Mile reached: 2095.6 (+40.6)
High: Enjoying trail magic and the warm breeze from shaded camp chairs.
Low: Having trouble locating a spring that I was counting on and only finding stagnant puddles instead.
I was comfortable in my tent and consequently was the last one out. The trail gently climbed hills covered in huckleberry bushes, but the berries weren’t quite ripe yet. I pretty quickly caught up to “Extra Miles”, but didn’t catch “Skipper” for the longest time (almost 11 miles). Then, I finally ran into “Dunks” and “Sherlock Holmes” at a creek that ended an 11 mile dry stretch.
The previous day, some SoBos had alerted us to the presence of a trail angel camped out just south of Timothy Lake. So, we all eagerly raced there from the creek hoping to be in time for lunch. Sure enough, there was some excellent trail magic. The trail angel, Connie, set up a tent with all the fixings for making sandwiches. I opted to make a roast beef sandwich with a thick and delicious slice of meat. “Sherlock Holmes” was particularly excited about the jar of kosher pickles. Apparently, kosher pickles are one of the better things about America and are not so readily found back in the UK.
Connie also had quite possibly the largest dog I’ve ever seen weighing around 200 pounds. Dozer was extremely sweet and came over for love several times. I even got him to take an interest in “Extra Miles” and drool all over her.
As much as we all wanted to keep sitting in the shade and enjoy the breeze, it was necessary to pack up and move on. From there, the trail was flattish as it navigated around Timothy Lake, which was also surrounded by weekend campers. Right before the long ascent up to Mont Hood began, there was a side attraction called Little Crater Lake. It was absolutely worth the short detour, and it gave me a chance to top up on water.
The late afternoon was occupied with a lengthy climb up to Mount Hood, and it also happened to be pretty dry. There was a seasonal spring that reportedly had water. Since I got there first, I began to hunt around for it, but couldn’t find anything flowing. After 20 minutes of searching, I found it hiding inconspicuously next to the trail and waited for the others to show them where to look.
When they arrived, I learned that several of them were thinking of hitching from the highway to Timberline Lodge and skipping much of the climb up! I resolved to hike the whole way, and set out. When I reached the designated campsite, it was occupied by a guy and his van. So, I continued on uphill and found the next campsite filled with weekend backpackers. At that point, I thought that I might be going all the way to Timeline, but I found a patch of soft sand just off the trail. There I was able to cowboy camp for the first time in a while, because there were no bugs!