Cascade Achievement Unlocked

Concerning Our Arrival

We have arrived at Cascade Locks.

A mixed drink of shaken emotions hit my lips upon our arrival at Cascade Locks. I’m excited to have arrived at our starting point, and anxious about what is to come. I feel confident about a couple of things:

  1. Our first few days will be mostly clear of deep snow.
  2. Everything after our first few days will have areas of deep snow.

Snow tops my list of current concerns. Snow is the persistent variable among so many other variables, and I wish that it wasn’t monopolizing my every waking moment, but unlike the weather and wild animals, I know it’s there now and will still be there later. The PCTA snow maps and reports from the trail make it clear to me that we will be skipping some sections because of snow, I’m looking at you, Mount Adams. 

I am excited to lace up my shoes and pull up my socks, but in my heart of hearts, I know our path will not be contiguous. The shoes and socks will come off many times before we’ll be allowed to keep them on. It will probably be several weeks before we can get into any kind of hiking rhythm, assuming we make it that far… and then there will be wildfires to contend with.

Let’s not forget trail rule # 74 – the thing that will get you is the thing you never saw coming.

Not Alone

Thank goodness for Penny & Curt! Their 2 weeks of support will be a huge difference between us and other SOBO hikers. We have cold-weather gear in the truck that can be easily packed and unpacked. We have a ride back from the trail if and when we need to turn around because of snow, high waters, or whatever else can and will happen.

While I have not seen reports from the PCT Facebook & Reddit groups I belong to mentioning plans similar to ours, I expect we will run into other hikers early in this adventure.  Some hikers will be attempting the route we are, others may even be coming back from a failed attempt at the Indian Wilderness area. If I was a solo hiker attempting dangerous snow sections, I’d try to latch onto people like us.

Road Reflections

The trip from Michigan to Cascade Locks was a lot of fun. I learned that driving through North Dakota is basically the same as driving through Nebraska until you reach the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (the only national park named after a single person), where the mountains and prairie badlands take over.

Montana makes for a wild road trip, with its 80mph highways and insanely curvy mountain roads. There is so much wilderness in these parts, it’s difficult to wrap my head around what we would do if we lived here, spent a winter here. Seeing sights like Montana makes prioritizing how and where to best spend the unknown amount of time each of us has left on this Earth into an impossible task. From popular parks to hidden trails and fishing holes, there are so many things to do. Take care of yourself, Missoula, we will be back.

Washington state managed to surprise me, even though I have been there a few times, for both work and recreational purposes.  Until today, the Seattle area was the only spot I had ever been to, which is full of lush green trees and surrounded by water. Seeing that the eastern part of Washington is desert surprised me. It shouldn’t have, I lived right around the corner in Idaho for over two years and it’s basically the same geography, but it did.

It’s finally time to hike! 🎶Off we go into the wild blue yonder🎶

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