I stayed with Rafael for a week. We were mainly in Wasco, with his step-dad and my parents. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, in regards to the trail. Both my parents and his step-dad asked me when I was heading back, though my heart wasn’t feeling it at the time.
At a certain point, I just decided to do it and be done once I got to Canada. Rafael and I went shopping in Portland, took care of a couple things, and went back to Wasco. I prepped all of my resupply boxes for Washington, mailed them out and a couple days later went to Cascade Locks.
Cascade Locks to Trout Lake
Rafael parked near the Bridge of the Gods and I’m sure watched for me as I crossed. When I got to the top, the lady in the toll booth asked me to walk facing traffic, so I was unable to wave to him as I crossed. I remembered Rafael’s brother thinking that this moment must be amazing, thrilling and monumental for thru-hikers. It was one of the most terrifying parts of the trail! There is not a sidewalk on the bridge and there is barely enough room for two vehicles to pass by each other. I walked as close to the railing as possible. As I got towards the middle, the wind was blasting, trying to shove me more into the lane. Like a terrified child, I gripped onto the railing, pulling myself closer as and RV squeezed between me and the other lane of traffic.
When I got to the other side I let out a gasp. I hadn’t realized how much I was holding my breath. There weren’t any cars coming, so I quickly snapped a picture and got off the road. I slowly continued down the trail and made camp early. Waves of emotions hit me, what am I doing out here? Did I make the right decision to come back? I hope Rafael is ok. Should I quit?
So many questions and uncertainties about resuming my journey. I decided to travel on to Trout Lake and then decide if I was going to come back home or not. Each day I woke up, questioning myself, my intentions. It didn’t help that my knees were sore, my body felt like it was breaking down.
The next couple days I met and passed new hikers. People that had been around me for months and I had never crossed paths with. Some completely new to me, and some I had seen their names in trail logs. The night before getting to Trout Lake I was hiking the last few miles before making camp. As I got closer to the woman in front of me, I realized that I knew her, but it couldn’t be! “CAN-CAN?!” I yelled.
I hadn’t seen her since Kennedy Meadows, mile 700. I knew she had skipped the Sierra and had jumped around the trail a bit. We camped together and caught up. This woman always surprised Sonya, Flame and myself, she was simply amazing! I’m so glad I got to see her before finishing the trail.
I slept in and didn’t start hiking until 7am the day I went into Trout Lake. I took my time, as there were only 14 miles to go. Though, I meandered and took a second breakfast, I arrived at the trailhead by 11:30am. Each morning in Washington had been foggy and my tent filled with condensation. Because of this, I had to stop to dry my gear during the day, which I now did at the trailhead. After I packed, I got a ride into town from a guy who was dropping friends off at the trail.
When I got into town I wanted to grab something to eat. At the market I ran into Haiku! I hadn’t seen her since Quincy, CA, where she got off trail for a couple weeks. I was so excited to run into another person I knew! We had burgers together and got caught up on our adventures. The solar eclipse was the following day and she got a hitch to Madras to watch it.
I planned on staying with some friend’s of my dad, Jim and Barbara. They owned an alpaca farm and were excited to host me. When I got to their home, she immediately pointed me to the shower, laundry and a sauna! After I showered and my clothes were clean, they took me out for dinner. It was so wonderful!
Trout Lake to White Pass
The following day, I called Rafael and watched the eclipse. Jim took me to the post office to pick up my resupply box. Once I was all organized, he dropped me off at the trail. They were a wonderful couple to stay with and were so sweet! I was even gifted a pair of alpaca socks to sleep in, they were so comfy!
I met more section hikers and a few other thru-hikers. The first day back on the trail, I circled around Mt Adams. It was so beautiful! There were so many campsites that I wanted to stay at, just to have a gorgeous view in the morning. However, I pushed on and camped near a meadow with a flowing stream.
On the 22nd, I ended my day by hiking over Cispus Pass. I was honestly just expecting to do yet another climb and then find a place to camp without anything of note. However, I got to the top, began my descent and my jaw dropped. IT WAS AMAZING! I was not expecting the beauty of this area and it is so indescribable, my terrible phone pictures do not do Washington justice.
I walked around the ridge and made camp with two women who were backpacking for the weekend. They had hiked the PCT together a few years ago, but this section was completely fogged in when they did it. We had dinner together, traded stories and chocolate, and watched the sun set.
The following day, I slept in until 7am! Between the cold, damp mornings and being so stiff, I’ve been sleeping in a lot. I’m still doing about 30 miles each day, but it feels weird to get such a late start.
The following terrain was more great views. The entire Goat Rocks area was phenomenal and I’d love to go back. I was so slow, stopping at every ascent or turn in the trail, just to stare at the surrounding mountains.
Eventually, I found myself on the highway, walking to the store at White Pass. This is where my next resupply box was. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone, but there was a large group of people there. As I was going through my box, a man came over, Give-a-hoot! I had met him and his wife in northern California and had last seen him in Etna, CA. We couldn’t believe we ran into each other! It has been crazy to run into people I haven’t seen in a month or two. Washington, you have been amazing!