August 8, 2017
Total daily miles: 14.8 miles
Total PCT miles: 1737.5
Start: mile 2129.6
End: Cascade Locks (mile 2144.4)
Total elevation gain/loss: 1495.4/5537.4 ft
After yesterday’s unexpected long day, we treated ourselves this morning and “slept in” until about 6am. It’s a town day — only 15 miles to Cascade Locks! Even better was the prospect that most of it was downhill. Dreams of a town lunch danced in my head as I packed up camp.
Most of today’s hike kept us tucked away in the trees, although we did hit a few areas of open ridge line early in the morning. Unfortunately, the haze is even worse today than it was yesterday so our views were obscured.
Our first decent water source for the day wasn’t for 11 miles. Michael and I had set our first “meet up” spot as the first water source, but I guess we had each interpreted this differently. There technically was a sad looking seep about 7 miles into our morning, but I passed it by knowing that there was a better source 4 (downhill) miles later. Thank goodness it was downhill because even with the heavy tree cover it was a hot morning!
When I arrived at the stream at the bottom of the hill I encountered a bunch of the hikers that we’d seen at the Eagle Creek junction last night. I have to admit that this caught me by surprise. Despite having left the Eagle Creek junction yesterday ahead of a big group of PCT hikers, only one person passed our tent site last night and we didn’t hear anyone pass this morning. I guess that a lot of hikers ended up taking a (closed) short-cut trail that bypassed the lake so they ended up camping past us without passing us. That certainly explains why it was so quiet where we camped.
Michael showed up at the stream a bit later, having already stopped at the sad seep up the hill to collect and filter water. It was already after 11 and approaching my typical lunch time (I like to eat on the early side since we wake up so early), but we opted to push on to Cascade Locks so that we could enjoy a real lunch. I also wanted to make it to the post office to pick up our resupply package before it closed for lunch at 1pm.
Hiking into Cascade Locks felt particularly special. It feels like such a big milestone — we’ve made it across Oregon and now Washington waits. I guess there is also something special about a town that we walk into as opposed to hitching into town. Walking down the road into town, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the cars passing by understand the kind of journey that we’re on. I didn’t have much time to contemplate this though, because I needed to get to the post office! I picked up our package (so heavy!) and then headed across the street to grab an ice cream at the supermarket. Soon enough, I could make out Michael walking down the street towards me with two familiar figures — Valley Girl and A-Game! Thanks to a zero that they took in Portland, it looks like we caught up with them (albeit temporarily) again!
We chatted with A-Game for a bit while eating our ice creams and then headed off to find a motel to spend the night. There is cheap camping in town, but I can’t resist the allure of a bed and private shower tonight! Outside our motel, I ran into Sharkbait and Sap Happy. We last saw them right after we turned back from burnt side trail in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. Apparently, they managed to hike all the way to the trailhead via the Woodpecker Ridge Trail but that it definitely got more sketchy. They showed us a picture of a burning tree that they passed and it made me very grateful that we turned back! I’m glad that they were able to safely make it through!
The afternoon flew by as we tackled our town chores. Showers, sorting our resupply, and laundry being the main tasks. With our weird timing coming into town, we didn’t even end up going out for lunch! By the time dinnertime rolled around I was starving. We headed over to Thunder Island Brewery, which we’d heard offered a free beer to thru hikers. The rumor was true! They had a huge stack of coasters for hikers to grab for a free beer that were purchased by other patrons (or in our case, appeared to be comped by the brewery itself). What a great town! I indulged my need for a big salad and chatted a bit with Jessica, who we haven’t seen since before Bend. Then it was time for a quick stop at the market to grab a couple of resupply items and bed. I’m tired!! There’s nothing quite like a town day to make me feel utterly exhausted.
I can’t believe that tomorrow we’ll be crossing into Washington!!
Elizabeth: sore left shoulder
Michael: sore left big toe.