Yet again, my friends. I’m in town. Well, a city. Portland, OR. Damn near finished the entire state of Oregon as I just arrived in Cascade Locks a few hours ago. I had planned on spending some time near the Columbia River (the OR/WA border), but up at the Locks, not here in such a large city. But since Timberline we’ve been walking past notes left by So Far (PCT ’03) inviting us hikers to his house. I was going to resist but lo and behold I finish breakfast in up in the mountains and my friends have already secured a ride with So Far’s roomate Gloves, leaving in 10 minutes. I make it sound like a difficult decision but really, a zero is just a natural part of thru-hiking, at least for someone who has taken nearly a month of zeros in the past four months. I’m now sitting in a cool coffee shop, using wifi, drinking San Pellegrino soda, and listening to weird music. Can’t do that on the trail! Zero, will come tomorrow. Today is but a nero. Besides the 57 miles that I had to skip, I’ve finished Oregon~! Washington will be finished by the 1st of October. I’ve picked up my foul weather gear and I’m ready to take it easy on the last leg. Only 510 miles to go.
Slept on the Eagle Creek Alternate trail last night. Boy, that’s an incredible trail. Eagle Creek is a must-do alternate. The trail passes by countless impressive waterfalls as it winds along sheer cliffs. Luckily, there a plenty of cables to hold on to should you slip. Most impressive is the famous Tunnel Falls. There is a tunnel drilled behind a waterfall nearly as large as the cascades of Yosemite Valley.
Yesterday we did about 30 miles, as we do every day. By “we”, I mean the great group of hikers I’ve been around since Sisters: Snail, Dr. Jones, Nemo, Pine-nut, Shera, Hot Sister and Pouch. Most are a part of the High Alpine Knitting Club, a group of hikers who have been taught to knit hats by Nemo and T-Bird. I am the newest member and am working on my first hat. Admitedly, it’s strange that a bunch of dudes are out here knitting. But it’s actually a good fit with thruhiking. We wear hats, it requires only sitting on your ass and shooting the shit, and it’s ultralight. Good stuff.
The day before on Mt. Hood, we litterally froze. I was about an hour behind the group pulling in to Timberline Lodge. Good thing becuase they got snowed on. I just got to spend an extra hour in wet, cold weather. My skimpy poncho was barely adequate. Thank goodness for the beautiful Timberline Lodge. We took most of the day off, posted by the fancy central fire place and had a hiker garage sale with gear spread out drying everywhere. Clearly, it was unacceptable behavior for a fancy hotel but it took them hours before they shooed us downstairs. Very nice people work there. Thanks!
Back in time a little more.. Getting out of Sisters was chaotic. And we had a ride. We all had to go around the fire closures. The grapevine tells of one hiker ahead of us who walked through the southern fire. He had flames on both sides of the trail and up to a foot of ash to wade through. Then he hit the fire line and was thankfully not busted by a group of Hot Shots. The only other hiker we’ve heard of that tried to walk through was caught and turned back. And that’s the southern, tame fire. The northern Puzzle fire is a total no-go I think. Anyways, back to getting around. I have no idea how hikers behind us are going to manage. We got a ride up to Brietenbush Lake. The road to the lake is a rough dirt road that is only trafficked by a few campers. It requires high clearance. The car full of hikers behind us couldn’t make it and everyone had to walk the last six miles, finally finishing at 2am. One of them had to carry the pack of a hiker that was in my car. Ugh, six miles with two loaded packs. Chaos. We were all pretty whipped so we barely hiked the next day. Had a great time lounging by Olallie Lake.