Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 142 - Urich Camp to wa2379

Phew, last night was tough. All three of us were tented inside the hut, up in the loft. And it was very hot up there. The trail maintainers kept the stove on, and all the heat came up to make a dry sauna around us.
Sizzler was the first to break. He took off his tent, and set it up outside on the porch. I was already napping, when Slaughterhouse got up and went to the porch as well, without her tent.
I tried setting my sleeping pad outside of my tent, thinking it will be significantly less hot without it. It was the same terrible, searing, dry heat. So I also got up, took my quilt, pad and improvised pillow, climbed down from the loft, and went to the porch.
Outside it was cold, and the porch was already crowded with Sizzler's tent and Slaughterhouse on the floor. I managed to squeeze in, just blocking the door to the hut, which opened directly on me. But once under my quilt, it quickly got warm enough, and I slept well.
I did wake up twice to sit while the inhabitants of the hut opened the door, so they could step outside to take a piss. But other than that it was a good spot.
In the morning, I got up and decided I'd get back up to the loft for a quick nap, if I could handle the heat. But when I got up I noticed it was already 6:30, so it's time to start packing anyway.
Sizzler and Slaughterhouse also got up a minute later, and we packed our stuff quickly at the loft, then went back to the porch to have breakfast. All the trail maintainers were still asleep by the time we left, so I couldn't thank anybody again for their hard work.
The weather was much like yesterday, all foggy and cold. For the first half of the day I couldn't see any views, except from an occasional quick window in the fog, which showed me some green hills on the other side of some valley.
After a while, the fog lifted, or maybe I just entered the one valley which wasn't all covered. The skies were still overcast, so I didn't get much sun today, but at least I started seeing nice views again.
I had a ton of huckleberries today, every time passing more and more clusters of bushes. Some of the berries were huge, but even the smaller ones were tasty. I was going for the "fill my hand with berries and chug them all" technique, as opposed to the "from bush to mouth" one. But it's all good.
I almost didn't need to fill up any water, because the cold weather made me drink less. I finally came to the spring with the "spongy ground", I was hoping to camp by. At first I completely missed it, bit then I decided to check Halfmile's app, and discovered it was already 0.05 miles behind me. Good thing I checked.
Going back a bit, I noticed there is no chance of camping there. It was all slanted and wet. Not exactly muddy, but not good for camping. I filled up water for dry camping, then headed out. I figured there is a dirt road about a mile further, and I might find a spot by it.
Going on a few minutes, I just found a nice spot over here, on some old, overgrown dirt road. There is a tree in the middle of the road, so no fear of being run over by anyone at night.
Just before making dinner, Slaughterhouse passed by. She said she is going to do a few more miles today. Sizzler went by shortly after, going further as well. I'll see them both tomorrow at Snoqualamie Pass.
Urich hut, with Sizzler and Slaughterhouse
Eating a big load of huckleberries

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Day 141 - Dewey Lake to Urich Camp

Another really fun day today.
I got up with 6:30, after snoozing the alarm at 6:00. We were still under the same cloud that rolled in last night, and it was chilly outside.
I left the campsite just a bit after Sizzler, and headed out to Chinook Pass. I met him down the trail, as he was hiking along with Buck-30, who apparently camped just a bit further than us last night. I was just raising their expectations about getting Copper Tone's trail magic down at the road, when we passed a couple of hikers going south, and they were telling us he is there.
We got to the road, and to his trailer, and met Landslide & Handbrake. Nobody got any ice cream, because of the miserable weather and constant drizzle. But we got bananas and hot tea.
Hiking on, we were walking together and chatting. It felt really nice. We had no views through most of the day, because if the fog all around. For some sections I was hiking with Buck-30 alone, but we later met Sizzler at a spring, and hiked together with him again.
Finally, we stopped for s short lunch at 15:00 with 10 miles to go. It seemed as though the rain had stopped for the day, so I took off my rain jacket. Putting on some music afterwards, I hiked faster in order to finish up the day.
Sizzler and I were aiming at a nice shelter, one of the few on the pct. Buck-30 preferred to camp a few miles before, because he was worried the shelter would be full of weekend hikers from Seattle.
Just after passing Sizzler, the rain started again. I had about 5 more miles to go, so I just put back my jacket, and kept on walking without stopping. The rain got pretty bad, and I was completely drenched. I was just happy I'm heading for a shelter, so at least it'll be dry.
Right after 18:00 I got here, and was pleasantly surprised. This shelter is awesome - completely enclosed hut, with the fire burning, warm and nice inside. I got enough space to set up my tent inside in the loft, for some privacy and to protect my food from the mice. Slaughterhouse is here, and Sizzler arrived just when I was finishing my dinner.
There is a family of three trail maintainers currently here. They gave us hotdogs for dinner, and I got a zucchini, because I didn't eat the hotdog. That was nice.
We sat on the porch outside for a while, talked and saw some elk in the fog. Now, back up at the loft, we are being slowly cooked. I hope we will survive the night here. It's very dry and hot inside.
The great views we had today
Just another mushroom

Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 140 - White Pass to Dewey Lake

After a nice night at the inn, I headed out and hit the trail at 8:15. I was hoping to get some breakfast at the trail magic by the trail head, but everyone there were still asleep when I passed by.
The trail was nice and easy, and I quickly met some hikers going south. Papi skipped from Cascade Locks up to the Canadian border, to finish the trail going southbound. He'll be done in about a week, just in time to get there for pct days celebration. Sounds nice.
The trail throughout the day was pretty nice, even though I didn't get any spectacular views like yesterday. There were some climbs, but nothing exceptionally hard.
The weather was fine during the first half of the day, with sunshine and some clouds in between. But in the afternoon it got all overcast, and I was worried we'd get a thunderstorm soon.
About 7 miles before the end I got a good view towards Mt Rainier. Couldn't see most of the actual mountain because of the clouds. But I bet it was a good spot to look upon it in clear weather.
I passed Landslide & Handbrake a bit later, and then I bumped into Twice. I last saw him in Mammoth Lakes, some 1400 miles ago. He got up almost to the half point of the trail, and then flip flopped up to the border and started heading south, to avoid the hot northern Californian summer. It was nice seeing him again.
A bit further on I met Sizzler. We were talking about pushing further all the way to Chinook Pass, and he gave me all of his reasons why not, and convinced me. I headed on to stop at Dewey Lake, and was glad when he joined me at the campsite.
We had a very nice chat here at camp, over dinner and setting up camp. It seems we will be getting to Snoqualamie Pass on the same day, so I'll probably see more of him in the next few days.
A big mushroom
Pipe Lake
Dewey Lake

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Day 139 - Campsite near PCT mile 2283 to White Pass

Another great day on the trail.
I headed out of camp at 7:20, enjoying the morning view of Mt Adams to the south. After a short hike I reached the famous Goat Rocks. The views just kept getting better, with a view over to St Helen's to the west now.
The weather was a bit chilly throughout the morning, and it was also a little windy.
I just kept stopping and taking photos, when after a short climb Mt Rainier suddenly popped into view. That was a very nice moment. For a while I could see all three mountains.
The trail then climbed up close to Old Snowy, and reached the Knife's Edge. I thought it was just a short walk, but it was a long section with quite scary drops to both sides. I had great views to two great valleys below, and Rainier up ahead. Definitely the best section I've hiked through recently.
The valleys all around were under clouds, and I worried that once I get down there it will be all foggy, but it all cleared once the sun came out a bit later.
Once I got to the road, I saw signs on the trail about an upcoming trail magic. Passing through the parking area, I thought I had missed it, but on the road, I saw they were on the other side - Chef and Ghost were cooking for hikers, while Buck-30, Dewey, Slaughterhouse, Tick Tock and Banjo were sitting around and enjoying their time.
Rock Ocean was also there, with Veganaise and Brittany. And a reporter from a local newspaper doing a piece on the pct. She interviewed me on video. That was scary.
I had a veggie burrito made by chef, then headed down to the White Pass Inn to get my package and a room for the night. Everyone else were heading out on the trail.
At the store I met Landslide & Handbrake, who just did laundry and were heading out, and Sizzler.
I first met Sizzler at the kick off, on his first day. I also saw him for a second in Tahoe. He wanted to but a small bottle of whiskey, and the lady at the store called her son to bring some over from town. He then brought over a big glass bottle of Black Velvet. He ended up getting a small 10oz plastic bottle with whiskey, and bringing me the rest. I think I'll just drop it off at Chef & Ghost at breakfast tomorrow.
Mt St Helen's
Mt Rainier
The knife's edge
I thought it was a bear, at first. It's a marmot
A fog covered valley

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 138 - Lava Spring to campsite near PCT mile 2283

Today I had a good day.
I had my oatmeal breakfast with the section hikers I camped with last night - Ray, Allan, Joanne and Warren - they were surprised I don't drink coffee and eat more on the mornings.
Heading out, I met Mrs McGyver & Veggie Gourmet at the next water source. They camped at the campsite 0.5 a mile before the Lava Spring, but got up early and passed me before I got up.
It was supposedly the last water source for the next 15 miles, so I filled up 2.5 liters before continuing my hike. There was a very nice little stream in the middle of that section, so I drank some fresh cold water there as well.
About 4 miles before the Walupt Creek, I stopped for lunch, along with other section hikers. They were also heading to White Pass, like the hikers from last night. We had a nice conversation. People are starting to congratulate me on my hike... I still have some hard miles ahead of me, but it's nice.
I made a final quick stop at the Walupt Creek, had another Clif Bar, and headed on to my last section of the day.
The trail started climbing along an exposed ridge, which gave some very nice views on Mt Adams to the south.
I met a couple of southbounders that told me they did the section from Snoqualamie to Stevens Pass several weeks ago, and that it's not that much harder. So that's encouraging. But anyway - it doesn't matter how hard it will actually be, I'll do it.
The trail went over a nice pass and into an Indian reservation. The valley was a classic glacial valley, with a loud waterfall on the far side. It was very impressive. The trail went along the side, and over another pass - Cispus Pass - into another glacial valley, which seemed even more impressive.
I went further, crossed the Cispus river, and filled up water for dry camp at a nice waterfall I saw from the top of the pass. I was planning to camp about 2 miles further, and I didn't know if I'd have more water source closer to the campsite.
Well - there were. I crossed many little streams, and finally reached the campsite. It is just by a nice little stream. So I carried 4 liters of water for nothing. Never mind - it was a short distance.
Over here, I pitched my tent pretty close to someone else's tent, but they were not around to ask if they'd mind. There is another couple who left their backpacks at the site, and went to sit outside on the meadow to enjoy the sun and the view on Mt Adams. I am also sitting here, cooking my dinner in the nice view.
Ray, Allan, Joanne and Warren
Where, indeed?
Climbing up to the first pass
Nice lava formations, reminds me of The Devil's Postpile
Just another valley
Mt Adams from tonight's campsite

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 137 - Trout Lake to Lava Spring

I got up tired and drained of energy, like yesterday. I was hoping that it will get better on the trail.
Justin and I had breakfast at the restaurant. I had a big portion of eggs and hash browns. That was nice. I later packed my things and tried calling the numbers posted at the store, of people who will take hikers up to the trail.
I finally got hold of Steve, and he came by after 10 minutes to pick me up. He is a retired electrician, that moved here with his wife 5 years ago. He goes out hiking around the local trails at least once a week. Sounds like a good life to me.
Up at the trail head I saw Coppertone and Rock Ocean, before I headed back into the woods, at around 10:00. They told me that Mrs McGiver & Veggie Gourmet were up around. I thought they were 2 hours ahead of me, but I probably got it wrong, since I passed them 15 minutes later.
I haven't seen any other northbound hikers the whole day. I stopped at a very nice spring that gushed near the trail, with a tin bucket on a rope, to haul water up. The water were very good there.
The trail was climbing up the slopes of Mt Adams, but I could only see it occasionally through the trees.
Just after my next stop, I met a couple of section hikers who told me that right up ahead there's a spot where I can see St Helen's, Rainier, Hood and Adams up above me. I found the spot, and it was definitely very nice. Especially seeing Hood in the far distance.
The trail went over to the western slopes of Adams, and I got more views of the mountain from the creeks that surround it.
I was still feeling tired the whole day, even though there were no especially hard climbs, and the last five miles were all down hill. I finally got to Java Spring at 18:00. Definitely a slow day for me, but it doesn't matter.
The spring here is amazing, filling up a small pool with clear and cold water. I filled up my water, then washed my feet in the down stream, before going into the woods to the campsite. There are 4 section hikers here, going up to White Pass, and two going southbound, not sure how far. But there are plenty of camp spots on here, so it's not to crowded.
Mt St Helen's
Mt Hood
Mt Adams
Lava Spring

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 136 - Mosquito Creek to Trout Lake

Yesterday evening Rimshot & Kit, Juneau and Luna joined us at camp at around 20:00. This morning everyone was heading out to Trout Lake.
It was only 10 miles of easy hiking, and I only made one short stop in the middle. I finally got to Road 23 before 11:00, meeting both Copper Tone and Rock Ocean. They have been following the hiker herd since the beginning, and have only now met each other.
I sat there with them, getting my ice cream float and waiting for the others to catch up, so we will fill up Rock Ocean's van for a ride to town. The butterflies around kept landing on me, probably attracted to my salty sweat on my clothes. It was strange.
Finally everyone arrived, including Dewey and Justin, and we piled into the van and headed down into Trout Lake.
I was surprised to suddenly see Mt Adams right next to us, through the trees. I had no idea it was just there. I like seeing those big, snow covered mountains.
Down in town I went to the grocery store to get my package. They've got their own system for getting each hiker his own package - just get in the room, and search for it. The main problem is that they are all USPS priority boxes, and look the same. But I found mine.
Outside, on the picnic table, I've met Tick Tock, who got in yesterday from a previous road because of the thunder storm, and Buck-30 and Slaughterhouse, who got in earlier today. Almost everyone else around is heading back up to the trail today. I'm resting in town, since I'm still on track to finish on the 15th, and I have no need to rush anywhere.
I asked about the rooms at the grocery store, and they told me to talk to the hikers that are staying there. They have a room with a queen bed, and another with three single beds. But nobody around knew which hikers are staying in the rooms tonight - everyone was heading out.
I finally just went and washed. There is no shower, only a bath. It was strange, but it worked. When I got out I found my room mates - two southbounders - Roller Girl & Pilgrim. They were fine with me crashing with them in the room, but later they moved to the queen bed room, and Justin joined me in the singles room.
I had a nice hummus wrap from the cafe, along with huckleberry milkshake. And then I told everyone goodbye, before crashing for an afternoon nap. I felt drained of energy.
Before going to sleep, I met Oklahoma. He started having shin splints, he blames the new Hoka shoes he got for free at Hood River. He ordered three new pairs of shoes from Zappos, and he'll wait until they get here tomorrow, to decide which one he keeps, and which he'll send back. He joined Justin and me in the room.
After getting up in the evening, I didn't feel very hungry. But I felt like I should eat something, just for the calories. I went back to the restaurant with Oklahoma, and had a veggie burger. I couldn't even finish it.
When we were heading back to our room, a lady approached us and asked us if we know where she can get pot. We probably look like the local pot heads, with our beards and shabby clothes. We told her we are not from around, and have no idea.
She was in town for the UFO convention that just ended in a nearby ranch. She was half criticizing the crazy people over there, and half believing. She was definitely half nuts. Oklahoma invited her over to have some whiskey with us and we had a funny conversation at the picnic table about reptilian humans and Sasquatch. Strange, indeed.
I finally went to sleep at 22:00, way too late for me. But it was a fun evening.
A butterfly on my hand
Juneau, Kit & Rimshot sorting out their packages. Justin in the back.
The huckleberry pie Kit bought

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 135 - Crest Horse Camp to Mosquito Creek

After getting up and getting my gear in the morning, I went over for breakfast. I can get used to it. Besides the bacon, there were packages, eggs, and later hashbrowns. I was full after the eggs bit.
Tick Tock and Luna cake in right in the middle of breakfast, and later Rimshot & Kit and Juneau joined us as well. Only Slaughterhouse and the section hikers were leaving early, and we were all sitting around the fire, enjoying our time.
I finally got up and left at 9:00, knowing I have a short day of 20 easy miles. But I'd better start hiking it sometime.
The start of the hike has some climbing, but nothing serious. At least I got good cell signal from the top. I caught up to the section hikers, Jerry & Matt, Ford, Justin and Brian, at the first water source, in Green Lake.
I hiked rather slowly for a while, reaching my next planned snack stop a bit later than I anticipated. But a bit later I passed two day hikers that told me they left a cooler for pct hikers in the back of their truck on the next road crossing, so my pace naturally increased.
I reached the parking area, and caught up to Slaughterhouse and Justin. Slaughterhouse was just leaving, trying to bit the storm that was coming near us. I had my trail magic beer with Justin, and let with him to hike the remaining 4 miles into camp.
We quickly caught up with Jerry & Matt and Ford and hiked with them for a short while, between thunders. When the drops started falling, I put on my rain jacket, and then passed them as they were putting theirs. I caught up to Justin, and together we passed both Slaughterhouse and Buck-30, right before we got to camp.
As we were setting up our tents, already after the rain pretty much stopped falling, they both passed us and headed on for few more miles. Since I'm going into town tomorrow, 10 miles seems like a good place to stop. No sense of making it even shorter.
All the other section hikers stopped here as well. There is plenty of room around. I'm still surprised no other thru hiker had come here yet, or passed me today. I hope I see some of them in town tomorrow.
Some distant fire tower
Is this St Helena?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 134 - Campsite near pct mile 2178 to Crest Horse Camp

Joe heating up the chili
Trail magic indeed
After making 1 more mile last night, I decided I'll make 2 more today, just to make tomorrow easier. Those last miles at the end of the day seem pretty easy anyway.
At the beginning of the day I had a long hike down towards Trout Creek. I got some water there, and headed on to Wind River, and later to Panther Creek, where the big climb of the day started.
It was a long climb up with switchbacks, and I slowly worked my way up there. Just after I finished the switchback bit, I met a southbounder, Alaska Joe, who informed me of awesome trail magic at First Road 60, about 2.5 miles further from where I intended to camp. I'd do a few miles more for trail magic.
And so I headed on, for a longer day. The trail kept on climbing and climbing, and I passed Slaughterhouse. She was also headed to the trail magic spot.
Only after the Grassy Knoll Trail Junction, the climbing ended, and it was a long way down, followed by a stretch of leveled trail all the way to the end.
I finally reached the campsite, and the trail magic, at around 18:00. The place was already full of thru and section hikers. Idan was there, as well as Peanut & Dozen, and Buck-30, and some other thru hikers that actually went out later.
I was immediately invited to have dinner by Jon and Rob, which included hot dogs and meat chili. But I got an apple strudel and a water melon, and three beers. So I was happy. We set around the fire and had a nice chat until late, around 21:00, when I went over and crashed for the night.
Jon and Rob are section hiking on the PCT, Rob will be finished with Washington in a few weeks, hiking his last section. So they just wanted to come around and give back to PCT hikers. They really nailed it.
They had a scale, so everyone were weighing themselves, trying to figure out how much weight they lost on the trail. I am now at 155 pounds, which means I've lost 36 pounds so far. I think I'm not losing weight anymore. I really hope so, at least.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 132 - Zero day in Cascade Locks

In the morning, I went down to the park to meet with Rock Ocean. There was a bunch of hikers that also rode with us to Hood River, for the outfitter there. That will make my long ride a bit cheaper.
We left at 10:00, dropped the rest in Hood River, and he took me to the UPS center in The Dalles. We got there around 11:30, and I was looking around to see how I should enter, when I realized they only open at 14:30. I was really bummed and scared of be stuck there for three hours now, but I looked around, and saw someone getting out of the building. I immediately went to her and begged her to help me, since it was such a hassle just to get over there, and surprisingly she agreed. She found the package, and I finally got the damn phone. Success!
We went back to Hood River, where I had some time to buy a new pair of hiking poles at the outfitter. I got a pair of Leki's aluminum poles. They are much heavier than the ones I had, but I hope they won't snap until the end of the hike. I also got some gas canisters, after deciding to use had, and not alcohol, for Washington.
Oklahoma and I had to buy our full resupply for the whole of Washington, so we went to the Walmart. That was a bust, so late we had to drag everyone over to the Safeway's, which was much better, and we finally got everything we needed.
Back in my room, I arranged all of my resupply boxes. That was a pain. I had to go to the post office two times, every time carry three packages. A pain indeed.
Thanks to Rock Ocean I got the phone
My resupply for the whole of Washington.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 131 - Indian Spring Campground to Cascade Locks

I noticed some rain drops falling on my tent during the night, but I wasn't ready to get outside early in the morning and be inside a cloud.
I saw Rimshot just before I left the campsite, and headed down the Indian Creek trail. It was quite a steep trail. Definitely not the pct. After 2 miles I got to the Eagle Creek trail, which was much less steep.
Sadly, just at the junction between those two trails, I slipped down on my ass, and snapped my pole again. This time, I don't have any pole sections to get another pole. So no poles for the day.
The trail was very nice, hiking near many waterfalls, and along the flowing creeks. The first big waterfalls was quite impressive, but I wasn't ready for the Tunnel Falls.
I just took a photo of a nice cliff side with trees at the top, took two more steps, and suddenly the Tunnel Falls were there. The cool thing about it is of course the tunnel that goes behind the waterfall.
There were a lot of day and weekend hikers on the trail. Since I started hiking very early, I passed along many still in there tents, and later I met many day hikers that just started climbing up the creek.
I finally got down to the parking area at about 10:30, and from there it was another 2 miles to Cascade Locks. When I got to town I called the Best Western and realized they are as expensive as ever. I went to the Cascade Locks Motel, which wasn't too cheap as well, but I got a ton here for two nights.
The town is nice and small. I had a veggie sandwich at the Char Burger, and later finally got my room and showered and did laundry.
Then I tried calling the dial-a-ride to try and figure or a way to get to The Dalles tomorrow, to pick up the phone I ordered. I was very bummed to discover that I won't be able to get there by bus, since with their schedule, I'll only get back here after 17:00. A whole day wasted.
I asked at the motel's office, and later at the tourist information, how I can get to The Dalles. They didn't give me any useful tips. I then went down to the park, where all the hikers were camping for free. I was so happy to see Rock Ocean's van - he shuttles hikers around, usually from trail heads to town, but also when they need to get someplace else. I talked to him about getting me to The Dalles tomorrow, and he agreed. It will really help me a lot.
I went around to Shrek's and met Idan. We went for pizza dinner at the Ale House, and later went back to the park, and had beer with other hikers at the brewery.
Strange Bird was also hanging around. He also shuttles hikers around. And Geared Up, who just finished the AT several weeks ago, was offering a ride to Portland. I was thinking about getting to the rei there, to buy new poles, but the phone is more important.
Just a waterfall
And another one
And here's the Tunnel Waterfall
View down from the high bridge
First view of The Bridge Of The Gods
Hikers at the Cascade Locks brewery

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 130 - Sandy River to Indian Spring Campground

Today I made a short day, leaving 16 miles for tomorrow's hike into Cascade Locks.
After getting up a bit later than usual, at 7:00, I hope the Sandy River crossing will be easier this morning. It wasn't. I went up stream for quite a distance, looking for a good place to ford the rushing waters. I couldn't find any. After a while I finally decided I'd just wade through, as another hiker I have just seen advised me. I found a spot where the river was a bit calmer, took off my shoes, socks and pants, and crossed. It wasn't a wide river, only 2-3 steps. And the water only reached my ankles. Bit it was really cold. I set a while on the other side, waiting for my feet to dry, before putting everything back on, and heading out.
After finding the trail on the other side of the river, I got to the Ramona Falls trail. It's only a 2.1 alternate, that skips 2.1 miles of the PCT, and goes by the falls. I was hoping to see some impressive waterfalls, but it wasn't really worth it. It did remind me of Amicalola Falls in Georgia, only much smaller.
I met a hiker that plans on doing the Timberline Trail, 40 miles around Mt Hood, in 2 days. He started yesterday with 10 miles to Sandy River, and he plans on running the remaining 30 today. When he left Ramona Falls, he got in the old pct going up, instead of the trail that goes down towards the new pct. I had to run after him and call out for him, while he was running up and listening to music, to let him know he is on the wrong trail. Later, after crossing the Muddy Ford, he again took off to the right, instead of following the correct trail to the left. He figured that one out on his own, several minutes later.
After passing Lolo Pass road, I had some cell reception and called home. Oregon hasn't been THAT bad with at&t reception. I hope Washington will be the same.
I saw some day hikers going south, and had some short conversations with them. I passed a couple of northbound section hikers that told me Idan was just a bit ahead, and that he plans on getting to the same campground as me. Later, I passed Heidi and Miranda, two more section hikers who will finish Oregon tomorrow at the state line. They seemed really tired, and said they had not enough food left. I have them a couple of Clif Bars.
I wasn't sure there are any campsites further on the Eagle Creek trail, the alternate I plan on taking down to town, so I stopped right at the first spot I saw, by the spring. Heidi and Miranda got here a bit later, and paid me back with packets of Fruit Snacks they had. They continued down the trail, as apparently according to Guthook's app there are plenty of campsites further on.
I later heard some singing, and went down to see there are more campsites right here between the trees. I met Tali, who just came here to hike around for several days. The two section hikers from before also campus around here. I did not see Idan, but he might be not far off.
I finally finished listening to my audio book today, The Brothers Karamazov. I quite enjoyed most of it, though some of the theological bits went over my head. I was surprised to hear it was recorded by a company from Ashland, Oregon. Maybe next time I'd pay them a visit.
Well, town tomorrow. Can't wait for a shower and laundry combo, and town food.
Ramona Falls
Crossing the Muddy Fork
Mt Hood, again

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 129 - Seeping Spring to Sandy River

Had a very nice day today.
I got up and left camp by 7:20. Once again, I was the first. Foggy Goggles & Soul Craft did not show any signs of getting up, and Six Pack was just sitting in his sleeping bag.
The first few miles down to Wapinitia Pass were nice, and I suddenly noticed the big mountain to the left of the trail - Mt Hood.
Down at the pass, in the parking area, I got good cell reception. That's always nice. But after a short break I headed on.
The next road crossing, near Barlow Pass, was about 5 miles later. I had another short stop there. And from there, the trail went up Mt Hood, until I finally reached the famous Timberline Lodge.
The lodge is up at 6000 feet, the mountain peak is above it, at over 11000. It's a very posh and expensive place, full of people on vacation, who got there by car. Inside, I saw many backpacks laying around, and had trouble finding a free outlet to charge my phone. Damn hiker trash!
I got there at 13:00, in time for the lunch buffet. It's rather pricey, at $19.5. But it felt good stuffing myself on all those salads. Everything was vegetarian, except for the pasta salad and the meat. So I ate all the other salads. And then had one of each dessert.
I checked out the tracking information on the phone I had ordered. It seems as though it for such at The Dalles. A town about 40 miles east of Cascade Locks. Asking UPS about it, they said that it's because I sent it to general delivery at a post office, without giving a full address. Calling Google, they said they can't change the address for security reasons. Seems like I have a trip to The Dalles in the near future. At least there is a bus there from Cascade Locks.
I hung out with some of the other hikers in there. Idan was there since the morning, and finally left in the afternoon. Buck-30 also came in early, and plans to hike out only a few miles later. Rimshot & Kit and Juneau were also spending a full day there. I also saw Peanut & Dozen, Oklahoma, Whistles, some other hikers I didn't recognize, and some southbounders. Black Hawk Down came in after lunch buffet was over, but I think he still got some food, and was planning to stay for the night.
I hiked out at 16:30, with 9 more miles left to do. The trail was mostly going down, on this side of the mountain. There were many day hikers around. Mt Hood itself kept peeping around every corner with nice views of the peak.
I finally reached the Sandy River just before 20:00. At first I wanted to cross it, and camp at the campsite on the other side, but the current seemed strong, and I couldn't find a good spot to cross.
Finally I gave up. I will cross it in the morning, when it will be a bit less strong. I went back up the trail a bit, and joined a campsite with a group of 3 hikers that came over to do the Timberline Trail. Two of them are from the east coast, and they came over to visit the this, and hike this 40 miles trail around Mt Hood.
The other campsites around are also taken by hikers, though I don't think I saw thru hikers around.
A giant road I luckily didn't step on
Mt Hood
Timberline Lodge

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 128 - Trooper Spring to Seeping Spring

Today I had 4 great trail moments.
The first one was when I got at&t cell reception at mile 2077.5, under the power lines. I called home, and it really made my day.
The second was when I got to forest road 57, Copper Tone was there with his trail magic ice cream floats. There was a bunch of hikers there, including Banjo, Peanut & Dozen, Six Pack (whom I just met), Foggy Goggles & Soul Craft and some others.
I stayed there for about half an hour, and then headed out at 14:30 to finish the remaining 9 miles of the day. I only hiked for about 1.5 miles, when I came to a sign stating there is trail magic at the Timothy Lake campground, only 0.25 miles of trail. The sign had me at "trail magic", but it also had "Indian food" written on it. Awesome!
I hiked down the side trail, and found the 55th Cascadia scouts, that came to the campground from Portland, to do PCT trail magic for two days. Great timing. Each scout brought something for the hikers - sodas, lemonade, cupcakes, fruits, vegetables, they had it all. And the Indian food was the best meal I've had on the trail.
I was the first hiker to follow the sign down to their campsite, and really enjoyed all the magic bestowed on me. Shortly afterwards Peanut & Dozen joined in, and after a while some other hikers, that just half an hour ago were trapped at Copper Tone's trail magic for a while. It made it hard to do the miles this way.
After finishing my meal and some desserts, and after testing a while to let it all go down, I finally heard out at about 16:30. I still had about 8 miles to do today.
I met Black Hawk Down about half way there. He was camping by the lake, after a long day for him. I hope I'll see him tomorrow at the lodge, for lunch.
I also met a southbounder a bit later, my 17th, I think. I told her she should push on to the trail magic. It would be a great place to spend the night at.
The fourth thing was that I had Rock'n'roll Suicide on my random music shuffle just as I was getting to camp. An excellent song to finish the day with.
I finally reached Seeping Spring right before 19:00. Nobody else had come here since, even though some were planning on hiking even further today, to make it for breakfast at the lodge tomorrow. I hope somebody will join me anyway.
I will try sleeping today with both of my tent flaps opened. Hopefully I won't get so much condensation on my tent walls, like I had this morning.
I have cooked dinner, though I'm not really hungry. I figured that if I can eat it, I might as well. I can use the calories. So here it goes...
Just nice leaves colors
Copper Tone's trail magic
The 55th Cascadia's trail magic
... And Indian food