PCT Oregon – Washington Border

16th July Cascade Locks on the Washington/Oregon border. Cascade Locks was a natural place for us to rest for a day as we had just completed Washington state with a final long 147 mile section. We had noticed that in Oregon the trail didn’t pass by any large towns where we could shop for provisions easily so we decided to do a large shop in Cascade Locks and mail the supplies to ourselves via general delivery to three points through the state. Our diet and shopping requirements were quite unusual and we received some strange looks in the supermarket as we bought industrial size quantities of pasta, soups, chocolate, nuts, raisins, breakfast muesli and dried milk. M&Ms were a favourite as can be seen here as we used our motel room to repackage the food into smaller bags and week-long parcels.

We managed to briefly visit the city of Portland to refresh some of our worn gear by hitching in and, due to a frustrating lack of public transport around, we reluctantly took a $60 taxi back to Cascade Locks. It was here that we finally jettisoned our ice axes as the snow looked to be receding fast and the temperature was a hot 25C.

17th July We left Cascade Locks and the Washington border via the local diner for a fulsome breakfast and headed away from the official PCT to hike the Eagle Creek trail south. This promised some unusual river and waterfall scenery and seemed more interesting than the PCT here abouts.

This was soon born out as we hiked up alongside a steep river gully with lovely waterfalls of all shapes and sizes tumbling over fallen trees, basalt rock and moss. As the temperature was now sizzlingly hot we were soon debating over the best pools for a dip and discovered one at the Devils Punchbowl with its very own tree to serve as a diving board. It was extremely refreshing and reminded us that it was our first proper trailside swim since leaving Canada. As it is a great pleasure for both of us to swim outside in rivers and lakes we were now on the look out for any potential locations!

After lunch and a further climb up the river gully we arrived at Tunnel Falls – a beautiful waterfall where the trail has been tunneled in behind the falls high up above the main river valley. Later that evening, we eventually made it to camp at about 4,300 feet and 18 miles at Indian Springs after a hot day of climbing.

Tunnel Falls

Next day, after an early start at 7am to put in some miles before the heat built up too much, we came to a clearing to see Mt Hood nearby – a lovely snow draped volcanic cone. Our hiking though, was mainly along a tree covered ridge with occasional views out to Hood and also Mt St Helens Rainier and Adams to the north. Higher up on the slopes of Mt Hood we emerged out onto vivid green open alpine pastures, dotted with flowers and crossed by tumbling streams and found a great camping spot.

Mt Hood

Cloud drifted around the mountain as we traversed its slopes next morning before coming across Timberline Lodge- a ski resort which was still open on 19th July! Our trail south descended back into trees on hot hard ground and I began to suffer sore feet with new running shoes I had bought in Portland. Martina also was suffering much worse than I was and it seemed that the Giardia picked up first in mid Washington still hadn’t cleared her system yet.

We started out the next day from Little Crater Lake and Martina was exhausted. Five miles further on we hit the edge of Timothy Lake and saw some fishing boats on the sparkling water. We rested by the side of the lake and sat on a log and to my horror, Martina went grey and blacked out! I was panicking and although Martina came round quickly we both got a huge fright. Our priorities changed, and after a half hour rest we walked round to a campsite we could see at the far end of the lake and set up camp and had some food. By mid afternoon Martina was still dizzy so we decided to abandon the trail for the moment and head for the nearest doctors surgery.

Little Crater Lake

It took us a couple of hitches to reach Sandy, about 30 miles east of Portland where we found a doctor and a motel. Martina was very weak still, quite dizzy, was sick through the night and having difficulty holding down food. 

We hung about in Sandy for a couple of days whilst Martina rested then, when she was strong enough to move around, we rented a car and explored the northern Oregon coast and had some fun being normal tourists. On the 27th July we drove back to Sandy and Martina received her diagnosis from the doctor- she still had Giardia! She was given another course of drugs and we both decide to return to the trail at Timothy Lake to see how things would go from there.

Timothy Lake

We both enjoyed sleeping beside the lake under the stars again that night and were glad to back on the trail if a bit apprehensive about how Martina would do.  Our next day we managed a good start with a pleasant 10 miles to Warm Springs mostly walking in forest and accompanied by loud evening thunderstorms. The forest hiking continued as we headed south towards Olallie Lake where there was a ranger station, small shop and hopefully, our resupply parcel that we had sent from Cascade Locks. We made it that day covering an incredible 21 miles and Martina was delighted to discover a great little camp next to small Head Lake nearby to Olallie which was perfect for swimming.

Next from Olallie Lake south to Cascade Summit…

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