Destination: Portland (via Cascade Locks)
Cumulative Miles: 1826.5
Generally "down and out" implies the negative. This time it implies the positive. "Down" to Cascade Locks and "Out" to Portland for some much needed rest.
Psycho's old manager from his job at Myhre Group Architects was going to hike up to meet the three of us for the hike out. In order to allow Jacob to see the better portion of the Eagle Creek Trail (perhaps the best suggested alternate route of the entire PCT), the three of us took our time getting out of camp.
Usually on a "town day" we like to get an early start to allow for more town time. That was not the case today. We wanted to take our time and enjoy the walk out. It was PseudoGnome's last day of hiking with us, and the longer we waited to start the day, the further up the trail Jacob could get.
We met up with Jacob at the pinnacle of the Eagle Creek Trail, Tunnel Falls. The trail, blasted into a cliff side at times, passes through a tunnel behind this waterfall. We walked along the rough wet trail, holding onto a steel cable for a little mental comfort as we skirted the 100 foot cliffs.
With four and a half miles left, we stopped at a bridge crossing and ducked down to the water. We all put our packs down and shed our shirts for a dip in the cold creek. The frigid temperatures were borderline unbearable, but we all fully submerged at least once. Afterwards we made the final hike out, stopping briefly at Punchbowl falls to watch some cliff jumpers take the three second leap.
When we arrived at the trail head, we went into Cascade Locks to catch some grub at the PCT Pub&Hostel. Unfortunately it was closed, so we went over to Char Burger and ate a large meal.
Then we made the drive into Portland, facing extreme heat on the slow moving freeway. Construction brought movement to a standstill, and only freed up on time to drop us into Portland rush hour traffic. It is nice to be back in our hometown, but at the same time, we were quickly reminded of the burdens of urban living. Hopefully our zero days will be restful, we still have a lot of "homework" to do.
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