Into the Heart of Cascadia (T-Fox)

August 10 – 2155 to 2159 (4 miles)
August 11 – 2159 to 2185 (26 miles)
August 12 – 2185 to 2209 (24 miles)
August 13 – 2209 to 2235 (26 miles)
August 14 – 2235 to 2246 (11 miles)
August 15 – 2246 to 2277 (31 miles)
August 16 – 2277 to 2303 (26 miles)
August 17 – ZERO at White Pass / Packwood

Mount Rainer

Mount Rainer

August 10 – 4 miles

Greyhound bus tickets are booked…our end date is actually BOOKED.

It’s a weird feeling – that this once seemingly endless journey has an official end: September 5. I thought 2660 miles would take forever…but apparently forever can arrive. We are discussing the finality of this daily, with mixed feelings of anticipation and apprehension. We are hiking with a fonder appreciation these days though – the days are numbered…

Hood River Oregon was interesting. We managed to get all of our resupply food mailed out by the 4 p.m. deadline, and grabbed a scandalously over-priced hotel room. I realize that as people who hike and camp everyday, we really shouldn’t complain about a room. But honestly, ants crawl on me in the wild, and I prefer to NOT have them crawling around me while indoors. And cold showers are also acceptable in an alpine lake, but not so much in a hotel bathroom. But we did manage to sleep in until almost 9 a.m! GLORIOUS.

We hitched back to Cascade Locks to get back on the PCT. We have scheduled a few extra days to finish the trail because we want to enjoy ourselves. Washington is also very rugged, and has the potential to be very wet, so we want to “take our time” ish.

THE BRIDGE OF THE GODS. The official border crossing from Oregon to Washington, and the PCT goes right along it. We were informed by the bridge toll attendant to walk against the flow of traffic, and be careful. We are so stoked to be in Washington! The last state! Canada feels so close now! It’s like a switch has gone off in my “anxiety-o-meter” that is finally telling me, “Relax T-Fox. You got this girl.”

Washington greeted us with some more good old poison oak. We tip-toed around it and figured this is the last time we will have to do so! The rest of the trail stays at fairly high elevation. We set up camp at (sadly) the grossest site we have camped at to date – Gillette Lake. We swam in the lake because it was over 100-degree weather today, but it smelled like rotten fish. Grossest part was the human impact there. Several fire pits were full, and I mean FULL, of garbage – paper plates, plastic who-knows-whats, old boots, and even diapers. Disgusting. It actually made our stomachs turn…such a lack of respect for nature…and so lazy!

Columbia River

Columbia River

Washington!! Can't believe it...

Washington!! Can’t believe it…

Bridge of the gods

Bridge of the gods

August 11 – 26 miles

I woke in the middle of the night, and looked out my open tent door. There, suspended in the sky, was a full moon. It was actually a super moon, meaning it was not just full, but also closer to the earth than normal. The variation in her orbit changes slightly, which causes variance in how close she is. I’m glad I woke up and got to see her, especially in such a wild and rugged setting. Back to sleep…

Today was muggy. There was definitely a storm brewing in the air, or at least we thought it was. Apparently there was no rain in store for today, but we were welcoming it with open arms. Relieve us! Come soon!

It was also a view less day. We meandered along through the forest, and in a way, I’m glad we couldn’t see the mountainous volcanoes towering above us because it helped me focus on the forest. So lush…so green…so ALIVE.

We camped with a new friend, Pillsbury. She’s the sweetest thing…and her and I just click. I think it’s encouraging to talk to other girls out here who are pushing through similar struggles as me.

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Clear cut logging...the only view we had today

Clear cut logging…the only view we had today

August 12 – 24 miles

The rain came – be careful what you wish for!

This is the first day of hiking on the PCT where it rained for more than an hour. Is this what Washington is going to be like? Did I wish unending rain upon us?

Overall it was a cruising morning with fairly easy trail. Things got more challenging later in the day with a 9 mile climb.

We planned to hike a little bit further, but with the rain being persistent, and the clouds staying thick, we decided to call it a night early. Even though I’ve done lots of backpacking in wet British Columbia, I still get fairly nervous when I get increasingly wet and cold. I try to tell myself that I will eventually warm up in my dry, cozy tent, but it just can’t happen soon enough. As soon as I was covered in down clothing, my anxiety ceased and I could breathe. Oh down coat and sleeping bag…how I love you!

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Lorax in his ever deteriorating hat!

Lorax in his ever deteriorating hat!

August 13 – 26 miles

The rain is ending! We woke up to a light sprinkle, which was tolerable.

The trail has been quite kind lately, especially considering we’re in Washington! We anticipate things to get a lot steeper and more challenging, but for now, we appreciate the gentler grades. There are little to no views right now though, but the trees have been beautiful and their canopy has been welcome in the rain and mist.

Early this morning, around seven a.m., a hiker approached us coming south. It was SCOTT WILLIAMSON!! He’s a PCT hero who held the record for fastest time (up until it was beat last season by Anish), and get this – he yo-yo’s the PCT. As in he not only hikes north to canada like the rest of us, but when he gets there, he turns around and does it all AGAIN. He is a rock star. He’s going for the record for fastest time this season, yet he took the time to talk to us for ten minutes. He is the nicest guy…we are rooting for him!

Later that afternoon as we were hiking along, there was a message in the dirt on the trail. PCT hikers do this all the time – leave smiley faces, hearts, or personal messages. This message had a word every ten feet or so, and it said, “What…does…the…fox…say…???” It brought a smile to my face! I have no idea who wrote it, but it’s cute none-the-less. In response, I wrote, “The…Fox…says…let’s…pounce!”

There are still no views, but we came across the most majestic old growth forest! It is by far the most beautiful forest we’ve seen on the trail. The testimony those old trees have!

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Old school PCT sign

Old school PCT sign

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August 14 – 11 miles

Just two miles of hiking to the road, and we can hitch to Trout Lake for breakfast! We arrive at the road, and there are NO CARS. Notta. Zip. Luckily, after the minutes of no cars, a truck rolls on full of hikers coming from town. Score! We catch a ride back to town with Dave, who is a local trail angel.

We inhale a delicious breakfast, and hang out with several hikers for the afternoon. It feels great to shower, do laundry, and generally dry out. I love hiker-trash community!

In the afternoon we decide to hitch back to the trail. We get picked up by two guys who are going halfway to our destination. They’re going for a two day hike. So we find ourselves only halfway to the PCT, but are hopeful that someone will come along.

It starts to rain. Hard.

We huddle by the side of the road under a hemlock, trying to stay dry. Maybe the pouring rain will increase our chances of a ride…? People will feel bad for us…? Nope. Several cars passed us, without even slowing down. Finally, we are picked up from a local Trout Laker who was just out for a drive. Sure, she can drive us to the trail! What a sweetie…thank you Lynne! Upon dropping us off, the rain ceases, and she decides to come hike with us for an hour. She was great company.

We enter Mount Adams Wilderness – but we can’t see Mount Adams. The fog is so thick, but we know the mountain is looming right beside us. The rain starts pouring again, and it’s getting cold. We pitch the tent and call her a day.

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August 15 – 31 miles

Still wet and cloudy. Heavy, dense, overcast cloud cover for most of the day. We hiked all the way around MountAdams and didn’t catch a glimpse of him until we were several miles away…but what a view it was! The clouds broke just enough that we could finally. Say “hello!”

today was our first 31 miler – 50 kilometres! We had to hike till 9 pm., but we did it.

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Peek-a-boo Mount Adams!

Peek-a-boo Mount Adams!

August 16 – 26 miles

This was HANDS DOWN the most beautiful day on the trail to date. The Sierra’s were obviously gorgeous too, but today just blew me away!

We hiked in Goat Rocks Wilderness – a common hi-lite on the PCT. I think I was suffering from sensory overload…too much to take in at once! And considering we just came out of several view less days, this was almost too much! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. We could see both Mount Hood and Mount Rainier in all their glory. We even saw Mountain goats!

We pushed to make it to White Pass by the end of the day, rolling in at eight p.m. with Carli (Freckles) and Joe (Jawbone). It was great to catch up with those two. Upon reaching the RV Park, there were two puppy Shiba Inu dogs (just like my dog Sitka at home!) and I was thrilled to spend some time with them. Man I miss my little stinker dog…

We set up our tent in the woods, read our books, and passed out until 7:30 a.m.

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 Mount Adams

Mount Adams

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Mount Rainer

Mount Rainer

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Mountain goats

Mountain goats

Cutest Shiba puppies!

Cutest Shiba puppies!

August 17 – ZERO miles

No hiking today! Just relax! Eat! Put your feet up!

The ever wonderful and generous Germans (Half & Half and Friendrick) left a note at the store that they got a room and were letting people shower there. I was thrilled! I showed up to their cramped room (6 hikers in one hotel room…that’s awesome) and savoured the hot shower.

Lorax and I decided to hitch the 20 miles to Packwood to relax for the rest of the day. We are currently happily hanging out in a coffee shop.

Hitching to Packwood

Hitching to Packwood

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Hitching it the bed of a pick up truck...

Hitching it the bed of a pick up truck…

Only 15 hiking days left! That’s just pure craziness…

Walk on,
T-Fox

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4 Responses to Into the Heart of Cascadia (T-Fox)

  1. Mother Hen says:

    You are getting to see some pretty spectacular sights! You two are still looking cute and healthy. I would have lost my cuteness many miles ago. Lol! And the hat is holding up…. Take care!

  2. Reta says:

    What an incredible journey! Thanks for sharing it with us via your excellent writing.

  3. Isobel Frey says:

    Tara,those two little Shiba Inus are cute, but they do not hold a candle to my little grand doggie Sitka . Yes, there are times when she can be a little stinker, but she makes up for it later with her snuggling and her cute little smile. You two kids are amazing I can hardly wait to see you again and hear all of your fantastic stories.. Luv you lots from Mom and Dad T Fox (Frey) and also from your little daughter doggie Sitka.

  4. Lynne says:

    awesome blog! great pictures! i’m glad i could help y’all out with a ride 🙂

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