Day 135 8-7-07 Tarp Tent 3400′
Crater Creek – Scout Camp after Sandy River
26.4 miles; 2115.5 (75.46) total miles; 3985.2 trip miles
50-60, mostly cloudy with some sun; Day ? of rain
Days camped alone 19
Critter Tour General Category
Deer count is 125
Marmot count is 53
Elk count is 23
Pika count is 8
Bear count is 7
Rattlesnake count is 6
Badger count is 1
LATE, was what I was again. I didn’t get up until 6:30. I was surely feeling the 36 miles from yesterday. As I laid in bed an animal was thrashing in the brush off towards the creek. When I got out of the tent, I saw nothing. The sky was overcast once more, though today I clearly felt precipitation while hiking. The clouds were super low and it didn’t appear that they would break.
The hike started flat as a board until I got to Abbot Road 58 and I finally had a climb. Just past the next road, Linney Creek, I stopped at a small campsite to get water at the spring. A couple I passed going south told me it was my only water until the lodge.
I finished my 4 mile climb and then descended to Highway 26, Wapinitia Pass, which sounded busy. I got there and there wasn’t one car, so I just walk on across. I now had another climb of 3.3 miles. The grade was easy so it wasn’t bad. I passed two guys and a dog going south towards the top.
Next was Barlow Pass, Highway 35. I snacked here hoping to fight off my lunch hunger until I reached the Timberline Lodge where I could get some pizza. I just had a 5.1 mile climb between me and the pizza. It was no easy climb either. The grades weren’t like the others today. These were much steeper.
I passed a large group of seniors who had just finished lunch. One of the ladies told me what one of the funky plants I have been seeing is. They wished me luck and I pushed on up the mountain. At this point I hadn’t even seen Mt. Hood yet due to the clouds. As I climbed, the clouds were breaking and I was actually climbing above them. The trail I was on was located on an arm. On either side of the arm I was on were huge ravines. I’m talking over a hundred feet deep. The White River was on my right and it was a massive wash. It looks as if Mt. Hood was slowly being washed away. As I reached the Timberline Trail, I got views of both. The trail went from forest and packed soil to open mountain side with flowers, some trees, and loose sand. The wind was blowing and the White River was one huge dust cloud. It blasted at my face and hands. Finally I made it up and around the wash to my left and crossed over towards the lodge. I could see snowboarders and skiers on the glaciers. No lifts were running but you could walk up. I made my way to the store and got my packages. Next it was off for pizza. The service was super slow at first then another guy picked up the slack. The pizza was good.
I found a pay phone and did my mail. I also used the guest computer to check my other email and some stuff on the internet. I went outside to pack my food and forgot I needed Alaska Airs phone number so I had to go back inside and when I did some young kid was checking his email. I waited 15 minutes for him then got what I needed. I called the airline, and then Sam before heading off to the trail.
By this time the clouds had gotten lower and it was misting some. I made good time down to the Little Zig Zag River as I was following two college kids out for a day hike. They were actually studying the flows on the mountain. I talked to them along the way and it was pretty interesting.
I left them at the Zig Zag and headed north. With all the rivers and streams, I lost track of where I was. I knew I was supposed to descend but I kept climbing and descending. Finally I started the large descent and hoped I might get below the misty wet clouds. No chance! The trail was sandy, and with the mist, the top layer of sand would stick to my shoes and then fly off into my other shoe. It was nuts. I was also following the tracks of two hikers. Know it was going to be a shity night; I hoped I might catch them and camp with them.
I got to the Sandy River which was quite sandy, and made my way through the 100 yards wide wash it had made over the years. As I started up out of the wash, I heard a branch snap. Just then I saw an orange tent. I had caught those I was following. Their names were Maria and Nathan. They had a fire going and had just started to eat. I set up my tarp under a tree in a dry spot and joined them at the fire to cook my own dinner. After dinner I hung out with them until we all went to bed. They are out for a few days then have a wedding to go to in Portland. They were good people!
I wrote 1.5 days worth of journaling and finally had to sleep.
Scatman 2011- With the low cloud cover and not feeling super strong at first today was a rough day. I had not had weather like this in a long time. It’s amazing how much the weather could effect your mood. I did enjoy the middle part of the day despite being sand blasted by the strong winds while hiking up the side of Mt. Hood. After my extended lunch break the weather and my mood slow went south while I headed north. I did see some amazing sights throughout the day so it wasn’t a total loss in the grand scheme of things.
Get out there!