Day 19: 5 miles
This morning's hike to the shuttle was short and sweet. There were 3 other people waiting for it and we quickly became chatty with a couple named Epic and Buckwheat. Turns out they had also section hiked the PCT in 2014. Dennis, the shuttle volunteer, arrived promptly at 8:30am and dropped off a truck full of hikers ready to continue on their journey. Dennis was an awesome guy and told us all about how he landed in Trout Lake. He also told us about the town and how to get to the church which is where you can camp for free. Everyone on the shuttle gave a cash donation to Dennis as we parted ways.
Immediately upon getting dropped off we walked to the cafe/gas station/car repair shop. The owner of this multi-business establishment was serving up some amazing breakfast. It was a beautiful warm day and we chose to sit outside on a picnic table in the grassy area. I had the huckleberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and endless amounts of coffee. We recognized some of the other hikers who had arrived here the day prior and it was fun to continuously see familiar faces.
Afterwards we walked to the Presbyterian Church and set up our tent for the day. There was a building there that hikers could use that was fully equipped with a kitchen and washrooms. There was also an outdoor covered seating area, which is where most people hung out because it was over 100 degrees with no A/C inside. It was pretty amazing that this church so kindly allowed us to use their property. There was a creek that ran beside the church and Peter started soaking his shin in it. We then decided that we should spend a couple of days here and try and let Peter's shin heal a bit while we had access to amenities.
This town was small but it was Tuesday and the Taco truck was open on Tuesday's. This felt like a pretty big win and we delighted in Taco's for lunch.
Surprisingly, the general store was very well stocked and we realized we could've carried way less food leaving Cascade Locks if we had planned on coming here. In the afternoon I took a few dips in the creek to cool off. I think it got up to 104 degrees in the sun and all the hikers looked very content sitting in the shade and drinking beer. That evening we went back to the cafe and had some burgers for dinner.
Day 20: 4 miles
This morning we took our time getting out of the tent. In the middle of the night I was woken up by water sprinkling into our tent. It happened a few times in a row and then I realized the sprinkler from the neighbouring property was hitting us. I quickly woke Peter up and we moved our tent outside the line of fire. That was quite exhilarating!
We eventually got ourselves up and made our way back to the cafe for breakfast. If I'm in a town its near impossible for me not to eat out. It's also really fun to explore the food options in these small towns. However, these town stops were getting somewhat pricy considering all our meals were in US dollars but in the words of Jermaine Dupri "Money ain't a thang".
I asked the guy working in the repair shop where the locals go to hang out on these hot summer days and he told me about a sweet spot on the creek. It was really beautiful and was a nice swim spot. A few locals even dropped by to jump in and cool off.
After some discussion, Peter and I decided we should catch the 5pm shuttle and get back on trail, otherwise we wouldn't be able to start hiking until 9am the next morning. His shin was doing much better after a full 30 hours of rest. We walked over and waited with the other hikers outside the general store. I impulsively bought some wild smoked Alaskan Salmon for the road. Yummmmm!!
At 5pm our volunteer shuttle driver came and everyone piled into/onto the truck. There must have been 6 people squished inside and 6 people outside. With the weight of the people and the packs this truck wasn't moving very fast. I will note that this is this man's personal truck. He was awesome and even stopped at this beautiful view point of Mount Adams. I was really sad to see that Peter and I were the only one's who gave this man a donation for driving us (which was recommended). I was listening to a podcast recently of a thru hiker and he stated that a lot of hikers nowadays are quite entitled and expect these services to just exist for them. However, if people abuse these services, the volunteers won't continue to do them. They use their own vehicles and spend their own gas money picking up and dropping off hikers and I felt sad that they weren't being compensated for their generous efforts.
We hiked 4 miles until dark this night. It was all uphill and Peter's shin felt good. A successful town stop for the win!
Next up: Goat Rocks Wilderness!
Marathon and Pole Vault