Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 133 - Cascade Locks to campsite near pct mile 2178

After 23 miles, and about 6600 feet of climbing, I can safely say from experience that Washington is a piece of cake. Famous last words.
But today wasn't too hard, I was happy to discover. Yes, there were plenty of climbs. But I don't recall anything specifically tough.
In the morning, after eating my breakfast and packing up, I went over to find Oklahoma. Last night, just as I went to bed, he sent me a message that I forgot my jacket at the restaurant, and he got it for me. That's good, I'd need my jacket soon, I expect.
While packing, I also noticed I lost my buff. I remember vaguely taking it off when I went to eat at the Char Burger. Maybe I forgot it there. Damn it. I bought some sun tan lotion to put on my neck. I hate sun tan lotion.
I finally got up to the Bridge Of The Gods at 9:30, and started my crossing. There is no special pedestrian lane over there, so hikers just walk on the left, on front of the incoming traffic. The lanes are quite narrow as it is, and there isn't much traffic, so the cars drive slowly on the bridge anyway.
Another thing that surprised me was that the bridge itself is made out of metal mesh, so you can see all the way down to the Colombia River. Quite a drop. Not fun if you are afraid of heights.
At the middle of the bridge there's the actual state line, with the "welcome to Washington" sign on the right.
After crossing the bridge, the trail stayed climbing on the other side of the gorge. I made my first break at the Gillette Lake campsite, which was very nice. I had nice views throughout the day, both back to the Colombia River, and towards the more mountainous north.
When I reached Rock Creek at 17:20, after 11 miles with no water, I passed Tick Tock. She started hiking around the same time as I did, maybe a bit later. It's not clear when she passed me. I hiked out of there first, aiming to go another 2.8 miles to some other water source, hoping there would be a campsite nearby. She said she might also try to get there.
I kept on hiking, and passed another nice campsite, with a section hiker staying there. The trail climbed towards my daily goal, and finally I reached it and it wasn't good - nice water, but no campsite around.
From there, the trail kept on climbing in some switchbacks, and I kept looking around, hoping to find some flat spot for the night. Everything around was covered with vegetation, and slanted. It seemed like I was out of luck.
I kept on climbing slowly, when I finally came upon a spot almost directly on the trail. It was also very small, and would barely fit my tent. I hiked on for two more minutes, hoping there is something better just around the corner, but I soon gave up and went back to that spot.
I set up my tent using my new hiking poles. They are much heavier than the old ones, but at least the locking mechanism works well, so it was easy to use them with the tent.
I made and ate dinner right on the trail. Just as I was finishing eating, a father and daughter passed me, going south. It's getting late. I hope they will get to the campsites down below the switchbacks soon.
I also hope Tick Tock didn't go to that water source I was talking about. She hasn't passed here yet, so I assume she stayed where I met her, or maybe at the next campsite I passed along the way.
Starting to cross over to Washington
Are these blackberries?
Camping right next to the trail