25.0 miles (PCT miles 2116.5 – 2138.1 + 3.4 miles of the Eagle Creek alternate trail)
Sandy River – Eagle Creek Trail
At this very moment, it’s pitch black outside, I’m lying on my stomach in my tent, and typing these words on my phone while listening to some of my favorite, relaxing, cheesy, new agey, instrumental music on my iPod. I love this music. It actually really enhances whatever great moment I’m in when I listen to it. I don’t usually listen to any music during the day, but I imagine myself sitting high up on a mountain peak in the sun during a break and playing something like it. Maybe I’ll find the right place to do that in the Cascades.
So today we said good-bye to Boo Boo and Hedgehog in a charades fashion from across the fast-moving Sandy River. Tears and I crossed, getting our shoes and socks right in there, hip belts and sternum straps unbuckled for safety and making three points of contact the whole time. The water was moving fast and was just above the knee. It only needs to be shin-high to sweep you off your feet, so we just took it slow and made sure our feet were well planted before each new step. Boo Boo and Hedgehog were doing an out-and-back, so by if they crossed this river, they’d have to cross it again later. While Tears and I made our way across they decided to turn around and head back from there, so from across the loud rush of silty water, they mimed their decision, I motioned like I was giving them a big hug, we waved good-byes and parted ways. It was fun hiking with them. I hope we get a chance to again!
Tears and I took a highly recommended alternate route to Ramona Falls today that was the same distance if we’d taken the PCT around it. I guess these alternates would probably be the actual trail, but they don’t allow stock (horses, mostly), so the official route bypasses them. It didn’t really matter either way to us – we were happy to take the alternate, and we were treated with a really pretty falls, deep within a mossy forest.
A little later on our hike brought us through another kind of crazy river ford that was similar to the first, and we were both glad we hadn’t changed out of our wet socks yet. We carefully made our way across this one the same way and continued down the trail with water sloshing out of our shoes. It’s not really too cold yet to bother us, and after a mile or so our feet felt dry… the shoes were still wet and our socks were damp, but it was comfortable walking. I really like this strategy for crossing rivers.
We are already seeing lots of damp ground, moss on everything, tons of lush and green vegetation, and all different kinds of neat mushrooms. We’re not quite to Washington yet, but the last bit of Oregon terrain seems to be warming us up for it. I sure hope this amazing weather from today carries over, too! We’ll see tomorrow… because that’s when we’ll get there. Ooh, tummy butterflies! We’ll be in Washington tomorrow! Gah! Tunnel Falls first tomorrow morning! It’s going way too fast now!
We got some more great views of Mt. Hood from a few different angles, and later in the day we climbed to an open, rocky scramble and were rewarded with Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier all on the horizon. I couldn’t get a photo of all three to really show up, but it was pretty awesome to see. I was sure to take a memory snapshot of them all confidentally peeking out above the lower, blue-layered hills around them.
I picked a ton of giant huckleberries today. My huckleberry tongue was a satisfactory purple this time. They were a little more tart than previous bunches I’ve eaten, but it sure didn’t stop me – they were still delicious! I did collect a bunch and have them on a tortilla with peanut butter and honey, which just might be the best trail lunch ever!
Our current location is the Eagle Creek Alternate Trail. This is another alternate that most thru hikers take to Tunnel Falls. I hear it’s simply not to be missed, and I’ve seen a few photos, and from seeing those like teasers, there’s no way I’d miss it! We are camped just 2.5 miles from it, which was totally strategic. Tomorrow is Labor Day and Tunnel Falls is also popular for dayhikers and tourists, so we hope to get there before it gets crowded. I can’t wait to see it. I’ll be posting photos and writing all about it tomorrow… it’s going to be a big day!
Tonight I love Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi. The whole album is incredible. Check it out and listen to it sometime while staring at a sky full of stars. Amazing!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!