Day: Saturday, 10th September 2016
Miles: Zero Miles Day
Its been an interesting week, for a number of reasons.None more so than experiencing my first day of intense continuous rainfall on the entire hike (albeit for just 8 miles) but also enjoying a few days of hiking with my sister, along with the melancholy of coming to the end-point of Oregon, with just Washington ahead. I had a plan for today, that included getting back on the trail at a reasonable hour, and trying to rack up some more miles, but I was in a moment that was slightly dreamlike. The idea that I had made it all the way to Portland, Oregon on foot was a tangible feeling of satisfaction and a moment that I was in no rush to bring to a close. I had goosebumps at the idea that I was here, and began the morning with a pondering notion of ‘whats the rush’.
Myself and my sister had a big breakfast before I brought her to the airport for her flight back to New York. I was sad to be saying goodbye, but it had been a really great few days and it was time to move on. I had made contact with Outro, Breakaway and FlyBy who were staying with friends northeast of the city. So I made my way to them, with a quick resupply box drop-off at a post office in a random Portland suburb. This was a long suffering box, that had been bounced from Warner Springs, CA to Big Bear, CA to Pittsburgh, PA to Ashland, OR to Cascade Locks, OR and now I was about to resend it to White Pass, WA. The battered and bruised box gave a good measure of how many times it has been through the system! At this point I had no idea what exactly was in it, other than 4 days of food based on my notional plan way back in April!
After mailing the box, I drove my big chunky Dodge Ram rental to Breakaways’ friends home, where we offloaded a couch for them before hitting the road for a local Taco shop, with some excellent donuts next door.
After filling up on the glorious spoils of civilization, and with one last trip to a local gear shop where I purchased a new sleeping bag liner, it was time to get back to Cascade Locks with my motley crew of hikers and gear! By now you’ve probably come to expect some serendipity in how my plans have come together, and none more so than my plan to get my rental car back to Hood River. My friend Jay from Seattle was coincidentally in Hood River for the weekend for a family gathering, and asked if I would like to join, So it was, after dropping the hikers to Cascade Locks, I drove the extra 20 miles back to Enterprise in Hood River, dropped back the car and joined Jay and family (along with new born) for a really fun and delicious evening of locally caught Salmon and birthday shenanigans for a family member. I received honorary guest privileges and enjoyed a really nice evening of fun and family. Something you do really miss on a thru-hike.
As the sun began to set, Jay dropped me back to Cascade Locks, just as the sun began to set. I wandered down to the Columbia River to a neat little brewery called Thunder Island brewing. It was Outro’s birthday, and all manner of revelry was in order from great beer to cake galore!I finally met up with all of my wonderful hiker family once again, there must have been 20 of us at least, all excited for tomorrows big step. The day we would finally march across the Bridge of the Gods, heads held high. As Washington awaits.
Thanks Oregon, you helped me to explore the lower depths of my tolerances, and warmed my soul with the magic of the Cascades.