Timberline Trail X3
This summer I ran the 42 miles of the Timberline Trail encircling Mt Hood three times, on 7/24, 8/3, and 8/15.
Each time seemed to offer a different experience in relation to the colors and palette of wildflowers coming and fading into bloom at their different peaks through the summer, and it was neat to see how transformed some of the landscape is just within the span a few weeks. I’ve settled into the routine of leaving pre-dawn from Timberline Lodge, when its just light enough that I don’t need a headlamp with the clear sky, color just entering the sky as I plunge down the sandy way to the White River. Seeing the sun rise as I’m crossing the Mt Hood Meadows area is delightful, and by the time I cross the exposed eastern flanks of the mountain I have beaten the warmer parts of the day, in the shade for the afternoon on the west side. I’ve gotten down to a bit less than 12 hours which feels like a comfortable pace where I’m not wrecked after and still can take time to stop and enjoy the sights. One piece of gear that has made a huge difference on the trail for me is the Katadyn BeFree water filter, which screws into my 500 mL hydraflask and filters water while I drink. No stopping and pumping water or waiting for aquamira, and I can easily just carry only 500 mL at a time or less because I know well where the water sources are and how far till the next ones. The climb up from the Sandy is still the longest, most mentally challenging part for me. Always a tough, but fun day in the mountains.