Day 141: (11.3 miles)
mile 2096 – 2107.3
Up early and motivated…once again by food, in the form of an all you can eat buffet and a hot shower. Of the 11 miles, most of it was uphill and peppered with switchbacks. The highlight of the walk included a small herd of elk moving through the trees to higher ground.
We also passed the 2100 mile mark and some unique signage to include a relief map of the area and a tribute sign for Barlow Road.
The final approach (uphill) to Timberline was classic. Mt. Hood was still covered in snow, and the wind blew stiffly across the trail, which had turned to deep soft sand.
If it were not for the lack of a briney ocean smell, we would have thought we were traversing sand dunes at Pismo Beach, CA or Asilomar, CA, as the terrain and vegetation were strangely similar.
The reward however was worth the effort as we got into Timberline on time just before noon. We picked up our resupply box, essentially at the pro shop, and quickly stuffed our food bags and handed “leftovers” out to other thru-hikers hanging out at the lodge. We were however, a little perplexed
with the people walking around carrying skis and snowboards this time of year. Turns out, they ski on a groomed glacier on Mt. Hood above the lodge.
Once we found out that Ben and Ash were running a bit late we tried our luck getting a room at this insanely large and historic lodge. As luck would have it, we got a sole deal on a room and were able to check in early. Timberline lodge was built in 15 months as a WPA project in the late 30s. Most of the material came from local lumber. Huge beams and classic WPA craftsmanship. The rooms are not big, but they had everything we required… Scalding hot shower, comfy bed and our own bathroom that did not require squatting behind a bush. Once we were cleaned up, we decided to explore the lodge while waiting for Ben and Ash. We got as far as the lobby, when they arrived, which was good as we were hiker hunger starving and the buffet lunch (that we’d been dreaming about) was only open for one more hour. We gorged ourselves on tri-tip, turkey, grilled vegetables, little baby potatoes, salad, bread, and assorted deserts till we couldn’t stuff anymore in. After lunch we explored the lodge and ended up in the Ram’s Head bar were we talked till late over a few very tall beers.
After an enjoyable visit, Ben and Ash returned to Portland and we turned in for the night. Life is good!