|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
|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!