Another long day today trying to get within striking distance of the Timberline Lodge for the breakfast buffet. I should have stopped early and rested up, but the thought of having to eat lunch instead of a buffet breakfast just wasn’t sitting well with me, so I hiked close to an hour in the dark to be within 6 miles for a quick morning jaunt to Nirvana.
I had a really good camping spot last night. All of the other spots that were right after where I stopped were not nearly as good. I was out at 6:20 and inspected each tentsite I encountered and was glad I stopped where I did.
The entire day was in heavily wooded forest that was very shady and cool. Even in the few open areas I encountered where the sun was very hot, a breeze was around most of the day to cool things off. Even though there were several big climbs throughout the day, they seemed to just whisp by quickly. Perhaps the coffee I made at 8 am to ensure that I did not drag my feet had something to do with it.
A very large lake was the prominent feature for the day. The trail went half way around it for several miles with a nicely shared and nicely flag trail. The far end had ice cold springs pouring into it so I filled up and made another batch of coffee to see how close I could get to the Timberline. That batch helped, too.
The other prominent feature was a horse camp near the lake and I saw three couples riding horses on the trail. On the entire previous 2000 miles, I only saw one other couple riding horses (with a mule in tow). The trail was covered in road apples all the way around the lake and many trails leading into or away from it. Popular place.
At about 6 PM the trail popped out on a ridge and Mt Hood came into view for the first time all day. We were close enough now that I could actually make out the lodge. I was twelve miles away via trail, and probably less than eight as the crow flies. I also got good cell signal for the first time since leaving Bend.
There was flat terrain three to four miles ahead, which would put me eight to nine miles from the lodge. That would have me at the lodge at about 11 am if I left at 6 am. When I got to the flat area, it was pretty heavily forested with lots of dead trees. The camping was not good, and I was feeling good, so despite it being 8 PM and almost dark, I decided to go to the next pass and trailhead which was only six miles from the lodge. I was well fueled and hiking quickly. There was a bit of climbing, but it whisped by quickly. As I was getting near to the road crossing and pass, the number of tents in the woods increased. I was not the only one trying to get there for breakfast. I found a level spot on the ridge and cleared the twigs and set up camp just after 9 PM. I am now seven miles away. The next mile is a descent, but the last six are all climbing, so it will still take at least three to three and a half hours in the morning. I’m pretty sure coffee will be required. An alarm might be required, too. Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 10:30 so I should have enough time to make it.
The whole reason for all this fuss about breakfast is that the lodge is very fancy and very expensive. But their breakfast is a buffet and only $15, which might sound like alot, but it’s cheaper than lunch and their breakfast is supposed to be the best on the entire trail. I wouldn’t want to miss out on that, would I?