Day 35, 36 ,37 — Double zero in Portland

August 20, 21, 22
Miles:  21.6
PCT 2130.2 – 2151.8
Total PCT miles:  426.3

Well.. I finally figured out where I am and how far I traveled in a day.  Maybe I can keep it going.  There may be a little guessing down the road, as I’m already 25% through Washington right now.

I got up early to ready for a 22 mile day.  There’s 5 miles to an alternate to the PCT (Eagle Creek Trail) that everyone uses as it has an amazing set of waterfalls and beautiful canyons along the way. 

The first 5 miles were uneventful.  Same forests and high elevation scenery.  When I got to where the Eagle Creek Junction was supposed to be, it had lots of trails going in every direction.  The one that matched the map was called Indian Creek, so I took that.  It turned out to be an extremely steep downhill trail that connects with Eagle Creek trail after about 2 miles.  It was so steep at times that I had trouble getting down without slipping.  By the end, my feet were destroyed and I picked up my first blister since I got my new boots in Bend.  Eagle Creek was much more mild at the start but turned very rocky as it progressed.  My bruised feet may never recover.

The views were nothing short of spectacular.  The pictures don’t really capture it.  Many, many water falls along the river that the trail follows.  The trail is blasted out of solid rock and was quite scary at times.  The drop from the edge was high and deadly.  I guess they have many rescues and deaths here as it is very popular with teens who like to jump to the water pools below.  I can’t even imagine it.

About 10 miles into the 15 mile trail, there is a giant waterfall that has a tunnel blasted in behind and the trail goes through it.  Kind of weird as you can’t see anything in the tunnel.  It would have been nicer if they would have blasted a hole in the tunnel in the middle of the falls so you can see through the falls.

In the last 5 miles, a couple started talking to me about my thru-hike (a common occurrence on the trail).  I told them that I needed to find a ride to Portland from the trail-head, a 50 mile ride.  Right away they said that I could come with them.  Ya-Hooo as I always worry about getting a hitch, as no one will pick up an old guy.  People must think that we are all serial killers.  I was walking slowly due to my sore feet but after the offer, I picked up the tempo to keep up with these guys and happily shared my trip experiences with them.  They seemed thrilled to hear about it.

Once in Portland, I connected with my first x-wife (Kate), who is the good X, and her husband, Tom and stayed with them for a couple nights.  They they took me all over Portland to find a backpack and other things that I needed.  They were the best Trail Angels ever.  It helped that they are retired and happened not to be busy when I arrived.

Kate is actively making quilts, and Tom does regular volunteer trail maintenance with a local organization that supports Washington hiking trails.  These guys are an awesome couple and are constantly giving back to the community.  It was fun and interesting staying with them.

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This is an often encounter.  There are many blow downs on the trail that you have to circumvent, sometimes quite creatively.  Most of the time you can slide over the top, but often you bushwhack around them.  I’ve crawled under a couple where the terrain was too steep to go around.  This is the kind of stuff that Tom’s organization takes care of.  They have to hike out to the work area carrying all their tools and whatever else they need, then clear the blow down (with hand saws!) or patch up the trail.  Sometimes they make new trails as needed.

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Bill (Blackhawk Down)

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