What a great break. My body feels so much better. My break activities included visits to Seattle, Victoria B.C., the Oregon Coast, and Olympic National Park. In addition, I had minor surgery on a toe to fix an ingrown toenail I had been nursing since the Sierras.
Before getting back on the trail today, we attempted to climb Mt. Hood. We were late in the season, so we woke up at 2am and were hiking up the mountain by 3:15am. Hood is a giant rock and sand pile and without snow and ice around is very prone to rock slides. Just at dawn we were nearing the technical parts of the climb when we heard what sounded like a low flying jet. As we looked up we realized what it was – a huge rockslide. We watched as a cloud of dust from the slide filled the bowl right above us.
Nervously we continued on and met other climbers descending. They confirmed that there was a tremendous amount of rock fall above and that a crevice in the ice was virtually uncrossable. We hiked just far enough on up to confirm their reports and watch rocks slide down the snow slope we would have to climb. Saying goodbye to the mountain we turned around and headed down to Timberline Lodge for breakfast.
We spent the rest of the day driving to Crater Lake. We finally made it back to the rim by 5pm and were hiking by 6. Our packs were heavy with 5 days of food and 4 liters of water – heavier than they had been in over a month. We hiked a couple of miles till we found a nice spot to camp. We’re unsure of the camping regulations here, so we’re stealth camping to avoid attention. Tomorrow will be the first full day of hiking.