Day 123 Mile 2084 to 2092.

We woke up in Bend with the trail on our mind. Today, we would complete the final leg of our detour around the fire closures in the Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson Wildernesses.

We packed up and took a city bus to the highway bus stop. We arrived a little early so we got coffee, which was great by the way, at a coffee stand called Dutch Bros. We also picked up some food for the ride at Burger King. It’s been ages since I ate there.

Finally, we got on the bus and were happy  to see Tramper, Duces, Pascal, and other thru-hikers on the bus. It was fun to catch up with everyone. Originally, Duces and Pascal had been trying to go to Ollalie Lake, which is a little before Government Camp, with a trail angel that was doing shuttles, but they were competing with 80 (not sure how accurate that number is) other hikers trying to do the same thing. They figured, like us, that it was worth paying a little money to make sure you had a guaranteed seat on a vehicle that was leaving at a guaranteed time. The bus ride was uneventful and lasted 2 1/2 hours.

Once in Government Camp, we quickly got a ride to the trail and started walking. We planned to cover 8 miles and leave 2 miles so we could work up an appetite the following morning before we tackled the famous all you can eat breakfast buffet at the Timberline Lodge, which sits at the base of Mt. Hood.

Day 124: Mile 2092 to 2113

The days are gradually getting shorter and we awoke in pitch blackness deepened by the trees overhead. We slowly packed up and left our stream side campsite and began making our way out of the forest toward Timberline Lodge. Within a mile, we broke free of the trees and saw Mt. Hood standing tall before us. It was like a sleeping giant in the predawn twilight and the glaciers that capped it reflected the diminishing  moonlight.

As we ascended on sandy trail, the remaining wildflowers swayed in the gentle wind. Past peak though they were, they still brought a softness to the jagged rocks on Mt. Hood’s southern face.

When we looked behind us, a breath of air escaped our lungs. Mt. Jefferson stood out on the horizon like a traffic cone in an empty parking lot. The pinks and purples of the sky opposite the rising sun bathed it in a soft light.

As we continued, trail runners passed us heading the opposite way. Some of them were attempting to run the whole 40 mile Timberline Trail and were getting an early start.

We, however, had our own challenge ahead of us. We were here to fill our bellies with as much food as possible.

As we approached the parking lot to the Timberline Lodge, we saw two faces we had seen not too long ago in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. It was Jawnzee and Lint who are two well know thru-hikers. We chatted a bit and then they were on their way.

The Timberline Lodge is quite an imposing structure built during the times of the Civilian Conservation Corps, I believe, and is a work of art all in itself. Made of wood and stone with giant doors and fireplaces, it seems more a medieval castle than hotel and ski lodge. We entered a little before 7:30, found ourselves some free coffee, and waited for 7:30 to roll around. When it did, we were the third and forth people into the dining room.

It was time to tip the caloric scale in our favor. We feasted on ham, quiche, Belgium waffles, berry smoothies, handmade sausage, and more spending over two hours eating, eating, and eating. Bedazzled ate so much she felt sick, but I just felt satisfyingly full. I think I had needed that all you can eat buffet for a long time now.

Yogurt on a plate? It must be a German thing.

After about 2 hours of post-buffet rest and relaxation, we headed back to the trail. On our way out of Timberline Lodge, we bumped into Peanut, a hiker who has been ahead of us for quite a while. He sent reports back to Fun Dip while we were in the Sierra that were very helpful in letting us know what to expect. He had already reached Cascade Locks and was taking the weekend off with his Dad.

Back out on the trail, we had the goal of hiking 20 miles post-buffet so we set off at a good clip and the miles came pretty easy.

The trail was crowded with day hikers and backpackers doing the Timberline Trail. It was nice to see so many people out, but a little tiresome stepping off trail so frequently. One highlight was Ramona Falls, which I would liken to a mini version of Burney Falls. It was a nice stop, but lacked a pool at the bottom that you could swim in.

We made our goal of 20 miles for the day and enjoyed some much needed rest.

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