Day 145: (20.14 miles)
mile 2155 – 2175.14
As with all time off, it has to come to an end. Our Zero in Cascade Locks spent comfortably at the Best Western was over, sounded the obnoxious beep of the alarm Paul had set. Just one more hour of sleep in this comfortable bed I groaned. Nope.
Canada will not come to us, and the sooner we get walking the sooner we can be home…in our own bed. Bags are packed, we walk next door for breakfast. We have to wait till after 8 am to get on the trail as we need to get a hold of the Kracker Barrel store at Whites Pass to see if we can mail a package out there. I explain to the woman that answers, that we have a replacement tent from Big Agnes that will be mailed to us there with a return label for us to send our defective tent back. We don’t want to have to carry two tents, because we can’t mail the other one back. If that’s the case, we will duct tape the corner with the perforations and do the exchange once we are done. She tells me it will be “no problem”. Excellent! Email Big Agnes. Email Salomon and have them ship my warranty replacement shoes there as well. One last look through the room and one more cup of coffee and we are off to the ” Bridge of the Gods”.
This bridge spans the width of the mighty Columbia river, connecting Oregon and Washington. It was built in 1938, and was later refurbished and raised some 50 feet when they installed the dam,
which then made the lock obsolete as a means to avoid the treacherous rapids. We walk across the toll bridge (no toll for us), in single file, against traffic.
From mid bridge we can see several Indian’s salmon fishing platforms, as they are still allowed to fish using nets. We cross into Washington. It is exhilarating!
From here only 507 miles. Only 507 miles. The fact that we see it as “only” indicates we have obviously become “seasoned” and are confident in finishing this jaunt. We can be done in as little as 20 days or as many as 30 days. It all depends on the terrain, weather, and how many zeros or Nero’s we need to take. We are more than ready to be done. It is a mental game now and a game of numbers. We will push ourselves to do a minimum of 20 miles a day. We have committed to that. If we can knock out more each day we will, but not at the expense of missing sights, or being sore and miserable. Since Cascade Locks is only 262 ft above sea level,ushe lowest elevation on the trail, we have a climb ahead of us…all day.
We are greeted on the trail by thousands of perfectly ripened black berries. We weave our way through the trail engulfed in berries and gorge ourselves with handful after handful until we realize we are not getting anywhere.
One more handful and we do our best to ignore the sweet abundant fruit. Occasionally we succumb to its temptation, and grab a few. Soon we are immune to their call and focus on putting one foot in front of the other. We climb up through a lush forest that transforms into shale rock and back into forest. It is hot and humid. We met a new hiker, “Oklahoma”, who has been section hiking from Tahoe. He had gotten new shoes at Hood River and was having difficulty adjusting to the shoes to the tune of developing shin splints. Having had experience with shin splints, we offered him one of our compression sleeves to wear and see if that will keep them at bay, at least so he can make it to Trout Lake. He offered us money for the sleeve, which we declined. He later offered us whisky, which we did not decline. This made our last 2 miles in the dark sooo much more bearable, and the makeshift site we had to create (as all the other sites were taken at the last spot) more “comfortable” as well.