Jan and Joan were back together again for another section of the PCT. However, things were a bit different as I was still recovering from my knee surgery. So this post will mostly be about what I did while Joan was hiking the PCT. Someone needs to write a book about the best road access points and side-trip options for those providing support. I met Tim Olsen’s support crew as he was working on his FKT. They spent plenty of time researching then driving many roads so they’d be excellent candidates to share these details.
Day 1 – Panther Creek Camp on FR-65 (Mile 2183.0) to Trout Creek at FR-43 (Mile 2177.6)
While Joan hiked south, I sat in Trout Creek recovering from my long drive. I met a couple of hikers, one out for a day hike and another who’d recently began their northbound attempt from Cascade Locks.
We camped together along Panther Creek where I got to try out my new lighter weight tent. It’s a Zpacks Plexamid.
Day 2 – Trout Creek at Forest Road 43 (Mile 2177.6) to Forest Road 2000 (Mile 2166.6)
Joan headed south on the PCT, while Jan . . .
Whistle Punk Trail #59 – This 1.4 mile trail in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is an accessible interpretive trail that tells the story of forest management from a historical perspective. I enjoyed the beautiful forest path with signage explaining how the local dams and waterways were used in the logging process, and yes I found out the definition of a Whistle Punk.
Hemlock Picnic Area Interpretive Site – What once was a lake controlled by a dam for logging purposes is now a living example of a steelhead recovery site on the historic Wind River Nursery and Hemlock CCC Camp.
Wind River Arboretum – There is a trail that wanders among the mostly dead trees with interesting signage such as when the seed was planted and from where it was sourced.
Port of Skamania, Stevenson Landing, Interpretive Trail – I spent many hours wandering the paved path along the shoreline, watching the wind-driven water sports, as well visiting the local shops and eateries.
Day 3 – Forest Road 2000 (Mile 2166.6) to Bridge of Gods (Mile 2148.1)
Joan continued south on the PCT and it was my day for swimming, waterfalls, interpretive walks and our one and only night in a hotel.
Heaven & Hell Falls – With my 7am arrival I had the place to myself and couldn’t resist a swim in this beautiful pool. “Heaven and Hell Falls is the uppermost waterfall along Rock Creek which can be accessed with notable ease. The falls occur where the creek squeezes through a small cleft then bounces 26 feet over a rounded ledge and runs into what appears to be an ever-sliding canyon wall. Depending on the volume of water in Rock Creek, the falls may stretch to 50 feet or more wide, but due to the shape of the gorge below the falls, viewing the falls at higher flows may not be possible. The falls were named by kayakers who first ran Rock Creek as a descriptive of the fun factor of the drop. The small flume drop at the top of the falls certainly would be the “hell” part of the pairing.”
Steep Creek Falls – this one was a roadside stop. “The drainage of Rock Creek near Stevenson contains many waterfalls, distributed about evenly between Rock Creek itself and its tributaries. Steep Creek creates the most pronounced and easily accessible waterfall in the watershed as it veils 52 feet directly into Rock Creek, smashing on a ledge and creating a striking concave arch of water halfway down the falls. The road passes the falls such that side views as well as head on views are both possible. When Rock Creek runs lower in the summer, it may even be possible to walk behind the plume of water at Steep Creek.”
Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Rock Cove Interpretative Walk, Ashes Lake and Stevenson Waterfront – I didn’t have any trouble getting in my miles this day.
Crossing Bridge of Gods, even with a promised soft serve ice cream was a big fat NO.
Day 4 – It was a J&J day!
Dog Creek Falls – this is a 25-ft cascading waterfall is a very short walk in the Columbia River Gorge Recreation Area.
Guler Ice Cave and Natural Bridges Trail – Caving might not have been on my list of approved knee rehab activities. “The Guler Ice Cave is a 650 foot long cave that has a beautiful display of ice stalactites and ice stalagmites.”
I was super excited to finally see a sugarstick (Allotropa virgata), I was only wishing I had my camera instead of phone.
What a great reunion and first four days in Washington! Stay tuned for the next segment.
Dates: July 10-13, 2021