Miles: 2107 to 2155.1
Mileage: 48.1 (over two days)
Day: 101 and 102
When we put Timberline Lodge to our backs and turned north, the sky was grey. The wind on the ridgeline was powerful and our quick descent below the trees was welcome.
Even though I knew the end was close, the day drudged along. Despite all the wonderful moments of the past 3 months and the amazing experience of it all, both Richard and I were ready to be done. We decided to think of these last two days as just an overnight hike. One more night in the woods and then on to the food, friends and places we’d been dreaming about. Would they be as wonderful as I’d remembered them?
As we left Mt. Hood behind us, we walked through the eroded terrain of the west flank of the mountain. Sand instead of dirt and deep valleys made by thin streams. The sky stayed cloudy until the rain came and then I can’t make a claim as to its color: my head was down.
Being a Sunday, we still saw many hikers enjoying woods despite the weather. Are you thru-hikers? they asked. If we’re stopping in two days, can we still call ourselves thruhikers? Technically, a thruhiker is someone who completes the length of a distance trail in one season. For the PCT, we will never be thruhikers.
But the name isn’t so important to me. The community of hikers on the PCT is made up of all kinds with many variations in their ambitions and goals.
Our journey on the PCT for 2015 was ending, but what we had achieved was great regardless of the fact that our goal had to change partway.
I am very happy we hiked California and Oregon. I look forward to hiking Washington. Just like the Appalachian Trail will always be a part of me, the PCT will too.
We slept up on a ridge. There were trees around us to help slow the wind, but that also meant the there were trees to drip rain on us. A wet sleep for our last night. How fitting.
In the morning, we hiked in the clouds for a few hours. There was very little conversation between us. The mornings had tended to be filled with chatting. It was the afternoons where we escaped to the digital world of podcasts and music. Despite 100 days of being together 24-hours a day (that is not an exaggeration), we still had stuff to talk about every morning, at least.
My left hip did most of the talking. I was very glad to know that rest was ahead of me. Although, rest for an active person is hard. I know it’s good for me, but it’s not my preferred state of being. That said, if I want to be active ever again, I have to let my body recuperate.
The weather cleared and heated up. The last five miles to the Columbia River was downhill, full-on. Again, we could see our goal below us for miles.
And then all of a sudden, it was over. We popped out of the woods and there was the Bridge of the Gods. We were done.
Or were we?
We decided to walk across the bridge, just in case we didn’t get the chance next summer. Well, Richard decided and I took some convincing. I thought the rock by the parking lot looked more inviting.
Richard’s mom, Terry, walked with us.
Terry met us at the bridge and drove us into Portland where we spent a few days sightseeing and errand-running before our flight back to the east. Terry drove her RV back to Indiana. We’re forever grateful for her help and visit in Oregon!
Since the trail:
My hip is recovering well. But it’s taken a lot of sitting.
Richard flew off to Antarctica and is getting settled in. We’re still figuring out a way to get updates from the ice for everyone to read, but we’ll come up with something.
Thanks to everyone for reading! I look forward to sharing our Washington trail tails and other in between adventures soon!