Cascade Locks to LoLo Pass

Hiking the Eagle Creek Alternate

The Eagle Creek Trail is easily one of the top 5 trails I have ever hiked. If someone was planning a vacation to Oregon specifically to do this trail, everything else they did over that vacation would be less cool than this trail.

The Eagle Creek Trail parts to see start at the Gorge Trail parking lot and continue on for about 5 miles, depending on where you start. It’s not a loop, so it would make for a 10-mile day of hiking all on its own, but it’s so worth it. You hike along the edges of a canyon, with Eagle Creek far below for most of the way and just enough room to walk without falling into the water. The trail is at a slight incline for most of the 5 miles up, but not so much you notice, not with all the impressive waterfalls around each corner.

Tunnel Falls is the waterfall of main attraction, at the end of the 5 miles I’m recommending. If the huge amounts of water shooting out and down from the top of the hill wasn’t cool enough, there is a tunnel behind the falls you have to walk through as part of the trail! There really isn’t a good spot to sit down and hang out once you get there, which is a bummer. Brianna and I stood in open-mouthed awe for several minutes before continuing with the day. This spot is fucking cool.

Brianna and I started the day at 0600, attempting to get as many miles in before the 95-degree day could fully set in. With 11 miles in before 11am, today was easily our biggest mileage morning since starting the PCT. It’s a good thing, too, because the afternoon heat slowed us to a crawl. Hot weather sucks enough all on its own, and to top it off, the afternoon miles traversed through a large burn area with next to zero shade.

Our day took a turn for the better around 2pm. The burn area ended and Brianna found a campground just down from the trail with a creek running through. It had been so hot that neither of us had even realized we missed lunch until cool air from the creek cooled us down and sent our stomachs into a rumble. An hour-long lunch in the chilly low ground gave us enough steam to push through to our final home for the night, Wahtum Lake.

Mountains Through the Trees

The second day of our trek to LoLo Pass provided some unexpected views early in the day. I say unexpected because we are not well-read for this area, other than the water and general trail info. Three mountains were visible from a windy clearing to the north: Rainier, St. Helens, and Adams. The cold wind made it difficult to stay long and enjoy, but we hung out as long as we could.

After the mountains came a series of blowdown trees that we were expecting. Multiple people told us that we would have to take our packs off a few times to get around the trees and that the whole experience was a frustrating one. We never had to take our packs off to get around and over the trees, not because we are excellent hikers, but because we are very small-size people. The trees didn’t even slow us down, 20-40 blowdowns on the NCT was just a normal day on the trail (this is bragging).

Onto Mount Hood tomorrow!

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