From Oregon to Washington (Mile 1,984-2,297)
Inner Tube Update
So, in the last blog I mentioned I was beginning to carry an inner tube. I’m sure everyone is on the edge of their seat to hear what happened.
Well I’m happy to inform you that I was able to not only enjoy river rapids with my $10 Rite Aid inner tube (thank you Bend, OR) but myself and my group was able to have lunch in the middle of a lake. One hot day, Lab Rat, Pineapple Boy, and I decided to have lunch at a lake, and I immediately saw it as an inner tube opportunity. The boys helped me in taking turns by blowing up the inner tube and then we each took turns paddling around the lake. It’s a wonderful thing being 60 miles away from civilization and having an inner tube day with your friends.
We’re not passing as many lakes in Washington as we did in Oregon, so I gifted the inner tube to another hiker for him and his friends to enjoy. However, I have a feeling a new inner tube may make its way into my pack when we reach the Sierras.
If you’ve been following for a while, you will know by now that one thing consumes the thoughts of every thru-hiker: food. Timberline Lodge sits at the base of Mt. Hood and is a legend on the PCT for its buffet breakfast. Hikers will hike 30+ miles once they know they’re close to this legendary spread of eggs, smoked salmon, and fruit platters.
I didn’t end up hiking a crazy mile day to get there, but man oh man, was walking up to Mt. Hood worth it. The Timberline lodge is quite an elegant place with pretty expensive rooms. I decided to sleep behind the lodge in the PCT camping area. When it was time for breakfast, scruffy hikers with wide eyes and growling stomachs piled into the buffet, along with clean proper ‘town people’ who had stayed inside the lodge. We definitely got our money’s worth as we each ate four plates of food, minimum to quench our hunger.
Spoiled by Family
Two of my aunts live in Oregon and were able to join me and my smelly tramily for the Timberline Breakfast. Afterwards, they graciously hosted, fed, and helped with the chores for Lab Rat and me. On trail I’ve had many incredible zero days (days where you walk zero miles), but spending time with my aunts was definitely the most relaxing so far. We bought and shipped all the food we need for all of Washington, ate incredibly well, went to Silver Falls, and then would end each day with a jump in the hot tub.
I was spoiled rotten and am so grateful for my time there!
Bridge of the Gods
My first day of the PCT I began to envision all of the iconic landmarks I would see. One of the most iconic landmarks is the Bridge of the Gods. It’s a bridge along the PCT that marks the exit from Oregon to the entrance of Washington. It also symbolizes the first state that I’ve fully walked through (still coming back for you California). As I walked across the bridge, I chuckled to myself at the thought of a girl from Southern California walking all the way to Washington. It sounds like something only a crazy person would do, and I apparently fit the bill.
Trail Magic…on Horseback?
Washington is considered the most rural state on the PCT. Because of this, folks passing out trail magic are much more rare, and even more appreciated. I was exceptionally hungry in this past stretch and found myself needing to ration my food towards the end. One day three riders on horseback were coming down on the trail and I stopped to talk to them. They were staying at a horse camp not too far from the PCT and had loads of questions about how long I’d been walking, etc. After talking to the group, they offered me the granola bars they were carrying with them.
‘You have no idea how much this changes the next few days for me!’ I told them. Essentially, they had given me just the amount of bars I needed to stop rationing my food.
Goat Rocks Wilderness
Often people’s favorite part of Washington is Goat Rocks Wilderness, and I can see why. The day we were walking through Goat Rocks started off clear, with a wisp of a cloud in the distance. ‘Wow, I bet the clouds will make the landscape even more stunning,’ I thought to myself. We began walking through Goat Rocks and were surrounded by beautiful sheer cliffs and mountainsides, punctuated by crystal clear waterfalls. Then, the cloud descended. The rest of our time in Goat Rocks Wilderness was spent traversing mountainsides in a cloud with wind so strong I struggled to walk in a straight line.
Not every day has perfect weather, but I’m still grateful for the bits of the Wilderness we saw. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Counting Down the Miles
Still, I get at least one moment every day where I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’ve dreamed of doing the PCT for so long. I’ve pinched pennies to make sure I had enough savings and attempted to get a permit multiple times. Now, I’m finally here, living my dream, and all I have to do is take it in. However, it doesn’t matter how much you love something (for me it’s running around in the woods), it’ll get tiring after a while. I’ve noticed that in Washington, as beautiful as it is, I’m counting down the miles instead of enjoying each mile. I think of each mile through Washington as one mile closer to my promised land: the Sierra Nevada (where I’ll be ending my adventure).
I’m coming to realize that this new mindset isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different. I still have moments of each day that I cherish and still know this is the one place I want to be, but sometimes walking can just be a bit dull.
Currently, I’m looking for a new luxury item to mix things up. In the desert, I had my water gun and in Oregon I had my inner tube. Let me know if you have suggestions!
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