From the Journal: July 17, 2013
What an amazing day! The feet put up quite a protest this morning but we only had to walk an hour before Mom, Mike and Cooper were there to greet us. We went in to Trout Lake for breakfast - coffee, huckleberry french toast, eggs, sausage and hash browns. We went to the store to get a few snacks and re-organize our gear. We ran into Billy Goat and got to chat with him for a few minutes which was cool, like meeting a PCT celebrity. He hiked the trail for the first time in 1989 and hikes at least part of it every year.
At about noon, Mike dropped us off and we started walking with the third member of the wolf pack. Today we were mostly in the forest. My body is exhausted from Adams and appreciated the gentler terrain. Mom is a wealth of knowledge of our surroundings and such positive energy. It is so nice to have hours to talk instead of feeling rushed and playing catch-up. We saw so many frogs today, they seemed to be hopping across the trail around every corner. Right about sunset, we popped out of the woods into a meadow filled with beargrass. The light was fading behind Mt. St. Helens, which is the peak filling our skyline this evening. We made camp, watched the stars and ate huckleberry pie that we packed out. My soul is very content. 16 miles with Mom today and 2 miles this morning.
July 18, 2013
We are having so much fun today! We woke up in a very dewy meadow with very wet tents and sleeping bags. We had our first hot breakfast on the trail with REAL coffee! We continue to be in the forest with occasional views. Mom is a weath of knowledge about the flora that we pass by and is so excited about the naturalist class that she is taking. It is easy conversation between the three of us, which makes the miles pass fast. We had a very scenic lunch at Blue Lake and did our laundry. The sunlight glistening on the rippling teal water was beautiful. I'm a little regretful we didn't go swimming, buy my feet seem too fragile to walk while wet. They are still healing from the half step back of climbing Adams. After lunch we climbed high enough to have beautiful views of Hood, Jefferson, St. Helens and Adams. We dropped down to lower elevation (about 3000 feet) this evening and walked until about 8:30. Our mileage was about 19 for the day. It is awesome to see how naturally Mom adjusts to the pace of the trail. We might just have to keep her until Mexico!
July 19, 2013
We are camped by Trout Creek and I am exhausted. I felt very fatigued and a bit let down the last six miles this evening. I have two new blisters and I'm frustrated that my feet don't seem to want to toughen up yet. The walking today was relatively easy and we went 18 miles. Mostly lowland forest with plenty of wildflowers and plants to identify. We walked past some old growth trees whose bark was scarred with remnants of a distant burn. We had lunch at the Panther Creek Campground, Ben has family who are camp hosts there. They showed us wonderful hospitality. We visited and had chicken salad sandwiches, chicken noodle soup and root beer. They even sent us off with leftovers for dinner! Thank you Gary and Sally!
As of this evening we have hiked over 500 miles, which I am very proud of. Mom is being the best "on trail" trail angel and giving me a foot rub so really, life is pretty darn good right now.
July 20, 2013
Tonight is the last night I will spend in Washington for a while. In a way it makes me sad to leave my home state and I am also excited for the next chapters of this journey. It was another pleasant day of walking, in lush green forests. We climbed up on a ridgeline this afternoon to views of St. Helens, Rainier, Adams and Hood. It is amazing how far away the Washington Cascades look, proof that I have walked a pretty long way so far. We planned a longer day to make it to the next water source and ended up going 23 miles. Blue Heron was a rockstar! Walking downhill my blisters were speaking up as the evening wore on. We found a great campsite just when I felt like I couldn't take another step. We had wonderful quesadillas and soup for dinner and then laid back and watched the moon and stars through the trees. Seven miles to Cascade Locks tomorrow.
July 22, 2013
Yesterday was such a whirlwind I never had time to write, so I thought I would catch up this morning as I wake in a comfy bed and have a cup of coffee. We walked out of the forest yesterday with the Columbia River right in front of us with Oregon on the other side! It felt very surreal. Somehow I had imagined it as a pedestrian bridge, which it definitely is not. Cars were going by, which made everything seem fast, as it often does in town. The bridge is grated, so you can see the waters of the Columbia far below your feet as the wind whips you around. I found this to be very exhilarating! We paused to take photographs at the "Welcome to Oregon" sign and ceremoniously threw BJ's ashes to the wind right at the state line. Over on the Oregon side of the river we relaxed, ate breakfast and ran into Nat and Jane! Ben's Dad arrived in town shortly thereafter so we ran a few town errands and then went to the beautiful Skamania Lodge for a drink. It it the strangest feeling, after days on the trail, to be sitting on a veranda overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, having a glass of wine. It makes you feel very lucky. We had amazing Mexican food for dinner (steak fajitas and smoked pork chili verde) and finished the whole thing off with ice cream cones before heading back to the hotel. Mike (my stepdad) showed up with all of the gear, and so began the frenzy of reorganizing and resupplying. We soaked our aching feet in Epsom salts, which felt amazing. I wish it was possible to soak them everyday, they feel better this morning than they have in weeks. I am off to breakfast, to visit Herman the Sturgeon and then get back on trail this afternoon. Thank you to Jon, Mom and Mike for visiting and making our welcome to Oregon so special and to Mom for walking this unforgettable leg of our journey with us!
Morning in the Meadow
Moving Away (South) from Mount Adams
Continual Foot Care
Blue Lake - A Perfect Ledge for Diving and Filling Water Bottles
Coming Out of the Forest
Bridge of the Gods