressful. Of course, a day of hiking rarely is when it begins with a big breakfast, is mostly downhill on easy terrain, and includes trail magic and scenic views along the way.
This was only the second hiking day in Oregon which I had hiked more than 20 miles, but that is going to change. The trail is expected to be a little more forgiving for a while and that’s a good thing. I need to stack up some mileage if I’m going to finish this trail this year.