Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 68: Cascade Locks

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

I ended up taking two zeros in Cascade Locks. Did I have a good reason? Sort of (I at least have something to blame it on rather than me just wanting to muck around in a great town). The PCT suffers every year from fire closures, this year being no exception. I was lucky enough to get through Northern California and Oregon ahead of the fires, but I’ll be encountering a fire closure coming into White Pass, so I wanted to print out the detour maps. Since the Cascade Locks library has hours reminiscent of the library in Ethan Frome and is closed on Sunday and Monday, I had to wait until today, Tuesday. Also I wanted to muck around.

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On the first day, I resupplied for the next leg and also made a package to send to Skykomish. The grocery at Cascade Locks had the best selection of Knorr sides that I’ve seen on the trail so far. Non-cheese pasta! Hurray! I also visited the Ale House, which has a room for hikers to hang out in with outlets for charging and a hiker box; there’s another hiker box on the deck, where hikers can leave items when the building is closed. They offer a ‘hiker trash burger’, which is a beef patty between two miniature pizzas with lettuce, pickles, etc. and a choice of sides. I managed to finish three quarters, but then had to give it up. A SOBO hiker whose name I can’t remember ate the rest after eating his own burger and an ice cream cone. I’d been wondering why he kept hovering around and saying things like ‘you don’t NEED to finish it’. Weighing myself on the scale, I found that I had gained four pounds! I’m not sure whether it’s muscle or fat or both. Sometimes I feel more pinchable around the waist but sometimes there’s nothing to pinch at all. Could it be that the pinch test isn’t scientifically accurate?!

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Hiker Trash Burger

I was surprised to meet Charlotte and Kevin again in the campground. They were having USPS problems and their package hadn’t arrived. I also met Professor, Sensei and VENOM, who specifically mentioned that her name is spelled entirely in capitals.

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On my second day in town, I walked around with Sensei and met one of the people building the world’s largest eagle statue. He showed us the molds and some finished pieces and told us that his colleagues at the foundry were about to pour copper if we wanted to watch. Hell yes! On our way there we encountered Finn, who I had met all the way back at Cement Bluff in Northern California. Finn was one of the thru-hikers who I was particularly cheering for, so it was great to see him again, though he was more interested in getting food than seeing metal getting poured, which is incomprehensible. Sensei and I arrived at the foundry just in time and were able to watch the operation, then one of the workers invited us to her workroom to learn about how colour is applied to the statues. I have so much love for these people for taking time out of their day to explain their work to random strangers.

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Heather Soderberg statue in Cascade Locks
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Another Heather Soderberg statue

Afterwards, Sensei and I visited the hot dog place again. My second hot dog was oddly similar to the first one. Why was there chili on a nacho-themed dog? I don’t know, but everything I ate in Cascade Locks will go in the blame column for any future heart attacks. Sensei also picked at my leftovers, even though it was basically just icky cheese and sauce. That’s hiker hunger for you.

Lastly, some touristy things. I went to the museum by the campground, which has a small entrance fee ($4) and was crammed with an unexpectedly large number of displays. I also went on a cruise along the river ($35, two hours). I can’t decide whether or not it was worth the price, but cruising down a river seemed like a nice thing to do in the sweltering weather. Unfortunately haze diminished the views, but I did see a sea lion for the first time.

The forecast for tomorrow is dire. Professor is considering waiting out the heat wave. I’m going to leave early in the morning and hopefully reach a higher elevation before the temperature rises too much.

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