Thursday, November 11, 2021

Day 16 & 17: Washington!

 Day 16: 19 miles

    I woke up early all comfy cozy in our hotel room but managed to stay in bed until 7am. The day prior I noticed a little coffee shop on the Main Street so I put on my clothes and went outside to check it out. It was very cute and I got an Americano and went back to the hotel to get ready for the day. I still had to do my food shop for the next 4.5 days. We did the shop and then had breakfast at the hotel with the voucher they gave us. Four and a half days worth of food was on the heavier side of what we had to carry but it all managed to fit in my 30L pack. 

    We decided to eat one last real meal before leaving town. The day prior I noticed a brewery just down from the hotel called Thunder Island Brewing and we were excited to check it out. It was definitely the hot spot as well as swimming with PCT hikers. The brewery even had a little blurb on their menu about ‘Trail Magic’ which encouraged guests to give the gift of a pint to a hiker! Highly recommend stopping here if you find yourself in Cascade Locks. After lunch we went back to the hotel to grab our packs and get back on our way. 

Bridge of the Gods

    I was very excited to be back walking because we were about to walk over “The Bridge of the Gods”. This bridge is pretty amazing as you leave Oregon at one end and enter Washington on the other. I was surprised to notice that there was no sidewalk to walk on and we had to share the lane with the cars. Luckily we made it to the other side unscathed! The trail picks back up on the other side and we were delighted by the sea of blackberry bushes. Our bellies were pretty full but we managed to take in a few berries. Blackberry picking in August is always one of my favourite activities back home and I am incapable of ever passing them up. 

Getting back on trail in Washington

We proceeded to walk 19 miles that afternoon to Rock Creek and got there just as it was getting dark. The last 2 miles getting there was the perfect grade for running and so we barrelled down the hill, full packs and all. Probably wasn’t the smartest idea but it felt so good in the moment. Plus, it was getting dark and I knew this would get us to the tent site a bit faster. Luckily, there was one tiny spot available and we quickly set up the tent via headlamp. 

Day 17: 27 miles

    We didn’t start walking until 7am which was about an hour later than we typically start walking. I noted that Peter was hurting. This may have been from all the running I made him do the evening prior. I believe his shins were starting to bother him. It’s interesting because I got shin splints the first time we did the PCT after he made me run downhill for 5 miles on what would have been a 35 mile day. 

PSA: running downhill with a weighted pack although fun in the moment may be harmful! 

    Around lunchtime we came across a guy, known as Spamual Adams, sitting down on the trail eating biscuits and gravy. He said a womandropped off some beers and gave him the meal. The beers were trail magic so we sat down with him and enjoyed a nice cold one! Another fellow named Purell joined us as well. We would go on to leap frog with these two for weeks. The trail angel came back and told us that she hiked the trail last year and was in town for a wedding. She knew the trail was close by and decided to drop off some beers. We chatted to her for a while about her experience the year prior and what it was like hiking during the pandemic! 

    We managed to pull ourselves away from having all the beers as it’s good to save some for the other hikers 😜 and started a long 10 mile climb. About a third of the way up the climb we noticed a brown bag sitting slightly off the trail on a stump. Was it trail magic? At this point, any unmarked coolers or bags of food seem like fair game in the woods. There were fresh tomatoes and avocados in this bag so Peter helped himself to an Avocado. The weird part was that sitting on the stump was a can of Pepsi and on top of the can was a hit of acid. Peter put the acid in the brown bag and we carried on our way. At this point I was pretty convinced that this wasn’t trail magic and we just helped ourselves to someone’s avocado. Days later we met other hikers who had also come across this mystery brown bag and they had helped themselves too so that made me feel better. 

    Peter’s shin started to hurt by the end of the day but it didn't seem to bad yet. It would start to be a problem in the days to come…stay tuned!

Marathon and Pole Vault

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