Started hiking around 7am. The trail continued through the same scenery like yesterday. The trail was constantly climbing, but slowly. I was quite happy with that. I had been worried a bit the last weeks hiking in the flat section of Oregon about possible tough climbs in Washington like in the Sierras. We had planned for Washington and the resupply an average of 22 miles per day – less than what we did in Oregon, but more than in the Sierras. Of course this was only day 2 in Washington – but it would turn out easier from the climbs than expected.
Also the climate continued to stay humid.
Pitched the tents around 8pm. Dinner and sleeping time.
We had another big breakfast in town where we met up with Crumbs. Then we brought our resupply packages for Washington to the Post Office. We were sending 4 packages – to our planned stops at Trout Lake, White Pass, Snoqualmie and Skykomish. Due to the fire closure around Stehekin, we had not decided yet to send a package for a last resupply there or not.
Then came a big moment – crossing the Columbia river from Oregon to Washington via the Bridge of the Gods. The bridge is famously featured in the movie “Wild”:
Crossing the narrow bridge by foot, we got a nice greeting by the lady in the toll both – and a mix of friendly greetings and confused looks from drivers passing by…
A beer before noon to celebrate the last section of our PCT journey – the state of Washington. The trail started soon after the crossing to lead us back to the woods.
The vegetation looked differently. Lush green vegetation, big ferns… it always felt like rain forest. The expected climb turned out to be not too bad.
We found a campsite with water at 7.30pm around mile 2146 – 20 miles despite our late start and the celebration beer. Good start into Washington!
Food. Resupply shopping. Getting my gear ready for Washington. Shipping resupply boxes. And rest. So I will let the photos speak for themselves.
Special thanks to Helen and Al – the couple from Oregon had spent time last year at Tinkle’s family’s bed and breakfast in Switzerland. They got friendly with the family and offered help for Tinkle’s upcoming PCT hike. They were so kind and drove us to Portland for shopping and invited us for lunch. Thank you! That made our preparations for Washington so much easier – and I really enjoyed meeting you!
It was still light rain when I woke up with first light. It was comfortably enough in the tent, but the thought of getting out into the rain, having to hike 28 miles through the rain to make it to Cascade Locks was not the most attractive one…
So we stayed in our tents during breakfast, hoping for the rain to stop. At least it changed to just a drizzle when we finally got out and packed our tents. While my tent had held up well during the night, I realized that I had pitched it in a small ditch last night. Water had collected right under the tent and pushed through the floor into the tent. I did not have too much water inside, but the tent itself was soaked with water and mud.
Still I had to pack it and get everything into my pack. We started hiking with rain gear – in my case just my thin wind/rain jacket and short pants and the pack protected by a rain cover.
With 28 miles to go and cold wind and continuing rain, we reduced the breaks to a minimum. It took maybe 30 minutes to get my feet inside the Salomon Ultra X shoes soaking wet.
The clouded sky stayed dark the whole day – walking through the dark forest foggy from low hanging clouds was really special. A new experience after 4 months good weather on trail. But thruhiking can not just mean good weather hiking I guess…
Despite being wet and cold in the beginning, I enjoyed the experience.
There were so many blueberry bushes along the trail. Eating the ripe blueberries washed by the rain was delicious… The only way I want to eat blueberries from now on… 😁
The rain finally stopped and with hiking fast, I was able to get warm even with just the thin rain gear I had. The thought of getting my better weather gear from a box shipped by my good friend Steven to Cascade Locks was helping.
The last few miles offered views onto Cascade Locks.
Today would be the last hiking day in Oregon. The PCT famous Bridge of Gods in Cascade Locks leads into Washington, the last chapter of my PCT journey. It was an amazing last hiking day that Oregon provided. Short before Cascade Locks, I saw a bear cub, a snake and a group of deer – as if the animals were wishing a farewell…
We made it around 7.45pm into Cascade Locks. Two rest days (zero miles days) are planned. Good to dry the gear and get some rest before heading into Washington.
Woke up 6.45am to make it in time for the breakfast buffet at the Timberline Lodge at 7.30am.
The food was really great. Half of the restaurant’s guests were hungry hikers. And we made good use of the buffet… I had two full plates of egg, sausages, potatoes, waffles, pancakes… And another two plates with fruits, pastries and cake. And at least four cups of coffee.
With the bellies full and power banks recharged we left the lodge around 11am.
After the first miles, we ran into a volunteer from the USFS (US Forest Service), doing statistics on the trail usage and rewarding thruhikers with candy. We took an alternate for several miles – the Paradise Loop trail that MathMan, a thruhiker from 1975 had recommended to us two days earlier.
Skies were clouded most of the time. The great views from the morning on Mt Jefferson and the nearby Mt Hood didn’t last. The PCT close to the lodge was overrun by day hikers, so we moved fast and missed the 2100 miles marker. Not an issue – we created our own on the Paradise Loop trail with Mt Hood as background.
We walked in the afternoon with dark clouds and few rain drops. During a last short break at a forest road, I saw two day hikers having trouble to start their car. The battery was empty. We volunteered helping to push it on the street and down the hill to get it started – it worked! The good deed of the day. They were very relieved… With no cellphone service in the forest, getting help would have become difficult.
We pushed on to make it to about 22 miles today despite the late start to a tentsite with water. That would still leave 28 miles to go to Cascade Locks tomorrow.
We made it to the tentsite just at nightfall at 8.15pm, pitched tents and collected water with headlamp. With the night came rain… First real rain on trail. I cooked my dinner while sitting in the tent and ate inside.
Alarm 6.15am, breakfast, on trail at 7.30am. Cold in the mornings as we are getting more North and closer to Washington.
First stop after a couple of miles at Little Crater lake.
We continued on through the forest with a cloudy sky, definitely looking like rain is coming.
The climb to Timberline Lodge from 4000 to 6000 feet was strenuous, with the trail getting sandy. But the expectation to reach the lodge and with that getting dinner was motivation to push on.
Made it to the lodge at 6pm. We had pizza and beer at the Blue Ox bar.
When we left after dinner to find a tentsite in a small forest above the lodge, it had gotten really cold at our altitude of 6000 feet. We hurried with pitching the tents and got into the sleeping bags quickly. Some hikers returned after more beer at the lodge later to the tentsite…. one guy had fun playing loud music from his bluetooth speaker late at night…
Woke up at 6.15am, nice breakfast with lots of food from the shop, including a cinnamon roll. When the shop opened at 7am, I also got a coffee there.
Some small talk with an older hiker that I had already chatted with yesterday evening. It turned out he is a trail angel out of San Diego when he offered us freshly made breakfast burritos. 😁 His trail name is Otzi, he through hiked the PCT in 1975!
We accepted the burritos gladly and carried them as second breakfast for the 10 miles morning break…
Lunch and water break at Warm Springs river, 19 miles in. We joined Happy Hermit and Paradise in their shady spot.
We kept on hiking in the evening until 8pm. Looking for a protected tentsite, we passed Happy Hermit’s and Paradise’s campsite. The clouds looked like rain was coming, so we wanted something less exposted to wind.
We finally came to a very beautiful spot right at Timothy Lake, another hiker Dang had already a fire going and invited us to join.