Mile 2121.4-2159.3 (18.9 +15.5 via Eagle Creek Trail)
I woke up feeling so good. Mt. Hood in front of me, glowing in the pre-dawn light. I packed up quickly and hiked out on the loamy trail. It felt just like last night, breezy and very quiet.
I took the Eagle Creek Trail alternate. Went down a steep dirt path for a few miles until I hit Eagle Creek. So many waterfalls, swimming holes. High Tunnel Falls the obvious highlight. I rounded the corner and stood in awe.
The number of day hikers increased as I got closer to the road. The Gorge Trail led me to a paved road that was considered a scenic highway in the very early days of automobiles. Vastly prettier than the new highway.
Then I was in Cascade Locks, staring at the wide and mighty Columbia River and the big metal Bridge of the Gods. I got lunch and coffee before I crossed over to Washington. Belly full, I walked to the toll booth and asked if I could cross. The bridge is narrow and has no pedestrian crossing. As I crossed, I looked at the river below me through the wide metal grates. It was windy and I held onto my hat.
I made my way up and up and up, feeling no rush. I had my sights set on another peaceful ridge campsite and plenty of time to get there before dark. I marveled at the new conifers and ate blackberries and raspberries.
There was someone at the campsite, but they were amenable to my cowboy camping in a nearby semi-flat spot. He was soon asleep and I stretched and stared off at the dusky horizon, the dark colors of sunset, the emerging stars.