Not My Mountain, the Second Day

Since the mountain is hidden behind a smoky veil, I decide to hike a few of the 13 miles around the lake, saving my trip to Timberland Lodge—on the actual mountain—for the next day, when the smoke is supposed to clear. I want to hike the part that is the Pacific Crest Trail. (I also want to sit in my tent and work on a writing project.)

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I drive a mile and a half up the road, rather than take the trail that goes through my campground and two others. In the parking lot near one end of the lake, I don knee straps, bunion guards, ankle support (newly added for my rolling right ankle, it worked great!), grab my trekking poles (which I don’t use) and set off to fall in love with these unfamiliar mountains.

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As I step onto the PCT, its history shoots through my feet to my heart. I feel the spirits of the thousands of other adventurers who have hiked some portion or all of the trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. I am one with Cheryl Strayed (who lives in Portland), sans ill-fitting boots and 75 pound pack, who wrote about her adventure on the PCT in “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”

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The trail is mostly flat after a few switch backs from the lake up a talus slope to the PCT section. It’s pleasant, if not monotonous; no breathtaking vistas. There’s a section of winter blow-down that, I’m sorry Oregonians, but it kind of made me laugh. Pickup sticks compared to the mighty giants that thunder to the ground in my mountains.

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The trail splits at one of the other corners of the lake, one fork continuing on the PCT, the other going on around the lake. It’s my turn around point.

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It’s an easy hike, but when I finish, as always, I thank my body for its strength and my circumstances that provide the opportunity to follow my bliss. It won’t always be like this; it could all change in a flash or in a slow decline until one day I realize it’s done. Getting old might be hell, but for now I am loving every minute.

But these are still not my mountains.

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2 thoughts on “Adventure Log: Camping at Mt. Hood, part 2

  1. Love the camp photo. Looks serene, even in the smoky haze. I spoke with a PCT hiker this past weekend who was giddy to reach our Kendall Katwalk in the Washington Cascades PCT section. He was from Oregon and very matter-of-factly proclaimed that there was nothing like this in Oregon. Our rugged Cascade mountains and towering Rainier peaks are just about the best things in the world. Maybe it takes stepping away from what we have to discover a new appreciation. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

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