If you’re an avid runner, especially trail runner, there are a few places on Earth that you want to make sure you get to before you kick the bucket. Mt. Hood and the Timberline Trail is one such place. Several years ago I had the opportunity to run/hike this trail with a good friend of mine and it was one of the most epic experiences I’d ever had. The Timberline Trail circumnavigates Mt. Hood in Northwestern Oregon in about 42 miles with some significant elevation gain taking you up and down the flanks of the mountain several times. Passing through several varied ecosystems, you’ll see the most amazing things that are never visible on the mountain from just a sightseeing trip to the famous Timberline Lodge or even a car tour around the area.
The trail takes you through the Elliot Glacier wash out, a stark landscape of glacial debris, rock, sand and water, to high alpine meadows with the most picturesque picnic locations you can imagine, and then down the west flank into the deep old growth forests of the Northwest. On a misty day that the Northwest is ever so stereotyped with, the dampness of the landscape brings out the smell of the forest and makes running the trail a richer and more epic experience that can’t be described in written form.
Ever since that circumnavigation a few years ago I’ve been trying, without success due to the busy summer/fall schedule, to recreate that experience. When Ian Sharman posted on Facebook two weeks ago that a group of runners from Bend, Portland, and Vancouver B.C. were going to make the attempt this coming Sunday, I knew it would be the perfect bookend to a long racing season. Despite the long list of accomplished ultra runners assembling on Oregon’s highest peak, this will be a run through pristine wilderness focused solely on the purpose of enjoying what we like to do best, run the most beautiful trails in the world. It’s getting back to why we started running trails in the first place. We function best in the wide open outdoors and express ourselves and our passion through movement. It’s gonna be frickin’ awesome. Can you tell I’m excited. Stuff like this is what keeps me running and what makes me want to just be outside. This may be one of my favorite trails I’ve even been on and it’s in my backyard, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to return.
You can follow our trip on Facebook or Instagram at MaxKingOR. I’ll add some photos up of the trip on Facebook as well.