Come morning, the weather had cleared and the puddles were no more. We put on our damp and sticky clothes, dissembled the tent, and got going along the trail through the grassy forest. We were aiming to reach Cascade Locks late morning in time for a a quick stop for lunch before crossing the famed Bridge of the Gods to Washington state.
Much of the way there was a steep descent down the gorge whose ridges stretch either side of the Columbia River. Low clouds moved between the trees at first, but as we quickly dropped elevation the sky around us cleared and we could see the town in the morning light waiting below. It was a quick 10 mile walk that spat us out right on the Oregon side of the bridge.
We quickly dashed to town meeting Will and Audrey for milkshakes, before drying our tent and eating hot dogs on the town green. Our dairy intake was biblical – jumbo milkshakes + the majority of an ice cream tub within which we mixed wild blackberries. It was time to cross to our last state.
The Bridge of the Gods is a large metal railed structure which stands as a land mark for PCT hikers. As we crossed it we cheered and hooted while trying not to look down through the scaffold like structure to the river below. Dodging traffic as we went, we eventually reached the other side passing into Washington and off we went up our first climb.
We knew Washington was going to be an up hill struggle, but my God is the forest beautiful. Bountiful tree species and small bush grow where we were used to seeing a monotony of single species growth. Streams tumbled down the mossy rocks either side of slopes and on occasion the canopy would give way to a clearing that provided views of the Oregon – Washington gorge.
At the top of the climb we set up tent, 12 or so miles into our Washington hike. The sun set on the beauty that surrounded us, the ridge lines and cascade range silhouetted by its light. Goodbye Oregon, and goodnight Washington.