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