July 30, 2016
Bridge of the Gods (mile 2144.4) to Rock Creek (mile 2163.6)
Our total miles: 1757.3
It was hot in Portland. We both slept poorly, waking up periodically to pry ourselves from the sticky and sweaty sheets.
Diana dropped us off on the Washington side of the Bridge of the Gods, the same spot she had picked us up 2 days prior.
Already it was cooler, actually almost cold. We called family before turning our phones into airplane mode and walking across the highway.
But we didn’t make it very far.
We walked past blackberry bushes teeming with ripe and super sweet blackberries.
“These are the best blackberries I have ever had” remarked Andy through purple lips and a full mouth.
We picked initially with our backpacks on, gingerly stepping to avoid getting pricked by the thorny bushes.
The berries were so good we quickly abandoned our packs to go all in. We picked with both hands and filled our 3 Talentis and our stomachs.
Around 8 am, a full hour after getting dropped off, we finally headed up the trail.
Our smiles quickly turned to frowns as we encountered poison oak alongside the trail. We had heard differing accounts about poison oak in this section and had considered a road walk to avoid it. In the end we figured we would try our luck and unfortunately we struck out.
The poison oak accompanied us for the first 5-6 miles. In some places it was thick but mostly avoidable with attentive foot placement.
The trail meandered through the forest, up and down many small bumps. After we passed Gillete Lake we continued to climb up towards the cut off for Table Mountain.
We ate lunch at the junction and watched as day hikers approached, took one look at the steep trail, took a deep breath, put their heads down and started the stair stepping climb up Heartbreak Ridge.
We were thankful the PCT was less steep.
We hiked on through miles and miles of forest. Occasionally the trail would emerge from the green tunnel and we would walk across fields of scree or under power lines, but for most of the day, we walked without hats or sunglasses as we climbed in the shade of the old growth trees.
We stopped for a break around 4 o’clock. Both of us were exhausted. The lack of sleep was compounded by the usual town day stress and now a 5000 foot climb accompanied by poison oak.
Or maybe it was all the ice cream and pie we ingested in 24 hours. It couldn’t be, right?
Our introduction to Washington wasn’t wonderful.
We sat in a small area of shade and psyched each other up for the last 4.3 miles to camp. We dropped down 2000 feet to the beautifully clear Rock Creek.
We were ready to be done.
We set up our home then went down to the river to wash our faces and hands.
We ate dinner and then took an accidental nap. Andy enjoyed blackberries with Nuttzo for dessert. Yum!
It was only 8:30pm and we were ready for bed. We admired the bats as we brushed our teeth. No blogging tonight. We’ll do that another day.
Tonight we are grateful for single tent sites near water and mosquito eating bats.