Saint Harbor of the Southern Cascades

Days: 77-84

Mileage: 281.2
Total distance: 2425.4

It is an impossible feat to try and sum up the past week in one blog post, but I hope to at least draw an outline of what Washington has been like and what I have been experiencing during the final 500 miles of this trail. Rather than giving a day by day account I decided I’d rather throw out highlights of the past few days and try and describe the scenery of the southern cascades. Here goes… 

I absolutely fell in love with Cascade Locks. I loved it so much I hitched back to stay another night when I got to a road 33 miles in during my first day in Washington. Oregon has totally gripped me whether I like it or not. I stayed in this incredible underground room called the hobbit hut at a man named Shrek’s house. I met some super awesome hikers there and carried out deep conversations with the caretaker about his mental disorder and his perception of society. Neat guy. I was dubbed a saint during my stay there after I was chased down by a woman named Jules who watched me help a man push his car after my first fifty mile day and considered my good deed Saint worthy. 

  • Inside the hobbit hut.

I also had a pair of shoes bought for me on a spur of the moment trip to Portland and ate a life changing burger at Ten Barrel Brewery. These shoes came at a perfect time. I’ve been having an issue in my foot since Big Lake Youth Camp and recently found out it’s either plantar fasciitis or some other arch issue. It only flares up when my pack is heavy or when I go uphill and if there is anything I can say about Washington it’s that it seems like I’m always climbing uphill. 

My new shoes are dope and my foot feels slightly better. I met a woman at Snoqualimne who is a foot guru and told me it shouldn’t be anything long term threatening and to fight trough the pain. It most likely happened because I favored my left leg when my right had shin splints. I just keep learning that I’m not invincible and that I have to take better care of myself than I have been. So, 300 more miles of pain. Seems like an appropriate ending. 

Let’s see what else… Well the meteor shower has been insane. Almost every night I watch activity across the sky. I met some sweet older men the other night who gave me life advice and asked me really personal questions that surprisingly didn’t make me uncomfortable. I did another near fifth mile day over Knifes Edge which was absolutely gorgeous in the sunset the pictures were unreal. Oh, I watched an owl fly in circles around me after I left trout lake and sat up on some rocks to watch the sunset. That was extremely mesmerizing. I sat with an open mouth the entire time. Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier are stupidly huge and gorgeous mountains that are landmarks of the cascades. When I was in Seattle rock climbing with the foot guru lady I could see rainier towering over the landscape at almost anytime. So huge. 

The trail has definitely been more gruesome and challenging and I’ve had some painful issues to deal with on top of it like my back getting a heat rash so bad that my shirt has blood stains on it, I tore a chunk of skin of my shin stepping over a lodge pole branch, this foot thing and I stubbed my pinky toe so bad I wouldn’t doubt it being broken, but what’s it good for anyways?  

The southern cascades are pretty epic with decent climbs rising out of the tree line and scaling some impressive jagged ridges with snow caps and rushing water. Most of the trees are lodge pole and fir and cedars in the lower land. The trail seems to either being going up or down with few smooth sections, but I take full advantage of them when they hit. 

Tonight I am sleeping near a public bathroom at a campground in Issaquah, WA about twenty miles from downtown Seattle. In the morning a former hiker is gonna scoop me and take me to the trail, but tonight I’m stealthed out in a city full on McDonald’s (i know it’s wrong) and excited to step in the northern section of the cacades and face the final challenge of terrain with 250 miles to go until I step into Canada and complete this wild and outrageous experience that has pulled and pushed me in more ways than I could have imagined, but forced me to grow and see myself in a light I never knew existed. 

3 Replies to “Saint Harbor of the Southern Cascades”

  1. Ryan, All I can say is WOW!!! You are almost there. Although I am a silent reader, I have cheering you on. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am glad I ran into on the trail on the way to Wrightwood. You write very well, After all is said and done I hope you put your PCT experience into a book. I be the first to buy it. Middle Age Pete

    “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory” William Barclay

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for posting the Washington updates. As a follower, I had a moment of panic when you said you were keeping it to yourself. Some arw living vicariously through you. 🙂
    Finish strong and enjoy the adventure!


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