Day 130: Cascade Locks

August 22, 2017: Hiked Miles 2125.1 to 2144.1 (19.0 total)

I could not sleep for the life of me last night. I don’t know if it was the bugs buzzing or the rock under my lower back or the warm night I’m not used to or the two cups of coffee I had this morning, but I didn’t fall asleep until 1:30. So I was a zombie when I woke up at 6:30, but my brain is like clock work now and I can’t sleep in past then on the trail.

So we got up and made breakfast and packed up and headed out onto the trail. We immediately noticed how smoked out the area had become over night.

We passed by a gorgeous lake after a short distance. 

And wound our way through the greenest of forests you can imagine.

We had a steep climb, that combined with the layer of smoke keeping the heat in, had us sweating in no time. 

We popped out onto a ridgetop and finally had a better view of the fires below us. 

Most of the morning we hiked through the trees. At one point our trail became covered in straw.

I can’t figure out who would haul straw all the way up here to the trail or why they would want to. 

We crept along the top of the ridge all day until we finally dove off the side of the mountain and headed down towards Cascade Locks. 

We got a good view of the Columbia River, which I was surprised to see was so prominent. I never knew it was such a big river.

The climb down was relentlessly steep. My knees did not love it and I felt like it would never end.  Luckily we did pass by some neat waterfalls on the way down to break the descent up. 

We finally arrived in Cascade Locks and I couldn’t have been happier. We went straight to the store to grab some drinks and snacks and saw some hikers sitting outside the Ale House on picnic tables so we went and joined them and ate lunch. We had a couple packages waiting for us at the Ale House, but it is unfortunately closed only on Tuesdays. And of course today is Tuesday. But the owner ended up showing up and hanging out with some of the hikers so she grabbed our boxes for us and let us raid the hiker box inside where I found coffee, bars, peanut butter, and trail mix. So exciting. 

We took our packages outside that our awesome trail angel, Jamie, sent to us and tore into them. And boy did she hook us up.  

Everything a hiker could possibly want. Mostly sugar, which we are not too sad about. And absolutely all of our favorites: chunky peanut butter, vanilla latte poptarts, peanut butter everything, Starbucks coffee, Oreos, Skittles, and a million more things. And she even sent me new knee braces too, because mine have basically disintegrated. She is a lifesaver. 

After sorting through everything and shipping some stuff ahead, we made our way to to Shrek’s Swamp, a trail angel’s house up the road who lets hikers camp in his yard and shower at his house. 

His place is a little mecca for hikers and definitely has a relaxed vibe. 

There weren’t too many people there so we found a great place to set up our tent and got right into the shower. 

After showering we went down to the RV park to start our laundry and then to the store to pick up a few food items for the next stretch. Luckily we didn’t have to buy much with all the stuff Jamie sent us. 

Ever since we have got into town we have seen smokejumper planes flying back and forth overhead. 

Like non-stop. It’s kinda weird. Maybe they’re finally putting some of these fires out.

We dropped our groceries off back at Shrek’s and then went back to the laundromat to put our stuff in the dryer and headed down to Thunder Island Brewing. On the way down we ran into some day hikers who we had met on the trail this morning and they had a surprise for Colton… Skittles! They had bought them for him after we told them our trail names today, hoping they would run into us tonight. They also told us all about a pilgrimage hike in Japan they previously walked. Might have to add that one to the bucket list. 

We thanked them and said goodbye and headed down to the brewery which is set right on the water and had a live band playing. 

They do this awesome thing at the brewery where patrons can prebuy hiker beers for thru hikers and then hikers can come and get a free beer while the stockpile lasts. So we each got a free pint of their Northeastern style IPA, which was absolutely incredible, and got cute coasters from the patrons who bought the hiker beers.

And we also ordered a little food.

Ok, maybe a lot of food. 

We ended up sitting next to a great guy named Ian and chatted with him all evening. We had a great time taking about life, history, work, the trail, traveling, and everything else you can think of. 

The night was beautiful down on the water and the band was great. 

And we had filling food, amazing beer, and great company. The weather was warm and it was a perfect way to spend our last night in Oregon, all the while being able to gaze across the river at Washington, our next destination. 

We finally left the brewery, picked up our laundry, and headed back to Shrek’s, which was now full of happy hikers. Now it’s after 11:00, way past our bedtime. Ok, Colton’s passed out already of course, along with most of the other hikers here. I’m listening up the rustle of the wind in the breeze, the occasional chuckle of a hiker, the random crinkling of sleeping bags, and the sound of cars speeding past on the nearby highway. This truly is an amazing little town. A place where dirty hikers, crazy locals, and rich tourists can all exist together harmoniously. The best of all worlds squished together. And really, this is how all of Oregon has been. A big moshpot of different people all living happily together. What a cool place. 


13 thoughts on “Day 130: Cascade Locks

  1. Nice reading blogs of three trail days. Seeing an eclipse in solitude and viewing a 500 mile marker must have been mistical moments. Not sure what I will look forward to after your destination is reached. Just be wondering if you will get back on the trail to complete total miles I guess. This has been great reading for a non reader. Thanks for your picture perfect sharing in words and views.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Always love reading your blog and picturing you as a 30 year old in the little girl’s body that I will always remember and cherish! So excited for all of your journeys in life Jenn! You know how to live life and appreciate every moment! Keep trekking! Love you, mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you figure out that I sent the vanilla frosting because there is never enough on your pop tarts? Of course the caramel syrup was to just make anything sweeter… never know what Colton will put in a tortilla. Ha! That really is a cool idea to prepay for a beer but the notes they leave is the coolest. You have been in some beautiful country. Love it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jenn, I would like your permission to re-post some photos (perhaps with some excerpts from your blog) on a website I maintain about the PCT. I would give you full credit and link to your blog. This PCT website is a total labor of love . . . Let me know if this would be OK.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Would love to be a trail angel for you both when you hit Snoqualmie Pass. If you have an idea on dates, let me know and I’ll try and hold the date open. I’m traveling out of state 9/18-9/22, those would be the only bad dates. I’m only about 30min away from the Pass. You’ll love Goat Rocks and Kendall Katwalk!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well enjoying your travels by foot. Just curious about when you bailed off the mountain to Cascade Locks was it a Bonzai move or a Designated trail ? Happy Hiking you two be safe. Would love to be there when you cross the Canadian Border.

    Liked by 1 person

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