Day 119: Saturday, August 31

Cowboying above the uniquely named Rock Creek (PCT mi 2174.2), walked 19.2 miles today

Hung around the Swamp for a bit longer than expected this morning, just because there was good company and some of my things needed to dry out after a very condensation-heavy night on the lawn. Otter, who has been a golf pro for 30 years in his normal life, took a look at the video I still have on my phone of me teeing off on the 6th at Kempsville Greens last December and gave me a brief analysis, doing a very good job to conceal the repulsion he doubtless feels when he sees my swing mechanics. Finally escaped the vortex around 10, bought a popsicle as I exited town, and walked up to the Bridge of the Gods to leave Oregon and cross the Columbia into Washington. Remembered from reading Spins' blog last year that this is actually a terrifying road walk with no sidewalk, no shoulder, and narrow lanes to begin with--it seems like an old bridge--but the traffic did a good job of avoiding me and I actually enjoyed it so much that I doubled back, upon making the other side, to snag a good picture of the first Welcome to Washington sign that hangs in the middle of the bridge.

Reentering the woods on the Washington side, I knew that all I had to do was climb and climb and climb for most of the day (the Bridge is the low point of the PCT elevation-wise at 203 feet above sea level). It wasn't really as bad as I was expecting ... The weather was hot down low, maybe even 90 in the sun, but the trail was shaded for all the steep parts and there was great ice-cold spring water after 8 miles that made for a fine break spot. At this point I was in the midst of a 50k trail-running race that was coming the other way, so I was pulling over for joggers of dubious ability every two minutes or so (I was catching the tail end of the race, a lot of chunky women or injured-looking competitors). After a time the people faucet turned off and I was alone for the last 8 miles or so down to this site, my target for the day. Chatted with a nice section-hiking couple from Richland, Wash. who were camped right by the water and they pointed me up the embankment to some really nice, soft, flat sites that I have all to myself. Discovered to my chagrin today that I forgot to send the savories--sausage and cheese--when I packed my Cascade Locks food maildrop 2 weeks ago, so I literally have almost nothing but chocolate-based sweets for snack food the next 2-3 days. Made potatoes tonight but hardly ate any, because I actually want them around as leftovers tomorrow just for some variety in my taste profile. Tomorrow should be some kind of routine 25-30 day, don't really have plans more specific than that.