I am totally digging our new route around Mt. Hood (Oregon’s tallest mountain at 11,249 ft). The views of the mountain are incredible, the road conditions are good and the traffic is light. The only complaint I have is the grades are STEEP! We spent the entire day climbing. Yesterday we were at 300 feet and tonight we’re sleeping at 6,000 feet.
The Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood was recommended as a must see. Now a National Historic Landmark, it was built in the 1930s as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. The mountain is unique in that it offers year round downhill skiing and snowboarding. The Lodge is also noted for serving as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in the 1980s horror movie, The Shining. Sounded like someplace worth going.
It’s 6 miles off route, which seemed like a minor detour. It did not occur to me at the time that a place named TIMBERLINE (as in the elevation on the mountain where the trees stop growing) may require some serious climbing. LONGEST 6 MILES OF MY LIFE!!! As the road wound back and forth along switchbacks up the mountain, around each bend I would hope it would level for just a moments rest but the grade only got steeper the further we climbed. Slower and slower I went, watching the hundredths of a mile tick by on the odometer, I was convinced it would never end. It was as if we were going to bike clear off the top of the mountain into the clouds.
When we did finally arrive over an hour later, panting, sweaty, with all our muscles burning in protest, it was a quick decision that we should stay overnight at the Lodge. It’s beautiful, there’s a hot tub and heated pool, and anyways, it’s my birthday tomorrow. So Happy Birthday to ME!!
View of Mt Jefferson in the distance, the second highest mountain in Oregon (10,497 ft).