a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
SOBO Mile 505.6 to 514.5 (8.9 Miles) - Cascade Locks to Woods Camp
We slept wonderfully. The weather is beautiful, perfect for hiking. This is the day we've been waiting for for a really long time. We quickly pack up everything, say our goodbyes to Jamie and dogs and head out with Brad. After a quick breakfast stop we are on our way to Cascade Locks. We are both feeling elevated and nervous, lucky and a bit emotional. This is a big deal for us. An almost 15 month trip, starting and finishing it with the PCT. Being back here after having experienced so much in the past year.
And then, finally, here we are. Cascade Locks. Last time we were here the weather was awful. We had gotten an Airbnb apartment with BigBro and enjoyed every second being able to be inside, in a cozy home. It feels like we've never left. It feels like this is the exact place where we are supposed to be. The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, no snow to be seen anywhere. Brad is in no hurry which means we take a lot of pictures together in front of the PCT marker there and, as it is National Trails Day here in America, talk to the two women under a marquee promoting the trails in the area. We feel in no rush to leave, take our time to drink a few liters of water each, finish off our coffees, go pee like 4 times each, talk some more, pee some more. And around noon, at last, feel ready to start hiking. We say our goodbyes to Brad. Thank you so so much for taking us to Cascade Locks, for letting us stay with you, for being just the best friend. We can't wait to see you again in Switzerland!
And off we are into the wild. Back to where our heart and mind long to be at the most. And it's beautiful, beyond magical. Even though we have a 4400 foot climb ahead of us in the next 10 miles, the hiking feels easy, natural. There are a lot of day hikers around as the weather is beautiful and it's the weekend. Soon enough people already start asking us if we're hiking the PCT, and we tell them our story. That we hiked over 80% of the trail last year. That we are back to finish the sections we missed.
Soon we are alone. Most day hikers left at a junction headed to some water falls. We don't see anyone else for the rest of the day. Up, up, up we go. But we are motivated, hardly stopping for any breaks. After 4 hours it's time for lunch. We are already way up high, eating our lunch with a stunning view of the Columbia River below. Wow. This is it. This is what we missed so so much. It's really hard to describe this feeling. But there's just something about sitting in the middle of nowhere, knowing we walked here. Being surrounded by remote wilderness and beautiful nature, All alone. And eating Swiss Mayonnaise & Co. A perfect moment.
We hardly need to check our water report because there is water flowing everywhere. Snow is melting fast. We skip the first campsite as it is occupied (there is someone else out here, that's a real surprise!) and hike another mile to another spot. It's still light out, the sun only sets around 8.45pm. We set up camp, surprisingly quickly, cook pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and then settle into our sleeping bags to eat and watch Netflix. I found a Christmas version of the Great British Bake-Off that I downloaded. Let's watch that. In June. Whatever. It feels incredibly good. It feels perfect. It feels- like home.