Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

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Ellaraff
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Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by Ellaraff » August 5th, 2019, 6:36 am

Hi there! I ran/hiked through the night beginning at 7.30pm on Friday August 2nd, going counterclockwise. I finished back at Timberline Lodge at about 11am on Saturday August 3rd. It was an awesome trip. The river crossings were all easy bt challenging in the dark, mostly due to navigational issues finding the trail after crossings. Apologies to the group camped at Newton who completely freaked out when I crossed the river at night - I was completely safe and fine, but I appreciate the concern!
At some point before Elk Cove at about 1/2am I saw two cougars on trail. One was large and one small, I believe a mama and cub. They were standing in the middle of an established campsite. They were not aggressive but also not at all scared of me shouting. They followed me all the way down the trail to the next major water crossing, at which point they watched me ford and left me there. It was extremely territorial. Wondering if anyone else has had cougar encounters in this area?

Full trip report here:
https://ellaraff.wordpress.com/2019/08/ ... at-double/

Schrauf
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Location: NE Portland

Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by Schrauf » August 5th, 2019, 7:54 am

This is super cool and thanks for sharing. There’s certainly more risk to nighttime hiking (tripping, creek crossings, navigation, predators) but nothing that is unreasonably dangerous if you have the appropriate experience. Sorry you had to deal with those idiots! Half the people backpacking on Hood have nearly 50-pound packs and as a result struggle with 10-mile days and don’t even realize there are other options.
Last edited by Schrauf on August 5th, 2019, 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brian95
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by Brian95 » August 5th, 2019, 9:03 am

Glad you're OK after the cougar encounter! Doing the entire trail in one day is one of my long-term goals as well, and sorry that the backpackers around didn't seem to understand.

I also find I can't eat anything substantial during a hike/run, even though I know I'm super hungry. Glad I'm not the only one like that!

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teachpdx
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by teachpdx » August 5th, 2019, 10:04 am

I'm sorry that most of the folks you encountered on your trip ended up being complete, well, I will censor my language for a public forum like this.

A one-day loop of the mountain is definitely on my to-do list, and this is inspiring!

It may be beneficial to notify the FS about the cougar encounter... if they were that bold and territorial with you it may warrant a broader warning to other users. I've seen cougars a couple times but they have never acted that boldly toward me. A solo female hiker was killed recently by a cougar near Hood, so it just might be something they'd want to know about.
instagram: @robo_remy

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Chip Down
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by Chip Down » August 5th, 2019, 7:03 pm

Nice debut post.
I always try to avoid creek crossings in the dark, but sometimes it has to be done.
This has me wondering: what would it be like to do the entire loop in the dark?
An interesting paradox: Wait late into the year and the nights are longer, but icy creek crossings become a challenge. And eventually snow will be a problem. Makes me wonder if anybody has ever done it entirely in the dark.

Edit: I recently saw a report of ski mountaineers doing a high loop in amazing time, far less than 12 hours. Damn.

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Blazersin7
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by Blazersin7 » August 8th, 2019, 9:04 am

incredible trip! I'm impressed

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drm
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by drm » August 9th, 2019, 6:11 am

Schrauf wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 7:54 am
Half the people backpacking on Hood have nearly 50-pound packs and as a result struggle with 10-mile days and don’t even realize there are other options.
I think they realize there are other options, maybe they just don't prefer them. Not everybody has maximization of mileage as a top goal. While this nighttime loop is quite a feat, it's not one I aspire too because I like the daytime views!

Schrauf
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by Schrauf » August 9th, 2019, 8:05 am

drm wrote:
August 9th, 2019, 6:11 am
I think they realize there are other options, maybe they just don't prefer them. Not everybody has maximization of mileage as a top goal. While this nighttime loop is quite a feat, it's not one I aspire too because I like the daytime views!
I agree there are many acceptable ways to hike, and gear selection and pack weight should definitely be a function of intended trip style (camping focus vs. hiking focus) as well as other things such as what one can afford, using existing gear for environmental reasons rather than purchasing new "better" gear, etc. I was just trying to get at the predominance of people I've seen on Mt Hood that appear to be struggling with heavy packs and longer than planned hiking days, and appear to be able to benefit from more awareness regarding lighter gear options, unnecessary gear choices, or at least less daily mileage if all that gear is preferred. And my main point was most likely these are the same "less aware" people that were harassing the original poster because they simply couldn't believe anyone would be able to or want to hike the entire loop in one shot, especially at night.

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BigBear
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by BigBear » August 9th, 2019, 8:36 am

Congratulations on your accomplishment. Circumnavigating Mt. Hood is a proud accomplishment.

I would disagree with your statement "don't judge me" in response to others' assessment of your task.

First, you were making judgements about people who were making judgements of how prudent your planned actions were (sounds a bit hypocritical to me, but, then again, I'm 100% judging on the Brinks-Meyers test).

Second, you frequently mentioned the number one reason people thought your night-time run was not very wise: if you can't see (even with a headlamp), you are much more likely to get lost. Their judgement of this risk was quite accurate.

Third, your cougar encounter showed how humans are not the alpha primate in the forest. Runners are most at risk in a cougar attack because running makes you look like prey. The chance cougar sighting would not have been as high on my list as the next concern.

Fourth (which is actually #1 on why I wait until the sun comes up): tripping over obstacles, falling and injuring myself. Congratulations to you for making it 40 miles with 10,000 feet of gain or loss without getting hopelessly lost, injuring yourself, and requiring rescue.

You are a braver, more energetic and more coordinated person than I. However, "judging" or assessing risks of an activity is a critical element of every activity. Running around Mt. Hood as you experienced, is a high-risk activity and other outdoor enthusiasts will correctly assess it that way. You were very fortunate and again should be congratulated for the accomplishment. Hope you are as fortunate on your next nighttime run through the wilderness.

keithcomess
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Re: Timberline Trail - nighttime loop 8/2/19 - cougar stalking

Post by keithcomess » August 9th, 2019, 10:00 am

To the OP:

Your WordPress blog posts suggests you're considering bringing "a slingshot" to deal with animals: that's a manifestation of nearly incredible arrogance and disrespect for nature. If you actually managed to hit a cougar with a slingshot, you'd likely provoke a justly deserved defensive attack.

Posted with the usual disclaimers,
Keith

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