Cloud Cap to Timberline Lodge
We all were planning an early morning start so the alarms started going off around 5 and we started to get up around 5:30. I was on the struggle bus while trying to make coffee, I tipped my coffee filter over and got the grounds in my coffee…grrrr. Making coffee before having coffee is hard!
Venessa had to make it to the lodge by noon but I had no doubt she would. She took off first, I headed up the trail next with Ryan shortly behind me. I stopped shortly outside of camp when I had reception and called home to check in. Ryan caught up quickly and we hiked together most of the rest of the day.
The Timberline Trail reaches its high point along this segment at 7350 ft meaning that we had about 1500 ft gain over about 2.5 miles, not too bad at all. The trail meandered upwards in a slow gradual climb with the views improving all the time. There was one of the rock shelters along the way that can be found around the mountain at higher elevations. We passed an intersection with the Cooper Spur Trail which runs up a ridge on the side of the mountain, I would have liked to have taken it but I had 14 miles to do to get to the lodge and I wanted to get it done.
I had been following Venessa’s shoe print and noticed that it stopped going in my direction at the junction…uh oh. Another mile or two she came running up behind us. She had indeed missed the junction and had gone up towards the Copper spur. This put her behind on her rather short schedule. I hope she made it.
The views today were phenomenal! Every time you think it couldn’t get better, you come around the corner and have your socks blown off. There were not a lot of sheltered camping areas but I did see one sheltered in some stunted trees that I want to go visit for a night. Other than the pollution haze from Portland the day was clear and the views were awesome.
The USGS website tells me that the last major eruption occurred in the 1790’s. It looks like this was the channel of flow. I have been around this mountain now and this is the most likely spot. I am amazed that life has a tenuous hold up there.
There were a few river/creek crossings. I waited for Ryan at each so that we would be safe in crossing. Over all given the lateness of the season none of the crossings were bad at all. Once the trail dropped down off the ridge there were more ups and downs passing through forests and meadows finally arriving at the ski area.
Once we were at the ski resort we knew we were close. But the mountain had a little more to give…there were points were the trail was up hill in deep sand. What?!?
The lodge came into view quite a ways before you actually get there. When I arrived back to the truck I relished in the joy of taking the boots off and slipping into a pair of sandals. Then it was straight to the local brewery for beer and food.
I would do this trail again in a heartbeat. It is short enough so that the food carry is easy, there is water along the way so no problem there. Excellent trail, highly recommend it.