Traipsing Through Oregon
Portland is for Healing and Donuts
After my bad ankle sprain in Goat Rocks, I leukotaped my ankle and spent three days limping out to the road. I hitched into the tiny of Trout Lake in an enormous lumber truck. I’ve met a ton of hunters and lumber workers (lumberjacks?) in this section of trail, and they’ve all been unfailingly polite and kind to me.
In Trout Lake, I got a huckleberry milkshake and a shower. I had intended to skip Trout Lake and go straight to Cascade Locks. In Stehekin, I’d met a hiker named Jim completing the Washington section of the PCT. He’d offered to let me stay with him and his wife in Portland when I went through Cascade Locks, and I’d planned to meet him on September 1. Since my ankle injury forced me off trail early, I texted him to let him know I wasn’t going to make it as planned.
Jim immediately replied and said I could stay with his family while my ankle healed. I felt awkward and hesitant about staying with virtual strangers, and I felt embarrassed about imposing on Jim to drive three hours round trip to Trout Lake to fetch me. But I swallowed my awkwardness and pride and agreed.
I took three days of complete rest in Portland, the longest stint I’ve had off trail since I started hiking in April. I got to an urgent care and confirmed my ankle was not broken, my husband mailed me my ankle brace from my surgery last year, and I kept my foot iced and elevated much of the time.
Also, my hosts fed me incredible food (fresh caught salmon and veggies from the garden! Voodoo donuts and ice cream!), we watched House of the Dragon, and I met half the neighborhood. After weeks of near-solitude hiking the Washington section of the PCT, Portland felt like getting wrapped up in a blanket of community and affection.
Walking into Oregon
I got a lift back to the trail with Ron, a trail angel and neighbor of Jim’s who has been delighting PCT hikers with decadent french toast breakfasts and fresh fruit at trailheads all along Washington.
My ankle was very tender and still swollen, so I committed to taking it easy. I tried to keep my mileage at or even under 20 miles per day, and I took the descents extra slow.
The last few days of Washington were a delight. The bugs have relented, the sunsets are epic, and I saw two enormous elk as I walked through a forest in the evening.
I reached the Bridge of the Gods in early afternoon. Days later than I had planned because of my injury, but I made it. Washington was stunningly beautiful, unforgiving, unforgettable.
Waterfalls and Starlight
I took the Eagle Creek alternate and the Ramona Falls alternate out of Cascade Locks and saw some of the most beautiful waterfalls of the entire trail.
Having lost most of a week off trail, things seemed very empty on trail now. I saw no other south-bound hikers and I didn’t even pass many north-bound hikers.
So I was delighted when I bumped into Ron, the trail angel from Portland, at a road crossing after Timberline Lodge. That evening I intersected Izzy and Minty, north bound friends I haven’t seen since Sierra City. We hiked to a campground to meet up with Ron and had a party: burgers with cocktails for them, cheese with mustard and hot cocoa for me, and hours of conversation late into the night.
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