Packwood to Cascade Locks

By the numbers
Total Miles hiked: 1207.8
Completion percentage: 45.58%
Hiking days: 70
Zero days: 27
Total Ascent: 218,928 ft.
Total descent: 224,000 ft.
Notable injury count: 0
Toenails count: 9

I’m happy to report that I have completed all of Washington state. It’s a nice morale boost after the difficulties faced in Washington. The state took me 28 days to complete, and I was rained on for 23 of those days. It was challenging both mentally and physically, but I am coming out on the other side with enormous confidence and optimism about the rest of the trail. When you step foot on the PCT the odds are against you for finishing, but for the first time it feels like I have a real shot at completing the trail.

Arriving at the famous ‘Bridge of the gods’, which spans Hood river, dividing Oregon and Washington

The initial learning stage for through hiking is over for me and I feel like I have totally acclimated to life on the trail. At this point, everything I have to do to be successful feels natural and I’m not being met with any unexpected obstacles; For the first time I feel ‘on top of it’. This is ushering in the second phase of my hike. The first phase was defined by me learning how to be out here, and the second is defined by me learning to deal the monotony of each day. A lot of mental energy and time were devoted to dealing with life on the trail. Now that I don’t have to spend nearly as much mental energy on things like that, a void has been left in how I spend my time. Oregon and northern California are flat, and do not offer nearly as many spectacular views as Washington. I’m going to continue hiking solo, and each day is going to feel very similar. It’s going to be a challenge to keep my brain occupied, but I am looking forward to falling into a rhythm.

My daily milage count continues to grow. Coming into Cascade locks I was able to complete my two longest days on the trail so far (29.7 and 32.2 miles) in addition to hiking a 20 mile day at a pace that would be needed for 30. This was a stress test on my body to see If I could handle the Oregon challenge. I’m happy to report that I feel great after that short stint, but am still weary of pushing that hard for an extended period of time. For the time being, I’m planning on getting through Oregon in 17 days, which will allow for a more reasonable daily mileage, plus a zero.

Cascade Locks also brought with it a few small treats. Because I ramped up my milage, I was able to catch my trail family for a day. I missed them immensely and was grateful for the time we got to spend together. Unfortunately the Trail family has shrunk even more. Casper has left the trail because of personal reasons and I was not able to say goodbye. Muscle also took time off for an injury, but he will be back. In an odd but very welcome twist of fate T-pain was in town as well. He changed his plans and is moving to a smaller town in northern Washington. His journey out to the PNW aligned with ours and we were able to see each other for an evening; beers and good times were had. When T pain left the next morning we promised each other that it would not be last time we saw each other.

The trail family left a day before I did, so I still have catching up to do. It’s likely that I will reach them somewhere in Oregon as I am planning to move a bit faster than them. Hopefully it will align with all of us being in Elk lake as I plan on taking my next zero there.

Brightside, Hot hands, myself, T pain, and 70/30

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