PCT Day 137 – Monday August 28
Timothy Lake Mile 2074.9 to Timberline Lodge Mile 2094.4
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 19.5
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1532.6
Feet Ascended Today: 4009
Feet Descended Today: 1285
Current Elevation: 6017
I woke tired and sore from my long day yesterday. I let myself stay in my sleeping quilt a little longer than usual as a reward for yesterday’s exertions. Eventually I got up and packed up my tent. Everything was covered with a fine layer of dust. I tried to brush off as much dust as possible but it feels like a losing battle.
I went down to the edge of the lake to wash my hands and I glanced up to see a group of 3-4 otters swimming around the little inlet I was camped next to. They bobbed under the water and came up again, making loud chewing noises as they went. So that’s what was making the unidentifiable noises last night!
I watched transfixed for a few minutes, until a group of guys roared over in motorboat and set up camp a short ways away from me. The otters disappeared after that. I decided that was my queue to leave and hiked on.
A short ways from Timothy Lake, I followed a junction to Little Crater Lake. It’s only located about .2 mile off the PCT. The size of a small pond, Little Crater Lake is an incredible deep blue color. The reason is because it’s 45 feet deep. Pretty cool.
I continued on past the lake to a small campground, where I enjoyed the amenities before heading back to the trail. I was feeling tired today and my pace was noticeably slower. I plodded on, listening to my audiobook. After a while I checked my map and realized I had gone 2 miles past a water source I had planned to stop at. The next water source was over 10 miles away. I was feeling thirsty but I had less than 1 liter of water. And it was HOT today. Ruh roh. This was not good.
So I kept going, feeling thirstier and thirstier. I rationed my water but I wasn’t drinking enough considering how hot it was today. I skipped lunch as a dry bagel didn’t sound like a good idea considering how thirsty I was.
I made it to Barlow Trailhead by mid-afternoon. The trail rose in elevation for the next 3 miles to the next water source, and I didn’t feel safe continuing without water. So I did something I haven’t done yet on this trip. I asked a day hiker for help. I lucked out, as some hikers were just returning to their car and had an extra liter of ice cold water (it had ice cubes in it!!). And they gave me a cold soda too! I sat down at a picnic table and guzzled the soda. I realized that my whole body was shaking. Then I noticed I was finally feeling hungry. So took a break and ate some lunch.
I felt considerably better after lunch, and hiked uphill to the creek where I took another break to drink more water. It was only 2.5 miles to Timberline Lodge from this point. I’d been hiking through a dense cover of trees all day, and the trail continued through the woods for another half mile or so. The trail broke out of the trees into an alpine area, and – there was Mt. Hood looming majestically right in front of me. I hadn’t seen the mountain yet, due to smoke from forest fires and the angle of my approach. Mt. Hood was closer than I realized. It took my breath away. I played the soundtrack from Jurassic Park to set the mood.
I slowed my approach to the top, as the path became sandy and hard to walk on. Also I was stopping every five minutes to take pictures. I rounded a corner and the path dropped dramatically to my right. I peered over the edge and saw and enormous glacier below, grey and dirt-covered. It’s easy to not recognize glaciers because they look like dirt or rocks. But I have some experience identifying them after hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier last fall. In fact, the entire mountain reminded me of slightly shorter version Mt. Rainier. I felt right at home.
I turned another corner and could see the Timberline Lodge perched on the other side of a deep gorge. The sun was beginning to set and I stopped to take more pictures. I’ve been looking forward to checking out the Lodge as the building’s exterior was used in the filming of The Shining. Also, hikers have been telling me about their famed breakfast buffet for weeks.
I continued hiking to a small campsite near a junction to the lodge and set up my tent. Several other hikers were camped there and we stayed up later than usual, chatting and cooking dinner. We were all excited about eating breakfast tomorrow morning. I could feel the presence of the mountain right behind me as I fell asleep.