Bring on the Last State (WA)

Day 126 19 PCT miles

Day 127 21 PCT miles

Day 128 23 PCT miles

Day 129 25 PCT miles

Day 130 27 PCT miles

Day 131 24 PCT miles – stayed just passed Shoe Lake

Day 132 25 PCT miles- stayed at Two Lakes

Day 133 25 PCT miles – stayed at Arch Rock Trail

Day 134 26 PCT miles

Day 135 25 PCT miles

Day 136 7 PCT miles – stumbled 4 miles up the hill from the DruBru Brewery. Employees at the local hotel I planned to stay at sucked, so I drank with the money I would have spent for lodging and skipped the shower until the next town

Day 137 20 PCT miles

Day 138 8 PCT miles – rained all day; got really cold and decided to stay in sleeping bag instead of getting warm clothes wet

Day 139 23 PCT miles

While sampling the drinks at Thunder Island Brewery in Cascade Locks, OR; waiting on Grant to get off work; my waitress offered to give me a ride to Hood River, where Grant works. I finally made it to meet Grant as he was finishing work. We crossed the Columbia Gorge and went to the red house in Washington where he lives. I am super lucky to have friends in cool places! We spent a couple days boating and anevening chilling around a driftwood fire on the beach, with some old friends from back Eastand some new ones who will later accompany me boating down the Grand Canyon.

After the short break, Grant pointed out numerous times that once he dropped me off back at Cascade Locks I would be hiking right back toward Mt. Adams which is basically where we are at!

A very short evening of hiking lead me to stop in an ancient forest for the night; right outside of Cascade Locks. The forest had a really eerie primordial feel to it. I felt as if something were watching me. Waking up to a darkened morning from the old growth forest blocking the sun, I pack my stuff still feeling a presence. I believe it is the forest itself, as I leave down the trail.

The days melt together as I continue the familiar ritual of pack, unpack, set up, take down, walk, eat, walk, eat, and eat again. This time dry Ramen while hiking to make up time, and repeat, until reaching a small town. Once a hiker, well I guess I can’t speak for all hikers, reaches a town their minds go straight to FOOD. I call this trail amnesia. Getting to town eating and drinking beer then the next day when you’re back on the trail, you realize you forgot important resupply stuff like toilet paper because you were busy stuffing your face! A hiker has to make up for that calorie deficit.

Setting up before dark one evening, relaxing in my tent, I hear heavy footsteps coming toward me at a fast pace. Thump, thump, thump, heavy breathing then, “Hey can I stay here tonight?” I reply, “Sure.” Waking up the next day, there is a tent a little close to mine. As I am packing up a face emerges from the tent right next to me. This is how I met Cougar. Cougar got his name from, as he tells it, an encounter with a mountain lion. As he came around a turn in the trail, he startled one of the big cats and the alarmed cat ran towards him knocking him over as the feline made its escape. I personally feel his trail name should have been Cat Food instead of Cougar.

As the completion of my goal gets closer, my mind is torn between wanting to see friends and family and wanting to go on the next great adventure. My mind wonders already planning the next adventure. It becomes really difficult to think about going back to society, preparing to deal with more things then beautiful views. The thought process becomes overwhelming. Myhiking speed varies with my current thoughts; increasing with thoughts of loved ones only to decrease with the thought of returning to the daily grind. Which I have to admit for me isn’t that bad, but it lacks the utter freedom one has out here where the only limits seem to be the food and water clocks.”

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