Despite taking a zero day in Cascade Locks, I was far from ready to leave when I awoke, so it was first a bit after ten that I checked out. Though I was somewhat apprehensive about it, I chose to finally ditch my old shoes, which meant a nice weight saving and could offset the extra gear I now were carrying.
Then I went to the supermarket to get six days of food. The staff there was surprisingly friendly and the prices weren’t bad either for such a small town. To save weight I decided to give peanut butter a second chance. I never liked carrying this many days of food, but it is according to my plan the very last time that I have to. Before leaving I took notice of the fact that there was a movie poster for “Wild” inside. Outside there was a large poster showing images of missing children. I had a salad from the supermarket for lunch. Fresh food has a whole other value for through hikers, as I think that I already have alluded to.
I got started with the actual hiking around noon by crossing the Bridge of the Gods for the third time. It was surprisingly smoky, more so than it had been for quite some time. It was also hot, but it would probably have been even warmer without the smoke. Combine that with an ascent through loads of poison oak, and you have a cocktail that I didn’t like one bit. Many other hikers passed me as I carefully tried to avoid all the poison oak plants. That was somewhat demoralizing as I felt that I was getting behind. Included in the hikers were Dragon, whom I hadn’t seen for a while but she had caught up by not taking a zero. One positive thing, though was that there were tons of ripe blackberries that one could snack on while hiking.
Of course the poison oak eventually disappeared and I was back to full speed, which felt nice. The nature also turned from quite dry to more green and living.
My one heel had been hurting a bit before I started hiking, but it was slowly disappearing. At a water source before a long waterless stretch, I decided to push for the campsite at the next water source even though I knew it would be late.
Now that the poison oak was gone (maybe for good), the going continued to be relatively easy, though there weren’t any nice views due to the smoke. It eventually turned dark and I had to put on my headlamp. A bit after that I got to the water source, which was a creek with a bridge above it. There were numerous remarks about how much said bridge stank due to treatment of the wood. It was supposedly the stinkiest one on the trail, and I had been worried that I would have been forced to find another tent site due to the smell. I didn’t find it that bad. There were, however, no sites left as over ten people were already camping there. Bummer! There potentially was one campsite ahead, but that one could just as well have been taken. I went back to see if I had missed any potential sites, but then saw a faint traio going up hill and thought that there potentially was tent sites. There were. Yay! One hiker was already there, and while I was setting up camp, Dragon rolled in. I was quite tired and went to bed without having a proper dinner. While today might not have been very nice or interesting, it felt nice to have started on the next section, and I will be quite surprised if the smoke doesn’t eventually clear up so we can see some of the nice nature that Washington is known for.
This days miles: 2147-2166