Day 93 – cascade locks to near greenleaf creek
July 22 | NOBO Miles 2147-2152.8
I had a restful week and a half off trail split between LA and CT, full of friends, family, and fresh fruits and vegetables. And most importantly, dogs. Plus one cat.
In between paddleboarding and runs (my calves have never been so sore) I put some serious hurt on the overgrown veggies in our garden and I think I’m now 50% collard greens.
One day we were driving and came across a beautiful, classic walnut bed frame one of our neighbors had left out in their driveway with a big FREE sign on it because of some silly missing bolts. I had to have it but it didn’t fit in my mom’s car so I ended up walking the oddly-shaped pieces home separately, to the amusement of the neighborhood landscapers.
I decided to cover up the scuffed areas of varnish on the headboard, posts, and feet with some acrylic paint and sleight of hand. Here is the work in progress. One man’s trash…
…is an unemployed woman’s free furniture. I love a good makeover.
Yesterday I bid farewell to the fam, knowing that when I see them next I will have completed the PCT. whoa. Amen.
I flew to Portland and stayed the night before heading off to the bus station this morning to catch the Columbia Gorge Express to Cascade Locks. It was an 11:00 bus and I figured I had plenty of time, so I walked my way to the station across beautiful Broadway Bridge.
And only upon arriving at Union Station on the other side did I realize that the station I was meant to be at was the Gateway transit center 6 miles away. I was too mellow to be stressed, though I had less than 15 minutes to make it there. And it barely even bothered me when I showed up at 11:02 to find that the bus had already pulled away and that the next one would be picking up at 3. Oh well. In the midst of my wait, a creepy day hiker dude headed to Multnomah Falls wouldn’t leave me alone and insisted on showing me pics of him drinking beer on his hikes in Arizona, so I decided to get the heck outta dodge and went to the movie theater nearby to see “Yesterday.” Then I listened through all the Beatles albums in my library for the rest of the day.
When I had finally made it to Cascade Locks it was 85°, which was nothing compared to last week’s 90+ degree temps at home and certainly nothing compared to the 96° day on which we arrived in Cascade Locks a little over a month ago.
Done procrastinating, I hit the pavement. Up first was the sketchy crossing of the Bridge of the Gods, which has very skinny lanes and no pedestrian shoulder. A SOBO hiker I crossed paths with congratulated me on reaching Washington as I stepped on. I’ll take it. He doesn’t have to know that I also have 400 miles of the Sierra left to do.
A highway sign on the North side of the bridge welcomed me to Washington (a second time). Soon enough I was back on dirt.
Waiting to surprise me along the trail were hundreds of wild blackberry bushes ripe for the picking, which set me back one very juicy hour.
There were innumerable other species of wild berries in shocking abundance, but I didn’t recognize them and I’m not about to pull a Chris McCandless here.
I had the berries and the trail all to myself. I kept thinking I would come across other hikers at each campsite and water source I passed, but there was not a soul to be found apart from 2 nice ladies day hiking up Table Mountain.
It’s very different being alone, needless to say. The freedom of making decisions independently is great but I will definitely miss the dudes, from the feeling of knowing buddies are waiting for you at camp, to getting bamboozled when they want to do crazy extra miles, to waking up in the morning to the sound of a WOOP, to giggling irrationally all day long. All that aside, I’m really excited to go it alone on this section and remind myself of my reasons for coming out here in the first place, beginning with feeling in awe of–and at home in–God’s creation, which only a handful of people have the chance to experience this way.
For example, I felt extremely blessed to stumble upon a campsite on a little rocky outcropping in a clearing around 7:30PM. I took a seat on a rock chair and, looking out onto the river and the South side of the Gorge, got to work on a garden-grown kale salad and some banana bread I’d packed out from home yesterday.
A hot night. A good night.