Day 110 – July 22, 2022
Mile 2097.9 (Timberline Junction) to 2107.8
9.9 trail miles | 9.4 tracked miles | 1,042 ft elevation gain | 77 F / 25 °C
The journey from Portland to Timberline Lodge went smoothly. I left my hotel early in the morning, hopped on a streetcar, transferred to MAX light rail, and then took two different buses. The Portland area boasts an excellent transit network, along with an incredibly advanced fare payment system.
The bus ride to Timberline Lodge was both scenic and relaxing, offering me my first glimpse of the majestic Mt. Hood.
I was surprised to see fellow passengers carry ski gear in late July. I learned that the Mt. Hood ski area remains open year round—longer than anywhere else in the US! However, a quick glance at the slopes revealed the significant machinery and manpower required to keep the resort operational. Much of the mountain is bare except for a few well-maintained runs.
Nestled at the base of Mt. Hood, Timberline Lodge was constructed from 1936 to 1938 as part of the Works Progress Administration, an infrastructure program that generated 8.5 million jobs in response to the Great Depression. The lodge was inaugurated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and has since been designated a US National Historic Landmark. This impressive building has retained its charm and character.
For hikers, the highlight is the lunch buffet. Although I didn’t need the extra calories after indulging constantly in Portland and having a hearty breakfast earlier in the morning, I wanted to experience the storied dining room overlooking Mt. Hood.
Overall, the food was fantastic, although I must admit that my meal might have been more enjoyable on an empty stomach. The dessert selection, however, left much to be desired—it was limited to cupcakes!
By the time I left the lodge, it was already past 2 pm, and thus I hiked just under 10 miles. While I can’t help but feel a slight twinge of guilt for enjoying such a lazy day, I’m in in rush to get the Washington state, where portions of the trail are still covered in snow. In fact, I’m selfishly anticipating next week’s heatwave, which should help melt away the remaining snow!
The hike from Timberline Lodge featured wildflowers, waterfalls, and superb views of Mount Hood.
Intermittent patches of slippery snow occasionally slowed my progress, but my timing seemed serendipitous once again. A Forest Service representative who I chatted with mentioned that as of a few days ago, the trail was still buried in snow, necessitating the use of a GPS for navigation. It’s truly remarkable how abruptly the scenery can transform.
I set up camp in a secluded area atop a small cliff overlooking Sandy River. Despite the number of weekenders in the area, I am somehow alone. Tonight’s dinner will be light after everything I ate today!