Southern Washington: The End of Act Two

The Bridge of the Gods

Waterfalls abound as we walk the Eagle Creek trail down to the Columbia River, with Tunnel Falls being the crown jewel. The scars of the 2017 fire are still evident, but the green has thankfully come back with vigor.

Tunnel Falls in the Columbia Gorge

In Cascade Locks, we congregate with Portland friends and family throughout the day and evening. After a night of camping at the trailhead, it’s time to cross into Washington.

My mother has had the dream of walking across the bridge with me ever since I announced this journey last fall, and the day has finally come. Knowing we have to go back to California before touching Canada, the impact of crossing into Washington feels a little muted. It’s not yet the home stretch.

That feeling aside, the bridge walk remains impressive and monumental. Head Start, mom and I dodge traffic and sometimes sneak a glance through the grate at the river far below. A small green sign welcomes us to Washington halfway across the bridge. We are all smiles.

Hello, Washington!

Grand Views and Good Times

Washington starts with some big climbs and descents, the likes of which we didn’t see much of in Oregon. There is a wonderful vista near Mt Adams where we can also see Hood, St Helens and Rainier–four peaks at once.

The lush woods of the beginning give way to myriad wildflowers, some that we’ve seen before and some that are novel. I find myself slowing down our afternoon pace by stopping every five minutes to take a picture of a little floral friend.

Hello, floral friend!

It’s refreshing to pause on these things. There has been a lot of hustling to the next milestone. Sometimes that hustle makes the trek feel like a job to accomplish. There is a deadline at the end to avoid winter weather, but it’s important to remember to cherish the journey, and the Mt Adams wilderness reminds me to do this.

On the final day of Act Two, Head Start, JourneyMantis and I have the pleasure of strolling through Goat Rocks. From admiring the little things to wondering at the big, I am feeling revived and inspired.

The famous “knife edge” of Goat Rocks

We are about to return to California to walk through the Tahoe, Yosemite and nothern Sierra areas, before finishing in northern Washington. This final seven weeks is set to be one for the books.

A Taste of the Real World

After White Pass, our group of four makes our way to Portland. Mantis has a family thing on the East Coast, and Journey Man, Head Start and I spend a few days in town.

On Thursday–the first full day–I meet with a couple of my employees and talk business. This brings much anxiety. I feel like I’ve leapt off a rock into a frigid pool below, and quickly want to swim to shore to find the warmth of the sun again.

But it’s okay. This is the real world, and the hustle and bustle will be a normal feeling soon enough. Or is that okay?

This and other essential errands give me that taste. I find myself thinking about the near future where I’ll be back in the grind. I don’t have an answer yet about how I will feel in two months, but I appreciate this preview as I mentally prepare.

I know I want to work less and take time to smell the roses. Like the time remaining on this trek, my life is finite. There is so much to enjoy that lies beyond sixty hour work weeks. While I’m enjoying my last seven weeks out here, I’ll be thinking on that.

Besides these town chores, we have the pleasure of social gatherings with Head Start’s family, our Portland friends, and my family. It is a whirlwind of festivities and makes for a happy weekend.

Separate Ways

Head Start and I catch an overnight bus to Redding to go find the trail at Old Station where we started north after flipping from Bishop almost two months ago.

Head Start and me, off to California 

Journey Man and Mantis leave Portland for White Pass to continue to Canada, before their plans to do California miles in September.

Having gotten back on trail in Washington after an injury break, Dash reports that he has reached the border!

Mantis, Dash and Journey Man on Baden-Powell in April

Mini Chimi is in Stehekin, days away from reaching the border as well. She has been booking thirty mile days since Ashland to make it on time before college starts.

The Tramily on the way to Forester Pass in May

Much congratulations to Dash and Mini Chimi on reaching the northern terminus!

Others in our extended family are mostly in Washington, heading north to Canada before either going back to California or calling it a wrap on 2023.

Like Kennedy Meadows in May, the paths diverge. The last two months have been the garden bed of lifelong memories. What adventures await in Act Three?

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