PCT 2019: Day 87, Tentsite at Mile 2157.1 to Cascade Locks

It's really good to see you once again

HOB and Chickadee mentioned last night that they are late risers and politely asked us to not disturb them when we prepared to leave this morning. Dave and I did our best to tiptoe around the campsite as we packed our gear.

Nicely, though, they awoke just before we left, so we were able to say goodbye and wish them well on their hike.

DateFriday, August 2, 2019
WeatherWarm and sunny, with a high temperature in the mid 70s
Trail ConditionsSometimes rocky; moderate climb and then a long descent
Today's Miles9.8
Trip Miles1242.3

With under ten miles of hiking to go and nearly all of it downhill, this would not be a difficult day. In all, we would descend nearly 3,500 feet, interrupted by a couple of short climbs totaling only 780 feet.

I know Dave was excited to have a short day today. He was planning to meet his wife and two kids in Cascade Locks. It had been a month since he last saw them.

I was looking forward to crossing the Columbia River as well. I was expecting to see two members of the Woohoo Crew, Spamala and Rainbow Sherbet, when I got there. They were now hiking north together after skipping around the Sierra and some of the other bad snow sections.

The trail was lush and green as we made our way down the trail, which curved around Table Mountain. The trees were not large, however, because this area was heavily logged for several years early in the 20th Century.

Lumbering in the area was dealt severe blows by wildfires in 1924, 1927 and 1929. The September 1929 fire was so severe it burned to the city limits of Sevenson at the banks of the Columbia River before finally being stopped.

The end of logging operations on this side of the river came in 1932 when the Ryan-Allen Lumber Company sawmill burned to the ground.

After a couple of hours of walking, I passed the number "500" written in sticks. It even had an exclamation point for emphasis.

This was the second 500-mille marker I had walked past on this trail, but of course, the first one was in the desert and marked the distance from the southern terminus. I had now walked 500 miles southbound.

Later, the trail crossed a wooden bridge over a shallow creek, then intersected with several side trails.

When I reached where the PCT split from one of these side trails, there were no markings to indicate which was the correct route for me to take to Cascade Locks. Dave got there before me and waited at the junction.

“Choose wisely, Grasshopper,” he said in his best imitation of "Master Po" from Kung Fu.

I correctly chose the trail that was the PCT and we continued on.

Before long, I could see I was nearing Cascade Locks, so I stopped to text Spamala to let her and Sherbet know I was getting near. They were staying in Stevenson, so they said they would walk down to meet me at the bridge.

When I arrived just before noon, they were there waiting for me. We had a long and happy conversation with many laughs.

Dave seemed content to wait for me while we talked because he found a large bush of wild blackberries nearby.

After Sherbet, Spamala, and I said our goodbyes, Dave and I crossed the 1,858-foot-long Bridge of the Gods and into Oregon.

Soon after we began walking across, Dave’s wife and kids drove by on their way to wait for us in Cascade Locks. They were excited to see him.

The cantilevered bridge was narrow, with only two lanes for vehicles and no space for pedestrians. We had to stay close to the railing and hope that the drivers were watching the road ahead and not the views of the river.

The river was wide and glistened as it reflected the blue of the clear sky. It was especially broad here because of water being impounded by Bonneville Dam, which was just upstream from the bridge.

Looking across the guardrail wasn’t the only way I could see the river. It could also be seen just below me because the roadbed was a steel grate. When it was completed in 1926, the deck was wooden.

A year later, soon after Charles Lindbergh made his historic trans-Atlantic crossing in the Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh flew his plane on a cross-country barnstorming tour. In one of his appearances, he flew from Portland up the river. After flying over the bridge, he circled back and flew under it.

At the time, the bridge stood just 93 feet above the river. It was later rebuilt and raised 44 feet higher after the construction of Bonneville Dam was completed in 1938.

After Dave and his family had their reunion in Cascade Locks, we ate lunch at a restaurant near the bridge. Then we all climbed into the family mini-van and drove to Portland.

They dropped me off at the house of my two friends, Erik and John. Ever since I said I was planning to hike the PCT, I’ve had a standing invitation from Erik and John to take a zero day with them in Portland while on the trail.

After getting my laundry started and taking a shower, we met for dinner with our mutual friend, Ryan, along with his wife Mariah and their young son. We then finished the evening with some excellent ice cream.

This wasn’t a day of hiking many miles, but it was a day of seeing trail friends and work friends. That was a trade I was glad to make.

As I am strolling down the garden path
I saw a flower glowing in the dark
It looked so pretty and it was unique
I had to bend down just to have a peek

Hello old friend
It's really good to see you once again
Hello old friend
It's really good to see you once again

From "Hello Old Friend” by Eric Clapton

Comments

"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.