Saturday, October 25, 2014

20 PCT - Mckenzie Pass to Mt. Hood - OR

After a glorious time exploring Bend and meeting back up with Doc, it was time to get back on trail. I do want to share a funny picture of when I was in Bend. I found this outfit at a yard sale for $1, rented a bike and rode around all day. Lots of people honked at me! It was nice to get out of those dirty trail clothes.

It was great to see giant mountains so far North, knowing I would be on them in a few days

The large volcano in the picture below is Mt. Jefferson. Later I go over Jefferson Pass; a section of trail that travels over the lower part of the volcano.

I tried to capture the colorful layers of red rock in the picture below. These rocks are so cool! I often wish I knew more about geology. The color and shape of the features along the trail are almost unbelievable.

The affects of fire were prevalent throughout the entire trail. Sometimes it was strikingly beautiful. It's a very cleansing power and as long as it isn't near any development, it's a natural and needed phenomenon that I started to appreciate

Getting closer to Mt. Jefferson and looking further North on Mt Hood

Oregon is special to me because it introduced me to a new spectrum of green. I would get lost in the forest admiring colors I had never experienced. I loved seeing algae make even rocks come alive. Then when the forest would break, I would have a view like this. By now, I was in great shape and I found myself catching my breath out of awe instead of exhaustion.

Water runoff from the glaciers is always milky from the sediment. Luckily, I've never had to drink it, but it always makes me crave chocolate milk!

Rehab has treated Mother Nature well...

Getting closer to Mt. Jefferson and Jefferson Pass. Thus far, Oregon had been fairly easy. I was used to putting in 25-30 miles per day, while playing frisbee and taking long lunches. The trail had rolling hills and I never climbed for more than a half hour. A recent dog bite by a friends dog, left me with a wound to care for. The hospital had put a layer of special superglue over my 11 stitches to protect it. They had said I could take the bandage off after 2-3 days to expose it to air. However, the glue was half off, not only exposing the wound, but pulling off the good scabbing. In addition, I was climbing a 15 mile fully exposed mountain pass with zero cloud coverage. Needless to say, I made it work without sunburn or infection with some great views to boot! Gotta love Trail LIFE!!

Next Volcano to knock down in a few days.... Mt. Hood getting closer

The view above is from Ollalie lake. There is a small store here. I managed to spend almost $15 on cheese, tortillas, chips, soda and cookies. They also had a register in the back. Doc and Karaoke had signed in the day before. They hadn't written a time, but I did some math and conjectured that they could be no more than 5-10 miles ahead. I had been hiking without Doc for a few days. He kicked into a high gear to catch up with his trail wife, Karaoke. Karaoke got her name from her routine of waking up every morning singing a new song. She also would sing loudly and proudly (rightfully) as she walked down the trail to the tunes in her headphones. I was stoked that they were so close. Tomorrow I would wake up early and hike 40 miles or to Doc and Karaoke, whichever came first.

Some of my favorite pictures from the trail, are nature's trees slowly consuming the signs for the Pacific Crest Trail System... It's beautiful and says so much with so little.

It's tough to see all the butterflies that are on my shoes because their wings are closed. See how many you can count. I count five!!!

I was on track to do 36-40 miles this day. I had made 2 stipulations to stop my day early...
      1) To build a nice fire with a view
      2) Catch Doc and Karaoke

At 32 miles on the day, I found Doc and Karaoke sitting near a perfect fire pit, just off trail, by a gorgeous lake. I had already done my best mileage on trail thus far, but I was in the hiking zone and wanted to push myself more. Doc had other plans. "Let's play frisbee, catch up and build a fire." Usually decisions aren't very difficult on trail. Go north and stay safe. I was in a predicament!!! Not sure when I would have another chance to push my body to hike 40 miles in a day. However, I decided to stay amongst friends in this beautiful place. As the day continued, more people arrived and they decided to stay. It was glorious! This is the view of the fog rolling off the lake in the morning. Today we would hike 22 miles to Timberline Lodge at the foot of Mt Hood.

Karaoke and Doc picking some Huckleberries

After Jefferson Pass, we had a nearly easy cruise to Timberline Lodge. We heard rumors of the best buffet on trail and thought that it ended at 2pm. We were on track to get there in time. However, the last couple miles were uphill in high winds with deep sand. I pushed the hardest I had so far and got to Timberline minutes before 2pm. Turns out the buffet was till 3pm. Still it was a difficult and rewarding push. We treated ourselves to a few nights at Timberline Lodge. It still stands as one of my top off trail places I visited on my journey. If you haven't been there, I strongly recommend staying at the lodge and exploring around. There is skiing on Mt Hood year round. It reminded me of home seeing everyone walking around in their winter gear.

The backside of Timberline Lodge below. The exterior of this building was used in "The Shining." A hotel in Estes Park, CO was used for the interior of the movie

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