August 9, 2017
Total daily miles: 8.3 miles
Total PCT miles: 1745.8
Start: Cascade Locks (mile 2144.4)
End: mile 2152.7
Total elevation gain/loss: 2536.1/601.7 ft
I woke with a start this morning, afraid that I’d slept in until 11am. Is if. It was only 6:45. What I would give to actually sleep in one of these days.
We spent the morning hunkered down in our motel room — loading blog posts, sorting through our gear in preparation for sending a box of extra gear home, and figuring out our plans for the upcoming eclipse (we’re planning to return to Oregon to meet Michael’s parents). Basically, we didn’t leave until check out time at noon, and even then we ended up needing some extra time in our room to sort things out. Where does town time go?
After finally checking out, we returned to the ice cream/burger stand featured in Wild and treated ourselves to a little soft serve ice cream. And by little, I mean that the junior-size cone that I got was gigantic and it was a race agains the heat to eat it before it melted. I have no clue how anyone could possibly eat a large. After inhaling our ice creams, we stopped by the Post Office and then made another trip to the market. After all of this we still had internet chores to take care of (flight to a wedding immediately after we finish the trail, car rental for the eclipse, etc.). It never ends!
We finally made it out of town at around 2:30. First up was crossing the Bridge of the Gods. We didn’t have to pay the toll, but we were instructed to walk single file facing traffic. The wind was strong, blowing my shorts up like a parachute as I walked. The bridge itself is very narrow and the surface is grated, so I could see all the way down to the water below. Michael was not a fan.
After crossing the bridge and walking along the road for a short distance we started a gentle climb that paralleled the road. It wasn’t long before sweat was dripping down my face. It was hot and humid! It didn’t help that my pack is heavy with 6 days of food — we aren’t planning to resupply again until White Pass in about 150 miles! I honestly can’t remember why I chose to skip Trout Lake, but that’s the plan and we’re sticking to it 😉 It also will help us to get to Snoqualamie Pass in time for the eclipse, so I guess we’ll just put up with the heavy carry.
I could tell that there should have been a good view back across the Columbia River, but it was too hazy with all of the wildfire smoke. We ran into Sam and Tam again camping near a stream. They are tentatively planning a slower pace than us in Washington, but I expect that we’ll keep seeing them. We filled up with water at the final stream for more than 12 miles and then set out to tackle some of the upcoming incline and then dry camp. We have to keep our mileage up this section!
I found a spot to camp off trail about half a mile up from the stream. Technically we’re camping in the middle of a side trail, but it’s clearly not used much and no one is likely to be walking by in the dark. It looks like we’re about halfway up the first big climb of Washington, so hopefully that will make tomorrow morning a little easier. We didn’t stop particularly early today, but it still feels a lot earlier than we’ve stopped in awhile. It means that this evening feels so much more relaxed and we actually get some downtime after dinner instead of immediately needing to set up our stuff in the tent, food for tomorrow, and then go to sleep. Hopefully we can keep this up. I’m also hoping that it cools off overnight though, because it’s never a good sign when I can comfortably enjoy dinner without putting my base layer on!