Tag Archives: Timberline lodge

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.

 

 

A trip to Mt. Hood, and the legendary Timberline Lodge

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A trip to Mt. Hood, and the legendary Timberline Lodge

Friday, June 29th through Saturday, June 30th

 

Friday Night

Earlier this week was Sarah’s birthday!  She’s a whole year older – and since it’s a pretty major birthday, we figured that it was worth going all out to celebrate.

Where better than the slopes of Mt. Hood, at the Timberline lodge?

I mean, not that Sarah knew that’s where we were going, of course.  I had told her that we were going North, to Seattle, where I’d bought VIP overnight tickets to see a previously unreleased musical remake of the famous Ben Stiller movie Tropic Thunder.  I mean, part of a birthday surprise is the misdirection, right?  And how else would I have convinced her to pack an overnight bag?

So we drove.  When we turned East, instead of North, Sarah called me out and guessed where we were going.  I mean, I’ll admit that the misdirection wasn’t the strongest, since she hates musicals and knows that neither of us really like Tropic Thunder… but I was still hoping that she wouldn’t have guessed our destination on her first try.

But hey.  It’s her birthday, so Sarah deserved a quick win to start out the trip.

Once we had arrived and gotten checked in, we were able to fully appreciate just exactly where we were staying – This is the famous Timberline Lodge.  Huge vaulted ceilings, thick wooden beams surrounding a massive wrought iron fireplace, all topped by the soaring mountain peak above us, still capped with glacial snow.  Our room was a king, with an in-room fireplace stocked with seasoned wood, with views of Mt. Jefferson and the slopes below.  Sarah was ecstatic, and I was slightly ridiculously proud that I’d been able to book us such an awesome room.

Ollie was pretty excited too, I must add.  Yes, Ollie.  The dog.  Didn’t I mention?  Timberline Lodge just opened its doors to canine guests – and our room was one of the special dog friendly rooms set aside.  The best way I can describe Ollie is “a small child, in a candy shop, in Disney World, with a credit card”.  She was seriously tweaking out, running and sniffing and just being the most excited dog to ever exist.

So we left her to relax and decompress for a bit, and had a glorious dinner at the Ram’s Head grill.  Spare ribs and Venison, with paired beers and cheesecake for dessert.  Words cannot describe.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and enjoying the room and the views.  The fireplace was used, though I’ll admit that the amount of kindling they provided was pretty weak.  Sarah and I had a nice bonding moment where we used my pocket knife and a log to split one of the other logs into kindling… yeah, we’re pretty inventive and handy.  It was fun though, and honestly a really pleasant evening as we enjoyed the fire and we drifted off to sleep at 6,000 ft with the moonlight illuminating the Southern Cascades.

 

Saturday

Ollie was excited to be at Mt. Hood.  She loves going for hikes on the slopes, and was acting like a toddler on crack.

We woke up at 5:00.

We woke up not because we wanted to, but because Ollie wanted to go for walks.  She’s a monster, sometimes.  But hey – it meant that we could see the sunrise, so… that’s a good thing, right?

It also meant that we were first up for the buffet downstairs, and first up to start into our adventures of the day; which ended up including meeting an old friend from Northeastern!  Gene and his family were here in Oregon to summit Mt. Hood, as part of his 50 highpoints circuit.  Unexpected, but really awesome to be able to see them and catch up for a while.  The breakfast was pretty good too – though I’ll freely admit that Sarah made the better choice: she got the simple buffet, instead of the full buffet that I ordered… while Bacon is always good, the fresh fruits and yogurt that Sarah had was easily as good.

From there, Ollie and I went out on a hike, in order to give Sarah a bit of time to herself to relax, enjoy the mountain, and paint.  We made sure she was impressively nested up outside the lodge, of course, ensuring she had deep supplies of both water, sunscreen, and coffee to keep her energetic.  Our target was ZigZag Canyon, and we made it without too much trouble or fuss – all while keeping in touch with Sarah, thanks to the walkie talkies that we’d thought to bring along.  It was fun!  Nothing too intense, and nothing that would keep us away from the birthday girl for too long, but I think everyone enjoyed the relaxing morning before our drive back into the city.