Forest Fires, Volcanoes and Waterfalls (T-Fox)

August 3 – 2001 to 2022 (21 miles)
August 4 – 2022 to 2048 (26 miles)
August 5 – 2048 to 2057 + 16 miles fire detour (25 miles)
August 6 – 5 miles fire detour + 2083 to 2105 (27 miles)
August 7 – 2105 to 2117 (12 miles)
August 8 – 2117 to 2138 + 6 miles Eagle Creek alternate (27 miles)
August 9 – 9 miles Eagle Creek alternate (9 miles)

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August 3 – 21 miles

There’s a situation we’re dealing with here, and that situation is Lorax’s hat. It’s falling apart, and you’d think the logical next step would be to throw it out and buy a new one…even another cheap one to get to Canada. At least that’s how I feel…

He loves that hat. He can’t seem to part with it. It also doesn’t help that EVERYONE loves it too (except for me). Lorax says it gives us “street cred” since I don’t look grubby enough to have walked from Mexico. When people stop us in town or on the trail, they always know we’re thru-hikers…and he thinks it’s the hat.

And I think he’s right…as painful as it is for me to support him wearing the dang thing. So the hat’s going to make it to Canada, or at least that’s the goal!

We slept in a bit this morning since it was a later than usual night. We hiked about a mile to Big Lake Youth Camp, which is a Christian camp that allows hikers to send boxes there eat, shower, and do laundry…all by donation. This place blew us away! They were the kindest people ever, and everyone kept saying, “stay as long as you want!”

We got our packages, opted out of the shower and laundry (oh dear…we don’t seem to care as much these days), but we did stay for breakfast. I’m not sure why, but they only serve vegetarian meals, which made me so happy!! I’m usually having to scrape meat off my meals, or give it to Lorax, which completely negates the point of being a veggie – if he just eats it, then there were no animals spared. So I was in heaven. The camp director even invited us over to his cabin for coffee after breakfast. What a loving community…

We did eventually leave, and found ourselves entering Deschutes Wilderness. We hiked around Three Finger Jack, an incredibly rugged peak.

There are a lot of forest fires going on these days, but luckily none of them have affected us at this point. The sky is thick with smoke though, and today was exceptionally hazy. I thought it was overcast…but nope…just really smokey. There’s also helicopters in the sky constantly, either trying to control the fires, or monitoring for more. It makes me a little nervous, but I’m sure they have protocol on removing hikers from fire areas…right?

Since we didn’t shower, we decided to camp at a lake and have a much needed swim. Swimming is one of our best friends out here…makes me feel human again. Such a delicious, glorious dip…cool, crisp water…ahh…

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Wild strawberries...

Wild strawberries…

Three Finger Jack

Three Finger Jack

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August 4 – 26 miles

Climbing today – not crazy (roughly 2500 feet), but it felt like a biggie. It was just so dang humid…dripping, sweaty, mess!

Mount Jefferson…I think I love you. He’s the second tallest mountain in Oregon, and he’s HANDSOME. The Cascades in general have been mind-blowing.

Mount Jefferson

Mount Jefferson

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August 5 – 25 miles

FIRE CLOSURE.

Dang it! We want to hike the PCT, not the road! But we set out to walk from Mexico to Canada, so there will be no skipping for these two crazy Canucks!

The detour around the closure was roughly a 20 mile road walk. Some people hitched it, and that’s fine – hike your own hike right? I must say, I was a little jealous of those Yellow Blazers, but we’ve done roughly two other 20 mile stretch road walks on this trip, so we can’t “cheat” now.

I wouldn’t say the road walk was fun, but it wasn’t all that bad. I listened to some podcasts, and we put my iPod on speaker for the afternoon and listened to various artists.

“The road is your dance floor T-Fox!” Lorax encouraged as I broke out in full performance of Mariah Carey. I can’t hit those high notes, but Lorax didn’t notice when I took it down an octave, or two, or three…

Worst part of walking on pavement, is the toll it takes on our feet. We made sure to take breaks (coffee breaks!) and try to walk on the side where we could.

I looked down at my feet, and watched them shuffle one after another, back and forth, in steady rhythm. It’s amazing isn’t it? This simple act of one foot in front of the other is able to propel me for over 2000 miles so far. Unreal.

The road walk was also an opportune time for Lorax to work on his trekking pole moves. He has perfected the double back flip toss where he catches it on the hand grip, and can often catch a triple. He’s quite good actually…and I’m proud…

We set up camp 5 miles shy of the end of the road walk. We wanted to finish, but it was getting late and our feet were screaming. The road was creepily quiet, and had a post- apocalyptic vibe. All the signs were worn down to completely illegible (is that legal?), and we probably saw 5 cars total that day. We didn’t hear a single car that evening or night…did the world end and we just didn’t get the memo? Kinda creepy…

Lorax enjoying a coffee before the road walk

Lorax enjoying a coffee before the road walk

Roadside break...get the feet up!

Roadside break…get the feet up!

First view of Mt. Hood

First view of Mt. Hood

August 6 – 27 miles

We road walked for 5 miles, then it was back to the PCT. Oh PCT, I love you so much, and I missed you! Crap…what am I going to do when this is all over?! Don’t think about it Fox…just enjoy it.

What a beautiful day! Honestly, if I could bottle up my own romanticized version of this PCT experience, today would completely capture it. No bugs! Sunny but not hot! Walking without getting exhausted or hurt! Wonderful conversation with my best friend in the whole wide world!

And we feel strong. Obviously we ARE strong from this endless walking marathon day after day…but we don’t always feel it. But for some reason, today was good to us. We are so motivated and happy to be hiking.

We entered Mt. Hood Wilderness today. I love The Hood! I know I say that about all the mountains…so nothing new here.

We also passed the 2100 mile mark. It’s stopped being excited to pass markers…now it’s more sad and sobering. This is going too fast! What am I going to so after this hike? How will I survive! I know…I’m being so dramatic, but honestly, I don’t think I will look at things the same ever again.

We camped 2 miles short of Timberline Lodge, which is a MUST VISIT for all thru-hikers. We decided to camp so we could read our books (we love reading!) and then roll into the lodge for the breakfast buffet. SO EXCITED!

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August 7 – 12 miles

Oops. We slept in! No a lot, but we scrambled to take down camp so we could book it to breakfast!

Only 2 miles of uphill trudging through loose sand, and you can eat a glorious buffet. As we slowly maneuvered ourselves up the steep incline, we had to laugh at how ludicrous it all is. Rush, rush, rush…work, work, work…get to that FOOD!!

It was so worth it! Lorax wins though because he managed to eat WAY more than me. I never really like buffets because I don’t get a lot of value from them since I don’t eat a lot at one sitting. Being a PCT hiker has definitely increased my calorie intake, so a buffet makes more sense now…but no one can out-eat my Lorax these days. That’s my man! The skinniest guy I know (honestly, he’s lost roughly 20 pounds and he was not over-weight), yet he eats like a horse!

We lounge around the lodge for a few hours, digesting and relaxing. We ask some fellow hikers if there’s showers here, and they let us in on the “insider secrets” on how to act like a guest and receive a glorious shower. So I try to clean myself up and look less “hiker,” strut down the hall that reads “guests only,” grab a towel, and enter a private shower room, complete with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Total luxury! Turns out that the staff are fine with us using the showers, so I wasn’t really doing anything all that stealth.

We are like celebrities when we enter civilization. It’s weird really, because to us, we’re just hiking and doing something we enjoy. Tourists stop us (and any other thru-hikers) and want to know all the details of our hike. We enjoy talking about it, but we also feel that too many people underestimate their ability to do something like this. Lots of people say they could never so it, and that may be true, especially if they don’t have the interest and drive to do so. But it’s the ones who WANT it so bad, but feel that they can’t. We try to encourage them that THEY CAN!! There are 80 year olds who do this! And there’s always section hiking, where one does a piece each year, slowly connecting the pieces together and completing the whole trail. Those are my heros! To stay at this for years at a time…such dedication and motivation!

We got back to the trail by 1 p.m. It was great to see so many day hikers out, enjoying the hiking trails surrounding Mt. Hood.

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Ramona Falls

Ramona Falls

August 8 – 27 miles

Another splendid day in the wilderness, breathing fresh air, and enjoying each other’s company. We can see Mt. Hood behind us, and fresh views of Mt. Adams Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Rainier.

Lorax has added a new trekking pole trick that will be featured in our PCT video when we are done hiking. He can now do a triple back flip, and rather than catching it, the pole stabs vertically into the ground. He did this all day…and it brought a smile to my face. He’s so carefree and happy out here…it makes me beam.

We decided to take another alternate route off the PCT that is the same distance but takes us to the famous Tunnel Falls. The trail was really tricky with steep descents and jabbing and poking rocks. Luckily it was all worth it when we reached the gorge. Waterfalls everywhere and everything was so lush! Northern Oregon has been so green and splendidly ALIVE.

Tunnel Falls was unreal. The trail literally goes behind the falls. We spent a while playing and exploring here…like a bunch of children.

It’s the weekend, so this area was very busy with weekend hikers (or “weekend warriors” as we like to call them). We managed to find a camp spot that had room for our tent. About an hour later, two girls waltzed in and made themselves comfortable. Oh well, we thought. There’s room for them. We didn’t realize that they had three more people in their hiking party. The site was PACKED. Only one night Fox…you can be cramped for one night. I felt anxious and eager to camp back on the PCT with copious space.

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Tunnel Falls!

Tunnel Falls!

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August 9 – 9 miles

We woke at our usual 5 a.m. start and tried to be as quiet as possible as not to wake the sleeping weekend warriors. We hiked 9 miles out of the gorge and found ourselves even more crowded with Saturday morning hiking traffic. We’ll never survive in a city! So many people…

We were offered a ride to Cascade Locks, but declined as it would be skipping 3 miles. Dang purist hike! We had breakfast upon arriving in town with at least 10 other hikers (yay for hiker community!) and hitched to Hood River to resupply. We bought 21 days of food and hit up the post office to mail it all ahead. That’s the last grocery shopping we will have to do! No more re supplies! All of our food will be waiting for us in towns. That’s crazy really…this trip is almost over.

Sorting our food outside the grocery store. We got lots of weird looks...

Sorting our food outside the grocery store. We got lots of weird looks…

Now on to The Bridge of the Gods…the official entrance to Washington. Thanks for the good times Oregon!

Walk on,
T-Fox

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16 Responses to Forest Fires, Volcanoes and Waterfalls (T-Fox)

  1. Poppa Lorax says:

    Jaw-dropping landscapes. Thanks for posting those gorgeous photos!

  2. IceCave (Brandon) says:

    Glad to see you guys are still trucking along and having a good time. Is that still the straw hat you traded for the Red Sox’s hat?

    • We miss you IceCave! This is Lorax’s fourth hat I believe? He left that straw hat at Pappa Smurf’s place when we last saw you. Hope you are feeling better…maybe thru-hiking next year?

  3. Tricia says:

    Tara and Dan. You guys are outrageous. Seriously, I brag about you all of the time ‘You’ll never guess what my baby sister and her man are you too.’ I’m impressed, inspired and proud.
    Last night I returned from my first multi-day Yukon hike. We hiked Slims River Weat in Kulane, it was incredible. Obviously very tiny compared to your adventure but I had an amazing time communing with a glacier.
    Miss you and can’t wait for you to visit in the Yukon.

    • Trishy!!!! I saw that you played in Kluane…such a great park isn’t it? We should do a sister hike in the Yukon…2015? Love you and miss you!

      • Tricia says:

        Yukon Sister Hike 2015! I’m carving it in stone. Heading back to the Tombstones today for another three day hike up Grizzly Ridge. So freaking excited!!! Keep on hiking 🙂

  4. cenazwalker says:

    That hat is awesome, it must make it to Canada. If it was me, once home, I would nail it to the wall right above my bed!

  5. Mother Hen says:

    Reblogged this on Words Like Honey and commented:
    Update on the dynamite Pacific Crest Trail Hikers..Way to go you two!

  6. Rhonda Bill says:

    So proud of you two!! Steve and I keep up with all of your adventures and live the pics. Keep it coming!!

  7. Katie says:

    Hey T-fox & Lorax! I’ve been catching up on your journey ever since I got home. I hiked as far as Ashland then got off trail to get ready for school. It was great meeting & hiking with you and I can’t wait to read more of your posts. Keep up the great work!
    xoxo “Arabia”

    • Arabia! We were just talking about how we were hoping to see you soon and then remembered you might be done by now. I’m sad…wanted to see you again! Glad you made it to Ashland though…we will continue to follow you next year Hun!

  8. Toto says:

    The more you know Big Lake Youth Camp is run by 7th Day Adventist who take the part of the bible about dietary restrictions literally which limits them to a near vegetarian diet (little more complex but that’s the gist)

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