Day 129-132: Snow Fields to Sand Dunes
Day 129: Near North Cinder Peak (Mile 2025.5)-Near Ruddy Hill (Mile 2049); 23.5 miles
A doe and her fawn visited us early in the morning, snacking on some of the nearby flowers.
In a few miles, we reached Russell Creek. Our map marked this creek as a possible ford. We were surprised to find the creek buried under a few feet of snow. Instead of walking through the water, we walked above it on a snow bridge. A solid snow bridge works as well as a wooden one.
Throughout the day, glacier-studded Mt. Jefferson continually appeared, majestic from every angle.
We crested a hill and walked into a large snow field as smoke rose from a nearby forest fire.
After a flat section, the trail switchbacked down a steep slope. Since the trail was completely covered in snow, the best way down was on our butts. Glissading was great fun!
We slept well after an unexpectedly snow-filled day.
Day 130: Near Ruddy Hill (Mile 2049)-Warm Springs River (Mile 2073.5); 24.5 miles
In the morning we were treated to a mystical, smoky view of Olallie Lake.
After we passed Olallie Lake, the trail became flat, smooth, and well-padded with pine needles. Our feet and legs were relieved at this easier trail, and our eyes savored the towering trees.
At the end of the day, we descended into a dark, wet forest with large trees and green plants.
Sheltered by the canopy, we camped near a river.
Day 131: Warm Springs River (Mile 2073.5)-West of Bird Butte (Mile 2099.5); 26 miles
The bright morning sun made for dramatic light in the trees.
In the right light, even the mushrooms were intense. We saw many types of mushrooms throughout the day.
Late in the day, we walked on a ridge. As the sun descended, it showered crepuscular rays on the land.
Day 132: West of Bird Butte (Mile 2099.5)-Little Zigzag Canyon (Mile 2109); 9.5 miles + resupply at Timberline Lodge
In the morning, we were excited to cross the Oregon Trail! We had both played the computer game of the same name for many hours as kids. Fortunately, we have it easier than the settlers did: we don’t have to caulk our packs to float them across rivers, and we don’t get dysentery because we always filter our water. Our morale was high!
Climbing towards the dramatic slopes of Mt. Hood, we found deep sand beneath our feet. These wildflower-covered sand dunes made for a sharp contrast with the stark, cloud-shrouded mountainside.
We finished the climb under heavy clouds, arriving at Timberline Lodge. Built in the 1930s, the lodge is beautifully handmade with massive wood beams and many small artistic touches. We picked up our food resupply box there, then enjoyed some of the best food we’ve eaten on the trail.
Totally satisfied, we walked a couple miles, then set up the tent under a powerful sky.