Days 144 – 147 Government Camp to Cascade Locks

Day 144 02.08.18 – 1.3 Miles / 2km
Going to town and getting a bed in a hostel was the best call for my health.  I woke up at midday after a solid 14hr sleep, finally feeling a little more myself.  Four Eyes comes in and says, “oh good, you’re awake now, I baked two apple pies”.  We both hobble down stairs (because stairs are hard on hiker joints) where I ate almost a whole pie to myself.
Since our plan of getting back on the trail at 8am was well out the window we relaxed in our room and gave in to a day of rest.  Four Eyes was checking her maps one last time when she realised we were only two days from Cascade Locks, not the four days I’d calculated and we shopped for.  *facepalm*
Four Eyes: “You’re lucky I love you”
Me: “Can we blame it on me being sick?”
We ate as much as we could and eventually caught the bus to Timberline lodge at 3pm.  Just as we start heading to the trail we see Maddog who’d given some hikers a lift there.  We greet him super cheery having eaten, showered and slept well since the day prior.  He commented on how much more alive we seemed.
On our short walk to camp I passed one of the most encouraging signs yet…550 Miles to Canada. It’s still surreal to think we’ve walked 2100 Miles, and the smaller distances are finally now all we have left on signs like this.  The desert feels like so long ago it could have been a different trip, and hiking every day is a life I’ve totally settled into.

Deciding to take it easy we reach camp at 5pm and settle in to continue eating down our unnecessarily large food bags.  I’m still on antibiotics, the pain in my side is still lingering, and I was fast sleep by 8pm.
Day 145 03.08.18 – 20 Miles / 32km
To our surprise it rained on and off all night and continued to drizzle all morning.  Four Eyes hates cold wet mornings, so we stay in our warm sleeping bags and talked for a few hours while we avoid the miserable weather.  I comment “You’re so much more relatable now the trail has worn you out a little”.
At 8am we decide to get up and by 8:30am we were hiking again.  The foggy morning made for a refreshing change from the recent heat.  Fog in the pine is eerily beautiful, a scene I don’t ever see at home.

I eat mouthfuls of huckleberries all morning and chat on and off with two day hikers who are attempting the 65km (40miles) loop around Mount Hood in 24hrs.  They join Four Eyes and I for lunch at Ramona Falls, fascinated by the trail as we answer their questions.

Arriving at camp at 6pm the temperature dropped quickly so Four Eyes and I retreated to our tents and chatted in particularly good moods for hours.  Once in our sleeping bags there’s not much we’d get out for, so we often end up throwing things between the tents through open doors.  Neither of us are particularly good aim and I miss twice throwing my jar of peanut butter, hitting the tent and laughing as it rolls back to me.  Third time lucky.
Seeker, Everest, Groover and Pacecar arrive at camp.  I had long known Everest in passing, he grew up in India but now lives in Michigan, and Seeker I got to know each other the day I was sick at the lake.  We’d also met married couple Pacecar and Groover who are physiotherapists from Colorado that day but hadn’t yet chatted much since I was sick.   It as great to see them again and we laugh loudly at camp until I fell asleep at 8:30pm.
146 04.08.18 – 28 Miles / 45km
I woke up feeling focused and primed for a big day.   We were aiming to get to Cascade Locks that night, which is the border of Oregon and Washington.  This is so significant to me.  One more state walked, and boy was I ready for Oregon to be over.  I keep a good pace and eventually catch up with Four Eyes and the others while they dry out their tents from a dewy morning.  Groover says my fly looks so wet I must have soaked it, I quietly admit how warm it gets when you cook in your tent.
In two separate incidents that morning I fell over and dropped the last two bites of my new flavour Cliff bar.  Now keep in mind I’ve been eating the same flavour bars for almost 5 months, so there’s no way I was letting this slice of variety go to waste.  I pick it up, dust it off and finish my slightly crunchier dark chocolate sea salt Cliff bar with a level of satisfaction that can’t be matched.  It really is the simple joys out here.
Walking with Pacecar we bond over our trail poo mishaps and having finally found someone else who walks at our slower pace.  In a group of males Pacecar was so refreshed to be around other women, commenting how nice it is to have Four Eyes and I around.  I hadn’t personally noticed how isolating it could be since I was lucky enough to find Four Eyes only 160km (100miles) in.  I feel incredibly grateful.
Four Eyes quickly passed the guys and took off into town, enjoying some faster company to compete with while burning the usual town day excitement.  After lunch together Groover pulled ahead, while I walked with Seeker, Everest and Pacecar.  As a usual solo hiker it was such a nice change to be with others and talking all day.  I surprise myself with a strong pace and the others even comment with “What do you mean you’re slow – you’re flying today!”.  Turns out I’m not slow I’m just bored…variety really is the spice of life.
The last 8km (5miles) into Cascade Locks was a steep downhill.  We try not to think about it, chatting to keep our minds off our achy knees.  Eventually we get our first view of Washington.   We yell and yip as we take in the significance of finishing this state, then groan at the huge rolling mountains stared us down as we realise we’ll be climbing straight up when we enter Washington.  Getting closer to town the sounds of civilisation return.  First we could hear the trains, then we got phone service, then road noise and the smell of fuel polluted air.  I’m reminded how peaceful the trail is.

We made it to town at 7pm, set up our tents at the RV Park, then head to the Ale House for a trail famous Hiker Trash Burger where pizzas substitute burger buns.  Needless to say it was extremely satisfying after a huge day.

Leaving the pub I hear “well well well it’s the Aussie” and turn around and shriek in excitement to see Maddog again.  He is also camping at the RV park so gives us a lift to save the 5minute walk.  On the short journey to our tents we convince him to stop for ice cream.

147 05.08.18 Zero
Maddog cooked pancakes for all the hikers in the RV Park, and we met a surprising number of Southbound hikers who have all started to arrive as they finish Washington.  They are so lively and energetic compared to us, much like we were back in the desert.  After breakfast I cleaned up the portable stove and utensils for Maddog, he assures me there will always be a seat in his car for me.

Four Eyes and I get on with our town jobs with a load of laundry, a nap in our tents, planning our next leg then shopping for our resupply.  Cascade Locks supermarket impressed me by removing all the excess packaging from my shop, to save the bins in the RV park getting too full.  I give this town five hiker friendly stars.
After charging our power banks at the Ale House we met up with Glamourpus and Wifey for dinner and beers at the Thunder Island Brewery.  They have a free beer for hikers which have been pre-paid for by local trail angels.

Chatting with Glamourpus about the challenges of the trail and now starting on our final state I realise I’m coming out of the rut I was stuck in.  He gets it, we’re all pushing, and his “hike on” attitude rubs off on me.  It’s incredibly strengthening to be surrounded by people who get it, who feel worn down, but also so built up.

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