Sunday, September 14, 2014

PCT Mount Hood to Columbia River day 5 - Eagle Creek Trail

Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

My Rainshadow 2 tarptent in the morning
it was a Christmas present in 2005

I woke up with the sun and was ready to hike by 7:30.  Before I started my hike I made myself the best cup of coffee ever by using all of my cocoa powder, all of my Nido and all of my coffee.

 I still did not know where Aimless was and it had been almost 48 hours since I had last seen her.  I decided to start hiking and then once I got to the trail head I would have to figure out what to do.  It was looking like I was going to have to upset her family and report her as missing.  I certainly could not just drive home not knowing where she was.

Old signs on the trail, this trail
needs some TLC
 The Eagle Creek trail is pretty but there were a lot of day hikers on it and I wanted to avoid them.  The trail is narrow and day hikers and tourists don't always understand that backpackers need more space than they do.  I was also almost out of food, so I moved pretty fast.

Morning light hits the river just so

I had 9 miles to hike to get to my car.  6.5 miles on the Eagle Creek trail and 2.5 miles on the road.  When I was just 4 miles from the end of the trail I saw a group who was camped.  They had bear cans but still, they looked like they might be thru-hikers so I asked them if they had seen Aimless.

Finally I got an answer.  A man said that he had seen her at Indian Springs and that she had decided to hike out on the PCT instead of Eagle Creek.

 What a relief, to at last have an answer.  She was safe and she was on a different trail.  I still had no answer regarding why she did not meet me at the windy campsite on the ridge the night before, but at least now I knew that she was probably okay.

I guessed that she might be a day behind me factoring in her speed and the fact that the PCT was longer.  I also factored in that she said she was okay with finishing on Friday morning. 

 So I decided that I would tell her family that I expected her to finish hiking on Friday.  I knew her family who I had been sending Delorme messages to, would be concerned if Aimless did not come home with in a few hours of me hitting Cascade Locks.

This is all of the food I had left at the end

The trail head at 9:34

A flush toilet, first one in five days

Took a wrong turn here

The way back the Cascade Locks was not clear, I knew that Cascade Locks was to the East (right) and that I wanted to take the Gorge trail through a campground to reach it.  I found the Gorge trail but it was going in the wrong direction so I turned back and headed down a bike path.

A bike path is part of the trail too

This is where I should have came out

I soon saw the trail that I should have came out on, but it made very little difference as it was only about a tenth of a mile of trail and then it turned into the road that I was already on.

The way out

The way back to Cascade Locks follows the old highway and it had interesting signs.  I was out of water so I stopped to filter some water at Ruckel Creek.  The noise from nearby highway 84 was loud so I drowned it out with music from my Mp3 player.  Some woman with a stroller who seemed to live in a white bread world frowned at me when I said good morning as she passed by, so I frowned back at her.

Manics like Sam Hill make the world go 'round!

Tunnel under 84

The closer I got to Cascade Locks the higher I got.  I was finally, after three attempts at the Oregon PCT, going to walk into Cascade Locks.  With this my summer would be complete.

Time for re-entry leaving the trail world and back to the non-trail world

Walking down I-84

As I walked down the side of Interstate 84 I felt superior to all the folks driving down it.  Those MF's in their cars!  I was better than all of them!  I was a hiker!   But soon I would be joining them.

The song "Tubthumbing" by Chumbawamba came onto my Mp3 player so I put it on repeat.. it seemed to fit.  I got knocked down twice by the PCT but I got up again!

At last

Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

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