Day 142: (19.05 miles)
mile 2107.3 – 2126.25
After a hearty all you can eat buffet breakfast we packed up and were back on the trail once again. Timberline is an easy vortex to get caught in, as we ended up getting on the trail way later than we intended. The ambience is such that you feel welcome and at home. We can only imagine what it would be like during actual ski season. We are thinking that a trip back here to experience that will be in order. We seem to keep adding more and more to our “bucket list”.
The air was chilly once we exited the lodge, so on went the jackets and for me, pant legs. Paul only has shorts, and it will have to be super cold for him to wear his long underwear under his shorts. He also is rarely cold. Today we will essentially walk around the base of Mt. Hood. This will include up and down some gullies in order to cross streams that run off from the mountain. Not far from the lodge, we ran into a trio of cousins sipping champagne at a view point.
They offered us some champagne, and we gladly accepted. We will need to get some for when we reach the terminus at Canada. We talk for some time and take their picture for them. They are delightful, and full of energy, and we think they must have been a handful growing up together. We amble on, and break at the edge of the Sandy River. This is a wide boulder strewn river that during the winter melt off must be massive and powerful. While stopped for a late lunch we are greeted by a gentleman who was a geologist for the forest service. He confirms our observation about the river and asks if we heard about the hiker death that occurred last week during the rain event. No, we reply, and start to tell him about not getting much news out on the trail. He then tells us he is out “investigating” and taking pictures, and asks, “Well do ya want to hear the story?” Why not, we figure. (Good thing were not the decedent’s attorney) He tells us about how a rain cell “sat” on the mountain and dropped 8-12 inches of rain in about a 2 hour period, and that a group of day hikers were caught in the rain. The hikers (a group of nearly 30) turned back, only to find that their crossing at muddy creek had become treacherous. A group of 6 started to cross the creek over a make shift log bridge and one hiker slipped and was swept away. They found his body a mile down the creek. Hmmm, we think. That is where we will be making a crossing today, and before that we need to cross the Sandy river, which should be called the boulder river. Food for thought. The geologist continues on his way and we look again at our maps and set an end point for the day.
We take a circuitous route to cross the river, which in the end requires us to remove our footwear and loosen our packs. We decide to nix taking the Ramona Falls alternate trail, as it was uphill and we’ve seen our fair share of waterfalls as of late.
I make my first “log” river crossing without “freaking out”. We eventually come upon the infamous Muddy Creek crossing. It was two thick logs about three feet in diameter lying parallel to each other, but with one off center and directly above the other. A slack line of climbing rope is tied to, and runs the length of the logs that stretch across raging debris filled creek, and approximately 4 feet above. Today the logs were not wet, but well worn, which required careful steps and absolute concentration. Not a crossing to make on a wet and or rainy day. Once across this creek we had a monstrous climb ahead to our intended end point, and the next water.
After the climb was complete, it turns out that I miss-read where the next water was supposed to be. We had reached our intended camp, but no water! We kicked ourselves for not collecting water at an unscheduled spring (not on the map) when we saw it. Lesson learned, better to carry water when you see it then to hope the next source is good. We rechecked our maps and found there to be another water source 4 miles ahead. The evening was cool and it was downhill. We got to the source just as darkness fell upon us. As I filtered water, Paul went ahead to look for a place to camp. He found one, but it was occupied by a “scary dude” all dressed in black, who gave Paul the thousand mile stare when he gruffly told Paul the campsite was occupied. We loaded up our water and donned our headlamps and continued down the trail in search of a suitable place to bed down, and seriously far away from the scary dude. After several miles, as the terrain was steep on either side, we, through divine intervention, found the only place along the trail before the listed campsites nearly seven miles away. It is dangerous for me to look other than forward when I walk during daylight hours, let alone in the dark with a headlamp, as the tripping hazards have my name all over them, so Paul does the looking for campsites. This time however, I looked to my left at one point and walla, there was a makeshift site and not a moment too soon as we were tired and starving. A quick set up. A bite to eat and we were snoring in no time. It was nearly midnight (hiker midnight).