PCT DAY 132.. August 15th Zero day with Ginny and Jim!
PCT DAY 133.. August 16th Mile 2089 4200 feet 5 miles
Last day in the town of Bend with our hosts Ginny and Jim.. Spent the morning relaxing and waiting for Tatter’s camera to arrive by express delivery.. once we had that.. Ginny very kindly drove us.. myself.. Tatters and Tim up to the PCT trail junction at mile 2084.. passed all the fires closing the sections from Elk Lake Resort where they picked us up a few days ago! This closure I have now accepted and will just continue from here on through to the border of Oregon and Washington states.. in a few days time.. and then on up through Washington to the Canadian border and Manning Park in about a month!
Camped solo just 5 miles up the trail from the drop off junction.. in thick forest.. as the sun was going down through the trees! All quiet and feeling good! Tomorrow I’ll do as much as I can starting early with my head lamp at 4am.. I have a mountain to climb before the sun comes up around 6.30am!
Goodnight all! Thinking of you and thanks SO much for all your kind messages of support! I LOVE reading.. and re reading them all!
PCT DAY 134.. August 17th Mile 2119.0 4200 feet 30 miles
Well.. I’m almost out of Oregon.. and whomever said it was flat obviously doesn’t know what ‘flat’ really is.. it definitely has its share of ups and downs.. though not a steep grade and the tread is generally always good!
The miles hiked today.. were the last in Oregon.. as I’ll be heading over the ‘Bridge of the Gods’ and into Washington State (my last state on the PCT) in a few days time! I descended into the town of Cascade Locks and located the ‘tent city’ that was to be my home for the next few days.. set up on an island in the Columbia River called ‘Thunder Island’.. adjoining the RV Park.. This is where the ‘Trail Days’ or ‘PCT Days’ fair is to be held!
After setting up tent I had 2 packages to collect from the Post Office before it closed for the weekend.. one was my resupply box and the other.. full of every type of chocolate one could imagine.. was a wonderful surprise package from my angels.. Kalina and Andy Milani in Atlanta! Thank you both SO much.. this is a hikers dream.. and every single calorie will be put to good use!
Caught up with Mozart and a number of other hikers I hadn’t seen in months which was great..and said my farewells to ‘Tatters’ who is heading into Portland for a few days R&R.. Looks like it’s going to be a great weekend!!
PCT DAY 136.. August 19th Zero day on Thunder Island (RV Park) Cascade Locks
Today was spent relaxing with almost 200 other hikers and campers on an island in the Columbia River that joins.. and is part of the RV park! The ‘PCT Days’ or ‘Trail Days’ fair had started.. and kiosks have been set up in the same park selling everything a hiker might.. or for that matter.. might not want?!!
One kind couple selling sleeping bags and accessories offered to wash as many sleeping bags as they could in their special machine back at their business in town.. I think they got well over a hundred bags and by 3pm.. I had mine freshly laundered.. (it certainly needed a freshen up as it hadn’t been washed in over 5 months??!!)
Today around mid day I managed to find a ledge of rock.. just off the PCT.. jutting out thousands of feet above the forest floor below.. such a magnificent view.. and so very peaceful! I could even see the snow capped peaks of Mt Saint Helens and Mt Adams in the foreground.. and Mt Rainier between them.. in the distance! Pure magic against the start of my day!!
Ok.. so here’s another rather unfortunate story??! I left the overflowing campground in Cascade Locks at 4am and with the aid of a head lamp.. negotiated my way across the ‘Bridge of the Gods’ spanning the Columbia River.. and for the first time.. entered Washington State.. As I was looking for the PCT trail sign in the dark.. my right foot buckled and gave way as I’d stepped half on the bitumen road surface and half in a pothole! My worst nightmare hiking the PCT had just become a reality and with a painful crack.. something tore loose in my right ankle as I collapsed in a heap! #>!?# DAMD!!
I picked myself up.. and tentatively put weight on my foot to see if anything was broken.. fortunately it wasn’t.. So.. determined that ‘foot or no foot’.. I was going to finish this hike.. I set off up the mountain! At least it wasn’t broken.. and if it was I’d have carried it to Canada?!!
The day’s trail wound up and down through the gorgeously lush forests of Washington.. and thankfully due to copious amounts of Ibuprofen.. I was able to continue from Cascade Locks through to Trout Creek!
By the evening though.. when I removed my shoes I found that my ankle had swollen to the size of a golf ball?! =#?!# DOUBLE DAMD!! I soaked it in the cool waters of Trout Creek.. took another Ibuprofen and promptly went to bed.. hoping that tomorrow morning at least.. the swelling will have gone down??
PCT DAY 138.. August 21st Mile 2197.2 4000 feet 23 miles
Set my alarm to wake up at 4am.. but when I checked my foot it looked more like a football!! OHHHHH??! #=?# Consequently I had a granola bar and chocolate kindly provided by Kalina and Andy..before taking 400mg of ibuprofen and went promptly back to sleep resetting my alarm for 6am! In the light my foot did look significantly better.. so I limped around packing up camp and set off.. albeit at a VERY slow pace for the first couple of hours! After that and once I had maneuverability.. the pace quickened and I was almost able to hike normally.. ignoring what little pain there was!
The sun was up and as I scaled the first mountain I found a spot on a ledge at about 9.30am to watch the eclipse through the special glasses I’d picked up in a hiker box a few days ago.. again.. generously provided by some caring Trail Angel.. The sun all but disappeared as it was due to be a 98% eclipse here in Washington state.. and 100% eclipse in Oregon! Certainly something I have never seen before.. as the world took on a distinctly eerie evening glow..
Some section hikers that just happened to be on the ledge with me viewing the eclipse at the same time.. turned out to be doctors from the Czech Republic!! Fortune smiled on me as they very kindly put a compression bandage on my swollen ankle.. That seemed to cure all and off I hopped finishing the day by Sheep Lake having covered another 24 miles!
Camping solo with just the chip monks.. birds and as always.. the unfortunately ever present ants.. flies and mosquitoes! Had a little trail magic about 5 miles before camping courtesy of Mark and Anne whose son ‘Double D’ is also doing the PCT.. And my foot.. though still swollen does feel a good deal better! So goodnight to all.. from a peacefully content and very happy ‘me’!
PCT DAY 139.. August 22nd Mile 2226.4 3800 feet 29.2 miles
Today’s hike was all about the Ibuprofen and negotiating rocky terrain unfit for injured feet?! Consequently the day seemed never ending and as such.. it was with great pleasure that I ran into two through hikers.. ‘Simba’ and ‘Coco’ whilst we were all topping up our water bottles at ‘Mosquito Creek’?!
Simba informed me of a tiny town called Trout Lake.. about 19 miles east of the PCT that served great burgers and shakes.. AND is known to be super hiker friendly! My spirits improved.. I hiked on and caught the same lift into town as Simba and Coco.. kindly provided by trail angel Denis!
After both burger and shake.. we headed over to the General Store across the road where Bev.. the landowner and storekeeper kindly offers her front yard up to hikers for the night.. and all for free! So set up my tent and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and swapping stories with the other 10 similarly lucky hikers that had chosen to visit the likes of one tiny.. but extremely friendly and accommodating little town called Trout Lake!
PCT DAY 140.. August 23rd Mile 2253.2 5100 feet 26.8 miles
With my foot feeling better by the day.. I set off from the trailhead just outside Trout Lake.. climbing up through the forest into first the foothills.. and then the actual slopes of Mt Adams.. high above the tree line!
I spent most of the day circumnavigating this mountain of glaciers.. before descending once again to the forest below.. as the trail continued its quest to the north.. ‘on on’ as it were.. towards some invisible line demarcating the boundaries of these two great nations.. the United States and Canada!
PCT DAY 141.. August 24th Mile 2277.4 6000 feet 24.2 miles
WOW.. what a day! The hike was like nothing I have encountered yet on the PCT! Climbing up through the granite sentinels at Cispus Pass with views into the spectacular canyon below.. surrounded on all sides by the jagged.. snow capped peaks I was yet to climb! As I later descended Cispus.. the valley opened into a wonderland of rivers and creeks cascading from sheer cliffs above in varying waterfalls of every shape and size!
I then climbed the steep ascent and traversed what is known as the ‘knife edge’?! A two mile long path literally cut into the ridge line of the jagged peaks I’d seen earlier.. with sheer drops on both sides to the valley floors.. thousands of feet below.. This in fact is the highest point on the PCT in the state of Washington at just on 7500 feet! An adrenaline rush for sure.. all on slippery shale.. and all with the most incredible 360 degree views.. Mt Adams.. Mt St Helens and Mt Hood behind me and the towering Mt Rainier ahead.. Views of thousands of miles of endless wilderness.. some of which behind me.. I had already traversed.. and the challenges ahead.. of those yet to come!
Camping just a thousand feet down from the ‘knife edge’.. by a clear.. gurgling.. ice cold stream.. fed from the snow still clinging to the peaks above.. with two other through hikers I’d met in Trout Lake.. ‘Double D’ and ‘Top’ as well as a few section hikers.. either heading north like us.. or south.. What a day.. and what an immense treat for those yet to hike these awesome cliffs of towering ice and rock!!
Woke up this morning to the first frost of the coming winter.. and the first since the Sierra?! Time is certainly moving on!! Slept in late.. probably due to the frozen conditions outside.. but once up the views over the snow covered mountains we’d crossed yesterday were spectacular! Washington state has certainly surpassed anything we saw in Oregon.. and is without doubt the most stunning scenery after the Sierra!
Today’s hike was once again through majestically forested valleys followed by equally awe inspiring mountains.. the tops of which had breathtaking views of snow capped Mt Rainier and the jagged peaks beyond!
Stopped briefly at the single gas station that ‘is’ ‘White Pass’ for refreshments and a small resupply before covering another eight miles into the wilderness and camping with 3 other hikers (‘Ambassador’ from Sweden.. ‘Triple S’ from Germany and ‘Action’ from here in Washington) on the shores of an unnamed lake.. in one of the thousands of equally unnamed valleys!
PCT DAY 143.. August 26th Mile 2323.3 5700 feet 23.8 miles
Today I had intended to do more miles.. but the terrain here in Washington is extremely steep.. both the ascents and descents! Combine this with the extremely rocky trail.. and it invariably makes for a much slower pace?! I am also particularly aware of the ease at which my weakened foot could again roll on this ground.. so a slower pace is secondary to making sure the ankle heals properly! Anyway covered just over 23 miles for the day.. again with magnificent views of Mt Rainier and the forested valleys below..
Hit a bit of trail magic just before the day ended.. with a couple who had set up tent.. and were serving free sodas and cookies! Camping half way up a mountain at a place called Sheep Lake.. I think the second lake with the same name in as many weeks?!! This place however is a very popular spot for day/weekend hikers and their families.. and as such.. because it’s a Saturday.. I have a number of families camped around me.. Great to hear the laughter and squeals of delight from all the kids out on such an magnificent adventure with their parents!
PCT DAY 144.. August 27th Mile 2349.3 5100 feet 26 miles
Some days you feel it.. and some you just don’t?! Today was one of those days I just didn’t seem to have the energy for hiking?? I don’t know why.. but there it is.. so I just pushed myself on.. the whole day.. until I got to a spring with a tent site! Springs of water coming straight out of the ground are the very BEST of water sources.. clear.. fresh and ice cold..
My foot.. though still swollen.. is definitely feeling a whole lot better and today only had to take two Ibuprofen in the morning to get me going.. even by this evening there is practically no pain! Hoping it continues to improve..
PCT DAY 145.. August 28th Mile 2377.3 3400 feet 28 miles
Woke up this morning to the smell of wood smoke.. which startled me at first.. until I realized that yesterday I’d passed a forest fire deep in the valley 20 or so miles back?! With no wind overnight the thick smoke had found its way through the mountains.. and now lay stagnant in the early morning mist! Later in the day this was to disappear.. but all morning the air was acrid with the smell of the forest burning so many miles away!
I continued hiking solo.. though as is nearly always the case.. I know who is several miles in front and behind me.. ‘Action’.. ‘Hui’ and the ‘Coronel’ as well as a lovely couple ‘Piker’ and ‘Laundry-Matt’.. we’ve all been leapfrogging each other now for the past few days.. chatting at springs or creeks when ever we catch up!
Camping again tonight in the forests of Washington with ‘Action’ (tonight’s his last night on the trail) and tomorrow I’m heading into Snoqualmie for resupply!
PCT DAY 146.. August 29th Mile 2390.6 3000 feet 13.3 miles
A short day today as I just had to make it into Snoqualmie.. a little town on the trail for resupply! The day was mainly smoky due to the fires burning in Oregon.. and also heard that they’ve closed a 50 mile section of the PCT from White Pass on.. due to a new fire there?! So am really lucky that at least that’s behind me.. Feeling sorry though for all the hikers south of White Pass.. that it will affect.. including poor Grizz and Lovely Heart?!
Staying tonight at the Summit Inn here in Snoqualmie and sharing the room with two others.. ‘Action’ and ‘Sky’.. an Israeli guy we met today.. it all helps keep the costs down! Also had my first shower and wash in 11 days.. so feeling scrubbed and fresh.. having removed all the dust.. grime.. sweat and dirt of almost two weeks on the trail!!
Tomorrow setting off for Skykomish.. another little town four days up.. but off the trail. Goodnight all!