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Jo - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2008

Entry 129 of 174
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State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Jul 31st, 2007
Start: Columbia River
End: Rock Creek
Daily Distance: 25.9
Trip Distance: 2,007.5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 429
Journal Visits: 73,682
Guestbook Views: 3,717
Guestbook Entrys: 9

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Bridge of the Gods

Columbia River to Rock Creek

We were not sure where the trail picked up until we saw a shadowy figure pass in the predawn light just a few yards from us on the highway side of the camp. As we suspected, this turned out to be the trail. We had to get to Cascade Locks by 8 a.m. to meet Kerry’s dad and stepmother and unsure how far it was, we got on the trail quickly. It was only a couple of miles away and we arrived early so we sat down to wait. Sometime later Kerry’s parents showed up with the next stash of food and some homemade cinnamon rolls, breakfast bars, milk and juice. We enjoyed all this thoroughly. We spent quite a bit of time fussing about our camera. Kerry had taken our full quota of photos over the past three days and now we had no room on the disk for additional photos, Barbara had brought her camera thinking we could use her card but it was the wrong size for our camera. In the end we took Barbara’s camera and left ours. This was a decision that Kerry regretted many times down the trail for a number of reasons, but the biggest was that the “fresh” batteries burned out fast, which made us think perhaps that old batteries had accidentally been exchanged for the new ones. All was not lost since we spent a good deal of time for the next few days in a sodden mist and taking photos wasn’t a high priority. After a visit with Kerry’s parents and some photo taking at the Bridge of the Gods, Kerry and I took off, dog in tow. We walked up to the tollbooth and the attendant told us there was no charge for hikers. I know other hikers have paid, so I thought this might be a change in policy. I read recently that Cascade Locks was making an effort to be hiker friendly. Our next challenge was to get over the bridge with Cody. The bridge is high over the river and sparse on actual structure. The surface, designed to carry cars, featured an open grid through which Cody’s bare paws could easily slip. This we took care of by putting on his new rubber soled shoes. However, we had noticed that going over footbridges in the wilderness made Cody anxious to the point that he would spend his time trying to figure out a way to cross water without using the bridge. In other words, if possible he would find a way to walk across a body of water but that played into his fear of having to swim. Clearly, there was but one way across this river—to walk across the bridge. Our concern turned out to be unfounded: in the year that had passed since our last hike, Cody seemed to have forgotten any fears that he had. He just stepped onto the bridge and followed us like it was a regular road. This surprised me because even I had some trepidation looking straight down to the water so far below. The river is narrow here and there are many Indian legends about a great land bridge that once spanned the Columbia River joining Oregon and Washington. In one of these legends, two brothers quarreled over the land and the Great Spirit took them up on the mountain and stood them facing opposite directions. He told them each to shoot an arrow and then to travel where their arrow fell: this would be their land. One received the fertile lands of the Willamette Valley and the other the lands of the Klickitat to the North of the river. The Great Spirit told them that he had built a bridge across the river so that their peoples could live and trade in peace. For many years, the two peoples thrived peacefully together and then they grew greedy and started to fight, so the Great Spirit took away their fire and when winter came the people were cold. They prayed to the Great Spirit and he relented. He went to an old woman, who still had fire and asked her to share it with the people, in return he would grant her heart’s desire. She told him she wished to be young and beautiful once more. The Great Spirit told the old woman to take her fire to the bridge and share it with the people. The next morning, a young and beautiful woman sat by the bridge: her name was Loo-wit. The two brothers visited her there and both fell in love with her. Eventually they fought over her and so their people fought each other again and many warriors were killed. The Great Spirit was very angry and he turned the brothers into mountains—one was called Wyeast, now Mt. Hood and the other Klickitat, now Mt. Adams. Loo-Wit became the Sleeping Beauty or Mt. St. Helens, as it is known today. Wyeast and Klickitat continued to fight and spewed rocks and molten rocks at each other; the Bridge of the Gods fell into the river and this in turn created the cascades of the Columbia where the white water runs over the rocks. Across the bridge, we turned and looked back at Oregon, ahead of us a sign welcomed us to Washington. It still amazes me to think that we have walked here, every step of the way from Mexico and not so very far away lay Canada. That day we walked up out of the Columbia Gorge, with glimpses here and there of the river increasingly far below and distant from us. It was pleasant walking: sunny but not hot, mountainous but not arduous, just a lot of up and down. About 6 p.m. we came across a party of people parked on a hilltop. They were not overly friendly but offered Cody and eventually us a bottle of water. They told us that bear season opened the next day and they were there to take advantage of it (with their ATV’s). They did not appear to be drinking, but they seemed furtive. The next day, fairly early we could hear gunshots in the valley behind and below us and we were glad that we had put some distance between us. Meanwhile, that evening, we found the next stream, Rock Creek, our first stopping place for water. It was twilight and warm when we arrived and we both washed our clothes and ourselves down before sitting down to eat. The stove did not work, it was painfully slow, the water barely boiled. We ate our dinner and went to bed.

Entry 129 of 174
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Journal Photo

Confessions Of A Serial Hiker

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more:


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