Day 118: Friday, August 30

Cowboying in the backyard at Shrek's Swamp in Cascade Locks (PCT mi 2155.0), walked 15.7 trail miles today

Woke up around 6:15 to the lady formerly assumed drunk carrying on at a similar volume to last night, so I'm no longer really sure what was wrong with her. It had rained on and off all night and I hadn't slept well, because I still lack complete confidence in the Hexamid, even though it has gamely weathered several storms so far. Got ready to go by 7 and from there it was more or less a straight 15-mile shot down to town along the Eagle Creek trail. After 6 miles I passed the ludicrously cool Tunnel Falls (pictures and maybe even video below) ... Everyone knows about this long before they get there, but it was still even greater, certainly a lot bigger, than I was expecting it to be. The rest of the trail was surprisingly rough underfoot, a problem exacerbated by the fact that my shoes were basically falling apart by today, after 800 miles and a shitload of rain and mud recently. They got tossed in a garbage can at the parking lot/trailhead and I walked the last three miles to town, all on pavement, in my flip-flops, knowing that I had a new pair waiting for me in the mail here.

Talked with section-hikers and sometimes trail angels Jerry and Ruth for the last mile of the non-paved trail, past hordes of day hikers multiplying at zombie-like rates, then came to the road/bike path that leads the rest of the way to Cascade Locks and was in town around 1pm. Found other hikers Simon, G-Bird and Blur at the local pub/pizza joint and devoured most of a 15" "Pizza of the Gods" by myself, with them present for occasional conversation when my mouth wasn't full. Afterward, made my way over to the residence of Shrek, a great local trail angel, and established myself in his backyard for much of the rest of the day. Initially only Otter and a helper named John were around, then Shrek himself came out, then Donkey (last seen at the Saufleys', mile 454), then a few others who had slackpacked today, then Sherpa C who had made it in and out of Portland in the afternoon. We mostly sat and chucked the crap all through the afternoon and evening, and around 10 I turned in for the night. This house and property is clearly a work in progress, because Shrek has only had it for a year and a half and has had to overcome decades of neglect by previous owners, but I share his and Donkey's optimism that it could become an all-time classic hiker hangout. The setting is so ideal--a two-minute walk from the store and PO, a terraced backyard perfect for camping, Cascade Locks where everyone is excited about a state border--that I hope it keeps building up in popularity and facilities for the next few years. It already has easily the best hiker box on trail, bolstered today when a guy named Train who has just abandoned his CDT thru-hike attempt came by and dropped off literally weeks of his pre-purchased, pre-rationed foodstuffs.

Tomorrow I'll end up some distance into Washington, but it's hard to say more than that.