August 5, 2017
Total daily miles: 31.9 miles
Total PCT miles: 1677.1
Start: mile 2052.1
End: mile 2084
Total elevation gain/loss: 3613.2/4064 ft
A record day for us! Almost 32 miles! I guess the pull of an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is a strong one.
This morning’s hike was relatively quiet, with few hikers crossing our path. I guess everyone stayed at Olallie Lake last night hoping for trail magic. It felt like we spent most of the morning in the trees, with a few patches of open grasslands dispersed in between. It was a great morning for cruising, with only a couple minor climbs that were relatively well graded. I hiked with determination, knowing that we only had 42 miles to hike before arriving at the Timberline Lodge and its legendary breakfast buffet.
I stopped for lunch at an established campsite and laid out our Tyvek so that I could lie down and stretch my legs. Michael almost walked straight past and might have if I didn’t call out to him. He blamed the fact that I was “hidden by a tree.” Sure 😉 I let myself eat extra snacks at lunch today because we somehow packed way too much food (especially if we assume we will make it to Timberline for breakfast tomorrow). We’d made it about 14 miles before stopping for lunch, but the question was could we make it another 17 or so to put us within breakfast striking range of Timberline Lodge? We decided to give it a try and see how things panned out.
Within a couple miles of stopping for lunch, we saw a sign posted along the trail promising trail magic at a nearby horse camp. Despite our goal to pull big miles today, we couldn’t pass this up! Just the thought of a cold soda made my mouth water!! The magic was amazing — a huge spread of food underneath a large shade tent. And the most amazing part was that it’s the first time that the trail angel, Connie, was doing trail magic and she planned to stay there for a full month!! What a commitment to helping hikers! Since I had just eaten a big lunch, I stuck with a cold soda and some deliciously juicy melon. Both hit the spot — I’d give anything these days for a cold soda! Sadly, we couldn’t stay for long and meet our mileage goal for the day, so we left, refreshed, after about 45 minutes. Thank you so much Connie!!
Soon after passing the horse camp, we passed by the trail junction that leads to the forest service campground that we’ll be returning to in a couple weeks to view the eclipse. We’d initially thought (before skipping the Sierra) that we’d naturally be here at the time of the eclipse, so Michael’s parents planned to meet us here. Now it looks like we’ll be backtracking from somewhere in Washington to make it back here. Such a weird thought that we’ll be back again!
The trail really flattened out this afternoon as we hiked around Timothy Lake. It’s a surprisingly popular spot. There are tons of weekend campers here (it’s Saturday after all). I’m really glad that we weren’t planning on camping here because it looked like all of the spots were already taken by mid-afternoon (probably people who were here last night). There was definitely a part of me that was jealous as I passed all of those camp sites along the lake, especially since many of the groups appeared to have hauled out a cooler! But I guess this is the life of a thru-hiker. That and scolding a few people biking along the PCT. Michael told me later that by the time he saw the bikers, a couple of them were walking their bike along the trail and looking very apologetic… The lake would have been a good spot for a swim, but between the high number of campers already crowding along the lake’s banks and our self-imposed rush, we ended up passing on the opportunity.
By the time we made it to the far end of Timothy Lake it was already after 5pm. We still had about 9 miles until Hwy 26 (which in turn is 10 miles from Timberline). I was gung-ho to go for it. Michael not so much — he hadn’t been feeling well all afternoon (stomach and dizziness).
Michael’s Note: it sucked.
Ultimately, he knew that making the breakfast buffet was important to me and that we didn’t want to spend the night at Timberline to go to the buffet the next day — so he agreed it give it a go.
Much of the evening’s walk was in the green tunnel, but the highlight was when we climbed up and around the hillside and finally got a peek of Mt. Hood! The view was a bit hazy, but the waning sunlight was so warm and it just felt like a magical moment. What’s weird is that in Northern California it felt like we were hiking towards Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta forever… literally for days! But here, we’ve caught our first sight of Mt. Hood the evening before we’ll be at its base. I guess that with the less dramatic climbs we’ve also been getting less dramatic views!
I finally crossed Hwy 26 after 8pm and found a decent spot to camp somewhat hidden from view of the trailhead parking lot. There were a couple of RVs parked in the lot and I couldn’t help but say hello in hopes of a little trail magic. It turns out that the RVs were housing Twix, a thru-hiker, and her friend Marie. Twix’s parents have been following along in their RV throughout her hike and her aunt and uncle were also out joining them at the time. We ended up eating our dinner outside their RV and chatting with Twix and Marie (and scoring a rice crispy treat!) before finally calling it a night. I’m not as exhausted as I though that I would be after almost 32 miles of hiking — maybe because I’m so excited that we were actually able to hike this far in a day and that we are within reach of the famous Timberline Lodge breakfast buffet!
Our plan for tomorrow is to get up extra early (4am!) so that we can knock off the 10 miles to Timberline Lodge with plenty of time to spare before the breakfast buffet is over. The buffet runs from 7:30-10am, but we don’t want to be showing up right at the end. Mmmm… I already have dreams of berries and fresh whipped cream dancing in my head!
Elizabeth: sore left shoulder
Michael: sore left foot, unhappy stomach, occasional dizziness.