Timberline Trail in a day (time-stamped)
Friday: July 17, 2020
Timberline Trail - CCW in a day
Amazing experience to share with my wife and was a huge accomplishment for us!
Summary in Numbers
Total Time: 15:39
Ascent: 8,977 ft
Avg Speed: 2.6 mph
Moving Speed: 2.8 mph
Pace: 23:10 min/mile
Moving Time: 14:26
Stopped Time: 1:13
*Stats per Gaia iphone.
Method: Steady, fast walking. We jogged at most 1 mile downhill. The rest was just keeping it moving forward…
River crossings: none required getting wet. A few required a bit of agility leaping across rocks, but most had logs which made it fairly easy.
Other hikers: first 1/4 of the day saw very few people. But it picked up and the last 3/4 we saw a lot of other hikers.
Snow: Lot more snow on trail than I anticipated. Nothing was troublesome or required traction, but of course take it easy on the steep glaciers. These snow banks did require slowing down a bit to find good footing though…
Blowdown: As others have noted, still a lot of trees down on the trail. Not too bad for us with small daypacks on, but could be annoying with bigger, heavier pack. Often there was an easy step over or even worn path around.
Biggest surprise: upon rounding a bend and seeing other hikers coming towards us, about 90% would pull masks on and many went to great effort to turn their head away to the side. I don't think I'll ever get used to the idea of masks in the wilderness… We were always careful to give space - no blatant breathing on anyone - but it all seems a bit over-the-top when passing by so quickly outside. Don't want this to get political, so will stop here :)
Wildlife: limited to birds and chipmunks… I'm not always the best at spotting wildlife and on this trip, the priority was speed on the trail and much of the time my eyes were down.
Provisions: UD 16L 'adventure vest' (first use and it was great) and an REI Flash 22L. We both had 700ml bottles for clean water and one 700ml for dirty to filter with Sawyer Squeeze. Various Green Belly bars as primary calorie source, plus chocolate mangos, jerky, bananas, snickers. I added nuun electrolyte tabs to my water in attempt to prevent cramping. Puffy vests (I never used mine), zip-off pants, spare socks, Altra shoes (love them - keep out grit and have wide toe box), spare tshirt (unused), long and short sleeve shirts. After the cold start, I zipped off my pant legs and long sleeve and never put them on again. Had battery pack and chargers for iphone/watch (my watch made it the whole day without charge. 5% left at finish). Med-kit (used ibuprofen and bandaids as preventative for toe blisters). Hiking poles - a must for the up-hill! Headlamps.
My wife and I set ourselves a challenging goal to do the Timberline Trail about a year ago (after I backpacked it over 3 days). It was an audacious goal, but one that we saw as attainable assuming we prepared properly. We are not normally into endurance events and do little running, but do get in a lot of walking and active exercise. We've been consistently walking 3-15 miles a day for the last year, with most days being 5-7 miles and occasional weekend 15 miler. Lucky to have such nice urban trails in our neighborhood!
4:00 am. Woke up at Timberline Lodge. First time staying here. Found it very nice, but on the expensive side when really just looking for a place to sleep… Need to be creative with options here next time.
4:30 am. On the trail! Dark, but not too cold. Moon only a small crescent, but clear and expecting a very pleasant day for mid-July. Forecast called for 60's and sun! Took our starting picture and headed off. After a brief mis-direction getting out of the lodge area, we made our way down the trail towards the short ridge before dropping down to White river.
5:04 am. We were able to cross the White river under the light of our headlamps, but without any trouble. The sun would be with us soon as dusk was just starting to give way. I started with hat and gloves and had the gloves put away after not too long. Love how quickly the body warms up once I get moving!
We made our way through Mt. Hood Meadows and then to Heather Falls. I was feeling as sense of urgency and pushed us to jog the some downhills, trying to be careful to avoid twisting an ankle. This was about the only jogging we did the rest of the day.
6:27 am. We paused for a photo at Heather Falls. One of MANY beautiful falls along this trail! 5 minutes later, we were at the Clark Creek crossing. We found a few large boulders and leapt across. We would manage to keep our feet dry all day!
7:01 am. We crossed Newton creek using a collection of logs nicely arranged to make it easy. And now begins the first big climb of the day: Up Gnarl Ridge to and around to the high point of our trip. As we worked around Lamberson Butte, we were passed by a pair of guys also doing the loop in a day. We would not see them again… After getting a look and a few pictures of Newton Creek falls and the deep canyon, we he