Wednesday 9/21 – We’ve had three pretty hard days of hiking. Our 1st day from Cascade Locks took us quite a ways west before trekking into the foothills north of the Columbia River. We gradually ascended 4,000 feet over about 10 miles. There were nice views of the River as well as several roads we crossed. Three women came down the trail as they were section-hiking from Trout Lake to Cascade Locks. We heard and saw work trucks. The Table Mt area was the significant geographic feature with its large layers of basalt cliffs piled like a wedding cake. After hitting the high point of the trail, we descended a few hundred feet through a recovering clear-cut and into a stand of trees near a small dirt road to find a good campsite at mile 2159.9. The weather was getting more overcast and breezy which continued through the evening as we enjoyed our evening meal of delicious beef stroganoff as well as hot cider and a Hershey bar for dessert.
Thursday 9/22 – Today was hoped to be an easier day even though we had more miles planned, 17. We first went down quite a bit and crossed fairly large creeks with elaborate bridges. Then we worked our way up to a ridge where we had good views of Mt Hood to the south. We passed the Three Corner Rock trail and began odescent to Trout Creek. Weather was cloudy most of the day but blue sky appeared later. We found a good tent site next to the creek at mile 2177.6. Mashed potatoes and meatballs for dinner. Chocolate for dessert.
Friday, 9/23 – 4100’ elevation gain today over 16.4 miles took us a long time but we managed not to wear ourselves out too badly. Crossed both the Wind River and Panther Creek. Took a break at the Panther Creek campground before the climb up. Found a good camp at mile 2194 where we found water from a spring just below the camp. Skies were clear all day but nice breezes and mild temperatures. Spiced couscous for dinner. Very still and quiet night except for a friendly owl some distance away hooting a familiar pattern – “hoo-hoo-hooo-huh-hooo!”