Saturday, October 25, 2014

22 PCT - Cascade Locks / Trail Days - OR

Since I had missed the annual Kick Off of the PCT back near Mexico, I thought it appropriate to attend Trail Days. It just so happened to coincide with Doc heading back to the Bay area for a wedding. Trail Days was a great meeting place for hikers, enthusiasts, trail angels, retailers and you name its, to hang out on an island in the middle of the Columbia River for a few days. I played a lot of frisbee and catch up with people I hadn't seen in months. I got there a little early, so some friends and I stayed at this motel for a night. You can see 'Merica, as sexy as always, hanging out in the doorway. I had only hiked with him for 4 days, but I had seen him along the trail since the desert.

Dimples and Pippin joining the pose

The island on the right belongs to Oregon on the left. The Bridge of the Gods in the distance with Washington (unseen) to the right of the Columbia River.

We are commonly referred to as "Hiker Trash," but we always Leave No Trace

After a fun filled weekend at Trail Days, it was time to head into Washington. There is an initiative to put a foot bridge along the Bridge of the Gods, but so far I got to walk on this.... Pretty awesome!

Above is the Island that I camped on for 3 nights

21 PCT - Mt. Hood to Eagle Creek - OR

Leaving Mt Hood proved harder than I thought. A giant storm blew through and we kept finding people to share a room with so we stayed for a while. Plus there was ping pong and my buddy Doc. One day we didn't go outside for a full 24 hours... it was awesome! I took the advice of some fellow hikers and took an alternate trail (not the PCT) so we could walk by this magnificent waterfall.

After 16 miles and at the base of a very steep climb, I found this structure. There was fresh water nearby, a fire pit and natural benches. We had some more hiking in us, but based on the terrain and amenities, we decided to stay. I couldn't see any sign of an inhabitant, so I traded setting up my tarp for this one. There were bugs though, so I set up my bug bivy.

Karaoke crossing the large glacial creek, assisted by ropes secured onto the fallen trees

A popular alternate to the PCT is the Eagle Creek Trail. This was a no brainer. Nearly everyone took this trail. For Doc and I, being Arizona boys, it was the most lush I had seen and we were in heaven. It reminded us a bit of Hawaii.

I was surprised to find camping for 5 in such a dense forest. This night I camped with Doc, Karaoke, Dimples and Dust Bunny. Below is Karaoke putting out some snacks to share, while Doc jams the Ukulele. No frisbee today :(

Just to the left of Dimples below is Eagle Creek. Fresh water and beautiful music all night!

Doc and I wanted to explore the cave above, but didn't know how to get down to it.

Twister Falls

No guard rails made every step count

Tunnel Falls

Waterfalls were everywhere!!!!

The gentleman below, in the green jacket, showed an exemplary act of kindness towards us. I struck up a random conversation with him on the Eagle Creek Trail. Turns out he had just retired and had acquired 2 jobs to keep him busy. At a nearby aquarium he cleaned large tanks in his Scuba gear. He also helped to maintain the Eagle Creek section of the trail. What a deal! He gave us a ride into Cascade Locks from the trailhead, then bought us lunch, dessert and drinks. He had a quick lunch and left. We were blown away by this random act of kindness from a total stranger.

Then he returned and gave us a gift certificate to the gift shop!!!! We were all able to buy postcards and cappuccinos. Full, happy and stunned, we went to explore the Oregon/Washington border of Cascade Locks