Destination: Ramona Falls
Cumulative Miles: 1793
We rose this morning early to get packed up before our tent was spied illegally camped. We hit an espresso stand, and then went to the Huckleberry Inn for a bagel breakfast. Afterwards, we hit the highway to hitch back up to Barlow Pass. Our goal was to get up by 8am, so we had time to hike the five miles to Timberline Lodge to catch the breakfast buffet.
We secured a ride and were able to start hiking by 8:15am. It would be tight, but we had about two hours to cover five miles and about 1500 feet to gain. The first 3.5 miles were easy, and we cruised. Then we hit some sort of cruel joke. The hill became much steeper, the trail became a imperfect mix of silt and sand that slowed our pace to half of what we were moving at. To top it off, the wind picked up and kicked up sand into our eyes. Sticky grit lingered on our chapstick covered lips, and we were running out of time.
Fortunately we arrived at the Lodge with ten minutes to spare. We charged into the dining room and sat down for a delicious breakfast buffet, loading our plates in heaping mounds of eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits&gravy, fresh fruit, french toast, and belgian waffles.
After eating, we snuck showers at the lodge, and waited for "DK" to arrive. Psycho's old roommate will be hiking with us from Timberline Lodge down to Cascade Locks.
He arrived around noon, and after going through our resupply and re-pack routine we hit the trail. The walk started at Timberline and meandered along the mountain side before dropping down into several gullies created by run off from Mt. Hood's glacial and snow melt. We took a short break in ZigZag canyon before climbing out and working our way towards the headwaters of the Sandy River, another rocky silty canyon.
A new pesk has been added to our travels: flies. We heard the flies were going to be bad, but doubted the actual annoyance of the insect. We were gravely mistaken. Not only were the flies abundant, they were also prone to biting. Our breaks were interrupted by a constant swatting to preserve sanity.
After crossing the Sandy River on a small log bridge upstream from the trail, we side tripped up to Ramona Falls, a must-see for all thru-hikers. The side trail is equal distance to the PCT, and the falls hold a perfect majesty to their cascading beauty.
Jason "NaborJ" W. met us at Ramona Falls. Psycho hiked with NaborJ in 2005. Since he now lives in Portland, he wanted to come up and see us as we passed through the area. Arriving at Ramona Falls, NaborJ greeted the three of us with tasty cookies, wine, extra food, and beer. We all sat around a campfire and talked of trail stories.
It was our first campfire since the Sierras with MeGaTex, and one of the very rare times where we actually stayed up past midnight, not just "hiker midnight," but real midnight. To top it off, we get to sleep in tomorrow morning.
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