Waking up on trail has never felt so surreal. Today I’d be seeing my parents on Mt Hood, if that’s not a motivation I don’t know what is. Our start was flat through moss clad forest before we began the ups and down of ridge walks to Mt Hoods base. These forests were damp and full of growth, offering a contrast to the usual dark and dusty woodlands of southern Oregon.

Clouds began to roll in casting a mist on the landscape around us followed by a light drizzle. We couldn’t see Mt Hood anywhere ahead, but knew that at some point we’d begin the steep winding way up its slopes to Timberline. Several busy roads were crossed but finally we were at its base with only 5 miles to go. The excitement was palpable. I was expecting to see my mums face around every corner.

Onwards we climbed until we broke out the woodland and could see the train of cars winding up the opposite valley to the lodge. A sandy trail made every climb tough. Suddenly, among some trees lining the now open trail, I saw them standing there arms open beckoning our sweaty souls to them.

Emotions ran wild as we ran the last few meters to their tight embrace. Tears, hugs and kisses followed. It was such a relief to have finally made it to them, to know that the next two days would be full of food and rest and to know that this marked the start of the end.