We got up by 9:30 and headed straight for breakfast at the bakery where I’d heard they have a bunch of vegan options. We ended up trying an eggplant tart, two types of vegan cheesecakes, some muffins and coffee. It was of course unhealthy but very delicious!
Next up was to get the rental bikes from our hotel, which were complimentary. We had a long ride to the Grocery Outlet store where we also took a 3 mile detour! But as we didn’t find everything there that we needed we rode on to Safeway. Once we had got everything we took a nice chill ride back to the hotel to sort our food into three piles: one for the upcoming four days, one to send to White Pass and one to send to Stehekin. When that was done Kristians and I cycled straight to the post office whereas Sensei and T-Bone stayed behind to eat & finish packing.
Once we had managed to send out our packages we headed to Rabbit’s Cafe to buy some vegan food to go – we planned to eat our meal by the Williamette River. We had also found out that Tomb Raider and Coconut had arrived in town so we planned to meet them later. We ate our huge meal, enjoying the views and the rest. I really liked downtown Portland for its architecture and quaint feeling but there was a huge problem with homeless people and drug addicts, whom we saw everywhere. Lots of places also just smelled like pee!
Anyway, once we were super full from our salad, smoothies, bowl & burrito we cycled to Whole Foods where we finally met up with everyone! As Sensei and T-Bone were tired they headed back to the hotel but the four of us went to a Mexican restaurant as Coconut and Tomb Raider were hungry. It was a strange place but good enough, even though something felt off. At some point I went to look for the restroom and realized that the doir led to a stripclub – you’d have to go through there to get to the toilet! Well it was odd but I guess we should’ve read the signs outside more carefully.
It was time for us to then cycle back and rest. But we decided that we could try to fit all six of us at our hotel room, so Coconut and Tomb Raider would meet us there. Once at the hotel we rested, cracked jokes and watched another movie on dvd. What a luxury day of rest!!
We again treated ourselves to sleeping long, until like 9, in fact. We packed up and some of us took a shower to really take the last of it…but then it was time to leave. Coconut and Tomb Raider left before us so that it would seem that it was just the four of us checking out. Everything went smooth and soon we met up with them again on the street.
We walked down to another vegan restaurant – The Blossoming Lotus. It was so amazing to look at a menu and not have to even ask whether something was vegan or not – everything was! So we treated ourselves to some hash browns with scrambled tofu, beans and a smoothie plus waffles with berries and coconut milk whipped cream! I had been dreaming of vegan waffles since I became vegan…what a morning.
We ordered a Lyft to pick us up and take to the bus station as we had only about an hour until the bus. Besides – because we were six then we could split the bill. When the first driver arrived he sort of just drove by and looked at us – not sure whether we looked like bums or he got scared of our backpacks but he cancelled the ride. Luckily the next driver soon picked us up and took us safely to our destination, blasting hiphop from the audio system. A pretty dope way to ride out of Portland.
At the bus station we found out that the bus would only take us half way – to Multomah Falls – and we’d need to catch the second bus 2 hours later. We decided we’d just hitch from there and that it had never been a problem before. So we drove the 45 minutes to the Falls and to our surprise found the whole huge parking lot just packed with cars. That was good news for us! So we got to the exit road of the parking lot and threw our thumbs out.
10 minutes. 20 minutes. 40 minutes. An hour goes by and nothing – it seemed that all the people here were tourists from other places and had no idea who PCT hikers were so they probably just thought we were also homeless people (that Portland was full of). The four of us gave up – it was so hot and only an hour to the next bus. We decided to lie down in the shade under a tree across the parking lot. Coconut and Tonb Raider decided to hitch on on their own and within 10 minutes an old, restored, white and pink VW Beetle picked them up. Apparently it was the same guy who had driven them to Portland the day before, he had just happened to drive past and saw them!
But the rest of us mortals waited for the 15:00 bus to make the final miles into Cascade Locks. When we arrived we went straight to get the notirious vegan hot dogs and enjoy the last meal with Sensei – he would now spend some days in Cascade Locks in order to wait for his girlfriend. From there they would hike Washington together.
We ate and then Coconut went to eat in another inn. Him and Tomb Raider decided to hike out a bit later so the four of us got going. Sensei would walk with us to the Bridge of the Gods to say bye and take some photos. It was pretty hectic to take the photos because there was quite a lot of traffic. But we managed all right and then finally said goid bye to Sensei. It was sad to walk our separate ways after hiking together since Seiad Valley, but we hoped to meet up again at PCT Trail Days later in August.
The three of us then crossed the 340m long bridge across the Columbia River. It was a bit spooky as you could see down through the metal grid of the bridge – one could even lose balance. Once we reached the other side we took some photos by the Washington sign and then headed on into the green corridor known as the PCT. We only planned to hike five miles.
The trail climbed a fair bit in the beginning but we barely noticed – what caught our attention were the endless bushes around us, covered in huge, ripe & delicious berries! So we spent a fair share of time shoving the berries down our throats.
It was still pretty hot and humid despite the late time and it felt like we had entered the jungle – it was humid and green, there were ferns all around us and small streams crossed the trail in many places. We soon reached the bigger stream by which we set up our tents. As we were sitting on the logs and having our dinner snacks (we were not hungry after our huge hotdogs) Coconut and Tomb Raider also came through – they wanted to night hike. We found out the next morning that they had pushed 10 miles further. But we were tired and needed our rest, so we passed out a bit after 21.
We got up late again, finally packed out at 8:55 and it was already hot and humid…great way to start a 28 mile day!
We started the big ascent of the day, just sweating and dripping. Not the most comfortable way to hike but what could we do? Luckily the podcast helped me to cruise through fairly easy and I just enjoyed the greenery. Throughout the day I would also meet tons of southbound hikers on the trail – just starting their adventure.
On some of the more open ridges I got rewarded by views of volcanoes all around: Mt Adams, St Helens and Mt Rainier. But those views didn’t last long and soon I was back in the forest, crossing a dirt road or stream ever so often. To get to the lunch spot by Rock Creek at 13,6 miles we’d need to navigate a loooong steep downhill section. My feet started to hurt here a bit – maybe just from tiredness but maybe because the shoes were new (I’d onlt just got them in Portland). But somehow I made it and saw that our whole group was there! Nobody was swimming because the stream wasn’t really that deep but it had these crystal clear pools and cold, fresh water. That was good enough for me!
We sat there for a while, resting and eating. T-Bone had been having foot problems again and so we discussed what he could do but didn’t reach any conclusions. I even managed to take a short nap while the others were finishing their meals. Coconut and Tomb Raider left a bit before the rest of us as they planned to hike further than where we were planning to camp.
We then had 10,6 miles left to hike and this was no easy section, starting with a steep uphill and then turning into a steep, long downhill. It was still hot and humid but the podcasts managed to carry me through this section without me paying too much attention to my hurting feet. Right before my destination I actually managed to catch up to Coconut and Tomb Raider. They decided to chill with us for a bit before hiking on but soon enough they left – it was getting late already. The three of us had our dinner by the fireless fire ring, the Trout Creek rumbling beneath us. This tumbling quickly put us to sleep once we had climbed into our tents – we slept so well that night…