PCT Day 131, Double Flip and a Flop, Day 50

August 21

Mile 2136.8 to mile 2147.6, Cascade Locks, 10.4 miles, no off-trail miles!
PCT miles: 1349.4
Running total: 1467.8
We were ready and on the trail by 0630, which should have given us more than enough time to get our 10 by 10 into Cascade Locks BUT, we neglected to take into account the terrain. When we weren’t slowly crawling down the ridiculously steep, knee-breaking descents, we were trudging carefully over loose rocks that were threatening to break our ankles. We were occasionally blessed with a dirt trail and a nice, easy descent, but that’s when we found ourselves treading stealthly through an obstacle course of poison oak. At times we had all three to contend with at the same time.
At first Matt would call out, “poison” to warn me of upcoming poison oak, but then eventually he said, “just assume that every plant is poisonous,” to which I replied, “just assume that I’m already covered in it, then.”
Slow and steady we made our way towards Cascade Locks…

I could hear it before I saw it, and once I saw it I realized we still had 7 more miles to go to get there- always such a mind game!!

Around 1030, after our 10.4 mile, 4000 foot descent, we made it into Cascade Locks {@ nearly sea level, it’s the lowest point of the PCT!} As we were nearing the main drag I spotted a fruit stand under the bridge with a large sign that read, “fresh peaches” & I zeroed in on that- I NEEDED a fresh peach!!

As we arrived to the fruit stand, the beautiful soul behind the table handed Matt and I a fresh peach AND a fresh nectarine- now, Town Ali would never eat anything without washing her hands first and she would very, very rarely eat a piece of fruit without washing it, but Straight-Off-The-Trail Ali didn’t think twice about it…well, that’s a lie- I did have the passing thought that I should wash something or use hand sanitizer, but by the time the thought crossed my mind the fruit was already gone… omg they were so juicy and delicious!! With juice dripping down my chin & sticky fingers, we joined two other hikers for a picture with the fruit lady!! {Apparently Straight-Off-The-Trail Ali ALSO forgot how to be a civilized lady- why am I sitting like that?! It wouldn’t be too terrible if it weren’t for the placement of my fanny pack…like, wtf????}

After the fruit Matt & I hit up the local coffee shop for some chai tea and a shared piece of banana bread.
From there, we wandered over to Locks of the Dogs and Treats, where I enjoyed the vegan hot dog I had been craving since the last time we had passed through Cascade Locks.
By the time I was done, we got word from Fairie Feet & Fraggles that they were back in town after running an errand, so we met up with them at the Cascade Locks Alehouse. There Matt killed the Hiker Trash Burger, a burger with a 12oz patty, bacon, cheese, and two pepporoni pizzas as the buns- I was so proud of him!! 🙂

We left our packs at the Alehouse (they reserve their whole back room for PCT hikers!) & headed over to the Eastwind Drive-In, where I had heard rumors of a massive soft-serve ice cream cone that I couldn’t NOT get.

From there we went to Thunder Island Brewing Company for free beer! While Matt and Fraggles enjoyed their beers and I sipped a juice box, we accidentally convinced Fraggles and Fairie Feet to hit up Portland with us. They HAD been planning on hiking out that afternoon, but apparently Matt & I are SO good at not hiking it’s contagious!

We caught the 4:55 bus from Cascade Locks to Portland, where we were met by pouring rain {I believe that’s day 6 of rain in Oregon} AND my Godmother/Aunt Christine. She was a saint and agreed to stuff all of us in her car & drop the others off at their hotel. {we also added another hiker to our carpool- a man from Spain that speaks minimal English and was stuck in Portland with an infected bite of sorts that was forcing him off the trail- he was looking for a place to stay, so Fairie Feet and Fraggles invited him to stay with them.}

For the first time since starting back in April, when I got into my aunt’s car I thought, “this could be it. I could go back to my life of comfort now.” But, no, not yet- we have unfinished business & I need some closure!
Once arriving at my aunt’s house, Matt and I got to work with our chores: we “technued” our gaitors, poles, and legs (technu is a cleanser that gets rid of urushiol, the oil in poison oak that causes the nasty skin reactions), we showered, did laundry, and ate dinner with my aunt.
I went to bed looking forward to a zero day with no trail chores…
Happiness is: ice cream, duhhh. Oh, and my aunt!

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