Start day: July 23rd 2017 – Timberline Lodge to Creek camp in Paradise Park, 5.7 miles

Yay backpacking day!  We drove up the day before and stayed in a campsite in Washington for for an easier drive to the car drop point in the morning.  Since it was just Sarah and I on this trip the logistics of car drops were a little tougher. Luckily through extensive research I found a ride to pick us up at our end point to avoid driving separately in 2 cars all the way to Oregon from Oakland, Ca. and back.  Hooray for driving together, saving on gas money, car drop time, and greenhouse gases!

We had made plans to be picked up by 11am at a random PCT Trailhead road crossing at the end of Indian Heaven Wilderness in Washington and driven south to our start at Timberline Lodge in Oregon. The Trailhead was hard to pinpoint exactly on google maps and our ride got a little lost with no cell reception.  At least the views were nice of Mt. Adams to our North and the mosquitos just a little bit jerky while we waited.

Mt. Adams

As time dragged on we started getting worried and stressed that our ride may not be showing up at all. I tried to hold off making a plan B and was just about to get real about it when their car came up the road, whew!!! We threw our packs in the trunk and were finally on our way around 12:30 pm. 😬 I was having a secret anxiety attack on the whole car ride about starting our hike so late in the day and trying to put on an “everything is fine” face, which I am not very good at… (later at our campsite Sarah shared she was freaking out as well, haha!)

After a lot of sitting in a strangers car making awkward small talk and trying not to have stress diarrhea, we made it to our start point at Timberline Lodge around 3pm. Hooray!

We were starving at this point since we had planned to eat on the trail much earlier in the day. We promptly walked to the PCT junction past the lodge, dug out our snacks, threw our bodies in the dirt, and quickly embraced the beauty of being hiker trash.

I jogged back to get this picture of Timberline Lodge since we just headed right for the trail jct from the parking lot. I’m still kinda bummed I did not take the time to go inside, le sigh.

After shoving some calories inside of us we started hiking at 3:15pm.  Good endorphins started flowing from being on the trail and now I am able to truly enjoy the beauty around us.  Holy crap Mt. Hood!  I had longed to see it up close from all the walking North on the PCT the last few years, seeing it rise up so far away, and here we are right underneath it!

As we headed along the PCT we saw lots of day hikers headed back to the Lodge and some trail maintenance crew that we thanked for keeping the trails in such great shape. We also saw some other queers and people of color which always makes me stoked!

Sarah crossing one of the creeks along the way

It got pretty toasty in the sun but soon enough we are in a shaded forest with lots of blow downs to scramble over and under, some of them on sketchy mountainsides, eek.  We ended up leapfrogging with a group of two couples, which included queers, yay! We helped each other navigate through the tangled limb chaos and it made more fun to work through this section with company.

I am definitely feeling tired from all the stress we started the day with and our packs full of 5 days of food.  We had one long, tough climb up into Paradise Park from the PCT where we planned to find a campsite by a nice creek.

Aptly named Paradise Park


Creek by our campsite with helpful crossing log

Right around 5:45pm we hit the creek flowing merrily down from the mountain and found a great site with an amazing view.  We settled in quickly, both feeling exhausted and definitely not eating enough calories today. Womp, womp.

nice campsite view with lots of wildflowers!

My body was feeling pretty good besides my back feeling sore from my heavy backpack, plus my back loves to be my carrier of tension and stress lumps. My lovely stressy lumps in the back and in the front, check it out. (You’re welcome for that Fergie reference.)

Jammies on, food in, and sunlight fading we were both in the tent quickly and headed off to sleepy town.

my precious sleeping before the sun went down