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Mosquito Food
This is how we do it



Joined: 11 Jan 2008
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Location: Covington
Mosquito Food
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This is how we do it
PostSun Jul 07, 2019 8:09 am 
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This was a three-day, two-night trip around Oregon's 11,250' mount hood on the Timberline Trail.  The trail is officially listed as 40.7 [43 on some resources] miles with 9,000' of elevation change and a high point of 7,300' on the east side. 

Link to YouTube Video.  YouTube Video

The trail overlaps with the Pacific Crest Trail along the western side of the loop. 

This trail is part of the Mt. Hood National forest and lies within two protected wilderness areas.  The FS website has more details.   

A NW forest pass is required to park at the trailheads and permits are self issued NF style (love it!).   I would not recommend taking pre-pubescent children or smaller dogs on this route, if for no other reason that there are several un-managed creek crossings that require rock hopping [leaping], the coincidental use of natural placement of logs or fording as a last resort.  Trekking poles are highly recommended!!!

Overall observations/conditions [as of 7/4/19]:   The trail is in serviceable shape and appears to receive heavy use and regular maintenance in most sections.  The only exceptions to this are the northern 25% which passes through several burned forest areas.   There were about 25 blow downs to negotiate.  Lots of gymnastics; pommel horse & butt slide.  The remnant snow patches were simple to cross with trekking poles.  I didn't use any other forms of traction.     

On the east portions of the trail [above tree line], it's important to note the rock cairns/wood markers that are placed in between the semi-discernable trail segments and permanent snow fields along this portion as there are social trails going in all different directions.

For this circuit (July 2019) I found that all the creeks were crossable with either natural log crossings or rock hops.  I did not have to ford.   Did I already mention trekking poles?!!!

The glacier-fed creeks tend to be a bit more challenging, particularly Eliot which is on the NE side just west of Cloud Cap saddle. 
In addition, Eliot creek ravine is a geologically unstable and narrow making it steep and leeaving very little semblance of a consistent trail due to constant sluffing.   In order to enter and exit the Eliot drainage [ravine], hikers must carefully negotiate around boulders that are partially embedded in the surrounding, loose soil making it very dangerous for a possible boulder slide and injury.  The need for slow, careful foot placement and the aid of trekking poles cannot be overemphasized. 

In general, for all the glacier ravines, it’ always advisable to stop at the top and study the route before entering.  This high vantage point will allow the hiker to see the best possible tree or rock crossings and the intersection trail at the other side. 

I observed several dangerous snow bridges that had footprints across them.  Scary to think that uninformed hikers are using these and risking their lives over 12” of snow pack. 

My Entry/Exit Point:  Timberline Lodge overnight parking lot (with NW forest pass) with a clockwise travel plan.  There are several other TH points, check the NF site and map for details. 

Day 1 – 7/3/19:  Parked at an unfortunately foggy Timberline Lodge at about 12:00 noon with only about 100’ visibility and about 30 cars in the massive lot.  I elected to take the Paradise Park loop alternative [from the PCT] in the hopes that the dense fog would suddenly lift revealing a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood.  ….it never happened so I hiked on to a wonderful dinner at Ramona Falls. 
I hiked on after dinner and made camp at the Muddy Fork; great little site with a rock table and a bunch of cute pika to keep me company.  12 miles hiked - 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  Saw no one all evening.


Day 2:   7/4/19 – Woke to fog but by 9:00 AM it had lifted.  As the video shows, I hiked onto the north segment past Cloud Cap and up toward Lamberson Spur for a wonderfully mild, clear night with zero bugs, wind and solitude for watching the fireworks off in the distant parts of Eastern Oregon, then the starry night with satellites and shooting stars.  The stuff hikers dream about.


Note:  I didn’t note any significant water sources soon after Tilly Jane camp so stock up at a spring that is about a mile up trail from Tilly if you intend to camp before Newton Creek.  18 Miles total for day - 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM.


Day 3: 7/5/19 – Started with blue skies and in-your-face view of Hood.  The hike started down the ridge toward a much-needed water resupply at Newton Creek.   This section of the trail has a rain shadow appearance to it.


Hiked on toward Govt. Meadows Ski area and eventually down to the White River crossing which was very likely the largest volume of water I had to cross the entire trip, but I stayed dry with a rock hop, once again. 

The last section just prior to Timberline Lodge is daunting due to the steepness and sandy trail base.  It reminds one of walking on deep beach sand but on a 65-degree incline just to keep it more interesting as the final 40-43 miles are hiked toward the lodge. 13 miles for the day - 8:00 AM to Noon.


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Fueled by cornbread
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lopper
off-route



Joined: 22 Jan 2002
Posts: 782 | TRs

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off-route
PostSun Jul 07, 2019 9:08 am 
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Thanks for that report, and your pictures.

The pictures:  super fine.  Great compositions.  Love the PCT sign.
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Brucester
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Joined: 02 Jun 2013
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PostSun Jul 07, 2019 8:02 pm 
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That looks super cool, another thruhike. smile.gif

I'll have to check it out!

Thanks for sharing!
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walknbob
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PostMon Jul 08, 2019 4:59 am 
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Great report. We do it in about 10 days from now so this was helpful.
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