Friday, September 9, 2016

Day 128- The End... If I Was Cheryl Strayed

Sept 07, 2016
Cascade Locks(2144.2) to Stealthsite(2159.7) 15.5 Miles
Total up/down: +4,794/-1,786 feet

If I was Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, my hike would have ended today at The Bridge of the Gods. I guess it is a good thing that I'm Yoda and not Cheryl. I get to hike another 506 miles through one of the best sections of the entire trail. I'm really looking forward to Washington. A lot of former pct thruhikers that I have talked to have told me that Washington was their favorite part of the entire trail. If that is true than Washington has a lot to live up to. 

I had a nice lazy morning today. I slept in until almost eight o'clock. I went back to Bridgeside for my free breakfast. I ordered the short stack of pancakes again. Unlike yesterday, I did not finish my breakfast. I didn't want to overeat and be miserable all day. After breakfast I went back to my room. I took another shower, just because I could. I was pretty much packed up and ready to go, but  I managed to piddle around for awhile. I was looking forward to hiking today, but I lacked the motivation to get started. 

After a heated discussion with the front desk during check out, I found my motivation to get out of town. I was overcharged for the room, which was bad enough, but on top of that they accused me of smoking on my private balcony. I was charged a two hundred and fifty dollar cleaning fee. After much arguing they agreed to remove the cleaning fee, temporarily. The head housekeeper was sent to the room to see if it smelled like smoke, which it did not, and report back to the front desk. My frustration continued to grow because the head housekeeper was busy and I didn't want to leave without having this resolved. The front desk clerk refused to go to check out the room in my presence. An assistant housekeeper reported back that the room was fine, but the property manager now had to get involved. He wouldn't be available until four o'clock. There was no way I could wait for him. I ended up leaving without any guarantee that they won't come back and charge me agin for the cleaning fee. I really thought that this was a hiker friendly establishment, but now I wonder if they try to pull this crap on other hikers. I plan on disputing the bill with my credit card company since I was over charged forty dollars for the room. They wouldn't even discuss this with me. 

After two nice and relaxing days this really soured my whole experience with this town. I was excited to put Cascade Locks behind me. I had to try really hard to let it go as I began my hike today, but it was really hard. I tend to stew on things for several days. Usually I just get myself all worked up and distraught, which serves no purpose. I fretted over this for about two hours before I shook it off. I did let it kind of ruin my moment of walking across Bridge of the Gods and into Washington. 
Bridge of the Gods
Hello Washington, Goodbye Oregon

In an effort to eat more calories everyday I am carrying even more food than normal. My pack felt really heavy today. I'm not sure it has been this heavy since leaving Kenndy Meadows to start the Sierra. Cascade Locks is the lowest point on the pct, with an elevation of 77 feet. I knew that I would spend the majority of today climbing uphill. I figured between my heavy pack, late start, and almost two full days off that it would be a low mileage day. I was aiming for twenty miles, but I'm satisfied with fifteen miles. 

Before I began the pct I was following two hikers that started before me on  Facebook. I met,The Baptist, in Kennedy Meadows and the other hiker, Mayor, I lost track of. I finally caught up to Mayor today. I was rooting for him to finish for two reason, he hiked the AT in 2014 and he hikes with his dog, a beautiful Shiba Inu named Cat Fox. My brother and sister in law have two Shibas and I used to have one. They are amazingly beautiful, but stubborn dogs. Cat Fox lost one of her eyes to glaucoma while hiking this year. She missed a portion of the trail to get the eye removed. She just rejoined Mayor in Cascade Locks. She is readjusting extremely well. I leapfrogged with them most of the day. I really enjoyed playing around with her during my breaks. 
Cat Fox(her real name is Katana)

I would have liked to hike another mile or two, but water was scarce for the last few miles of the day. I knew that I was going to have to dry camp. The only question in my mind was how far I would have to carry the extra water before setting up camp. My last water source was .3 miles off of the trail. It was reported dry last week, but I was betting that after three days of rain it would be flowing. The trail to the water was completely overgrown and I had to bushwhack my way through. I was so close that I could hear the trickle of the water flowing into a horse trough, that's when I walked through a giant spiderweb. I was mildly grossed out because of the sheer size of it, but I was focused on getting to the water so I just pulled it off of my face and kept walking. A few steps later and I made it to the water. I was in luck, the water was flowing strongly. I was in the process of taking my pack off when I felt something moving just below my ear, on my neck. I calmly swiped at it and felt something big fly off of me. It was a big, nasty looking spider. I get the creeps just thinking about it. 
The stuff of nightmares 

I spend most of my time in the woods in a constant state of denial that things like this live here. Bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, and Sasquatch bother me less than the thought of insects and spiders. I find it best to just pretend that they don't exist, but that is more difficult when Charlotte is crawling on your face. 

I only made it .4 miles after filling up with water. My pack was heavy enough before I added 3 liters of water. I found a nice secluded spot in the woods and quickly went about setting up camp. The temperature was dropping really quickly. There was a break in the trees close by my camp. I went to investigate and found that I had a pretty viewpoint from a rock outcropping. 
First sunset in Washington 

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.”
— Buddha


  1. I'm sorry about the whole room thing. Not the way you want to leave after a couple of relaxing days. I liked your smiley picture face by the WA sign. Cat Fox is female version of Manny. I m glad she is back on trail. You and your bug thing, Charlotte was innocent, you walked into her home. And, I know one Sasquatch, happens to be in Spain. Enjoy you hike through WA. Anxiously awaiting for the pictures you will post. LY

  2. Sorry to hear about this unscrupulous hotel management. Makes me wonder if they try to scam all or maybe female hikers. Hopefully that will be the end of it. Washington is a beautiful state. Enjoy this new terrain.

  3. Words fail me about the hotel management you had to deal with. Penny wise I'd say; word will spread and they'll be lucky to attract hikers in the future is there is any justice.

    On the up side, you aren't spider bit, you're in a new state, and you found water when you needed to. All in all, a positive day. Trek on Far Walker.

    Double G

  4. Best Western, Cascade Locks...actually has good reviews when I googled it. I wonder how they decided that you smoked? did someone report a smoker or did a hotel employee decide that hikers have enough money to pay but too little time to dispute false charges? Please continue to dispute the over charge and don't let the Best Western's local management get away with this.

  5. I think your spider friend was a Cross Orbweaver. I think its just darn cute that you, who lives in the woods for months at a time, gets the heebie jeebies from the little critters.
    Spiders are symbolic of strength and growth and teach us that we weave our lives with the choices and thoughts we make.

  6. So sorry about the hotel issue - such a shame to leave you with such a bad taste for a beautiful area!

  7. "...but that is more difficult when Charlotte is crawling on your face."
    Hands down the funniest thing you've written in the past two years!
    Do or do not. There is no try! Ferd