August 6th, 2018
Timberline Lodge mm 2097 to mm 2071
Distance: 26 miles
I was packed and down at the lodge when it opened at 0600, to maximize phone charging time. I was amazed to see hundreds of people showing up to go skiing and snowboarding. They run summer camps, so most were kids. All the action is taking place on a tiny patch of glacier that they groom throughout the season. Maybe I’m a ski snob but I’d rather wait for real snow in the winter. Summer is for tramping around mountains.
I wasn’t feeling in the mood for the infamous breakfast buffet so I went halfway on an overpriced bagal sandwich at the cafe. Then I got my box, did some repackaging, and was off by 0945 am. A little later than I would have liked.
The trail wound down betweeen some impressive vertical moraines from glaciers past. Present glaciers barely cling to the tops of the mountain but at one time, they carved these deep valleys and would have reached up to the tops of the valley walls. At current rates of glacier retreat, I fear that summer ski camps don’t have much of a future.
Once off the slopes of Mt. Hood, the trail did start to flatten out some. I kept looking back over my shoulder towards Mt. Hood, as it got smaller and smaller. At a ridge, I could just make out the tiny lodge and marveled how far I had gone in just half a day. It was smooth cruising all the way to Little Crater lake, which is an Artesian well, not a crater. It was nice, with clear blue water pumping out at 34 degrees F. It reminded me of all the springs in Florida. A sign read ‘no swimming’ so I obeyed. Timothy Lake was just a mile further and had warmer water perfect for swimming. It was hot and I enjoyed a short swim very much.
I had planned to stay at a campground that was labeled as a horse camp, but when I got there, the mosquitoes were too obnoxious. I continued on, even though there were no campsites indicated for another 8 miles. I eventually found a clear-cut area and old logging road that I made work. Something about the area gave me the creeps but it was already 8 pm and I just needed a place to rest. Not every campsite can be a winner.