Bridge of the Gods
I've got the pre-birthday blues. We've been inside for a couple days while it stays cold and rainy in Trout Lake. Temperatures on the trail have been near freezing and the sections we just finished now have their first dusting of snow.
Despite the weather we decided today would still be the day we get back to trail. We lounged around until about 1:00pm and then headed over to the café for one more town meal.
Trout Lake is super hiker friendly and has an amazing network of trail angels who leave their phone numbers posted on the walls of local businesses. We called several angels and Doug, the man who picked us up from trail two days ago, was happy to take the five of us back today.
Jedi, Link, Hollywood, Cosmo, and I set out in the rain at 3:00pm.
We hiked seven and a half miles before setting up camp, cooking warm dinner, and seeking shelter in our tents. The weather looks cold and gray for the next two days but sunny and warm after that.
I woke up to the sound of Link singing happy birthday outside my tent. There is no better place to celebrate than on a trail in the mountains! Traditionally, I have run my age in miles on my birthday, but in this weather I'm not sure I have it in me to pull off a 34 mile day.
Outside it was a freezing wet morning and I did not want to get out of bed. I decided (from within the warmth of my sleeping bag) that I would take a rain check on my birthday miles, 34 mile day will have to wait, I'm sleeping in.
Sleeping in on trail still means getting up and hiking by 8:00am. I had to come up with some way to make the day festive.
Back in Trout Lake one of the locals gave me a left over goody bag from her sons birthday party, inside we found blue LED balloons. All day Cosmo and I wore the birthday balloons strapped to our backpacks.
Amidst the cloudy day, every once in a while there was a vista with a scenic view of the mountains with clouds rolling in.
Late morning I found my friends by the water having second breakfast and I enjoyed a ramen bomb that was already cooked and waiting for me.
By early evening the sky began to show and the clouds started to break, letting the sun cascade through the wet leaves and trees.
We set up camp at Rock Creek, crawled into our damp tents, listened to music and ate dinner.
I couldn't be happier to wake up this morning and see blue skies! The sun came out, the air was clear, and the views were magnificent!
After 18 miles we hit the road...
And our first state boundary!
PCT 2017 has been dubbed the year of fire and ice. Forest fires stopped us from crossing the California border a month ago, and with the Eagle Creek Fire burning in Cascade Locks, OR, it almost stopped us from crossing the Washington/Oregon border. Fortunately, the Bridge of the Gods opened up just a couple days ago and we finally got to walk into another state!
Once we crossed the bridge we were immediately greeted by orange tape and a sign saying the trail is closed. Womp. Womp.
We hung out at a the rest stop across the street from the trail and made alternate plans. This begins our journey through the burning state of Oregon.
We ended up getting a ride to the hiker friendly Rodeway Inn in Stevenson, Wa. We ate a delicious meal in town before showering and watching movies in our dry and warm room.
After checking out of the hotel we brain stormed for our options to get back to trail. We decided to hitch over to Hood River, Oregon and attempt to make our way down to Timberline Lodge.
Eventually we made it to Hood River and attempted to do more brainstorming. We met PCT alumni, 3 Times A Lady and Serenity in a Starbucks parking lot. The two former hikers gave us words of encouragement, helpful advice, and wished us luck on this crazy year of the PCT.
We wandered around downtown Hood River for a while when we met Liz, a friendly local who was out on a walk to grab dinner with her three children. She offered to let us camp in her backyard, she invited us out to dinner with her family, and said she would drive us to Timberline the next morning!
Liz's generosity was more than we could have asked for or dreamed of. We will take all the help we can get and she really made our evening a good one. The kindness of strangers is a huge take away from this journey.
After dinner the four of us walked around town, and we even stopped in on a free Oktoberfest celebration.
It was dark when we finally made it back to Liz's house. We cowboy camped (on a giant trampoline) under the stars, thankful to have a clear sky and comfortable night.
Liz drove us up to Timberline Lodge where winter is back in full effect!
Inside the lodge we picked up our resupply boxes and I was surprised to find a birthday package from my dad, complete with a vegan cookie and candles!
Next, we said goodbye to Link - who is heading over to the Oregon Coast Trail - and Cosmo, Jedi, and I made plans for our next section.