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.
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…
Got up 6am, had breakfast outside our tents with a view on Mt Jefferson, left campsite at 7.15am.
After taking water at Milk Creek at mile 2025, we ran into MathMan, an older section hiker. We chatted a bit – he thruhiked the PCT in 1975, now section hiking 100 miles of the Oregon PCT. An impressive guy. He recommended to take an alternate to the PCT right after the Timberline Lodge – the Paradise Loop trail, his favorite part of the trail.
Had our lunch break at water around 15 miles in, nice campsite with shade. Happy Hermit and Paradise showed up shortly later and joined us.
We pushed on another 11 miles to Olallie Lake. The small shop there was actually an unplanned resupply stop for us. But since it was right on trail, we headed for it and made it at 7.20pm, in time before it closes at 8pm.
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.
We got an early start at the water cache, on trail 6.30am.
Found the trail head for the Oregon Skyline Trail (OST) and started the hike for about 20 miles towards Shelter Cove. A shop for resupply, potentially a shower, laundry and some hot food were waiting for us.
We did 10 miles by 10 and walked a bit further to the Whitefish Horse Campground for tap water and an early lunch break in the shade.
Continued through the heat and humidity. We walked behind a family riding horses on the OST for quite a while. The trail was so dusty… Dust everywhere and the horses created even bigger clouds of dust.
But the trail was easy to walk and we made good progress towards Shelter Cove. The Oregon Skyline Trail is an alternate to the PCT. We had expected better views – at the end it was again lots of trees and some lakes with mosquitoes.
The last section just before Shelter Cove was beautiful – following a river leading into Shelter Cove.
With just 20 miles today, we made it early enough to Shelter Cove for all the errands we had planned. We ran into Happy Hermit leaving the resort already – he had been taking a dip in the lake instead of a shower and was heading back to trail.