We left the PCT to take the Eagle Creek Trail. The trail goes through lush forests of oak and conifers. The plentiful rain is evident from the thick layer of moss covering tree, rock and trail like 70s shag green carpet. It was drizzling as we walked, but even if it hadn’t been, brushing against the wet vegetation would have soaked us. Still the trail was magnificent…. cut into a steep cliff above raging water, then leading us across wobbly bridges and alongside crashing waterfalls… and even behind Tunnel Falls.
Can you find Dan?
Despite the beauty of the trail we were miserable popsicles by the time we arrived in Cascade Locks on the Colombian River on day 139, August 12th. We warmed up a bit over pancakes at Charburger… and also managed to nab some food others had left on their plates before the waitress cleared them. Yum! The waitress caught us in our desperate act, but must have just felt sorry for us because later she presented us with 2 free pieces of blackberry pie!
We also managed to get in touch w/Pacific Masai, Reddy & Rafiki, who had gotten there the day before. They’d rented a little RV across the street and said we could crash there. It was great to be re-united with our friends and our joy was complete when suddenly the rain stopped, the cloud parted and in about 10 minutes it was hot and sunny! This was brilliant since all our stuff was soaked but soon dried out in the sunshine.
In Cascade Locks we re-united with Burning Daylight & Jean Micheal who we hadn’t seen since the Sierras. We also met up with Mike, a section hiker from Portland we’d ran into the day before at Indian Springs. And Slim showed up too. Sadly Pacific Masai was getting off trail because of time & money constraints. But the rest of us were headed on to Washington! Considering how long California was, I couldn’t believe we were already done with Oregon!
Day 134– We had a very sad departure from Bend on August 7th… and to make matters worst horrible cold drizzly weather awaited us on the trail. We met another thru-hiker, Pacific Masai, and hiked with him as we got progressively wetter and colder. Rafiki & Reddy took off flying and we didn’t see them again till Cascade Locks. Thankfully the rain dissipated and friendly weekend hikers shared their Giradelli chocolate with us. They even had a mini-keg but it was far too chilly to have a cold beer. The next morning Day 135 we were still in a damp cloud and I was beginning to think weeks of horrid weather awaited when the KABOOM the clouds cleared and we were greeted by great glacial Mt Jefferson.
Day 136 More blue sky awaited as we approached Mt Hood. And by day 137 we were climbing the deep sand at its base up to arrive at Timberline Lodge, built with local materials by skilled artisans in the 1930s as part of Roosevelt’s WPA. The architecture and design of the lodge is beautiful, but towering Mt Hood – whose glaciers provide year-round skiing – was even more captivating.
Sandy & Snowy Mt Hood
Day 118 we arrived in Ashland in the midst of a heatwave. Forrest, the backpacker we’d met earlier, lived in Ashland and he & his family invited us to stay with them. His parents, Steve & Mary, were both doctors and shared 1 full time job at a low-income health clinic. They also had a daughter named Emma. The whole family was incredibly welcoming and we had a fabulous time chatting with them over a gourmet dinner that Dan whipped up.
The next day (day 119) Forrest & Emma gave us the grand tour of Ashland which lived up to its amazing rep. Beau-i-ti-ful park, good vibes, very green, hippie, laid back. A gorgeous place to relax… and do all the awful logistical blah blah blah stuff and errands that zero days require. But great company, town food (including Moose Track’s ice cream & coconut chocolate chip cookies) and getting new shoes & a new pack (old pack was ripped to shreds and Gregory the great sent me a replacement) in the mail made it all worthwhile.