August 31, 2012
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August 31, 2012
Exploring Portland’s Backyard—Along the Pacific Crest Trail.
We arrived at Timberline Lodge about 11 o’clock that morning and headed up the paved path about 200 yards to the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail. The total distance of the trail spans 2650 miles. With only two hours till lunch, we had a decision to make: a right turn would take us 2100 miles to Mexico, a left, 550 miles to Canada. We opted for the right turn. We forded a small stream that took us over rocks to a sandy downhill pathway lined with bright purple wildflowers and craggy tree snags. The day was glorious and the sky was deep blue. I stopped, looked over my shoulder and captured this glimpse of grandeur.
As we hiked on, the terrain changed to fields of flowers as the sand hardened into firmer ground and leveled out for awhile. To our left and over a steep cliff was the White River, far, far below us. There was no shade in sight except the occasional lone pine tree. Stopping for water, we drank in the panoramic views as well. Even though we were only planning to walk for about an hour before turning around, there was something really awesome knowing that we were on one small section—our very own piece—of the Pacific Crest Trail.
About an hour into our hike at our turn around point, we had reached this deeply wooded grove of trees, shaded with filtered sun. We sat on a fallen log to empty the sand out of our shoes before trekking back to the lodge. The firm forest path beneath us was covered with a cool bed of needles and soon gave way to softer, sandier soil but this time we were headed up, not down. The trail got narrower and steeper. We got hotter and slower! Walking at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet takes more effort, more breath—and more breaks along the way—more opportunities to drink in the views at every turn. It took us longer to get back but we didn’t mind. We were ready for lunch at the Ram’s Head where we had yet another view from our window table—the summit of Mt. Hood—right here in Portland’s backyard. Hope you’re enjoying your summer. Now, go take a hike!
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