I decided to take advantage of a short lull in my real estate schedule to hike the Mt. Hood Timberline Trail with a couple of friends I met on my Pacific Crest Trail hike last year, Zach and Julia. The Timberline Trail is an approximately 42 mile trail that begins at the historic Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge. This trail can be hiked in a 42 mile loop, or as an out and back day hike from a number of access points. Located in the Cascade Mountains near Portland, Oregon, this trail features stunning views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and the Three Sisters. Portland, the Coastal Range, and the Columbia River are also visible from the trail. With highlights like Ramona Falls and Paradise Park, the geologic variety experienced along this route is truly incredible. Barren lava flows can be seen along with massive craggy glaciers. Large blooming meadows of wildflowers and huge waterfalls made this strenuous hike well worth the effort.
We decided to hike the trail counter-clockwise. The trail began as a 1,500 foot descent down to one of the many creeks that are fed with plenty of snowmelt. There would be a number of creek crossings, a few of which required balance walking on tree trunks strategically placed, each end resting on a large boulder on each side of the creeks. A few of the
creeks were swollen from snowmelt. We ended our first day around mile 10, at Ramona Falls. This magnificent waterfall provided a really soothing background sound to sleep with. Since that part of the state is still rather moist, we were able to have a bonfire. It was nice to dry off our wet feet. Sleep came easily with the
sound of a 100 foot waterfall nearby, and 10 miles with a 40lb backpack just finished. I carried my camera
gear, making my pack heavier.
Day 2 started with modest climbs and descents. There were many wildflowers on this, the rainy side of the mountain. We had a couple of creek crossings that were rather scary, having to precariously balance on downed logs to cross rapidly flowing currents. We had to ascend about 1,700 feet to our campsite on day 2, but were well rewarded for our efforts with breathtaking views of Mt. Hood in amongst hillsides carpeted with vivid wildflowers (see the 3rd picture). We rolled into camp fairly late in the evening, 21 miles into the trail, slowed down by the many stops to admire the views and take pictures.
Day 3 would be
very strenuous, climbing to well above treeline. There was quite a bit of conversation while hiking this trail because we had a full year to catch up on, but there was little if any talk the higher in elevation we climbed. The pines began to get smaller and eventually, only a few stunted pines could be seen. The pine forest opened up to vast fields of alpine wildflowers. The climb continued and even the flowers appeared stunted in growth, compared to just a couple thousand feet below. We eventually climbed up into the remaining snow fields. Crossing the snow fields wasn't dangerous as t he path was well warn by this time in the season. We finally crested the pass and could
see Mt. Adams, Rainier, and St. Helens to the north in Washington, and Mt. Jefferson and the Sisters to the south, in Oregon. There was no vegetation this high on Mt. Hood, just rock and snow. The descent was welcomed, for a few miles anyway. We had a 2,000 descent down to our campsite, located at mile 34. My knees and quads were burning by the time we reached the creek that was next to our campsite. After I pitched my tent, I took my shoes and socks off and plunged my aching feet into the frigid creek, which was fed by snowmelt from the remaining snow and glaciers that we crossed earlier in the day. That cold water felt wonderful on my feet!
Day 4 would be our shortest daily mileage of the trip, only 8 miles total from mile 34 to mile 42, but it was quite possibly the hardest portion of the trail. Our bodies were already fatigued from 34 miles in 3 days, and now we had a 2,000+ foot climb over the final 3 miles back up to our starting point. The trail was extremely sandy, and I often lost half of my step due to lost traction and slipping on the steep sandy climb. The trail was located on the edge of a ridge, with thick evergreen forest on my left and the deep canyon on my right that I was climbing out of. If you've ever climbed up a sand dune, this 2000+ foot climb was very similar to that. Also of note on this last day, a cold front came through this morning and dropped the temperatures. We were blessed with sunny and 70s the first 3 days, but the high temperature on our last day was only 55. The stiff breeze would have been uncomfortably cool, except the sandy climb kept us plenty warm! We finally crested the ridge and saw the Timberline Lodge in the distance. Our conversation, naturally, revolved around the massive amounts of food we were planning on eating up at the lodge. We stopped about 50 yards before the finish Zach is producing a video on our hike and he wanted to cross the line first so he could video Julia and I crossing the finish.
Its hard to describe the feeling that comes with finishing a hike like this. It's an amazing feeling of accomplishment. We walked into the impressive Timberline Lodge, only to discover that most of the restaurants were closed. I didn't get to eat until I got to Madras, Oregon. I stopped at McDonalds and ordered, and ate a Big Mac extra value meal, quarter pound cheeseburger, grilled chicken sandwich, and 3 chocolate chip cookies, and a large iced tea. It's amazing how many calories are burned on a multiday thru-hike.
I finally made it back to Klamath Falls and got caught up on what came up for sale and what sold in real estate while I was gone. I was amazed at how many homes sold in the 4 days I was out hiking. Real estate is moving at an incredible rate right now in Klamath Falls. We have a shortage of houses going up on the market this year as Covid-19 has prompted many to wait until next year to sell. At the same time, we have lots of folks looking to move out here to rural Klamath Falls from the large cities of Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, etc. Many houses are receiving multiple offers the first day they go up for sale. I keep close track of new homes coming up for sale, checking first thing every morning. If you're looking to sell your house, or are looking to move out to Klamath Falls, or the Klamath Basin, or are just visiting and want advice on where to hike, camp, or photograph, feel free to contact me. I'd be honored to help you with your needs!!