This section was much shorter than previous sections, and less scenic. We were mostly in wooded forest with some lakes/swampy areas, and towards the Washington/Oregon border, there gradually got to be less water, and therefore less bugs. The sections ended with crossing the Columbia River on the hair-raising Bridge of the Gods. We encounter ever increasing North Bound Thru-Hikers (NOBOs). Black flies and poison oak rear their ugly heads for the first time. Gear is failing left and right. Finally, as we descended to the lowest elevation of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Northwest is hit with a heat-wave.
Day 25: Trout Lake to Mile 2216, 21.5 miles
After a restful night in our tiny hut (the whole hut is about the size of a king sized bed), we ate a great breakfast at the Buddhist Bed and Breakfast with the other guests trading stories about each others adventures. We got a ride from fellow guests to the Trout Lake Grocery where we found our lost maps! We were very thankful to get a ride out since hitchhiking was almost out of the question since we had gone on so many different roads to end up at this awesome spot. We were also incredibly lucky to find the maps that we misplaced in the hiker box at the Trout Lake Grocery Store. While we were there we had some ice cream. We started the day late but hiked late because we ended up in a long stretch without water.
Day 26: 2216 to Wind River, 28 miles
I woke up exhausted. We slept on a slope and my sleeping pad was sliding all night, and I kept winding up basically on top of Dirt Stew. After breaking down camp we found ourselves engulfed in mosquitoes and black flies. It turns out that the meadow we camped near had a large pond for breeding biting insects. I decided to call it Black Fly Pond. It turns out the black fly season and mosquito season overlap. You learn something new every day.
Day 27: Wind River to Mile 2159, 29 miles
This day we had two 2,000 ft climbs, which we found difficult in particular because of the hotter and even more humid conditions. According to our guidebook, there was a stretch of the trail ahead without water. NOBOs confirmed that there was no water on the trail for 11 miles. In preparation for this long stretch without water we took a long break at Snag Creek making sure to have our meals that required water, and drank lots of water with them. This was our last water source for 11 miles during the heat of the day. We loaded up our packs full of water. Then, as we climbed, we passed water source after water source up the slope. Essentially these NOBOs had retold us the information we had already had in our guide books and did not add the fact that there was plenty of water going up the mountain. They had made us needlessly carry another 4 lbs each of water up 1,000 ft of elevation.
Day 28: Mile 2159 to Cascade Lock
We woke up and walked into town dodging poison oak here and there.
We walked across the Bridge of the Gods to Oregon experiencing extreme vertigo from walking on grated roadway 200ft above the Columbia River. We were so thankful that we had not tried to go over this bridge in the dark the night before since there is no pedestrian walkway, and we were thrown in with all the cars zooming past. No shoulder either. No pictures were taken because Dirt Stew was afraid he would drop his camera through the road into the river below. We were happy to eat breakfast followed by a foot of ice cream soft serve an hour afterwards. We’re so happy to be showered and our laundry done. A few more chores, and we’ll be off tomorrow morning.