Thursday, August 02, 2018 – 6.30 miles
The wind was strong all night. I love my Altaplex, but one downside of cuben fiber is that it’s louder than nylon, and I can’t wear earplugs because I can’t put things in my ears. More on this later (why?). I slept restlessly and didn’t wake up until after six, when I scrambled around breaking camp in a hurry in case someone arrived to scold me about camping so close to Timberline Lodge. I like to think that the lodge knows about these campsites and would put the word out into the universe if they’re a problem.
The lodge was still quiet when I entered. I asked the woman at reception whether I could charge my phone in one of the electrical outlets. She said yes, but advised me to go upstairs, where I discovered a room filled with comfy furniture. I love you Timberline Lodge! A big group of lounging SOBO hikers told me their names, which I didn’t even attempt to remember. They were all going to the breakfast buffet, but I wanted to go to the lunch buffet and was disappointed to find out that it didn’t start until 11:30 AM. Nonetheless, in my antipathy towards breakfast food I decided to wait the 4.5 hours.
The lodge sets up a hiker table for the breakfast buffet (wisely confining the hiker smell to one area) but not for lunch – I also found out afterwards that hikers get a discount on the breakfast buffet.
The lunch was good, but I went easy on the quantity just in case any remnants of my flu were lingering around. When I was leaving the building, I saw that rangers had begun giving presentations on the lower floor. By then I was determined to get hiking, so I had to skip them… but I got the obligatory photo with the The Shining axe. At the gift shop I picked up my resupply package. I also wanted to replace my headphones, which I had dropped or left behind somewhere (so sorry to everyone for that litter), but the shop only had the type that you have to jam into your ears, so I couldn’t buy any. A bad day for ears. The shop was selling no backpacker food either and I noticed that the hiker box was fairly barren, perhaps because people were expecting to be able to resupply at the shop. I needed snacks so I bought chocolate from the vending machines, which were very expensive. I love you anyway, Timberline Lodge!
When I finally pried myself away from the lodge, the hiking was enjoyable. Forest and bare slopes and views of Mt. Hood and plenty of streams.
I took a wrong turn at a junction, thinking that the sign was pointing in one direction when it was actually pointing in another, and ended on the Paradise Loop Trail. Since I was already a fair distance along the trail and it meets the PCT later, I considered just continuing, but the map showed a snowfield, and even though the maps haven’t been particularly accurate when it comes to details like glaciers or lava fields I had some trepidation about that and decided to return to the PCT.
Low hanging clouds were blowing towards the mountain at the end of the day. I had been aiming for a flattish area on the map, but found it already occupied. Trudging onwards, I found a slightly sloping but tolerable site. While I was pitching my tent, I met Charlotte and Kevin, the French couple who I had met all the way back in Castella! They had both gotten sick after Castella and thought that it was perhaps the water there, but I had no problems. There was nowhere flat for them to camp nearby, but it was nice to see them and hear that their hike was going well.