Zero Sick Days
Cascade Locks, OR to Trout Lake, WA
We woke up at Angela and Charlie’s house just outside of Portland. Angela made French toast for breakfast, we took our last showers and packed our backpacks. Our backpacks were busting at the seams with homemade chocolate chip cookies from my Aunt Terry, Jelly Belly Jelly beans from my mom and all of these recovery gummies and bars from Angela (Angela went resupply shopping with me and saw what we eat on the trail. I think she was a little shocked and maybe even a little terrified, so gave us some snacks with actual nutrients). Angela, Charlie and their son, Charles Dean, drove us back to Cascade Locks. We drove by downtown Portland along the way and saw the thousands of people protesting. As we arrived at Cascade Locks I could not help but to feel sad. It was so nice to see Angela (and her parents) and Charlie again and to meet their son. I did not want to say goodbye. I did not have enough time with them. It went too fast. But Washington State is calling and we must go before winter arrives. We said our goodbyes and then Kilo and I went to grab a quick bite to eat before we walked back across the Bridge of the Gods. We only hiked four miles for the day and then pitched our tent on the shore of a small lake. We took a short nap before dinner (because it was such a tough 4 mile day) and then back to bed again after dinner to prepare for a bigger day tomorrow. As we lay in our tent we could hear the fish jumping in the nearby lake.
During the night we could hear a deer bathing in the lake. He would take a break from bathing to eat some grass and lick the ground where we peed and then go back to throwing water on himself again. I was just thankful the deer did not try to eat my trekking poll handles. We started our hike around 8am. Most of the day was spent walking uphill. At one point we could see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier. As we neared our campsite for the night we crossed a gravel road and stumbled upon trail magic. A former PCT and CDT hiker was giving out cold PBRs (basically water) and had chairs for us to sit in. We sat and chatted for about 20 minutes, but then learned from another Northbound hiker there was a herd of people coming behind us from PCT Days at Cascade Locks. We jumped up and took off knowing the tent sites in the nearby area were limited. If all the tent sites were taken we would have to do another five mile climb to the next spot which we were not feeling. There were already three tents at the site when we got there, but we were able to squeeze our tent into the last spot. We had dinner with a woman from Germany. Interesting to note that she is a chain smoker...while hiking 2,653 miles. And a guy from the U.K. who had gone through the Sierras and almost got washed away during a precarious river crossing.
I woke up feeling a bit under the weather. I was congested and my left gland in my throat was swollen. Unfortunately there are no sick days on the trail. We have to keep moving otherwise we will run out of food. The morning started with a five mile climb to get the heart pumping. Around 1pm just as we were about to reach a creek to take a break we came across a Trail Magic sign. A husband and wife who had planned to do the PCT this year, but were unable to (and will do it next year) decided to provide Trail Magic in place of their hike this year. For our second lunch, we had sloppy Joes (something I would never eat in “real life”), Fritos, Shasta Cola and apples. Equally as important, we got to sit on chairs verses the ground to eat. Reluctantly post lunch we had to keep hiking. We ended the day like we started the day, with a five mile climb. We were soaked with sweat when we arrived at our campsite. The Washington forests are very humid and tropical-like with lush, green ferns. I did not feel well once we arrived to camp. I felt nauseous, had the chills and was extremely tired (see why I usually do not eat Sloppy Joes?). Kilo made me Ramen noodles that I ate in the tent in my sleeping bag. I needed rest so as not to make this cold worse. There was a whole group of five guys that cowboy camped at the tent site with us, but I was not feeling social.
Apparently I did not sweat out the cold hiking up that hill yesterday because I woke up even more congested and I felt like I could sleep all day. We reluctantly hit the trail at 8am to yet another five mile climb (Washington, I am noticing a trend). For my second breakfast, I drank some Propel and ate one of the bars Angela had given me that is supposed to help your immune system. Vitamins, please help! Around mile 12 we hit trail magic for our second lunch again. Cowboy was cooking up hotdogs and we had baked beans (another food item I do not eat in “real life,” but they tasted so good in “Trail life”) with corn bread that apparently the Mayor of Vancouver baked (did she make it or one of her assistants...we will never know). For dessert we had Girl Scout cookies. To end the day and burn off all the calories we consumed, we had a 7.4 mile climb up to Blue Lake. My feet were screaming, “PAIN,” during the last two miles. I am pretty sure I have permanent nerve damage in my feet. Sometimes my toes fall asleep while I am walking. Is that normal? As we set up camp, a chilly breeze blew in as a precursor to the rain expected tomorrow. While at Angela’s we re-waterproofed the tent and our rain jackets and pants in anticipation of the Washington rain. The good news is that at the end of the day my cold seemed to have gotten a little better. I was definitely less congested. I guess my vitamin download and excessive sweating helped after all.
Why are colds always the worst in the morning? Back to being congested again this morning. Today would have been a great day to lay on the couch and watch TV. Unfortunately I currently do not own a couch or a TV or a living establishment in which to place said items. And so, we must walk. It waited until about Noon before it started raining, and then it was a steady rain all day. The trail is made of sand in many places and when the sand gets wet it sticks to the treads on the bottom of your shoe and then the wet sand flicks off your shoe either up your leg or is deposited right back into your shoes and socks. It was an uncomfortable walk with wet, sandy on the inside, shoes. We got into camp fairly early. We camped just outside of the Forest Road where we will take a shuttle to Trout Lake in the morning to resupply. We were able to set up our tent and eat dinner in between rain showers. We jumped in the tent just before the hardest rain of the day began. We had heard there was a bubble of hikers behind us,and since the Bridge of the Gods we have been able to out hike them. Well, this evening they finally caught up. There were at least twenty hikers smooshed into our campground. Trout Lake will be a booming little town tomorrow. I already checked all lodges to see if any rooms were available and there was no vacancy. It looks like we will be camping in the local park. I was hoping for a bed and hot shower to help kick my cold, but that is likely not happening. And now I was trapped in the tent. I had to pee so bad, but it was pouring outside and I was surrounded by about 20 other tents.
We woke up to the sound of iPhone alarms and people who are unable to whisper at 5am. The Herd was taking the first shuttle to town, so we opted for the second shuttle meaning we should have been able to sleep longer, but that did not happen. At least it had stopped raining sometime in the night. Although now everything was damp. We hiked the five miles to the Forest road for the 10am shuttle, which was a pickup truck. It was a 20 minute ride into Trout Lake. We immediately went to the only cafe in town to eat (hamburgers...shocking). Then we went to the only store in town to pick our resupply box. We opted to camp in the backyard of the local Church as opposed to the backyard of the General Store. We choose the quieter option. They leave the backdoor of the church unlocked so hikers can use the kitchen and bathrooms. We walked down the street and took showers at the local campground. $2 for a five minute shower. It is amazing how quickly five minutes can go when you have to shave your legs, but damn that shower felt good. After our showers, we headed back over to the General Store where we were able to do our laundry and pick up a few additional items for resupply. We were surprised to see Fake News in the laundry room. We had not seen him since we got off trail at Aqua Dulce for our road trip to Utah. For dinner we went back over to the only restaurant in town. And post dinner, back to our oasis at the church for sweet, sweet slumber.
Side note regarding the picture for this blog post. During this first (almost) week in Washington we hiked in a green tunnel (a dense, dark, humid forest) the whole time. This picture and one additional picture of a large banana slug are the only pictures I took during these first couple of days in Washington. Apparently Mushrooming is a thing here. I am not sure if it is considered a sport or a hobby, but it requires a permit. According to one Washingtonian, one can potentially make a great deal of money mushrooming. This picture is of one of the many mushrooms we saw along the way. Because this mushroom was fully intact trail-side, I am assuming this is not one of the mushrooms worth a lot of money. We did see people mushrooming. They wore buckets around their necks to put the mushrooms in. Potential future, new career?