tiffany's pct journal

Washington Section H: Highway 12 (White Pass) to Cascade Locks - Part II.

Days: 28 - 32.
Dates: July 31 - August 4.
Trail mileage: 423.7 - 506.0.
Distance: 82.3 miles.

I got to camp at 9:00 that night out of Trout Lake because we took our sweet time getting out of town. I was so sleepy the next morning because 9:00 PM is way past hiker midnight -- I think I'd usually conk out sometime around 8:00 PM.

The next day was crazy flat, so I did my longest day to date, and in fewer hours than I expected; I made it about 26 miles in 10 hours. For someone with tiny legs like me (I stand tall at 5 ft 1 in; that's 155 cm for you enlightened folks), that felt very impressive.

I made it to an actual campground, which had campsites with real picnic tables! Man, you don't realize how much you miss chairs and tables until the closest ones to you are dozens of miles away. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes made me hate my life if I sat outside of my tent too long. Can't win 'em all.

Mount Hood in the distance
I'm coming for you, Mount Hood

It was a very sunny day, so I could see how close Mount Hood was getting. That was exciting, because that meant we were getting closer to Oregon!

Of course, the trail never lets you celebrate too long. The next day was the most miserable I'd had on trail yet.

gray skies
Gloomy, gray day

It started raining like 10 minutes after I left camp. I thought it might stop because it wasn't very hard, so I didn't bother grabbing out my raincoat. That was a mistake. An hour later, I gave in and got out my raincoat. By now, I was already soaking wet, so it was nice that the coat was keeping me from getting more wet, but I was pretty uncomfortable. My feet were squishing in my shoes for hours.

The rain didn't stop all day. Even though it was raining, there was almost no water on the trail to be found, so I was thirsty and completely drenched. Thank goodness for trail angels, who leave caches for us thru-hikers in the long stretches with little water. Water had not been an issue for almost all of Washington, so this was a new problem to have.

water cache
Thank you for the water caches, trail angels!

And just to make the day even better, my headphones stopped working. I assume it's because they got wet, but they stopped working entirely, so I couldn't even distract myself from the uncomfortableness of being soaked with some tunes.

I passed several NOBO hikers, who were excited to tell me there was trail magic up ahead. Naturally, by the time I got there, there was nothing to be found. And it was getting extremely humid, so not only was I frustrated and thirsty, but also lightheaded. The day ended with a huge climb, and I've got to admit: I thought about how there was no way I could finish this thing that day.

trail sign
Always loved seeing these trail signs

The next day was much sunnier, although still incredibly humid and it was very hot. But I crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Oregon!

sign next to the highway near Bridge of the Gods
Hitting the highway right before Bridge of the Gods felt so good

Because Portland is only a 45-minute drive away from Cascade Locks (which is right on the trail), and it was only a few hours drive for my partner, he decided to come see me because it was a weekend. I'm going to say this more than once in these entries, but I'm confident I could not have completed my hike without the support of my partner. He was there for me so many steps along the way, and was as invested in my finishing my hike as I was.

I decided to zero in Portland because (a) I was exhausted and feeling burnt out after finishing Washington and (b) I didn't ever actually expect to get this far, so I hadn't planned out a damn thing for my Oregon resupply, save for sending a single box to Timberline Lodge 50 miles down.

brunch spread
Town food yummmm

That zero wasn't very relaxing, because I spent the whole day putting together resupply boxes, but I got to spend it with my partner, and in a bed, and in a motel room with plumbing, and I got to eat real cooked food. What more can a hiker ask for?

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