Monday 25th July
Start: Bushcamp, Eagle Creek mile 7.2
End: Cascade Locks, mile 2144.5
We woke at 5:30 today intent on reaching the tiny town of Cascade Locks before the heat.
The Eagle Creek trail continued to be spectacular. We were following the river through the rugged canyon, rich with waterfalls and hugging sheer cliffs. We crossed bridges and streams, including logs besides the infamous tree-wrecked bridge.
A handful of day hikers started slowly passing us as we got towards the trailhead. This made me wonder what they do for a living that enables them to be out here on a Monday morning! I need to know! What a way to start your week.
When we reached the trailhead parking lot we were happy to partake in restroom facilities! What a luxury. Before heading on I got phone signal and received a message from Dan. He had caught a ride last night from where we were standing into the town of Hood River 20 miles east. He was now enjoying a zero day in a hotel there, and about to do a grocery shop in Walmart! I felt bitterly jealous. So we camped last night and are hiking 8 miles today (3 that he skipped), whilst he had his feet up! This lowered my spirits as we hiked on.
The final 3 miles followed the Gorge Trail which transepts the Columbia Gorge just above river level. It wasn’t particularly scenic, running parallel to the fast highway, and kept heading up and down for no apparent reason. It was growing increasingly hot and we were plodding along counting down the miles.
Reaching Cascade Locks it was apparent that the ‘town’ was more a small strip of tourist conveniences. We checked into our glamorous motel, and headed straight out to see what nourishment we could get our hands on. This came in the order of a hotdog (Conrad), an ice cream (me), some fish and chips, washed down with large espresso frappes, and that was just lunch. Later in the day we followed up with burgers in the Locks Alehouse. Oh and a trip to the river-side Thunder Island Brewery.
It was really good to finally get to speak to my parents, who are still surprised that we have hiked this far! Tomorrow we embark on the next leg of our hike. Oregon has brought us 429 miles closer to Canada and has been tougher than we ever imagined. Washington to Manning Park is another 514 miles, and will start with a 4000 foot climb back into the mountains tomorrow. So time for a shower and a bed. And some Ben & Jerry’s!