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Day 133-136: Crossing from Oregon into Washington


Day 133: Little Zigzag Canyon (Mile 2109)-Buck Peak (Mile 2132.5); 23.5 miles

During our morning’s walk, we were excited to see a black bear bounding across the hillside above us. It’s amazing how fast and graceful bears can be, given their size and weight. The bear paused briefly to stare at us, then continued running.


We walked through terrain carved deeply by rivers flowing off Mt. Hood. At Sandy River, we crossed a small log bridge with log poles at either end. The bridge featured a string to grab for stability, and a boot stuck on each pole for decorative purposes.


Before lunch, we reached Muddy Creek. The bridge over this glacial creek was damaged and unsafe, so we had to ford the creek instead. The current was swift, cold, and milky white with sediment from the glacier, so we couldn’t see into it to gauge its depth. We chose the best spot we could, and cautiously walked in.


The water ended up being about knee deep. We crossed without incident, and partially dried out our shoes during lunch.

A few miles later, we entered the Bull Run Reserve watershed. Portland gets some of its water from this area, and the land is protected to preserve water quality. The last of the sunlight filtered through the trees as we walked.


Day 134: Buck Peak (Mile 2132.5)-Cascade Locks (Mile 2155); 22.5 miles

Today we walked in forested solitude amidst large trees.


Our first views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens were an intense reminder of how far we’d come.


After some flat walking, we began a big descent of over 3000 feet. As we descended, we caught glimpses of the Columbia River through the trees. We were on the Oregon side of the river, and we could see Washington on the other side.


As we neared the end of the descent, we passed a tall waterfall, recessed back into the rock. It was one of the most beautiful falls we had seen on the hike.

The forest in this area was very wet and beautiful, but also moldy. We had encountered moist environments a number of times in the past few days, and North Star’s mold allergy had flared up, making her very tired and headachy. The extra sleep she required made it difficult to keep up with our itinerary. We were looking forward to our upcoming rest day in town.

Soon we reached the city of Cascade Locks, on the south bank of the Columbia. At under 200 feet, we were close to the lowest elevation we would reach on the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

We immediately headed to the farmer’s market to buy some fruit. The woman at the fruit stand, upon learning we were PCT hikers, gave us a huge bag of peaches for free! We couldn’t imagine a better welcome to Cascade Locks. It was time to rest and eat.

Day 135: Zero in Cascade Locks

Days in town are relaxing for our legs, but busy otherwise. We got right to work grocery shopping, doing laundry, repairing our tent and Shutterbug’s backpack and pants, writing a new blog entry, and completing many smaller tasks.

In the afternoon, we had a welcome break to meet a new friend, Craig, who drove in from Portland. He created the excellent PCT Planner website we used to help plan our thru hike. He surprised us with a huge box of Voodoo Doughnuts, containing all kinds of fun flavors.


We shared a tasty pizza with him at the PCT Pub in town. He’s a good storyteller, and we enjoyed stories about his bike tour of Australia, and his own PCT adventures.


It was a very productive day, and a fun one too.

Day 136: Cascade Locks (Mile 2155)-Snag Creek (Mile 2174.5); 19.5 miles

We woke fresh and ready to cross the Bridge of the Gods from Oregon into Washington. The bridge took us high over the Columbia River. A powerful wind rushed through the river gorge as semi trucks and RVs squeezed past us on the narrow bridge. It was an intensely emotional place, but also a precarious one, so we had to cross quickly.



Having crossed the Oregon/Washington border, we felt a very satisfying sense of completion. We now had only one state left to walk!

The PCT soon left the road and entered the forest, climbing quite a bit. After a few miles, runners in the Bunker to Bonneville 50K trail race began to pass us. We cheered the racers on, especially because we knew running 31 miles on the PCT couldn’t be easy. It was exciting to share the trail with 75 endurance athletes.

After all the runners passed, the trail grew quiet again.


We camped slightly above a creek. Canada seemed within reach.


30 Comments Post a comment
  1. Canada IS within reach! Woo hoo!

    September 8, 2012
  2. juicebox #

    a picture of the pub and not one of ‘one of the most beautiful falls you had seen on the hike’??? any pic of the falls worth sharing that you can post on the next entry? you know we are living vicariously through you. i’ll never set eyes on those falls.

    it’s hard to imagine that you are almost done. i kind of thought you would be hiking forever.

    September 8, 2012
    • Sadly, the falls weren’t the most photogenic because of speckled light and an odd angle, so the pub sign won out.

      It’s strange for us too, thinking of the trip ending. Living in the wilderness seems normal to us now!

      September 8, 2012
  3. Brenda Bertsch #

    I almost feel sad seeing your trip is coming to an end. Enjoy every moment of it, I am!

    September 8, 2012
    • Thanks Brenda, we are excited to be nearing the end, but it will be sad too, as you say. We will savor every mile we have left!

      Also, we plan to keep blogging about future trips after the PCT, so there will be more to enjoy after this hike ends.

      September 8, 2012
  4. Barb #

    It’s great – but hard to believe – that you have already reached Washington! We are looking forward to a book about your incredible journey.

    September 8, 2012
    • Sometimes it’s hard to fathom for us too, but here we are!

      Don’t worry, I will be working hard on the book after we finish the hike. I have been saving my best photographs for the book, and I’m really excited to get to work.

      September 9, 2012
  5. Anne Estoppey #

    Hello there, are you still using your ti-tri stove? Still happy with it, or wishing you had exchanged for a jetboil? Many thanks again for your great reports, and happy hiking in Washington! Cheers, Anne :)

    September 8, 2012
    • Thanks Anne! We love Washington so far.

      We are still using the Ti-tri system and it’s been perfect. The stove is incredibly light but burns well, fuel is easy to get, and the windscreen/pot stand is awesome. The Evernew pot is great too. So yes, we recommend it highly.

      September 9, 2012
      • Thanks for your reply. Do you have any of the ‘main’ piece of equipment that you would NOT recommend? For instance: what about the Suntactics sCharger-5, did it hold the whole way until now? And the Sawyer 3-ways water filter, any issues? Thanks again a lot for your extremely helpfull gear insights :)

        September 9, 2012
        • The sCharger-5 has been awesome the whole way! We are planning to post a gear recap after the hike where we’ll talk about how things performed, so look out for that.

          September 13, 2012
  6. Jan #

    Wild looking donuts! And wild looking beard on Shutterbug. And how awesome about reaching Washington State. I’ve been checking out Flickr pictures of the Cascade mountains. You’ve got some amazing scenery ahead of you! I too thought you’d be hiking forever and we’d keep getting these first rate reports complete with illustrations forever. Like Barb says, in the future we’ll have to rely on the book you are going to write for our daily dose of the wild. :-)

    September 8, 2012
    • Which is wilder, the beard or the donuts?

      We are excited to see the rest of Washington. It’s great that so much beauty is in store. Washington seems to be off most people’s radar for some reason.

      Don’t worry, the book will be the next big project after the hike. I can’t wait to start working on it!

      September 9, 2012
  7. Rich B #

    I’ve enjoyed a fabulous evening reading your entire blog. Thank you for letting us vicariously experience some of your adventure. I got to be enjoy a section about a month after you two passed through — hiking southbound the last half of the JMT. Your Mark Twain quote says it all…

    Safe travels to you both.

    September 8, 2012
    • Thanks Rich, we love it when someone gets so absorbed in our blog that they read it all. It sounds like you had some amazing adventures of your own — that section is amazing. Cheers!

      September 9, 2012
  8. David G. #

    Awesome to watch your progress and I’m glad you got to enjoy/see two of my favorite things up there: 1) The Columbia River Gorge and 2) Voodoo Donuts –but of course! I hope you enjoyed them. I looked at your tracking and congratulations on being halfway through Washington State. You are keeping an amazing pace, and not sure if it’s my imagination, you’ve sped up since Oregon.

    Really enjoying the reality show you’re sharing with us. Thanks for taking the time and effort to document this EPIC journey. So much fun to follow (especially from the cubicle!).

    Take care, both of you. :o)

    September 9, 2012
    • Thanks David, the gorge and the donuts were both awesome. Our pace picked up through Oregon and has slowed a little in Washington, though we are still going a bit over 20 miles a day, so we are making good progress. We haven’t had much cell reception recently, so our blog posts are lagging behind what the tracking link shows. This might make it look like we are extra speedy.

      Happy to share our adventure. :-)

      September 9, 2012
  9. Noam Gal #

    Just got here from fb Te Araroa group, and was surprised to see you have just crossed the Bridge of the Gods.
    I just finished reading “Wild” last week, and was day-dreaming about the day I’d reach that bridge myself (Where the book’s author, Sheryl Strayed, finished her long hike), and see it for myself.
    I’ll be sure to follow the rest of your journey up north in my GR. Enjoy the rest of your hike.

    September 9, 2012
    • Cool, was there a link to our blog posted in that group?

      We haven’t read Wild, but we keep hearing about it. Maybe we will have time to read it after the hike. Thanks for the comment!

      September 9, 2012
  10. Suzanne in berkeley #

    Ok. It takes you guys doing the PCT for me to figure out that David G. and i both love voodoo donuts! So thoughtful of your friend to bring a box of them to you.
    I am psyched to hear how much progress you have made. Ranier is a lovely sight, eh? And St. Helens, well, what a reminder of the power of the earth.

    Cheers to North Star and Shutterbug for reaching your third state! Hope things arent so moldy further north. Walk on!

    September 9, 2012
    • Thanks Suzanne, the donuts were awesome, and the volcanoes spectacular. Washington is beautiful so far, and we hear there are many more amazing sights to come. We can’t wait!

      September 13, 2012
  11. Oh…wish you would have taken the Eagle Creek official PCT alternate. You would have seen about 20 waterfalls that would have blown that one away. Oh well…come back and do it another day. Great job getting to Washington!

    September 9, 2012
  12. Ah, that handshake picture with the donuts came out just as good as I hoped!

    I was in Packwood, WA a couple days ago (Tuesday the 11th) and ran in to Pineapple + Express hitching a ride out of Packwood back up to White Pass. Wanted to give them a ride but was waiting to meet my Dad and didn’t have cell reception.

    Have a good journey to the border, you are in my favorite state!

    September 14, 2012
    • Yes, the corporate handshake was perfect!

      Pineapple and Express are great. We haven’t run into them in a while, but it sounds like they are close behind, so maybe we will see them soon.

      Washington is wonderful so far, and we hear the best is yet to come. We can’t wait!

      September 14, 2012
  13. Nadia #

    I met Craig on his bike tour of Oz and have remained buddies ever since. A nicer man does not exist on this planet. Congrats on your achievement! And aren’t those donuts awesome?!

    September 15, 2012

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