170805 – Across the Bridge of Gods into Washington

Day:  104
Date:  Saturday, 05 August 2017
Start:  Cascade Locks at Mile 2144.4, 219 ft
Finish:  Camped by the trail at Mile 2167.0, 2480 ft
Daily Miles:  22.6 PCT, plus 1.1 added by detour.
Total PCT Miles:  1626.7
Weather:  Warm and sunny
Accommodation:  Tent
     Breakfast:  Omelette & hash browns, toast & jam
     Lunch:  Gorp
     Dinner:  Rehydrated spaghetti with meat sauce
Aches:  Rib injury sore and very tired
Highlight:  It was a thrill to cross the Bridge of the Gods into Washington.  Apart from being a milestone, it felt special walking across the narrow bridge on its steel mesh surface (don’t drop trekking poles or camera), high above the fast-flowing Columbia River with cars going both ways (no pedestrian path).
Lowlight:  The last hour and a half was pretty miserable.  Around 6:30pm, near where I hoped to camp for the night, I was crossing a small stream, no different to hundreds I have crossed so far, when one foot slipped on a wet rock and I fell backwards into a shallow rock pool, leaving me looking like an upturned turtle.  It would have been funny except my pack was partially under water and the pain in my injured ribs/upper abdomen as I tried to extricate myself was agonising.  My boots also filled with water which is not good with Goretex boots because the water doesn’t drain.  I finally got out and decided to fill my water bottles and then stop at the first place I could find to camp and assess the water damage.  However, when I reached my intended campsite, there were already four tents and about six hikers in the small space, so I decided to squelch onwards and find another spot.  Sadly, that took over an hour and it was 8:00pm after an arduous climb before I found anywhere.  I was exhausted and fed up with myself, but was happy to find not much had got wet (most of my stuff is in old dry bags which have seen better days).  I have hung and spread out stuff to dry overnight and it will take longer to pack up in the morning, but at least it turned out to be more annoying than disastrous.
Pictures:  Click here

Map:  Click here for Google Map

I left the motel around 6:45am and returned to the trail via a cafe where I had a good-sized breakfast. By soon after 8:00am I was crossing the Bridge of the Gods (see above), an impressive walk, and then it was back into the forest shortly afterwards, this time in Washington state.

There were quite a few hikers on the trail, both northbound and southbound PCT hikers, along with some weekend day hikers.  The trail was quite a mixture all day as it passed through an active logging area.  Some parts were through beautiful old growth forests, while others were through recently logged scrappy open terrain, plus everything in between.  At one point there was a compulsory detour that added 1.1 miles to avoid a part of the trail closed because of logging.

The trail surface also varied a lot, and so did my pace, but I plugged away despite the usual first-day-back-on-the-trail blues.  My mind was also on the news I had seen on Facebook this morning that a second running clubmate had died this week, both of natural causes.  Neither were close friends, and one had had a good innings, but they were both friends and always up for a chat when I saw them.

The last hour and a half of the day didn’t quite work out as planned (see above) and I was very happy to eventually stop and set up camp for the night.

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