Anniversary on Mt. Hood

Mileage today: 54 miles Total Mileage:3,899

Today is our 33rd wedding anniversary! It’s been a wonderful life and I am so lucky to have Bob as my partner in all things. This road trip being no exception.

We set off after breakfast. I had another go at the desk staff and this time was told that it was not an extended stay hotel and that meant kitchen equipment was not supplied. I pointed out that this is exactly how they describe themselves on their website so then they blamed it on covid again…. I gave up and left them a stinker on Tripadvisor. have come through though with a very apologetic email, a promise to speak to My Place HQ and a 20% refund. A nice gesture from them.

We took Route 26 to our destination for the next two nights, the very special Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. It wasn’t a long trip. We stopped at a couple of places along the way. First the Jonsrud Viewpoint, just outside of the town of Sandy. It gave a wonderful view over the valley of the River Sandy, with the Devils Backbone ridge of mountains behind and Mt. Hood further back in the haze. It marked another point on the Oregon Trail which the travellers were glad to see behind them. It was so hard to get their wagons down the slopes of the Devil’s Backbone ridge, they had to lower the wagons and their belongings by rope down a sort of tube and then walk the mules or oxen around the hazardous track.

We also had a longer stop and a picnic lunch at the Wildwood Recreation Area, on the Salmon River. An absolutely gorgeous woodland park set on the river with great moss covered trees, little streams, picnic areas and a brilliant couple of trails. We did the Cascade waters one which wound through the forest, along the river and included a visit to an underwater window on the river where you could observe the fish and over water life. It was such a nicely laid out park with lots of tasteful, blended in facilities and artistic touches throughout. The carved seats were particularly attractive.

We arrived at Government Camp, the ski area at the base of Mt. Hood at about 2 and wound our way up the steep approach road to the Timberline Lodge. It is a major ski area and a very popular ski resort with a long season. They only stopped the skiing a few weeks ago.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like in winter mode:

But today it looked like this…..

It is bright and sunny but the wind is blowing an absolute gale up here. It’s going to be freezing tonight. The bike tracks and the ski lift are shut down and the mountain dust is blowing around, wiping out the valley views almost as though it is snowing. It’s very high up and the long winding road must be very tricky in the winter when there is so much snow.

Does this hotel look a little familiar to you? If you are a film buff, you might recognise it….. Clues at the end of the blog….

We plonked down in the main lounge in front of a window looking straight up at the summit of Mt Hood, a lovely sight. We then got a bit of a bonus when a forest ranger came and stood in front of the window and gave a lecture on the lodge to a tour group! Very interesting it was too. The workmanship that has gone into the hotel is staggering. Amazing carvings, artwork…. the soft furnishings and curtains are all hand woven to the original design and must be replaced like for like. There was a bit of a disturbance then when a man fell down a step and medical aid had to be callled. Looked like he’d broken his arm and poor chap was carted off on a stretcher to an ambulance.

We managed to check in at 4pm. Rather pleased with our room considering we have one of the cheapest ones. It is directly facing the summit, private bathroom, tv, a/c, wifi….. and 2 twin beds…. not very romantic for our anniversary but never mind. It is rather charmingly decorated with a lot of wood and very old fashioned. Bathroom is nice and reasonably sized. It was a bit of a struggle getting our luggage up there. There is a lift but the layout of the hotel is higgledy piggledy and so despite getting the luggage cart to the right floor, we then had to unload and cart our stuff manually up some steps, across a bar, down some steps and through a doorway….

The hotel has a mascot St Bernard dog called Heidi. She stretches out wherever she likes and we had to manoever the luggage around her, lifting her tail to get through.

We watched King Charles address the nation on tv and thought he did it very well. He showed emotion and his human side, pledged the rest of his life to the service of the country and the commonwealth and paid great tribute to his mother and her achievements. He even put out an olive branch to the appalling Ginge and Whinge.

Tonight we had dinner in the Cascade dining room, the fine dining room of the lodge. It was absolutely fantastic dinner. By far and away the best dining room of any lodge we have encountered this trip. As good as the Lake restaurant in Yellowstone but cosier and more intimate. We didn’t go with a starter which was good because chef sent out an amuse of smoked fish and pickles, followed by a basket of home baked sourdough (warm) with locally smoked salted butter. Then they brought us a lovely palate cleanser of pineapple, watermelon granita. I had a ribeye steak with charred brussels, fingerling potatoes and a deeply reduced pepper sauce. It was superb. Bob had a wonderful piece of halibut served on rosti with kale and tomato. Also cooked to perfection. We washed it down with a bottle of merlot (Washington) and followed up with double espressos. No room at all for desserts. A lovely meal. Not at all cheap but unlike all the other lodges, well worth the money.

Theyve had to give us a fire in our room rather than the A/C because the wind is howling through the aged windows LOLOL. Worse than Yorkshire!!!! Loving this lodge though. The workmanship is amazing. Such artistry in wood and wrought iron. I will take some pictures tomorrow. Unfortunately the high winds mean that the big fireplaces in the lounges cannot be lit for the risk of sparks flying off and starting wildfires. Such a shame as the fireplaces are doubly magnificent.

Happy anniversary my darling Bob. We toasted each other tonight, we toasted our happy life together. We toasted our two amazing girls. We toasted the Queen and the new King and the family of the new Prince and Princess of Wales and wished them good luck and happiness in the enormous challenges that lie ahead.

Oh yes…. the clue if you don’t know what’s familiar about this hotel…

Only the externals were shot here btw. Even the drive up is not correct.