PCT days 29-36: Cascade Locks to Big Lake
Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
120Trip End Jan 19, 2012
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Day 29 (8/1/10): This morning, we go update the blog and do our first real laundry of the PCT. We want to go into Portland today because we need to go to REI and grocery store to make the next 3 resupply boxes for ourselves. Fortunately, we are able to hitch into the city with one ride that takes us less than 2 miles from REI. We walk the rest of the way. It's almost 3pm when we get to REI and spend the next 4 hours trying on new backpacks, sleeping pads, and miscellaneous other items until the store closes. We haven't completely finished our shopping spree, so we'll have to come back tomorrow morning
Day 30: Not much sleep with the trains, cars, and boats passing through the night...as predicted. Several trips to the grocery store, post office, and another stop at REI in the morning. When all is said and done, we have shaved off at least 15 pounds from our base weight (weight of backpacks and gear without food). Yannick is also sporting new pants and shoes...he looks like a new man! The box of gear we ship home weighs over 25 pounds, so the trip into Portland was definitely worth it. Now, time to get back to Cascade Locks.
We initially try to take the bus, but it's too complicated -- we have to get from Oregon to Washington, then cross back into Oregon just because that's the only way the bus runs in the direction we want to go. To save ourselves the headache, we decide to hitch again. In less than 5 minutes, we are picked up and our driver is so nice, he makes a detour to take us all the way to the trailhead. He saved us to so much time an effort!
At 4:30pm, we start hiking and only go about 7 miles on the Eagle Creek Trail
Day 31: We wake up pretty late (6:45am) since we had to catch up on sleep from our "zero" day. Today we will put our "ultralight" gear (not really, but it feels like it to us) to the test, starting with 4,000 ft of elevation gain in one hill. Higher up we meet the trail crew working on clearing the path so hikers can blaze on through. Another 1,000 ft of gain, then a big 2,000 ft drop on the other side to finish the day at 29 miles near a stunning waterfall on the west side of Mt. Hood.
Today, we met a lot of Northbounders; some look really dirty and pretty hardcore. One guy doesn't even use a sleeping pad and cranks 40 miles per day -- I guess when you spend that much time hiking, there isn't much time to take a bath!
Day 32: Today looks liek a good day to hit 30 miles. Our light packs and trail running shoes make hiking a breeze and we don't really feel sore from the previous day. We cover the first 10 miles with ease and stop at Timberline Lodge (a resort near the Mt. Hood ski area) for lunch. After an hour break, we hit the trail again, but things don't go as planned
Day 33: We still feel a little sick today; Shirley had to make 5 emergency pit stops. Despit that, we try to move fast and the terrain is good. Yannick runs ahead during the last 2 miles to prepare the tent and make camp cozy for Shirley. We end the day at 33 miles by a lake and make a nice little fire to heat up our can of Indian food accompanied by cheese quesadillas.
Day 34: Four miles in and we reach Ollalie Lake Resort where we buy a loaf of bread and do laundry in the lake. Then, it's a 2,400 ft climb to a 7,000 ft pass where we get gorgeous views of glaciated peaks. We finish the day near a lake where Yannick goes swimming in the warm water. We make another fire to make a nice cous cous dinner.
Day 35: Today we have some extra incentive to cover some ground -- 29 miles from where we camped is Big Lake Youth Camp where they have all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner
At 5am, we are up and battle the crisp wind that blows along the ridges. We spend most of the day hiking through a burnt forest and water is rare. After 8 hours of effort, we cover 23 miles on 2 liters of water. The heat is turned up today and barely any shade. We get to a parking lot by hwy 20 and some ladies give us water and fresh, cold hard lemonade. We almost never drink alcohol and feel a little dizzy after chugging the lemonade...making the rest of the hike a little interesting. We reach Big Lake Youth Camp without tripping over any rocks and make it on time for food. We meet some other hikers (Ishai and Tom) and enjoy the place very much. We get shower, laundry, and even dinner for free because it's Saturday...lucky us. After dinner, they even give us a loaf of bread to take on the road. This place is so awesome.
Only 2,000 miles on the PCT to go!