Great Lodges of the National Parks
Pacific Northwest: Timberline
Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood National Forest have generated a wealth of fascinating tales. Here are just few interesting tidbits of Timberline lore.
Ranger & Bruno
Mt. Hood history features two very different dogs. Ranger, born in 1925, is said to have climbed Mt. Hood 500 times, making his last trip in 1938. He died the following year, and was buried on the summit. In contrast, Bruno leads a sedentary life as the official mascot of Timberline Lodge. The job has been passed down from Bruno to Bruno, since shortly after the lodge was built.
The Magic Mile
Opening just in time for the second winter season at Timberline Lodge, the Magic Mile chairlift was the longest lift in the world (the only other chairlift had been built a year earlier in Sun Valley). For unknown reasons, the Crown Prince and Princess of Norway performed the dedication. The Magic Mile still exists today, if only in name; the line was relocated in the 1960s.
A "Shining" Moment
The exterior of Timberline Lodge was featured in the classic horror film "The Shining." No scenes were shot inside the Lodge, nevertheless the director was asked not to depict room #217 (featured in the book), because future guests at the Lodge might be afraid. So a nonexistent room #237 was substituted in the film. Curiously, #217 is requested more often than any other Timberline room.
Shades of Gray
The exterior of Timberline Lodge has always been stained a soft gray. According to records of the WPA, a painter on the construction crew concocted the mix, which so pleased USFS officials that, "they made the formula standard, not only for the northwest, but for the mid-mountain region as well. This paint, which simulates frost, is remarkable not only for its realism, but for its economy of cost."
The 700-pound weathervane on top of Timberline Lodge symbolizes a snow goose. Lodge lore has it that interior designer Margery Hoffman Smith found her inspiration in a "Campfire Book" being read by the daughter of a WPA worker. The story goes on to say that Smith based the snow goose image on the "April moon sign" from the book's Calendar of Moons.
Warm Springs Symbols
Abstract art forms etched into the Lodge's chimney represent icons of the nearby Warm Springs Indians. An image resembling the cogs of a wheel or a compass is called the "Working Hands" symbol. The image of a bird flying over three mountains depicts "The Return of Spirit." And a figure of a man's body with a bird's head, holding a staff, represents "Medicine Man with Pipe and Thunderbird."
Another Ghostly Forest
From the bottom of the Timberline Parking area, it's possible to see a "ghost forest." A similar forest on Mt. Rainier was caused by wildfire, and large stands of trees can be killed by beetle attacks, but these trees are unique. Researchers believe the trees were killed by volcanic activity on Mt. Hood, specifically by "a hot ash cloud" from a pyroclastic flow, probably around the year 1800.