To finish our quest we woke at 4.30 to make it to Timberline in time for the best breakfast ever. But after only a little sleep and a really raging thunderstorm during the night our alarms rang far to soon for my liking. The power of endless breakfast potential got us up and walking in the cold dark, thankfully the rain had abaited and the track was wide, well groomed and easy to follow in torchlight.
Our path climbed steeply over a ridge, dropped to another road and then climbed steeply again all the way to the lodge. The forest and roads we passed were hidden in fog, adding to the mystery of Mt Hood above. It wasn’t till we hit sandy open meadows 2 miles from the top that we got views of the spectacular mountain. It was a steep climb and our legs were tired from yesterday, I was pushing myself and when we hit the sand I slowed down so dramatically I wondered if I would make it to the buffet in time. It was torturous but with much huffing and complaining from my legs we made it by 9.30, a whole hour of buffet-ing ahead. I could smell the bacon 10m from the front door! We also got bloody Mary’s to celebrate – 43miles in 27 hours.
We hadn’t really though much past this moment and spent the next hour in a food coma stinking up the beautiful and historic lobby of Timberline lodge, charging our biz. The staff here are really friendly to PCT hikers and unexpectedly we did not feel unwelcome loitering by the power points. We eventually decided to go and have a look around, the Lodge was used for all the outside scenes in the Shining, but full of tourists (it’s a Saturday) was not creepy at all. We went outside to get more views of Mt Hood and were offered a ride on the chairlift halfway up the mountain! The guy operating it was so impressed that we had walked from Mexico, he said he was sure we could walk up no problem but he though our legs could do with a break. An unexpected bonus we both had no jumpers or hats and got freezing and burnt, but the views and the Luna landscape were excellent (still hazy though) and we spent quite a while watching skiers wiz by on the few remaining open runs.
The crowds were staring to get to us so we decided to hike out 3.5 miles to the first water and spend the afternoon reading and relaxing. The PCT was packed with day hikers and families out overnight and the going was slow but the scenery was awesome. The lupin and Indian paintbrush and other wild flowers were having a party with Mt Hood and steep ravines in the background. The sun was shining and unlike yesterday’s push I could take my sweet time walking.
Zigzag Creek was in a steep grey sandy gully with a waterfall at one end. The floor of the gully was full of stones but we found sandy patches to pitch our tents. My book finally got good (200 pages in) and I read for ages. Mushy set up just his tent fly and opened all the doors becoming the hiking version of a Persian prince lying in the shade. We cooked dinner at 6 still not really hungry from breakfast and went to bed early. I slept long and hard and it was great.