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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.


14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Barb #

    Seeing you in summer clothes on snow-covered land was amusing!
    The deer looking right at you look exactly like the ones who have visited our back yard this summer.

    September 1, 2012
    • Yes, snow in August is always fun! It was certainly strange to be walking through a snow field and have a forest fire burning nearby too.

      Are your deer choosy eaters? These ones only went for particular white flowers. We have been seeing lots of deer, and now I want to see one of their predators, like a mountain lion!

      September 1, 2012
  2. Sasha Edwards #

    The nature photos you take are spectacular. I also really, really enjoy the “cameo” shots you take of each other. It’s like watching you from behind the scenes. Keep taking them!
    And thanks so much for spending the time you do, documenting your travels. This is probably the closest I’ll come to walking the PCT. Although, I must say, every time I read/view your posts, I’m very tempted to walk, even several hundred miles.
    Thank you two, so much!

    September 1, 2012
    • It’s great that you like our mix of shots! North Star tends to do more of the people photos and documentary shots, while I do more straight landscapes, but we each venture into the other person’s area sometimes too. We know the blog is good if it’s tempting you like that. We will certainly keep it up!

      September 8, 2012
  3. This collection of photos are my favorite of all your posts so far. Really beautiful trees, clouds and even mushrooms. I love the end of the day photo after the mushroom picture…breathtaking. Happy to see you enjoy sliding down snow packed sections of trail as much as I do, it is so fun!
    What a spectacular adventure, it is so special to follow along.

    September 1, 2012
  4. Margaret #

    Thank you for the new word to the vocabulary — crepuscular. The pine needles in that pic, each & every one, look like they are reaching for the sun. What a magnificent moment!

    September 3, 2012
    • Happy to introduce such a great word! It was indeed amazing to see the way the light moved through the clouds, and I was happy I could frame the scene with pine branches. It’s not always possible to capture the awesome things we see, but I felt it worked well in this case.

      September 8, 2012
  5. Jan #

    I envision a little mouse munching on the mushroom as if it were a piece of pie to be savored.

    And, intrigued by the crepuscular rays, I checked them out. I did not know what crepusucular clouds were before, nor did I know what crepuscular hours were. Thanks for such a beautiful atmospheric lesson.

    “Crepuscular rays in atmospheric optics are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky, specifically, where the sun is. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds or between other objects are columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word “crepusculum”, meaning twilight.”

    September 3, 2012
    • Thanks Mom, so glad you like that word as much as we do! The mushrooms have been really cool recently. So many shapes, colors, and sizes. We’ve heard there is great mushroom picking in Oregon if you know what to look for.

      September 8, 2012
  6. This post reminds me of a woody guthrie song “I crossed city and mountain, desert and stream to bring my body here”. Snow, sand and pine needles, all these things passing under foot. I read this without shoes on. Felt great.

    September 4, 2012
    • Barefoot blog reading, that’s a great idea! It really is cool to experience all the textures nature has to offer. We like the song lyrics too. We have brought our bodies a long way now, and seen and felt so much.

      “To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.” — Helen Keller

      September 8, 2012
  7. Lindsey #

    So wonderful to see you both happy and smiling all the way up to Oregon! I’ve been enjoying following your journey and seeing all the lovely photos. I’ve been stuck in New York City all summer, so it’s a life saver to be able to see some of the beautiful things you’re experiencing, even via the internet :)

    September 5, 2012

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