Days 64-65 – Cascade locks to huckleberry mtn. Trail junction
June 12-13 | SOBO Miles 506 - 532
I met back up with the dudes (and Trashcan’s girlfriend Kelsie) at the Reno airport, said goodbye to Mom, and we were on our way in a rental car to their grandma’s house in Salem, OR, where we cowboy camped on her porch. We shopped our resupply at Grocery Outlet (of course), swam at the country club pool, went out for Mexican, and I made strawberry shortcakes while we watched the Golden State game.
The next night we stayed with yet another one of their connections in Salem after Chipotle and a movie, and the following day (after making us breakfast and letting us pick her cherry tree bare) she drove us to the bus stop so we could catch our ride to Cascade Locks. On the way we checked out Multnomah Falls, the most popular tourist trap in the state.
Then we were off to Cascade Locks with leftover Chipotle and pounds of fresh fruit to blow. In the 96° heat, we made our way from the bus stop to the trailhead and hiked through a jungle-like forest to a camp spot 5 miles in.
On this blazing night, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Everyone set up tents to escape the mosquitoes but I was so hot I just lathered up in deet and cowboy camped for the night.
The next morning we bid farewell to Kelsie and she hiked back to the bus stop to make her way home. What lie in store for us was an unforgiving 3000 foot climb, and again, the temp hovered around 90°.
Nonetheless, it felt good to be back to the grind. My legs were thrilled at the chance to get going again, and I huffed happily up the hill. At the top we walked across some lava rock, a nod to the area’s volcanic foundations.
Cruising over the easy dry trail, we lunched in bliss at Wahtum Lake. I brought out the customary Peanut Butter M&M’s to christen our return to the trail (the “family size” bag is now “tramily size”).
We were riding high on the spectacular views and new Northern Oregon scenery. We got our first glimpses of Mt. Hood through the trees.
Soon enough the trail opened up in a big way and offered up a panorama of Cascade Range volcanoes: Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mt. St. Helens. It’s amazing how they seem to just rise up out of nowhere with snow-capped dome-shaped peaks, which look even more dramatic against a cloudless blue sky.
Turning a few corners, there was Mt. Hood again.
We were all so stoked at how lucky and blessed we felt to be experiencing this scenery in fabulous weather with no snow. Agreeing that we were treated to an unreal first day back on trail, we camped at a perfect little dirt spot in the trees and goofed around. Even though I was awoken at 4AM by Trashcan telling us that it was raining lightly and to move it and put our tent flys up, I wasn’t even mad. The PCT gave us a good welcome back.