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.
Cold morning, so we got a bit later start at 7.15am. Bobby Lake offered spectacular views with the rising of the sun.
We saw signs from an ultra trail run (100km) and ran into a station shortly after. We chatted with the people there and got some trail magic… Got some snacks and moved on.
We took water at 7 miles in at Charlton lake but continued on without break. We needed to reduce our breaks to make more miles. We planned to filter in another two miles where cellphone reception was expected. We did some online ordering for gear replacement at Amazon and REI.
Today we ran into Pinecone, Medicine Man and Sharpshooter a couple of times.
Next stop at Stormy Lake at 2.15pm. Took a bath and thoroughly washed, had lunch and relaxed.
Just before leaving, Crumbs showed up. Some smalltalk, then we left.
Arrived at a tentsite above Cliff Lake at 7.15pm. Pitched the tents, got dinner and slept before nightfall.
Slept long and well at the Shelter Cove campground, the night was comfortably cool. But I realized that my sleeping pad is loosing air… again. I had it replaced just before the Sierra and now it was loosing air again. Probably not a puncture but maybe a failure of the valve – just in the early morning I hit the floor. Will try to get it replaced again – hope Thermarest / Cascade Designs is again customer friendly.
Went for breakfast around 8.30am. We were hanging out a bit longer, using internet, having snacks and another shower. Chatted with Medicine Man, Sharpshooter and Pinecone – they have also been hiking as a group for long time and we ran into them again and again. Left Shelter Cove finally around 1.30pm.
A 1000 feet climb was waiting, but with the short hiking day yesterday and today’s late start, the hiking went well. We had missed the 1900 miles marker, so we created our own.
Made use of a water cache at mile 1913.
Pitched the tents at Bobby Lake at mile 1915 around 7pm.
With just 6 miles left and leaving at 6am, made it to the highway before 8am. Crumbs and I were walking together to the the highway and met another hiker from Switzerland who had already called a trail angel for a ride. We were lucky – with basically no waiting time, we got into Ashland!
I went to the motel where Cactass and Tinkle were sharing a room with three other hikers. My early arrival was a surprise and being reunited was really nice! But it also meant good bye again soon after! Cactass is attending some weddings in September and for that, she decided to skip forward a couple of days to Crater lake.
With Cactass gone, we spent the rest of town time shopping for food, eating and resting. I used the life long Darn Tough socks warranty the first time and exchanged a pair with holes with a new one in the Mountain Provisions shop in Ashland.
It was also time for my forth pair of shoes:
First was Salomon X Ultra Mid, 0-700 miles
Second Lowa Camino Leather for the Sierras, 700-1100 miles
Third Salomon X Ultra 1100-1700
Fourth Salomon X Ultra 1700-?
The smoke situation from the forest fires is quite bad, especially around Ashland.
You see many people with filter masks on their faces on the streets – we will check out a local hardware store before hitting the trail later.
Besides the usual town activities (Lots of shopping for food, eating, relaxing), I did another shakedown! We need to increase the miles, and less gear will help… I also changed a lot of my gear.
On its way to Steven: Lowa leather boots, gloves, flint striker, platypus bottle, belt, long johns, Chromecast, solar charger, journal, pen, PCT sticker and pin. Some of items I will need again when getting into the cooler North/Washington.
Into trash: two pairs of socks, short running pants without pockets, Icebreaker top with too many holes.
New: Salomon trail runners X Ultra, TNF shorts with pockets, Arc’teryx hoodie as new base layer. One new pair Darn Tough socks.
The shakedown will reduce my pack weight probably around half a kilo. Changing from boots to trail runners is another big step for me…
Short break for an energy bar in a meadow full of flowers around 10.30am.
Lunch break at 12pm with Tinkle but without Cactass – she wants to push further. Wolf Creek at mile 1039.
Plan is to camp at mile 1049 Small Sherrold Lake – that would make it a 21 miles day – the first 20+ since entering the Sierra about a month ago. But I start feeling the pressure… Nearly three months on trail, but the midpoint still is 200+ miles out. Still believing in the Oregon wonder… 😉 After the midpoint at 1325 miles, many hikers increased their mileage significantly due to the flat land in Northern California and Oregon…
Caught up with Cactass. We heard about trail magic at Ebbots pass. Made it there around 5.30pm. And what a trail magic! Despite of July 4th, a nice couple offered hot dogs, sodas, beer, fruit, snacks…. Best trail magic I had on trail!
They also had some magic like energy bars, gear, even new socks sponsored by SNAC – thanks for the merino socks!
Had two beers there and another one to go.. our planned camp site was just another half mile out.
A nice evening with bellies full of magic, beers and sparklers for July 4th!