PCT Day 98 – Cascade Locks

PCT Day 98 – Cascade Locks

28.3 miles, near 2147.5

• Woke up to the soft and soothing sound of “Landslide” being played on a Bluetooth speaker from the tent next door. Ready for my last day of hiking.

• I packed up and left as soon as I was ready, knowing the others would surely catch up. The trail was overgrown and held massive amounts of dew from overnight, drenching us as we hiked through.

• I scrambled up a steep boulder field off trail for a view of Bull Run Lake, a big lake just over the ridge we’ve been walking and a major watershed for Portland. No view.

• A little later we hiked a ridge with wide open views of Mt Saint Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams. Love a clear day.

• We all ended up stopping for lunch at Wahtum Lake. Saw a few day hikers pass through, must be a road nearby. Guinea went for a skinny dip, Smokey tried a back flip off a log into the lake.

• Walked with Smokey for a while after lunch, talking normal life and jobs. Nice conversation to pass the time.

• The last section of trail to town was a really steep downhill with lots of rocky spots. It was pretty awful, on top of sore feet and a heavy pack. Downhills are way worse than uphill for me.

• Finally made it to the bottom and reunited with everyone before crossing over the Bridge of the Gods, across the Columbia River into Washington. Frodos family was there to provide celebratory beers and we took photos under the bridge sign. Claira, Carie, Alex, and MaKaila also walked across to greet us, they had driven up from Sacramento. Claira was wearing a unicorn onesie 🦄

• We all walked back over into Oregon and had a beer at Thunder Island brewing. Free pint for PCT hikers, I used Carie’s permit to get a second pint. We shared some nachos for dinner.

• Walked across the street to the ale house for another free PCT beer. Also picked up my resupply box and bounce box to bring home. We shared pitchers before people started playing dress up with the hiker box clothes and Yardsales friend gave us a ride to Portland in her truck.

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Smell ya later, Oregon ✌🏼#pct2019

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PCT Day 97 – Salvation Spring

PCT Day 97 – Salvation Spring

21.8 miles, near 2119.2

• Woke up and got coffee from the lounge. I skipped breakfast while everyone else indulged the buffet for a second time. Had a few slices of leftover cold pizza.

• It was a cool and foggy day, we leapfrogged with day hikers as we hiked north on the timberline trail.

• I took the wrong path down a sand dune and into the forest, following scant tracks and realizing how many people took this wrong turn just like me and had to double back. I bushwhacked back up, sweating and cursing at myself, just because I didn’t want to cut a switchback down like everyone else, and then missing some helpful stick signs on the ground telling me which way to go.

• Caught up with my group at the tail end of their lunch, chatting briefly before they set off again. Navigated some confusing rock fields and found a way across a raging glacial stream on logs with a rope.

• Crossed paths with a burly southbounder in a kilt, who said he recognized me from the Mexican restaurant in Wrightwood (62 days ago, which feels like 2 lifetimes). I don’t remember any other hikers there, but I guess I’m memorable.

• Finally made it to camp, close to sunset, and a spot for 1 more tent. My buds saved me a beer, cooling off in the spring. This is the last night before town, so we’re eating all the food and drinking all the wine so our packs are lighter tomorrow.

• Bugs aren’t too bad, we sat out listening to music and talking. Nice having the place to ourselves. Yardsale set up her tent, but cowboy camped with some of the boys.

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PCT Day 96 – Timberline Lodge

PCT Day 96 – Timberline Lodge

5.4 miles, near 2097.4

• Woke up with breakfast on the mind. Timberline lodge serves an all you can eat buffet breakfast, so we wanted to make sure we got there before it ended.

• Hiked past a heart shaped drawing of mustard on the ground. Surely a sign from Bradley last night on their night hike, but why leave the mustard?

• We arrived to the lodge around 8, plenty of time to eat. Breakfast was delicious. We moved our stuff from the dining room to the lounge and charged some stuff.

• Not sure how these things happen, but we booked a queen/twin room for 8 hikers. 3 on the queen, 2 on the twin, 3 on the floor, and not any easy route to the bathroom.

• I skipped lunch, running strong off the breakfast buffet. Got a snack from the gift shop. There’s no way to buy booze or resupply at this lodge, hardly any food to eat outside the restaurants.

• A few of us had pizza at the blue ox bar, then found our way to the outdoor pool. There was a basketball pool hoop and no other guests outside, so we had a good time horsing around. We soaked in the hot tub and made toasts to each other, finishing a bottle of whiskey.

PCT Day 95 – Barlow Road

PCT Day 95 – Barlow Road

26.9 miles, near 2092.0

• Tried to get out of camp together, but I needed 10 min to finish packing, so I was last to leave. The whole day was in the forest, except for a glance of Timothy Lake and a glance of Mt Hood. I just listened to a lot of podcasts and powered through.

• Around 1130 I made it to horse camp where a lady setup an awesome trail magic spread of sandwich fixings. She insisted I try the a “multi grain crispy roll” treat. I’m not sure how it fit in with the theme, but she was pretty excited about them. It tasted like puffed popcorn.

• Passed a ton of southbound hikers, in the dozens. Before today, we’d see 1 or 2 per day. Must be the bubble of normal SoBos from Canada along with northbound flippers. Passed a couple from Spain that I follow on Instagram, they flipped SoBo after completing the desert.

• I took a quick side trip to Little Crater Lake, a crystal clear spring fed pond. You can see 50 ft to the bottom and the water is a vibrant aqua blue.

• I finally reached our camp rendezvous at 730, only to find a few backpacks and nobody in sight. Boomerang, Smokey, and God hitched to a bar 6 miles away. Yardsale, Bradley, Frodo, and Guinea came walking up with an 18 pack of Rainer. Some of Guinea’s friends live nearby and picked up the beer, the rest of them couldn’t get a hitch so we stayed at camp to drink beer. Yardsale, Bradley, and Guinea then decided to push another 5 miles to timberline lodge, Frodo and I declined to night hike.

• Boomerang, Smokey, and God finished eating at the bar, but couldn’t get a hitch back to camp. They stood on the shoulder for an hour, drivers started yelling at them to get off the road. One very drunk guy pulled over to offer a ride, but Smokey convinced him to go home. They went back into the bar and finally convinced someone to give them a ride (not the best place to solicit a hitch). They got back to camp after midnight and caused a ruckus, but I slept through it.

• My feet were pretty shot after 27 miles, my longest day yet.

PCT Day 94 – Warm Springs River

PCT Day 94 – Warm Springs River

19.0 miles, near 2065.1

• Our buddy “boomerang” from shelter cove caught up to us this morning. He saw the sign for trail magic and had to come check it out.

• Someone in camp had a hanging scale so we could weigh our packs. We all had varying amounts of food and water, but to give you an idea of what everyone is carrying… 22 lb for boomer, 32 bradley, 34 god, 36 yardsale, and 44 for me 😦

• Lots of wild blueberries on the trail today. Ate a bunch at our first water stop.

• Knowing Mt Hood is close, I’ve been looking forward to actually seeing it. Finally got a break in the trees for one glimpse, and my goodness she is a beauty!

• My feet couldn’t handle the last 3.5 miles without a break. That pack weight really catching up to me.

• Part of the problem is packing out beer, 2 cans I was really looking forward to drinking at camp. I chilled them in the creek as I setup my tent.

• Boomer also packed out a wine for each of us, reminiscent of our previous night together in the ski cabin.

• Full house tonight with all spots claimed this side of the creek. Hiker named “Little Skittle” is camping here too, she’s a little famous amongst hikers, she vlogs on YouTube and hiked through the Sierra this year.

• Frodo got the guitar out and we had a campfire. We sang songs and some dude brought out his harmonica. He seemed really eager to impress, tried singing “Landslide” but it was super slow and incredibly tone deaf. So much cringe 😭