Part 16 - The Beginning of the End
Getting around the fire closure in Oregon wasn’t too bad. Everything went right according to plan, we were even able to throw a few extra people in the car and make use of the extra space to maximize the magic. Got breakfast in Sisters, met some fellow Cincinnatians and found all the goodies I needed for the next stretch of trail. Just after noon I found myself at the Frog Lake Trailhead about 12 miles south of Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood.
I’d separated from Leapfrog to get to Trail Days a bit sooner so I was close to 15 miles ahead of him. This was the first time on trail we’d gotten that far apart and the first days of us each hiking on our own. That first day I climbed up the south slope of Mt. Hood and the great peak revealed itself to me as I reached the upper slopes. I got lucky and some friends offered me a warm bed in Timberline Lodge that night, it was a welcome treat.
The next day I was tempted by a buffet breakfast and a chance to have a slow day but that wasn’t what was in my cards. I hiked 29 miles that day, not planning to have made it that far. I went by gorgeous waterfalls and beautiful ever changing views of Mt. Hood. Around 2PM I made it to Lolo Pass and some wonderful trail magic, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some watermelon. By the evening it was windy and cold, fall had arrived.
The last day of Oregon I walked down the Eagle Creek alternate past the famous Tunnel Falls and other beautiful sights along the river. It was a treat and a moment to breath. I was excited to get to Cascade Locks, I was excited to be ending Oregon and I was excited to see friends at Trail Days, a celebration of everything PCT for the weekend.
PCT Days was relaxing, it was chaotic and it was fun. I enjoyed seeing friends, old and new. I enjoyed having fun and getting lost in the crowd. In these few days I decided that I wanted the rest of my trail to be a random adventure. I didn’t want to plan ahead, I just wanted to do what feels right each day. Unfortunately you can’t do that with a partner so I decided that I’ll be hiking on my own the rest of the way. I’m sure Will and I will continue to see each other and be in the same bubble but the need to pick my own adventure has overcome my want to continue this journey with a partner.
I’m not sure what the coming days or weeks will bring but I still have high hopes that the rest of this journey will be amazing and enjoyable. I’m excited for the days ahead. I’m excited to finally enter Washington and hopefully finally make my way to Canada.
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The PCT stands for the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,653 route extending from Mexico to Canada along the west coast of the United States. Every year several thousands attempt it and only a few hundred finish.