Miles Hiked: 22.7
PCT Mileage: 2230.7
This morning I left Lolo Pass in the dark around 4:30. I wanted to get to Timberline Lodge about 17 miles away in time for the lunch buffet. I have heard about this lunch buffet from so many people for so long. My trail map even comments that it is many peoples favorite meal of the whole trail. It is traditional to do a 50 mile hiking challenge to the lodge and finish it at the buffet. I might have attempted this if I was hiking Northbound Because the terrain is so easy going in that direction. Hiking southbound to the lodge you would gain 13k of vert in 45 miles from Cascade Locks if you take the Eagle Creek trail. That is an insane amount of vertical and more than double what it would be coming from the opposite direction. We did all this vert over 1.5 days and I was absolutely wrecked by the time we arrived at Timberline Lodge.
I hiked in the dark for well over an hour. I miss the days when it was light enough to not use a head lamp at 5am. Now if I start before 5:45am I am in the dark for longer than I’d like. The day started uphill and I tried to unsuccessfully catch up to Midnight. It was cold but as soon as I was moving uphill I was sweating in my puffy jacket so I stopped to take it off. By the time I got to Ramona Falls which is another small alternate off the PCT, it was light out enough to see everything and enjoy it. I’m glad I didn’t camp any closer, otherwise it would have been dark. On my way to the falls I realized I left my new gravity filter bag hanging on a tree at camp. I was so upset because 1. It’s yet another piece of gear to replace and 2. Now it will be ultra annoying for me to filter water, my least favorite camp chore. Luckily at Ramona Falls I had the idea to ask a Northbounder to bring it to trail days if they spotted it. I offered to buy her beer and or camping at the event in exchange. Ramona Falls was so pretty and so was the trail up to it. I’m not sure why the PCT isn’t routed next to some of these incredibly falls located directly near the trail had they just chosen to make the official route for by them. Either way, I am someone who chases waterfalls. Midnight and I took a break together and waited for Trail Diva. I shared with Midnight that I was feeling so stressed about all the miles we were doing and how bad my body was feeling too.
After our break, we continued on uphill. The PCT joined up with the Timberline trail, a 40 mile trail around Mount Hood. It was very popular and I passed so many backpackers on the loop. I’d love to come back and do it someday! The wildflowers in the area were so pretty and occasionally we got a glimpse of Mount Hood up close. It looks like most of the glaciers/ snow up there are melting. It also doesn’t seem to look like that intimidating of a peak but I’m sure it is. It is the Oregon High Point at 11,249 feet. The trail became sandy and difficult. I was not a happy camper when my feet, legs, and everything else was hurting. I just wanted to get to the lodge!
I made it to the lodge right at noon. I got to see so many people I knew from the desert along the way. It is crazy to see where everyone is on the trail. When you hike the opposite direction you can find out! Right before the lodge, the trail passed under some ski lifts for the resort. They were running and people were skiing in the remaining snow way up high on Mount Hood. How wild! It’s Mid August. I also couldn’t believe how close the ski lifts get to the top of such a big mountain. At the lodge, the first thing I did was drop all my stuff in the shade next to Diva and take off my shoes to clean my feet. I was so sore and tired. The day isn’t even over yet! We finally went into the lodge at 12:30 for our lunch time buffet reservation. The lodge was incredible. It reminded me of the Gryffindor common room from Harry Potter. It was a large octagon with massive windows and a stone fireplace in the center. The buffet was incredible and did live up to all the hype. The thing I’ll remember the most about it is the butter for the dinner rolls was made into tiny little balls. There were many vegetarian pasta and veggie salad dishes. I’m not sure what most of it was but it was delicious. There was also a charcuterie board with nice cheese including my favorite, blue cheese! After stuffing myself with three plates, I started to do some of my town chores including going to pick up a resupply box from my mom. She sent it here over a month ago when I thought I would have been here. I’m glad they still had it! I did call to check and make sure they would hold it for me. I’m glad I didn’t have to carry an excessive amount of food up the mountain over the last two days. I also was excited for all the electrolytes I got. It feels so long since I’ve used them.
Midnight and I hung out together all day long at Timberline. We relaxed in the comfy couches and used the wifi while we charged everything. Diva left early so she could be a day ahead of us to spend some time with her boyfriend Kurt before he picks us all up at Ollalie Lake. At Timberline I got to hang out with Doggone and Taxi lady for a little bit. I was so happy to see them! Before leaving we got a beer from the bar. It was 6pm by the time we hiked out. We decided to do 5 more miles instead of the 10 we had originally planned. Luckily it was all downhill. I got a crazy amount of sand in my shoes after only two miles. I had to stop and dump it all out and wash off my feet in a creek. We camped with two SOBOs. I also talked to Vulture and Passport walking northbound today.