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Begins: May 4, 2015
Date: Sat, Jul 4th, 2020
Start: Government Camp
End: Cascade Locks
Trip Distance: 50.0
Entry Visits: 10
Journal Visits: 13,006
Guestbook Views: 621
Guestbook Entrys: 20
Pacific Crest Trail Map
Arriving in Govy in mid-morning in drizzle and temps in the mid 40s, we were unable to access our reserved room at Best Western until 4:00 PM. Due to COVID, there was no place to wait inside so found a room at the Famous Huckleberry Inn that would accept us immediately. We hung our tents up to dry, draped our clothes over the radiator, and order burgers to go.
Rested, the next morning we headed up the mountain and hit the Timberline trail which I have hiked many times. It was sunny and warm for the first time in days and once on the mountain, we were finally able to have views of Hood. We passed by Timberline lodge and began to skirt the mountain on the west-side. Though I had been on this trail several times, the beauty and majesty of Mt. Hood never fails to amaze me. There was quite a bit of snow, but was manageable and the trail was easy to follow having lots of foot traffic. After a few miles we came to the Zig-Zag canyon and the head waters of the river in the distance. Switchbacking to the river, we were able to rock-hop over it without getting wet. We climbed out of the canyon, crossed more snow fields and came to the first test of the day, the Sandy River. The Sandy starts in a deep canyon at the foot of a waterfall and with the weather warming, we could hear it rushing from miles away. The four mile down-hill hike to the Sandy was tough on the knees and once we reached the valley floor, we were both sore. We found a small wet log across the river which Max was able to traverse without falling in. My boots are ungainly so opted to huck them across the river and wade into the current instead. We then made the short hike to Ramona Falls - I had not been to there is several years and had forgotten just how beautiful the falls are. We had dinner at the falls and then continued on to a dry camp a few more miles down the trail. Our second to last night on trail was the coldest yet, temps likely in the upper 30s.
The next day would be the longest yet, knocking out 24 miles as we continued north, away from the mountain. The morning of the 3rd was cold, foggy, and windy and we hiked most of the day in jackets and pants. We planned for a long morning rest but being so cold we load up on water at a spring and continued on. The trail climbed and dropped through second growth forest and by mid afternoon, the clouds finally burned off. We had a long rest with a view of Hood to the south. After some miles we came to the beginning of the burn that ravaged the Gorge a few years ago. It was sad to walk through the devastation but there were signs of rejuvenation with stunning wildflowers everywhere. After a long steep climb to Benson Plateau, we had another dry camp among the burned trees and swarms of mosquitoes.
Our last day on the trail provided the final obstacle; a 1000 foot descent over four miles to the Columbia. We filled up with water at a pipe spring and geared up for the drop. My knees held up but toes were very sore having been smashed into the front of my boots for so long. We made it to the valley floor and passed several day hikers. The last four miles were a pleasant walk past several small waterfalls and lots of poison oak. We crossed under I 84 and I walked across the Bridge of the Gods to the Washington State side. Max and I enjoyed a well deserved beer in Cascade Locks while we waited for Carmen to pick us up.
There were many times I thought we would bail on the hike but despite snow, weather, and injury we stuck with it. Aside from the "zero" at Ollalie, we did double-digit miles every day including several that were 20+. 24 miles being the longest day. It was an adventure, ask me in a week if I would do another through hike.
Thanks for joining us on this trip, I hope you enjoyed the posts and as always, excuse my spelling and grammar.