Oregon Pacific Crest Trail Section G
15 miles on the Eagle Creek Alternate from Cascade Locks to Indian Springs
Last night H.B. met Pathfinder and I at the train station in Portland and took us out to Cascade Locks, where the PCT crosses from Washington into Oregon at the Bridge of the Gods. It was great finally meeting H.B. after knowing her through social media and having mutual friends. Thanks so much and sure hope we can hike sometime together in the future!
Pathfinder and I decided to take the scenic Eagle Creek Alternate which passes by over 11 waterfalls. It feels like taking a vacation from this vacation. The air is warm and the sun is shining through the rich green forest canopy to sparkle on the rushing water and huge waterfalls.
The trail is soft and wide and easy. After so many miles hiking with Pathfinder, we fall instantly back into a comfortable, sweet rhythm together. What a change from freezing in the rain up in Washington! I'm so glad I choose to skip down to warmer weather and the joy of hiking with a good friend.
There are large fish splashing in shallow water- trying to get up or downstream we can't tell. But there is that strong drive to get somewhere despite obstacles and there is that strong homing instinct. I remember reading about how some fish recognize their natal streams by smell and the color features of the rocks, and swim thousands of miles to get back to where they were born.
As I breathe in the Oregon air, the forest feels like it is welcoming me home. I was born in Portland and spend my first 13 years here. All the plants, mosses, ferns and colors are incredibly familiar. At a deep level, this is the forest I was imprinted on. I climbed these viney maple trees and made pies from these tiny red huckleberries that grown on the tall bushes. When we got scrapes, we'd put the spores from sword ferns on them to help them heal and stop the bleeding.
A flood of memories come back from my childhood seeing the rocks and the falls, classic Gorge scenery. My favorite hike was Oneonta Gorge where we would follow my Dad and try to make it all the way back by climbing on rocks and rock-hopping without getting our feet wet and the best were those days we would see no one else. That was one of the first places we were taught how special it is to be in a place with few or no other people. But that was 30 years ago (wow I'm getting old) and now I hear its getting very crowded. Where will kids go to learn to treasure solitude and unspoiled places?
Today is National Public Lands Day, and since I'm not doing a community service project, I make extra efforts to clean up the trail. This is a popular area, so its not hard. I pick up five piles of toilet paper, knock over four rock cairns (by the stream so not for navigation) and pick up other trash including a wooden spoon. There is so much TP that I don't pick up and also some human poop that someone didn't bury -- this is so gross I wish people were more responsible for packing out their own TP and for cleaning up their waste.
This is my first night in my new Darien hammock. I get in and the lay feels just right- total comfort. The robic fabric is silky soft and I couldn't be happier. Thank you so much to Randy and Deanna of Dream Hammocks for sending me a new hammock on such short notice! What caring people and exceptional customer service.