46.7 mi round the mountain with some side adventures
max: ~7450 ft
gain/loss: This was a loop…about 10,500 ft gain/loss total
Day one, 9.13.16
Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park
With just a few more days of my school free time left I was looking for another adventure. I was walking past the white board in my house where I list future hikes and I saw I had written sometime in the past that I wanted to do the Timberline Trail that goes around Mt. Hood. In the past doing almost 50 miles in three days would have given me pause but after walking from Hart’s Pass to Snoqualmie Pass in 14 days (about 250 mi) I knew that I could do it so I threw my gear in the truck and headed south to Oregon.
The drive down was a bear having to go through Marysville, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and the outskirts of Portland. Grrrrrrrrr. But finally, about 9 hours later, I arrived at the Timberline Lodge. I hadn’t been there in years and only once before when I treated myself to a weekend stay at the lodge for my thirtieth birthday. That was what…26ish years ago but the lodge hasn’t changed much in the 79 years it has been around so it looked the same. I finally found the overnight parking allowed areas and got to work throwing food and such in my pack.
I finally hit the trail at about 5 pm and started the loop in the clockwise direction. The Timberline Trail and the PCT share a trail for about 11 miles around the mountain so all I had to do is look for the most traveled trail and I was on my way. The sun is setting earlier each day so I only had a few hours to get some miles in. A guy I met in the parking area that had just finished the loop recommended taking the Paradise Park alternative so that is where I headed for the night.
The trail was quite crowded with day hikers/tourists for the first couple of miles but the further I got from the lodge, the fewer there were. I started out at about 5800 ft so there was a mix of vegetation mixed in with the sandy trail. Occasionally it would dip down in elevation into forested areas. The views of the mountain started early with some gentle ups and downs of the trail and a few minor creek crossings. The trail junction for Paradise was obvious and was in one of the dips at about 4800 ft. So that meant that I had to climb back up to about 5800 to reach my destination.
I finally reached the stream crossing where my trail notes said there were tent sites. I knew there were better ones a little further but it was getting dark at this point and I wanted to find a protected site since I was high up there and I knew it would get cold. I pitched at a bit of a slant in a small cluster of trees next to a creek.