PCT Day 99+ Portland

PCT Day 99+ Portland

• We’re crashing in a big house in SE Portland, with a relative of hiker Alex. This plan was created a long time ago, and we’re gonna hang out and enjoy Portland for a good 5 days. Here are the highlights of the week as it went:

• Monday: Tried a fried chicken biscuit breakfast place. Went to check out “Next Adventure”, a local REI type store that Yardsale used to work at, I picked up a few used shirts in their basement clearance section, similar to a Goodwill. We walked to the Next Adventure warehouse a little ways away because the normal store didn’t have a good selection of “free shirts” that Yardsale promised us. We dug through boxes before a handful of us picked out a sea foam green T-shirt to our liking. Had happy hour drinks at a nearby pub, then dinner across the street. Went back to the pub for karaoke, over served and sang a lot then stumbled back home.

• Tuesday: Whole Foods for lunch, took the tram on the west side and back down. Strolled through the rose garden.

• Wednesday: drove to the beach on Sauvie Island. I hear there’s a nude beach somewhere close, but we kept it PG. Made family dinner back at the house.

• Thursday: successfully escaped an escape room, drinks and food at a bowling alley while waiting for rush hour traffic to subside.

• Friday: Carie and I had food truck lunch downtown, went thrifting at a familiar spot, checked out the Japanese gardens with our friends, packed up our stuff and enjoyed a barbecue at Frodo’s house, said goodbye to all our hiker friends, had drinks with my high school buddy, got a ride to the airport, and took the red eye back to Denver.

• In between all of the outside activities, we watched a lot of “Stranger Things” and other Netflix shows.

• Boomer, Yardsale, and God are gonna get back on trail to hike Washington, Elise is flying back to Canada, Bradley and Claira will go back to LA, and Alex and MaKaila will drive back to Sacramento.

• Heck of a time on the trail, heck of a time meeting all these wonderful folks. Will be back to finish California and Washington before I die of old age, and hope for a trail fam reunion soon.

PCT Day 98 – Cascade Locks

PCT Day 98 – Cascade Locks

28.3 miles, near 2147.5

• Woke up to the soft and soothing sound of “Landslide” being played on a Bluetooth speaker from the tent next door. Ready for my last day of hiking.

• I packed up and left as soon as I was ready, knowing the others would surely catch up. The trail was overgrown and held massive amounts of dew from overnight, drenching us as we hiked through.

• I scrambled up a steep boulder field off trail for a view of Bull Run Lake, a big lake just over the ridge we’ve been walking and a major watershed for Portland. No view.

• A little later we hiked a ridge with wide open views of Mt Saint Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams. Love a clear day.

• We all ended up stopping for lunch at Wahtum Lake. Saw a few day hikers pass through, must be a road nearby. Guinea went for a skinny dip, Smokey tried a back flip off a log into the lake.

• Walked with Smokey for a while after lunch, talking normal life and jobs. Nice conversation to pass the time.

• The last section of trail to town was a really steep downhill with lots of rocky spots. It was pretty awful, on top of sore feet and a heavy pack. Downhills are way worse than uphill for me.

• Finally made it to the bottom and reunited with everyone before crossing over the Bridge of the Gods, across the Columbia River into Washington. Frodos family was there to provide celebratory beers and we took photos under the bridge sign. Claira, Carie, Alex, and MaKaila also walked across to greet us, they had driven up from Sacramento. Claira was wearing a unicorn onesie 🦄

• We all walked back over into Oregon and had a beer at Thunder Island brewing. Free pint for PCT hikers, I used Carie’s permit to get a second pint. We shared some nachos for dinner.

• Walked across the street to the ale house for another free PCT beer. Also picked up my resupply box and bounce box to bring home. We shared pitchers before people started playing dress up with the hiker box clothes and Yardsales friend gave us a ride to Portland in her truck.

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Smell ya later, Oregon ✌🏼#pct2019

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PCT Day 97 – Salvation Spring

PCT Day 97 – Salvation Spring

21.8 miles, near 2119.2

• Woke up and got coffee from the lounge. I skipped breakfast while everyone else indulged the buffet for a second time. Had a few slices of leftover cold pizza.

• It was a cool and foggy day, we leapfrogged with day hikers as we hiked north on the timberline trail.

• I took the wrong path down a sand dune and into the forest, following scant tracks and realizing how many people took this wrong turn just like me and had to double back. I bushwhacked back up, sweating and cursing at myself, just because I didn’t want to cut a switchback down like everyone else, and then missing some helpful stick signs on the ground telling me which way to go.

• Caught up with my group at the tail end of their lunch, chatting briefly before they set off again. Navigated some confusing rock fields and found a way across a raging glacial stream on logs with a rope.

• Crossed paths with a burly southbounder in a kilt, who said he recognized me from the Mexican restaurant in Wrightwood (62 days ago, which feels like 2 lifetimes). I don’t remember any other hikers there, but I guess I’m memorable.

• Finally made it to camp, close to sunset, and a spot for 1 more tent. My buds saved me a beer, cooling off in the spring. This is the last night before town, so we’re eating all the food and drinking all the wine so our packs are lighter tomorrow.

• Bugs aren’t too bad, we sat out listening to music and talking. Nice having the place to ourselves. Yardsale set up her tent, but cowboy camped with some of the boys.

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PCT Day 96 – Timberline Lodge

PCT Day 96 – Timberline Lodge

5.4 miles, near 2097.4

• Woke up with breakfast on the mind. Timberline lodge serves an all you can eat buffet breakfast, so we wanted to make sure we got there before it ended.

• Hiked past a heart shaped drawing of mustard on the ground. Surely a sign from Bradley last night on their night hike, but why leave the mustard?

• We arrived to the lodge around 8, plenty of time to eat. Breakfast was delicious. We moved our stuff from the dining room to the lounge and charged some stuff.

• Not sure how these things happen, but we booked a queen/twin room for 8 hikers. 3 on the queen, 2 on the twin, 3 on the floor, and not any easy route to the bathroom.

• I skipped lunch, running strong off the breakfast buffet. Got a snack from the gift shop. There’s no way to buy booze or resupply at this lodge, hardly any food to eat outside the restaurants.

• A few of us had pizza at the blue ox bar, then found our way to the outdoor pool. There was a basketball pool hoop and no other guests outside, so we had a good time horsing around. We soaked in the hot tub and made toasts to each other, finishing a bottle of whiskey.

PCT Day 95 – Barlow Road

PCT Day 95 – Barlow Road

26.9 miles, near 2092.0

• Tried to get out of camp together, but I needed 10 min to finish packing, so I was last to leave. The whole day was in the forest, except for a glance of Timothy Lake and a glance of Mt Hood. I just listened to a lot of podcasts and powered through.

• Around 1130 I made it to horse camp where a lady setup an awesome trail magic spread of sandwich fixings. She insisted I try the a “multi grain crispy roll” treat. I’m not sure how it fit in with the theme, but she was pretty excited about them. It tasted like puffed popcorn.

• Passed a ton of southbound hikers, in the dozens. Before today, we’d see 1 or 2 per day. Must be the bubble of normal SoBos from Canada along with northbound flippers. Passed a couple from Spain that I follow on Instagram, they flipped SoBo after completing the desert.

• I took a quick side trip to Little Crater Lake, a crystal clear spring fed pond. You can see 50 ft to the bottom and the water is a vibrant aqua blue.

• I finally reached our camp rendezvous at 730, only to find a few backpacks and nobody in sight. Boomerang, Smokey, and God hitched to a bar 6 miles away. Yardsale, Bradley, Frodo, and Guinea came walking up with an 18 pack of Rainer. Some of Guinea’s friends live nearby and picked up the beer, the rest of them couldn’t get a hitch so we stayed at camp to drink beer. Yardsale, Bradley, and Guinea then decided to push another 5 miles to timberline lodge, Frodo and I declined to night hike.

• Boomerang, Smokey, and God finished eating at the bar, but couldn’t get a hitch back to camp. They stood on the shoulder for an hour, drivers started yelling at them to get off the road. One very drunk guy pulled over to offer a ride, but Smokey convinced him to go home. They went back into the bar and finally convinced someone to give them a ride (not the best place to solicit a hitch). They got back to camp after midnight and caused a ruckus, but I slept through it.

• My feet were pretty shot after 27 miles, my longest day yet.