Tag Archives: Timberline lodge

Hiking up to Elk Meadows, and a few other places!

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Saturday, 25-July-2020

 

Laurel showed up with bagel sandwiches.

Bagel sandwiches are an excellent start to any adventure. They’re not the only good start, of course, but as far as starting options go there are few better.

Coffee too, but ever since I first learned about bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches from Galantes (or was it June’s Place?) in Medway, probably 20 years ago, I never looked back.

 

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, is it? We’re here to hear about hiking!

 

The goal of the day was to head up to Elk Meadows, and then see how energetic we felt… maybe heading to the Timberline Lodge for some extra altitude and milage. A fun hike with good views, but not so intense that we couldn’t talk, or take our time.

The trailhead was surprisingly quiet when we parked – it wasn’t empty, by any means, but there were still spots to be had. For a weekend in Oregon, we took that as a clear win, and a good sign that this was the right trail to be heading up. Parking went quickly, and soon enough we were heading upward.

 

Once we were on the trail, things got exciting!

It’s hiking, guys.

I’m a good writer – I’m creative, and enjoy typing up weird long stories.

But it’s hiking.

 

One foot, then the other foot. Lots of talking and catching up and discussing, but at the end of the day hiking is just foot movement, amazing scenery, and maybe a river crossing every once in awhile. Written words don’t really describe, which is why all those famous books and movies about hiking tend to focus on internal thoughts, and background stories.

But you know what does describe hiking well? Photos!

 

 

 

We walked up to Elk Meadows, walked around Elk Meadows, and then walked back down the trail from Elk Meadows.

But we didn’t go all the way back to the trailhead for Elk Meadows. No, instead of that, we took a side trail off the main Elk Meadows trail, and hiked out to Umbrella falls! Near Elk Meadows.

Elk Meadows.

Umbrella falls was… farther than we expected. Far enough that we actually took a break partway through the hike to sit by a stream and have some sandwiches for lunch – Baguette, Prosciutto, Brie, and Apple of course. Full french style.

Re-energized, we pressed onward to Umbrella. Really similar to Rowena, once I saw it… and really tempting to go and try to find in the winter for some Ice Climbing… if it wasn’t on a ski trail :/

So yeah, Umbrella Falls was cool. We looked at it, stayed away from the people, and then headed back to the car.

It was still early though, and so instead of heading back into Portland, we kept with our original plan of heading up to the Timberline Lodge, to get our hands on some glacier snow! In July!

Yep, you read that right, dear readers. Mt. Hood has snow in July. Snow all year round, actually. Because the Palmer Glacier is, in fact, a glacier! It was fun – we threw snowballs, and then went inside to have dinner in the timberline lodge.

True story – I am not sponsored by the Timberline Lodge. But… similarly to how I think Omega Pacific should sponsor me for always ranting about how awesome their cams are, I think that Timberline should comp me a meal or two based on how much I tell people about that place.

I mean, it looks like a dwarven fortress! What more do you want? Amazing Reubens? They have those! Hot Cocoa! They have that too! What more could I ask for??

ehemm. Yes. We played on the glacier, then went for dinner, and then rocked the drive back into Portland with the top down, and the mountain wind in our hair.

It was a good day.

The Start of the Summer – Hiking, dining, and sleeping on Mt. Hood

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Friday and Saturday, 19 & 20-June-2020

 

Well.

2020 has been a year, hasn’t it?

 

It started in Scotland, then dove into a global pandemic, then protests across the United States. Now, when COVID cases are starting to rise again, Oregon has decided to re-open itself.

Well, I can’t do anything about that. I can’t really do anything about any of those things… but what I can do is keep distancing myself, keep wearing a mask, and keep active. And maybe take advantage of the re-opening as best I can.

Today, I went hiking on Hood for the first time in recent memory.

From the Timberline Lodge, the Timberline Trail circumnavigates the whole mountain – to the West, there’s ZigZag Canyon and the beautiful paradise park. Perfect day-hike destinations. So I went East instead, where no one else generally goes. I saw not a single person on the trail, but had what seemed like the entire side of the mountain to myself.

It.

Was.

Perfect.

Warm weather, a good breeze, and bright sunlight. The mountain was in full glory, peaking above the treeline at almost every turn of the trail.

I went all the way down to the White River – not far, by any means, but something like a 5mile round trip. I felt good… for a starter hike, trying to regain my legs after nearly three months of COVID-related staying at home, I felt strong. I felt tired, but I’m proud of myself for pushing through and hiking at a fairly strong pace the whole time.

After the trail dropped me back off at my car, I treated myself. I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier, after the stressful and sedentary recent months, but today I’d hiked at altitude, and had skipped lunch. And, I’d parked at the Timberline Lodge, which was still open for dinner.

I walked in 10 minutes before they closed – I was going to head back to the car to cook up a mountain house, but the waiter insisted that I should sit down anyways. We chatted a bit, I ordered, and that’s how I found myself sitting by the window, watching the sun set on the Southern face of Mt. Hood, with a pastrami sandwich, two cups of hot cocoa, and a full cup of whipped cream topped with chocolate and caramel.

The crazy thing is – I only ordered the sandwich. The cocoa? I saw the waiter walking by with them, and asked what they were. See, I love the cocoa at Timberline, but I hadn’t noticed it on the menu… so when I saw him carrying them, I needed to find out more. It turns out that they were mistakes – and he was carrying them back to the kitchen to be thrown out. Well, he offered, and I couldn’t say no! When he brought over the cup of toppings, I lost it.

I’ve had a bad year. It’s been unpleasant, challenging, and just simply a not good year. I recognize that many people have had it far, far worse than I have, and I’m infinitely thankful for everything I have in life. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard.

The gift of two cups of cocoa, after my first hike, right before camping out on my own, was exactly what I needed.

Now, as I sit in my camp chair typing this up, I feel good. I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. A well-earned tired.

I can’t say I’m doing great. But sitting here, looking at the mountain, I can say that I’m doing well.

Post Thanksgiving adventures – Mirror Lake and Mt Hood… And a huge pretzel!

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Saturday, 30-Nov-2019

 

After Thanksgiving this year, we went hiking!  Two days afterward, we hiked out to Mirror Lake, and then did a few quick steps on Mt. Hood, before relaxing in the Timberline Lodge with cocoa and a huge warm pretzel.

It was excellent.

 

Our first objective was Mirror Lake, on the Tom Dick and Harry trail to the South West of Mt. Hood.  We’d hiked here before, a few times if I recall, but hiking in the snow is always a new experience… the Sun coming through, the snow levels, how much ice and how much melt… it all ties together into making a unique winter wonderland for us to enjoy.

More importantly makes for a wonderland for Ollie to enjoy, since I think the sheer exultation that she felt after we got out of the car was more than both Sarah and I combined.

Before we could get started though, we earned a bit of good Karma – When parking, we ended up parking next to a rather large camper-van vehicle.  One of those pickup campers, where there’s a camper placed into the bed of a standard pickup truck?  Yeah, that.

As we packed up to start hiking, it became readily apparent that the family staying in the camper was having a bit of trouble.  The Dad had the hood open, was trying to turn the engine over, the whole nine yards.  We offered to help, of course, and ended up trying a few things to get them up and running.  After a ton of battling, a simple jump-start was all they needed – We got their engine turned over and making happy noises, all before their kids even realized that anything out of the ordinary was happening.

 

After that quite auspicious start, we headed into the woods and had a glorious time crunching through the ice and snow.  The tree canopy kept the sun pretty dispersed, but every so often we’d get a beautiful beam of light cutting through – it was beautiful, in a very calm and collected sort of way.

There’s not much to be said about the hike aside from that… it was lovely, Ollie spent the whole time sprinting around, and Sarah and I had a great time.  We hiked, we rested at Mirror Lake, and then we hiked back.  It was excellent!

 

After Mirror Lake we were tired, but not quite tired enough to head back to the house just yet… so we headed to Mt. Hood to do a bit more exploring.  The weather on Hood was a far sight from Mirror Lake – without the tree cover, the wind was doing its best to blast us off the side of the mountain and the clouds were at just the right level to cut off most of the direct light from the sun.  The whole scene had this interesting diffused light, painting everything into a beautifully bleak and desolate scene.

We didn’t last too long, thanks to the harsh wing slinging snow and sand at us, combined with the quite chilly temperature.  Thankfully, we’d already tired ourselves out pretty well on Mirror Lake, so we didn’t feel too bad turning around after an hour or so.  Ollie didn’t even seem to mind too much… but then again, we’ve found that it takes at least a day and a half of solid hiking to really tire her out.

 

We headed back to the car, stashed our gear, bundled Ollie up in her blankets, and grabbed a quick snack at the Timberline Lodge.  A cup of cocoa, a mug of coffee, and a huge pretzel kept us company while sitting and reading by the fire – we didn’t stay for too long, since the sun was getting close to setting, but we had an amazing time nonetheless.  A very good ending to a very lovely day.