Big Lake Youth Camp spot was an awesome place. We awoke on the black sand beach just outside the camp and were able to use the hiker hut to get laundry done. All the meals we had were excellent and all the food was veggie. Jen especially loved the Thai green curry we had for dinner.
It was then onwards to the mile 2000 marker. Here we celebrated with some of the trail family who we caught up with as they had gone into a town rather than the youth camp. It almost feels unreal how far we’ve walked and we had a celebratory beer to congratulate ourselves.
That night we had spectacular views as for once the smoke started to clear. The vistas were the best vistas we’ve seen in Oregon as the sky turned purple that night. We arrived in late to camp this night and it was freezing! The morning after we kept our puffy jackets on and didn’t take them off till after 1pm. A sign of what is probably to come in Washington. For most of the day we had great views of Mount Jefferson and stopped for lunch at an outcrop overlooking this peak.
We ended up camping by a river but didn’t zip up our fly of the tent. At 4am we were woken by rain. Unfortunately we didn’t realise until our sleeping bag was wet through.
We then walked through a burn area which was one of the most recent burns we had walked through. This was eerie as it was foggy and you could hear snapping and popping of trees as they fell. We also had a raging river to cross which was one of the fastest and dangerous since the Sierras. Unfortunately on this crossing a woman had been trail riding this section a few weeks ago when the trail slipped away from under the horse. The horse broke all its legs and had to be put down. For us that meant a foul smelling and bloated horse 20 feet downstream from this crossing. Even more reason to make sure we didn’t fall in.
In the afternoon we arrived at Olallie Lakes where we met up with the rest of the trail family who were hiking on. We stayed here as it started to rain and we looked at what mileage we needed to do to get to Timberline Lodge, our next stop. As we looked at the elevation map Kaleb suggested we just do it all in one go. This offhand comment then became a game of chicken.
At 2am we started hiking with Kaleb and Boots. The plan was to do 10 miles non-stop within 4 hours and then break until the next 4 hour slot began. This tactic ended up working really well and by 9am we had already walked 20 miles! Unfortunately from 3am to 7am it rained which made things a lot colder, but fuelled with adrenaline these were our easiest miles. By lunch we had walked 30 miles but we knew the hardest slog was ahead of us. The terrain had not been too steep up to this point but from here it started to get hilly. The group also started to feel the miles so our breaks became more frequent. We also stuck together more as a group and started singing: a sign of us going mad on the lack of sleep and high doses of caffeine.
We kept getting glimpses of Mount Hood and knew that’s where we were headed. It then started to get dark again in time for our final climb of the day. This 2000 foot climb had been in the back of our mind all day, especially as we got closer, as other hikers told us it was steep and sandy. Team spirit meant we were able to keep a good pace and by 8ish we were at camp setting up our tents. We then ran to the lodge to get last orders of beer. Overall this was an incredible experience and it’s crazy to think just how strong we’ve become.
The next morning we got treated to the best breakfast buffet we’ve had on trail. The food was amazing and Timberline Lodge is a fantastic place. It was built in the 1930s and was also used in the filming of The Shining, so we got a photo with the axe from the movie. We spent the afternoon resting in the lounge and napping. It’s now just 50 miles to Washington!