I like long hikes, in 2016 I hiked the length of the John Muir Trail from Happy Isles to Mt. Whitney, 211 miles or so through the backbone of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. In 2017 I hiked the Timberline Trail, 40 miles around Mt. Hood and the Wonderland Trail, 97 miles around Mt. Rainier.
I did those trips solo or with adventure buddies, and at the end of the summer of 2017, I decided that something was missing from these epic hikes, my family.
This year my wife and I planned a 4 day trip around Mt. Hood while Victoria was at camp for a week. We left on Monday and followed a pretty standard counterclockwise itinerary.
Day1: Timberline to Newton Creek.
Day 2: Newton Creek to Elk Cove.
Day 3: Elk Cove to the Sandy River.
Day 4: Sandy River to Timberline.
I have done this trail before and had a much more aggressive itinerary, but we wanted to “take it a little easier” and enjoy the trip together.
Here are some stats.
Day 1: 7.86 miles, 1,497 feet of ascent, 6 hours 17 minutes.
Day 2: 12.31 miles, 2,991 feet of ascent, 10 hours 29 minutes.
Day 3: 12.86 miles, 1,124 feet of ascent, 8 hours 42 minutes.
Day 4: 9.58 miles, 3,439 feet of ascent, 7 hours 20 minutes.
It has been a long time since Andrea and I have done a multi-day hike together and for me, this was a glorious experience. This fulfilled what I imagined last summer, wishing that I had her with me. We walked together, her in the lead setting the pace and sharing all of these things I love, the mountain, the routine of long hikes, setting up and tearing down camp, the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long day walking, the walking, the simple and rewarding process of filtering and drinking fresh water from glacial streams . . . all the backpacking things.
Let it be known that this is a difficult hike, it is over 40 miles in length and as it circumnavigates Mt. Hood the trail relentlessly goes up and over ridgelines, then back down into the drainages where you have to cross sometimes treacherous glacial streams, followed by another climb back over into the next drainage.
You are rewarded by spectacular views of the mountain from every angle and will have accomplished something that is not something that everyone has done, but it can still be a chore. You have to want it.
Andrea did awesomely, and (for the first three days at least) enjoyed it all. For the first time in many years, we spent time in the backcountry alone together. We didn’t talk much about life, no parenting conversations, no career talks, no longterm planning, just being present in the outdoors.
I am proud of my wife for crushing a hard hike, I am grateful for the time together, I am thankful that I have a partner who has allowed me do all of the things that that I have been able to do.
Note: This is my photography blog, and I do usually pack my Sony camera gear as was the case on this trip. I end up adding about 6 pounds of extra weight to my pack always hoping for the stars to align and make some magic images. It doesn't always work out that way, on this trip while it was right around peak Persied Meteor shower time, the smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and Southern Oregon and California impeded the visibility so much that I didn't even bother to pull the camera out. The photos you see above are taken with my go to everyday carry camera, my Apple iPhone 8 Plus using the Moment Camera App or the native iPhone camera app.