Geocaching and Camping at Timothy Lake
I love how geocaching enhances any outdoor activity. Hiking a trail I might not otherwise have taken – paddling to a cove previously unknown – driving to a scenic vista slightly out of my way. This was reinforced recently during a family camping trip to Mt. Hood National Forest’s Timothy Lake.
One dozen strong, our family group recently spent four days at Timothy Lake near Mt. Hood. High on the agenda was picking huckleberries – a notable tradition of our clan. The first two days we focused on collecting as many of those flavor-packed little treats as possible. The nearby geocaches showing on my GPS receiver screen were not going unnoticed however. I would get to those soon enough.
One geocache in particular was high on my agenda….quite literally. It was a cache called “High Rocks” located about a 20 minute drive from the campground. It was placed on the site of old fire lookout, long since removed. As one would expect, these locations frequently provide the most stunning forest panorama’s. One afternoon, with berry picking concluded for the day, I took off to check out the view and hunt the geocache. I was not disappointed – the high rocky crag yielded a crystal clear view north to Mt. Hood and south to Mt. Jefferson with hints of The Sisters as well. Finding the geocache was anticlimactic to the gorgeous scenery but fun nonetheless.
Next on my geo-agenda was a cache place near and named after Little Crater Lake, a much smaller version of it’s big brother to the south. Nestled in a meadow at the end of a long arm northeast of Timothy Lake, this “lake” is a very small pond with eerie blue water so clear you can easily see to the bottom – 30 feet down with nearly vertical sides – and COLD! The water is 34 degrees and comes from an artesian spring. Found the geocache a short distance off a nearby trail – again, anticlimactic to the view before me!
There were other caches along the 13-mile trail around Timothy Lake but time did not permit hunting more than just a couple more. Also disappointing was not finding time to walk parts of the Pacific Crest Trail which passes right next to the lake. Another time I guess.
One evening as the sun was setting I managed to talk my wife into trying her hand at kayaking. She really enjoyed it – think we’ll have our own soon! Picking early evening with the orange hues of a setting sun on a smooth lake surface along with a view of Mt. Hood might have had something to do with it!
Mike Davidson is a career forester and an outdoor enthusiast who uses the high-tech treasure hunting game of geocaching to lead him to the great variety of outdoor experiences in Oregon. Keep up with his latest hiking and geocaching excursions on his Geocaching Oregon blog. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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