I had been scanning Recreation.gov most mornings about two weeks ago. I wanted to get out on another weekend of camping in August but had to play it by ear in regard to the weather too. Nothing was looking too appealing until one day towards the end of the week, two weeks ago, a campsite popped up at Timothy Lake for August 26th-28th. Typically, all five of the campgrounds around Timothy Lake are booked months in advance. It is total luck if you find something last minute like this, I can only assume that somebody cancelled their reservation. Needless to say, I jumped on it as soon as I saw it.
It was also a year ago this same weekend that Codi and I got out for a quick #vanlife trip to Timothy Lake while Mia was running Hood to Coast. Mia wasn’t running it this year which meant it was a family affair this time.
As with most plans, things go awry. Neither Mia nor I could get out of work early on Friday. By the time I got home it was past 6pm and it is a 2 hour drive in good traffic to get to the lake. Toss in Friday night PDX traffic and about 60 minutes worth of “getting our shit together” we had two options:
- Leave around 8-8:30pm on Friday, hoping traffic has died down, and arrive in the dark
- Spend Friday night at home and leave stupid early on Saturday morning.
I was okay with option #1. Mia was not. We left the house a little past 6:00 AM on Saturday and were pulling into our site just before 9AM after the mandatory Joe’s Donuts stop in Sandy.
Temperatures had been hovering in the upper 80’s to low 90’s all week at home. It’ll almost always be cooler up in the Cascades compared to down in The Valley. Upon arrival we definitely discovered that our bodies have acclimated to the summer temperatures. It was overcast, windy and topped out in the mid 60’s on Saturday with lows into Sunday morning in the low 40’s. It was a wee bit chilly!
In hindsight I wish I had brought a light puffer or heavier “fall jacket” and a slightly warmer hat. All in all though it was a great weekend to get away and chill out. Codi did a nice long walk/hike by his aging standards and then I got to finally ride the bike loop around the lake.
Mia, Codi and I have hiked around the lake 4-5 times now. This was finally my first time riding the whole loop (Dean and I did a section during our Anaxshat bikepacking trip in 2020. It is far from a difficult or challenging route. I’d say about 90% of it is “easy/beginner friendly” and the other 10% is “advanced beginner” friendly. I’d certainly ride it when we camp here again. I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to get there just to ride this loop though. I think I’d find running the slightly shorter (by 2 miles) hiking loop harder since that isn’t one of my strong points.
We had brought Mia’s paddleboard with us in the hopes of doing a little paddling around the lake. But we both wimped out with how chilly it was. If the wind had been less or the temps 10 degrees warmer it wouldn’t have been so bad. Oh well, we’re off to Lost Lake in a couple weeks anyways. We will try again there.
Thanks for reading,
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Nice! I camped at Timothy Lake only once, on a bike tour in 2016. We got one of the primitive “hike-in” sites on the north side. It was pretty nice, especially the view of Jefferson over the lake that greeted me in the morning.
Found out that they are building another campground between Gone Creek and Hoodview.