Foot-Murder on the Oregon-Express pt 2

Shelter Cove to Cascade Locks

Hello and welcome back to the second part about our express tour through Oregon! In my last post  we stopped our journey at the most frightening but impressive burn zone on trail, so let’s pick up here.

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Three sisters in smoke

Shortly after this, we hiked into a burned forest, dead white and black stems standing very close to each other. A blood-red sundown on the horizon and smoke from a far distant fire made us feel vulnerable and small. This evening, we crossed the border into the three-sister wilderness, the probably most impressive section of Oregon.

Spooky burnzone

How Nasty Cheese realized, I was an idiot

Covered in smoke, we pitched our tent next to a lake, only to find out that my quilt was completely soaked with beer. Some idiot (me) put the beer into the dry sack, thinking it would be a smart idea, because the can could be protected by the quilt. This way, I spent the coldest night so far on trail, even colder than the nights in the Sierra Nevada. Nasty has an inflatable, I don’t use one, so it was very uncomfortable, to snuggle up and I chose to use Chainsaw’s sleeping bag liner as a blanket. I cannot recommend that!

Looking on the South Sister in the morning

Jurassic World

All the hassle was forgotten real quick, as my quilt dried pretty fast the next day and we hiked into the wide valley at the feet of the three sisters. Well, there were just two, as the south sister is a bit further away. These two old volcanoes looked so majestic. Snow at the top, giant piles of maybe 30 feet of volcanic rubble dividing us from them. The incoming smoke, which was the worst so far, made the views blurry. The smell of burned wood added to this Jurassic feeling. I felt like being warped back in time, to the age of dinosaurs, when the earth was young and these volcanoes would spit smoke and fire.

Some smoke made the three sisters feel prehistoric

After this, we crossed more burn sections and I will stop talking about them from now on. Just let me tell you, that now from a Washington perspective, the trail in Oregon is heavily burned. I think about 20 percent is dead forest. But that’s just a guess. Especially mentionable are the obsidian falls to me. While we crossed a lot of volcanic ground, all of a sudden the rocks turned into shiny, almost glassy sharp rocks. Obsidian. The Obsidian Falls were not as impressive as later falls, but still a very peaceful stop for a lunch break, almost like in a fairytale.

Obsidian Falls

To top this day, we followed 3 miles of just volcanic stones, being catapulted back in time even further, so vast and prehistoric, and without any trees. All of a sudden, we crossed the pass road and stumbled into a camping couple at 9 pm, that was in a giving mood and spoiled us with fresh brewed beer from Bend, food, and snacks. Some days just deliver.


Big Lake Youth Camp

With majestic Mt. Washington eyeing our backs, we hiked towards Big Lake Youth Camp. On our way there, we could see where last day’s smoke was coming from. A fire in the far distance, which did not look too huge, but still it impacted a lot of our Oregon experience. The Camp was a very nice place. Being in a hurry, we managed to get stuck there of course, because of showers, food, and charging of our devices. After a much too long stay, we headed on towards Magic Mike’s Trail magic. This guy did not want to have any donations and made us burgers, gave us ice-cold drinks, and offered us a seat.

Volcanic rubble, luckily without Altras

2000 milers

After another hour of not hiking, we continued to the most significant mile marker so far: 2,000 Miles on the PCT! What a trip to make it here! We celebrated for 15 minutes, took our pictures, and convinced Chainsaw to not go to Bend to resupply but instead stay with us and get enough additional food until we hit Olali Lake, where he could resupply.

Proud 2000-milers

So we crossed the road and… Had more trailmagic! A cute couple fed us Chili sin carne and soft drinks. I don’t have to tell you, that we did not manage to hike our needed mileage that day… Instead, we missed the wild goats, because we night hiked into camp. I am very sad about this.

Moody sundown over Oregon

Getting smoked again

Two days later, we woke up to see Mt. Washington covered in smoke lines. The fire we saw days ago and thought to be over for us now was smoking us and we could see that the valley we walked through yesterday was filling with thick brown smog. So we quickly packed our stuff and crossed the next ridgeline into Mt. Hood wilderness.

Jefferson covered by smoke

Here, to be honest not much happened. We were in our groove. Hiking 26-27 miles each day, becoming filthier and dirtier. We just had one laundry, 3 showers, and zero zeroes in Oregon, so everything smelled. Our feet and knees hurt, because they never had a rest, except for 8 hours of sleep each night. For every section on the trail, we say there is an end boss to beat before you are allowed to move forward. If Yosemite and its creeks were the endbosses in the Sierra section, my mind was my endboss here in Oregon. I came to a point, where I just wanted this to end. And this could also be done by keeping on moving. By this, we slowly moved forward to one of my most desired places on trail.

Timberline Lodge, a magical place


Timberline Lodge

The evening before, we could finally get a first glimpse of Mt. Hood and its glaciers and then the other day we could finally experience Timberline Lodge. For me as a civil engineer and Roofer, it was very interesting to see these huge wooden beams and the giant chimney. The architecture and interior design are breathtaking. My most famous hotel so far in my life. Of course, we had the breakfast here, and of course, it was the best breakkie on trail and of course, we saw a bunch of known faces and of course, we had some beers in the morning, and of course, we did not hit our daily mileage goal that day. To make it short: we had a blast.

On the other side of Mt. Hood, the forest changed drastically

Tunnel Falls and Eagle Creek

The last day of our Oregon hike started as always: We climbed a tree-covered mountain and cruised along its ridgeline for quite a while. But Oregon did not want to let us go without offering us one last beautiful view to the north. We got a first glimpse of Mt. Adams and St. Helens and did not know back then how big they really are.

Mt. St. Helens

After this, it was time to see Eagle Creek and the tunnel falls. Like last week, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Even though I have just videos of the famous falls, but I am sure you guys know it pretty well!

Eagle creek

The plan was to hike into Cascade Locks that night, but we were too slow somehow and ended up night hiking. Completely exhausted, from trying not to fall into Eagle Creek, we arrived at the trailhead, 3 miles away from Cascade Locks, and decided to call it a day.

Who told us that creek crossings were over? South of Timberline lodge

So we still reached our goal, We arrived at the Washington Border after 16 days and one hour of the 17th day, to experience PCT days in all its crazyness!

But because this post is already too long, I’m gonna tell you about that next week in my first Washington post!


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Comments 3

  • Tom : Aug 28th

    Yep, I slept covered in beer a few times in my younger days and usually happened at a campground with the boys. Fun times. Funny , both my kids don’t like beer. Great pics of Oregon and sounds like you’re putting in some hard days.

  • Ingo Kupper : Sep 2nd

    Beeing stuck here in Tansania, I finally have the time to read your awesome blog. All those stories, experiences, adventures, beautiful pictures make me think about planning for a PCT thru hike for myself.
    But for now I enjoy your bog and cross my fingers for you reaching your goal!
    Cheers and good luck!

  • Laurence : Sep 24th

    I am trying to imagine the moment of panic that Nasty Cheese had realizing she had to hike for 700 more miles and 3 weeks with someone who would put beer in his dry sack with his only bedding. I’m really trying to imagine it… and I just cannot.


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