It took us five hitches to get back to the trail from Yakima! From limos to food trucks, you never know who's gonna pick you up!
Leah & her awesome coffee truck
Craig & Molly
Brian the concrete worker
Teresa @ Red Mountain Trails
Eric the vaccine researcher
We made our way to the Kracker Barrel, grabbed our resupply and hit the trail. We were welcomed back to the trail by clouds of mosquitoes. Seriously, screw mosquitos... We coated ourselves in DEET to no avail. The bloodsucking hoard stuck their needle like noses through our pants like they weren't even there. We set up camp in a flash, jumping inside the tent seeking relief from the bastards... They clung to the tent wall, watching, waiting.
GOAT ROCKS WILDERNESS
We awoke early the next morning, taking advantage of the cooler weather Nearly every north bound hiker we had passed spoke highly of the next section, saying it is by far the best part of Washington. Goat Rocks Wilderness is set upon an ancient volcano and provides views of Rainer, St. Hellens, and Adams from one spot.
Climbing up from a Northeastern direction, the terrain was externally rugged. The trail, mainly composed of slate, slid beneath our feet. As we climbed higher the mountain forced us to a shear ridge, providing phenomenal views. We camped near the top of "Old Snowy" that evening, soaking in the sunset.
EXCELLENT LAVA SPRINGS
The following morning we made our way off of old snowy. The southwestern side of the mountain was far more gentle. We saw a place called "excellent lava springs" on the map and figured that was the place for us to soak our sore feet. Both of us have been having issues with our replacement shoes. Katie's feet have more at least five different blisters, and the shoes that I purchased are cheap/poorly designed.
On our way down we came across some impressive cairns and massive fields of wildflowers.
26 miles later, the trail began to parallel an ancient lava flow. When we arrived at the campground a strong flowing spring fed a large bright blue pool. When you hear lava springs you think hot... this may have been the coldest water we've encountered on the trail. Your feet nearly cramped the instant you put them in the water.
The following day we hike 21 miles to the road leading to Trout Lake. When we arrived at the highway we found a familiar face, Taco Cat!
For the past few days we have been running into people that we had hiked with in Southern California. Taco Cat introduced us to McDonalds magnificent Double Double down in El Cajon Pass. It's always nice to see a familiar face on the trail.
We took a few hours to resupply, order Katie new shoes, eat a hot meal, and then we headed back to the trail.
BRIDGE OF THE GODS
With our moral low and our feet in pain, we hit the worst stretch of mosquitoes that we've seen yet. I can't stress how demoralizing it is to hike all day through clouds of mosquitos. Typically we take a 10 min break every hour, but with mosquitoes like these... just keep going. When we made it to Blue Lake (25 miles), we were both on edge. Both of us had fairly gnarly blisters forming, tons of mosquito bites and we were starving.
Mac n Cheese to the rescue!
The following morning we looked at the maps and noticed a road that could potentially cut off 30 miles of trail to Cascade Locks. Twelve miles of that 30 had recently been logged, so the trail would be pretty exposed.
Twenty three miles into our hike that day, we decided to push the extra two miles to the road. With our feet the way they were, we were getting to the point we're we were no longer enjoying the hike; we were picked up by the second car that passed us.
As we walked over the Bridge of the Gods, sense of accomplishment came over us. One state down...
OUR BREATHER WEEK
We had 4 days to wait for Katie's shoes to arrive, so we settled in at the Cascade Locks Marina Park. We spent those 4 days resupplying, mending gear, allowing our feet to heal, and drinking good beer of course. This beautiful park is situated right on the Columbia river. The park is extremely PCT friendly with camping only costing us 6 dollars a night, showers included. The camp hosts were unbelievably warm and welcoming.
Katie's shoes have finally arrived so this evening we will be on our way. WASHINGTON WAS AMAZING, let's hope Oregon is the same!