Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 109, Reunion Time

Daily Mileage: 30
Mile 3038-2068

Hit the trail ready to face Russell Creek which I had been told could be a nasty crossing. I had almost a mile until the creek and I'll admit it, I was getting nervous as I got closer because I could hear the roaring of water. And then I founded the corner to find:

Okay it's hard to see but that's the river coming down the canyon and that is a giant snow bridge over the creek crossing. Score!
So after that anticlimactic moment it was time to head up. Something like 2000 ft total (I think I had done a bit the night before) up and over a giant ridge line then down towards Breitenbush Lake. I was rocking as I made my way through patchy snow up and around the flank of Mt Jefferson. The snow fields got bigger, more creeks started appearing and then the real fun started. The steep part of the climb, of which I actually followed the trail rather than cross countrying it straight up. Because let's face it, that sounded steep and I'm alone and already so sick of being lost. It took me awhile but wow what a view.

The trail is under that snow somewhere

The view as I passed the first lower ridge line. Find the trail..,

And then there it was, the top of my dramatic climb and amidst a cloud of mosquitoes I entered Mt Hood National Forest.

Now the fun part, getting down.

Sometimes the fastest way to find the trail is to look for the creek, tah dah.

So down I tripped, slowly leaving the heavy snow behind and finding myself more in forest with just patchy snow. Then I ran into a work crew, always appreciated. Didn't stay long to chat because the mosquitoes were out and fighting.
As I started to climb back up from the canyon floor I heard my name shouted, it was Caveman! The cousins and caveman had caught up after their zero at big lake youth camp. What a fun surprise. After hiking with them for a few hours I decided it would be fun to tentatively hike together until Timberline. We all want to get there in time for breakfast on Wednesday and I could use the extra motivation of other hikers to get me there. But taking it day by day for now.
Walked through a burn and then back to forest. Made it down to Ollalie Lake Resort. I wanted to pick up a few snacks and full up my water. The outcome? Wow this place is not hiker friendly. Will only fill up water if you buy something. I understand water isn't free but the whole thing rubbed me wrong so they got zero business from me. Thank you very much lakes are a perfectly fine water source.

Headed out to do a few more miles before lunch. And man was it starting to cook. Mostly flat very hot sandy trail with sparse tree cover, 89 degrees where did you come from? After lunch the trail wound up a but past a fantastic seasonal stream and then it was open forest time. Dropped back down into the land of grass, ponds, meadows and mosquitoes. Even saw a tree fall, interesting evening. Hung out, met Happy Plate and after yet another snack break pushed on for another hour.

As we climbed we enjoyed the clouds and the sunset through the trees. Catching glimpses of what must be Mt Hood. At 8:45 felt an unmistakable drop of rain. Just a light sprinkle as we decided maybe not to cowboy camp tonight. Flat space search was on. By 9:15 we had somehow been lucky enough to find a spot and was all tucked in as the rain started in earnest. By 9:30 it was a full on thunderstorm. Flashes of lightning through a tent, kind of dramatic. It's still raining but I have to sleep, cross your fingers about how dry I stay. This thing hasn't been through much rain...

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