Thursday, August 19, 2010
Up Up Up into Washington
Destination: Rock Creek
Cumulative Miles: 1850.5
We slept under the stars last night, and we're doing the same tonight. The lack of mosquitoes and flies is nice, but we don't fully expect it to last, as we'll be heading towards a lake basin soon enough.
After waking later and slower than desired, we drove down to Cascade Locks where we had a large breakfast at Char Burger. While there, we bumped into "The Orange Hat Crew", originally three, now two, thru-hikers noted for their orange hats. We talked briefly with them during breakfast.
Then we packed our gear into our packs, and started our walk. The Columbia Gorge is the lowest point on the entire Pacific Crest Trail, which inevitably means our hike out would be climbing. First, however, we had to walk across the Bridge of the Gods. Originally there was a land bridge across the Columbia river here, but it has since collapsed into the water, and now a massive steel bridge arcs across the water.
Unfortunately for us, there is no pedestrian walkway, so we were forced to walk in the drive aisle on steel grate which seemed to be spaced just close enough to walk across, but just far enough to give a little vertigo to the pedestrian user. Throw in a little famous Columbia Gorge wind, and passing semi's, and you have the recipe for an unnerving road walk. Fortunately, we passed over with no incident.
Our hike started off relatively flat, and in one mile we hit the official low point of the PCT before beginning our 3000 foot climb up past and around Table Mountain which from a distance looks like a layered cake dusted in cocoa and sprinkled with trees.
We took a quick lunch at a saddle before descending roughly eight miles to Rock Creek, where we chose to camp for the night. We only hike 19.5 miles, but we didn't start until after 11am. This push to Snoqualmie will be difficult.
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