8.29.18. 16.5 miles.
I didn’t set an alarm again this morning, just planning on waking up whenever. I did hear stirring, which I found out when I woke up was Macro and Patches moving about. I got ready pretty quickly and was soon hiking.
Unfortunately I took a bit of a detour, accidentally hiking uphill on a side trail instead of the PCT. I went to the bathroom and then backtracked to the PCT.
There was a decent amount of incline in the morning, mostly through a nice grassy forest. The undulating up & down lasted for about half of the miles for the day, and then the long descent to Cascade Locks began. I stopped pretty quickly into the downhill to grab some water from a spring since I still had a decent amount of miles to walk to town. A really loud, annoying group of boys that were blaring their music over a wireless speaker came up behind me and also sat down to filter water. At least they turned the music off when they saw me. I don’t really understand why people blast their music out here. I don’t care if you listen to music, but put headphones in. Blasting music out loud is against Leave No Trace ethics, something many PCT hikers could use a course in before beginning the trail, but I digress.
I finished filtering and took off downhill. It was about 8 miles to town. I walked through a lot of burned area, from the fires that devastated the Gorge last year. There was some regrowth in some areas, but it was mostly just dead trees and dirt. The further down the trail I got though, the less fire impacts were seen. The trail was very, very rocky and steep in many portions, making this descent not very fun, and it took longer than normal to keep my footing secure.
I reached a footbridge with 2 miles to go until town and saw Macro and Patches sitting by the water. They too were exhausted. We complained a little about how the descent was so mentally & physically taxing. I was so tired and hungry, but I just wanted to get to town so I walked on. Those last 2 miles were again undulating trail with random steep uphill sections, and they seemed to go on forever, until I finally reached a gravel road and followed the signs to the Bridge of the Gods. I stayed on the Oregon side of the bridge, and stared in awe of it. I couldn’t believe I was finally here! I had walked the length of 2 states, and I couldn’t believe I was looking at Washington across the river, at last.
After admiring my accomplishment, I walked down under the bridge to town, which is practically on the PCT. I went straight to a diner that had loaded hot dogs and milkshakes and ate some lunch. After sitting there for a while eating and on my phone, I decided to call the hotel I was going to stay at and see if I could add an extra night to my stay. I originally planned on camping this first night, but when I got to town I just really wanted to relax. Thankfully, they had an opening, so once I got off the phone with them, I went to the post office, right next door to the diner, and got my packages. I had a package from myself that I had shipped from Ashland, and care packages from my mom, Pammy & her mom, and Katy. The PO couldn’t find Katy’s package, so I left and texted Katy trying to get some more info about when/ how it was sent.
After that, I went to the hotel and checked in, went up to my room, and collapsed on the sofa. I opened my boxes, called my mom, pulled all my clothes out, took a shower, and did my laundry. This all seemed to take forever though, as I was really just wanting to relax. I had texted Patches about getting dinner later, but we both fell through on that, both of us being full from lunch still and us doing chores, and she reuniting with her dad who came to join her for Washington.
I eventually fell asleep after finishing my laundry and watching an episode of Bachelor in Paradise.