This should be fun and interesting little section to hike, at only 52 miles it will take us roughly 2.5 days to complete, a good section to join if you don’t have a lot of time. I will be hiking this section between the dates of Aug. 22nd – Aug. 25th, you can view the plan here. Mt. Hood with all of its glaciers is going to be a pretty spectacular site and this section ends just before the Bridge of The Gods, which is rich in Indian history and lore, something the guide book only barely mentions but I find quite interesting.
From The Web
According to scientific history, the first, natural Bridge of the Gods was created by an enormous landslide between the lava cliffs of Table Mountain and the North wall of the Columbia Gorge, somewhere between 1100 and 1250 A.D. The bridge dammed the river, standing between 200 and 300 feet above sea level, high enough that Native Americans could safely cross the river. This natural dam created an inland sea in eastern Oregon, Washington, and into Idaho. The Bridge of the Gods collapsed around the 1690s – which coincides with the date of the last Great Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes – creating the rocky Cascade Rapids.
The Native American Story offers a more poetic view.
Native American legend speaks of the creation and destruction of this natural bridge. The People of the Columbia River had great difficulty crossing the wide Columbia River. Manito, the Great Spirit, was sympathetic and build a stone bridge for them. This stone bridge, called the great crossover, was so important that Manito placed Loo-Wit, an old and wise woman, as its guardian. The grateful People gave it a new name, the Bridge of the Gods.
At about the same time, Manito also sent to earth his sons- three great snow mountains; Multnomah, the warrior (Mt. Rainier), Klickitat, the totem-maker (Mt. Adams), and Wyeast, the singer (Mt. Hood). All was peaceful until beautiful Squaw Mountain moved into a small valley between Klickitat and Wyeast.
Squaw Mountain loved Wyeast, but thought it fun to flirt with Klickitat, his big, good-natured brother. Soon a rivalry sprang up between the two brothers over Squaw Mountain. They argued, growled, stomped their feet, spat ashes and belched clouds of black smoke. Each hurled white-hot rocks, setting fire to the forests and driving the people into hiding. Finally, they threw so many stones onto the Bridge of the Gods and shook the earth so hard that the stone bridge broke in the middle and fell in the river, causing a series of huge rapids.
Klickitat won the fight over Squaw Mountain and Wyeast admitted defeat. This was a severe blow to Squaw Mountain as she loved Wyeast. Though she took her place by Klickitat, her heart was broken, and she sank into a permanent deep sleep. She is known today as Sleeping Beauty and lies where she fell, just west of Mt. Adams.
At one time Klickitat had a high, straight head, like Wyeast. But Klickitat truly loved Squaw Mountain, and her fate caused him such grief that he dropped his head in shame and has never raised it again.
During the war Loo-Wit, the guardian of the Bridge, tried to stop the fight but she failed and fell with it. The Great Spirit heard of her faithfulness and promised to grant her a wish. She asked to be made young and beautiful once more. The Great Spirit granted Loo-Wit her wish, turning her into the most beautiful of all the mountains. She is now known as the youngest mountain in the Cascades, the beautiful and powerful Mt. St. Helens.
From The Guide Book
In this short section, the hiker traverses around Oregon’s highest and most popular peak, glacier-robed Mt. Hood. If you start your hike at Timbeline Lodge, you can traverse around the peak in one long, though relatively easy, 18.7 mile day. However, hiking in the opposite direction requires considerable effort, for in that direction you have a net (not total) gain of 2520 feet instead of a net loss.
From Bald Mountain north past Lolo Pass to Wahtum Lake, the scenery is subdued – a typical, forested Oregon Cascades crest. North of Wahtum Lake, the PCT has the potential to be highly scenic if the route were only slightly relocated. As it now exists, it has a noticeable lake of views, particularly as you’re descending into the spectacular Columbian River gorge. We therefore recommend the unusually beautiful, dramatic Eagle Creek Trail as an alternate route, for it abounds in waterfalls within a steep-walled canyon. This is a foot trail only; it is impassable for and prohibited to stock.