A Week On The Timberline Trail

God I love this mountain. Coming here always gives me a serious case of the warm fuzzies. I grew up in Portland and I’ve been coming to Mount Hood since I was a little boy. Swimming in the lakes, hiking the trails, skiing— I love it so much that sometimes I can barely tell the difference between it and me. It was a fairly quiet harvest, calm and intentional. We didn’t do a week long backpacking trip like we did last year because we had a pretty good idea of exactly what we were after and just wanted to focus. So I went up to Timberline Lodge with the Field Lab Van and a small crew of folks to harvest fir, pine, and cedar boughs, glacial silt, fir pitch, lichen, some dirt for distillation, and yarrow leaves. We brought the Field Lab Van with us so we could do some field distillation work, and for a few days things went great. But as is sometimes the case with the good ol’ van, it died. Ugh. Down the mountain to Sandy. But I really couldn’t complain, I was in a pretty cozy place. I mean, if your gonna be stuck in an Oregon rain storm, Timberline Lodge is the place to do it. And there’s nothing like a breakdown to make you extra thankful that you just missed the winter snows by a few weeks

Then the folks I was with—Tiandra, Alin and Scrappers— left and went back down to Portland. It got real quiet. I was all by myself now, with almost no one staying at the Lodge. Who goes to the Timberline for midweek, late Fall rain? Nobody. And to add to my quietude, I remembered that The Shining was famously filmed here (thank God it was just the outdoor scenes), and the place began to take on the feel of the Overlook Hotel, but in a weirdly nice way! I got to know the wait staff, and every evening when I’d go down to the Cascade Dining room the waiter/ host would greet me by name. And then there was that weird pale bartender who keeps giving me free drinks and offering advice about how I should deal with my family ;).

After a few days, I started to settle into a really pleasant routine. I’d go harvesting during the days, hiking in the rain, laying on the ground and really sinking deep into the magic of the place.

God the quietness— all sorts of memories came up, about the place, about the mountain, about my childhood. And in the evening, after having dinner in the beautiful, cozy wooden Cascade Dining Room, reading my sixties music nerd magazines, I’d go back and forth between the sauna and the hot tub. I came here as a kid, swam in the warm pool with my parents; as a highschooler we used to smoke joints and drink peach schnapps in this tub. There are a lot of memories and ghosts for me here (not The Shining kind, ha!), and I like old stuff like that, even if it’s messy. I live for this kind of personal connection to place.