Day 116 – it was a big day

July 28, 2016

Bushcamp (mile 3.3 on Eagle Creek Alternate) to Bridge of the Gods (mile 2144.6)

Miles: 12.6

Our total miles: 1738.3

We woke up sticky. It was warm and our clothes were still damp. It didn’t matter though, soon enough we would be damp too.

We were hiking by 6:15am. It was a gentle downhill the entire time. We walked in a lush green tunnel, passing streams and pools of clear water.

We followed a river downstream watching it widen and then funnel through narrow rocks creating small waterfalls. 

About 2 miles in we stopped to admire a number of cascading pools of water that culminated in a waterfall. If only we had more time Laurie may have gone for an early morning dip.

We carried on, walking on ledges with moss and hanging ferns. Whoever designed this trail did an amazing job.

As we approached Tunnel Falls Andy was giddy with excitement. He has been reading blogs and has seen pictures of these major PCT landmarks for over 8 years. And now we have walked here!

The falls were spectacular. Gallons upon gallons of water falling at least 150 feet down into a clear and rocky pool.  The trail led us through a tunnel behind the waterfall. 

We were thankful to have this magical place to ourselves. 

We admired from afar, laughed out loud trying to set the timer on the camera and take a picture and passed through the tunnel multiple times. 

It was surprisingly quiet in the tunnel. The rock blunted all noise. 

As we walked on we ran into 2 trail runners. They asked if we were out for the night. This keeps happening – apparently we don’t look like thru hikers.  It can’t be our lack of smell, because that is quite present. 

And Andy’s beard is legit. Must be that we are still healthy looking rather than gaunt individuals in short running shorts.

As we got closer to the trailhead we saw more and more people. We inhaled their sweet scents of perfume and deodorant. Laurie enjoys the smells but Andy is repulsed. 

We took a side trip down to a punchbowl. We were not sure what was at the end of the long path but it looked clearly used and we were ahead of schedule.

We walked down to a rocky beach. At one end was a narrow canyon and a waterfall. Moss lined the rocks. We were surrounded by beauty. 

Laurie took off her clothes to jump in the water. It was chilly but not cold. As she slowly edged deeper and deeper Andy informed her people were coming. 

Rats! 

She grabbed her underwear and put them on. After all, we were getting closer to civilization and it may not be acceptable to skinny dip with young people around. 

Laurie swam around and was tempted but did not swim up to the base of the waterfall. 

By the time we left, there were at least 50 people on the rocky beach. 

At the trailhead parking lot we met Lois, Paul, Golden Horse and Ben. They were eating an early lunch on a picnic table.

We chatted and hiked together 3 miles along a bike path into Cascade Locks. We picked ripe and sweet blackberries along the way. So good! 

Andy picked up our resupply packages at the post office while Laurie joined the others in getting ice cream.

We walked together across the Bridge of the Gods to awaiting family and friends. It was both exciting and sad. This marked the end of Oregon. We walked across the entire state of Oregon!

The end of California didn’t feel as real since we had skipped a portion. This felt like an accomplishment. This hike was finally feeling real, we may actually complete the whole thing!

Golden Horse and Ben’s families were cheering as we got closer and waiving signs. Laurie had tears well up in her eyes. 

It was impressive watching these 17 year old men hike day after day, embracing the literal and figurative ups and downs of the trail and loving it.

We took pictures and said our goodbyes. Diana picked us up and drove us back to her house in Portland.

Here we sorted through laundry, played with her two 7 month old golden retriever puppies and went grocery shopping.

We had picked a lot of huckleberries and had our hearts set on making a pie. PIE! 

Unfortunately it was hot out so using the oven wasn’t ideal but we did it anyway.

Neither of us are good bakers, we tend to stray from recipes, adding or subtracting from them as we see fit.

With the guidance of Diana locally and Joanna (Laurie’s godmother) from afar we made a delicious huckleberry pie with a crumble top.

We went to bed with happy stomaches and hearts. It feels wonderful to visit friends along the way and we look forward to a zero tomorrow.

Tonight we are grateful for ripe huckleberries and beautiful waterfalls.

Tunnel Falls

From left to right: Paul, Lois, Dribbles, Shuffles, Golden Horse, and Ben

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