Two states down (but really, who are we kidding? California is practically 3 states on its own…)
Stephen has crossed the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River and has entered Washington State, putting him 2,200 miles into the adventure! Whoa.
And I just got back from another visit, probably the last one before Stephen finishes.
Stephen’s dad John and I flew up to Troutdale, east of Portland, on Friday morning. It was super windy on the way in and we had a very…exciting approach to the airport. John of course was very calm (and I hope I was at least acting that way). But we landed no problem of course. We drove into Cascade Locks and wandered a bit to find the trail and look around. We beat Stephen by about an hour, long enough for a bowl of clam chowder and a coffee. And then he just walked right up to the front of the little restaurant!
Stephen looks great! He’s getting pret-ty beard-y. He told us about his last few weeks…
He’s been hiking with a friend named Dances with Lizards (ok to shorten to Dances or Lizard). They have been passing each other on and off since Southern California, and have finally teamed up for this last section. Stephen says it has just turned into fall in the last few weeks. Lovely!
Stephen has made it all the way through the state of Oregon without rain! I suppose the tradeoff for dry weather was those pesky wildfires…probably not worth it. Even with the dry weather, he has seen some beautiful scenery! On their way toward the Columbia River, they skirted Mt. Hood, and Stephen said that that was quite the hike… The mountain is made of glacial silt, which is apparently about the texture of flour. With 40 mph winds, it only took a few minutes to have ears, eyes, and nose full of silt. By the time we saw Stephen a few days later, he still looked like he’d been antiqued! They were grateful for a stop at the buffet at Timberline Lodge (I think they may have lost money on these couple of PCT hikers though!!),
Dances was meeting up with family/friends for the weekend too, so we didn’t get a chance to see her. But when Stephen found us, his dad launched a mission to make up Stephen’s five months of calorie deficit in one weekend. Stephen gladly sat down with us at the restaurant for some chicken strips, fries and coke.
We stayed at a hotel in Troutdale, and met up with John’s cousins Bill and Cindy for dinner at Edgefield, a McMenamins restaurant with beautiful grounds. We went to a pub and (of course) ate more food. And they even came bearing gifts! Stephen got a cozy scarf for the chilly weather up ahead, and even I got a lovely handmade infinity scarf (thanks Cindy!!). This is Stephen practicing for Washington (imagine him with the down jacket though…):
We went to Portland on Saturday and ate a great lunch and beer at Deschutes Brewery (yum), followed by ice cream at Salt and Straw (a fancy hipster ice cream parlor with flavors like Pear with Bleu Cheese, Coffee and Bourbon, and Cheddar Apple Pie), followed by burgers and truffle fries with Bill and Cindy. We also had a chance to watch some football with John’s Uncle Ed, and met up with friends from high school, Amelia and Chris for beers at Lucky Lab Brewery! Stephen was ready for a break from trail food! Compared to all this, he’s going to be bummed to go back to potato flakes and spam…
On Sunday, we went to breakfast back at Edgefield with Gwen and her daughter (where Stephen had Chilequiles and Chicken Fried Steak!). We also went to Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon.
Getting Stephen back on the trail was a bit hard, as usual. But we sampled a couple home-brews from our friend Andy (including a Stout plus Bacon plus Bacon!) back at the Bridge of the Gods, and Stephen changed back into trail clothes. His pack is heavy with some new cold weather gear, but at that point, he had 506 miles to go…and by the time I’m writing this, fewer than 450! We left for the flight home, and he waited another hour or two for Dances to arrive back on the trail before walking across that half-mile bridge into the last state before the Canadian border!
He definitely wanted me to tell everyone that he misses all of you! I think being lonely for everyone has been the hardest part of being on the trail! I’m definitely not counting down the days…but we’re getting close! Thanks again John for letting me tag along on your visit!
And now, just because John flew us over some incredible areas on our way up there, I’m sharing a few of my shots from the plane… Half Dome and Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake, smoke under the Three Sisters, and Mt. Thielsen (which Stephen climbed to the tip-top of, believe it or not).