Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 130: Lolo Pass to Cascade Locks

The thirty mile day is a rite of passage for most PCT hikers, and Sierra decided that she wanted to try one too. With the more gently graded trail in Oregon, we decided that today was the day: the final 30 mile stretch in Oregon down to Cascade Locks.

We woke early, starting off by headlamp as the early dawn light could not penetrate the thick forest canopy above. Looking back at the ridge we saw fingers of cool, damp fog reaching out and encircling our camp.

Although we would start the day at 3,420 feet and end the day at 200 feet, it would not be accurate to say that the hike would be "all downhill."  We started the day by climbing. And every time we dropped a few feet, the trail then climbed some more.

We stopped for lunch at Indian Springs Campground. From there, many hikers take the popular Eagle Creek alternate route, which is both shorter and reportedly more beautiful than the official PCT. But we are committed to a continuous hike of the official PCT, no flips, no skips. So the beautiful Eagle Creek alternate route will have to wait. We continued on the official PCT.

It was late afternoon when we finally began to long descent into Cascade Locks. But rather than the quick descent we anticipated, the trail was rocky, forcing us to slow our pace. It was very, very late when we finally walked into Cascade Locks, with the Bridge of the Gods, crossing the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington, finally in sight. We did it! The 30 mile day!

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