Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Day 15: Cascade Locks and Tunnel Falls!!!

 Day 15: 28 miles

    This morning was wet!!! Not only was it the wettest day so far it was also the most adventurous as we climbed up and over a hundred plus downed trees. Luckily, my Arc’teryx rain gear that I used on the GDT kept me warm and dry and the Forclaz gortex overmitts Peter got me for Christmas worked like a hot damn. 

    These overmitts deserve a paragraph of their own. One of the biggest pitfalls of my GDT experience in 2020 was how cold and wet my gloves were from the dewy brush and eventual rain. Had I had something like a gortex overmitt I would have faired much better. Having warm hands is essential when its cold and if your gloves get wet you’re pretty screwed. I knew Washington was typically a wet state and I was excited to finally get to test out the combo of glove and overmitt and see how dry my gloves stayed. I guess the only con to the mitt is that it’s hard to use your hands if say you need to re-tie your shoe or get things in and out of your bag. I guess it’s worth mentioning Peter’s latest find: Showa Temres 282-02 which is a waterproof breathable thermal insulated glove. This glove eliminates the hardship of having a mitt for dexterity. I will play around with it and see which system I like better. 

Peter’s make-shift trail skirt didn’t survive the day!

    After a hard morning of hiking we realized there was an alternate trail into Cascade Locks. We saw that it cut off some miles and would get us there sooner so we didn't hesitate to choose that route. People had made comments that it is the best alternate on the trail so I was excited to check it out. Now, what I didn’t know is that I would be witness to one of the most spectacular things I had ever seen: Tunnel Falls. I guess if you have ever done Rainshadow Running’s Gorge Waterfalls race you have seen something equally as spectacular but I hadn’t ever done it and I was floored. You quite literally go into a tunnel behind the falls. I can’t believe the PCT doesn't follow this route! The trail you follow down by the falls is quite narrow with big drop off’s which made it quite exciting and exhilarating. 

    After the heaven that was this waterfall, we had roughly 5 miles to hike to the trail head/parking area where we had planned to hitch into Cascade Locks. It was very clear by the shear number of people that this was a popular trail. We would later learn that this trail has been closed for 5 years due to a forest fire and had just re-opened 2 weeks prior. Once we got to the parking lot I almost immediately hit the porta potty because duty was calling! As soon as I got out there was a car leaving the parking area. Peter told me to throw out a thumb and so I did and they pulled over! That couldn’t have gone any smoother. The couple made room for us and drove us the 3km to Cascade Locks and dropped us off outside the Best Western. The town of Cascade Locks is beautiful and situated on the Columbia River. It’s a small town and there weren’t many options for accommodation. We walked into the Best Western and asked if they had any vacancy’s. The concierge told us that there was only one room left in the hotel and it had a king size bed and would be $269US for the night. Now, it was a Friday night in August and the likelihood of us finding anything elsewhere would be slim. Sometimes you just have to splurge and splurge we did! Best decision we ever made ☺. 

    Unfortunately, we didnt have a ton of time to relax because we had to mail ourselves some packages as the re-supply options in Washington (we thought) were slim. The post office was closing in one hour and so we had to quickly shower and then walk to the block down to the grocery store and shop for the next 3 weeks! Luckily, the town was so small everything was within a block of each other. Ideally we would’ve saved this for the next day but the post office was closed on Saturdays. Because there was only one grocery store and everyone else was also shipping items ahead, it was slim pickings! We did our best to gather enough calories and went to the post office and packed up 4 large pre-paid boxes. This just means you pay a certain price for a certain size box. I think it was $15-20US per box. We got that done just in the Nick of time and proceeded to walk across the street to the Ale House to relax and have some beer! Peter’s sister Kathleen had also mailed us a package to the Ale House with new shoes and other items we needed from home (socks, chafe lube, insoles, shorts, nuun etc). Oddly the package was not there and it turns out it got wrongly delivered to the grocery store and was just sitting on the floor by the entrance way! Luckily, no one nabbed it. 


    The Ale House was super rustic inside and the beer was so good! They also had fantastic pizza. We went back to our hotel afterwards and did laundry and chilled out. The next day we walk across the famous Bridge of the Gods into Washington!! Stay tuned…

Marathon and Pole Vault 

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