Miles 497.4 – 505.6 >>> 8.2 (13.2 km)
We woke up very early (well before six) and were keen to make it to town for food and showers.
For some reason though, neither one of us got into our stride and the trail stretched out like a rubber band and we felt like we weren’t getting anywhere.
We were indeed so slow that we began to wonder whether we were still on the right trail. As it turned out though, we weren’t really that slow, just slow, and covered the eight miles in about three hours. Somehow it felt like a lifetime though.
As we stepped down on to the asphalt, we turned around and looked at the sign saying we’d walked 500 miles – and it felt good. Our weariness left us and we both felt like walking 500 more.
We walked a little further and suddenly stood in front of the Bridge of the Gods – our gateway to Oregon.
The bridge does not have a dedicated pedestrian lane, so us hikers have to walk on the road, but all the local traffic, including buses and 18-wheelers, were incredibly nice and considerate and we didn’t feel unsafe at all.
The fun thing is that the roadway is covered with grating, rather than tarmac, and when you walk over the bridge, you can actually see through, between your feet, all the way down to the river. I stretched out my arms and felt a little like flying into Oregon.
Once on the other side we embraced and congratulated each other for making it this far. The weather was good and we were on our way to get breakfast. It was glorious.
Even though there is the Bridgeside restaurant right next to the bridge, we decided to check out town first. We made it to the Cascade Inn and ordered Omelette.
It wasn’t overly amazing but decent and we gobbled it all down fairly quickly. Here, we also ran into Tom again, who was about to hike a stretch with his wife. The two were leaving today though, whereas we’d decided on a night in town. Not sure we’d be able to catch up to them.
After that we went to the post office where Trouble could pick up new shoes that had been sent there by her daughter. I had made the mistake and sent my new shoes to the Cascade Locks Ale House … which, bizarrely, was closed on Tuesdays.
However, when I walked over to have a look, there was a sign saying that people wanting to pick up their mail could do so at 11 am. Thank you very much.
For me the problem had been that I needed shoes just when Altra switched their Lone Peak model from iteration 3.5 to 4.0 – and I couldn’t get either one in my size. I’d contacted Altra directly, but they’d just replied that I had to wait till the 4.0s were officially released and that they couldn’t help me. Thus, I had to order different ones and tried the Olympus 3. As it turned out, a terrible choice for me, and I suffered through most of Oregon from blisters and other nasty foot problems, until I could finally get some Lone Peak 4.0s in Ashland.
Anyway, we also ran into Twist and Army again and decided to try and get a hotel room together to make it a little cheaper for all of us. We decided on the Bridge of the Gods Motel and RV Park where we could get a four bed, two room suite. They didn’t have it ready until three in the afternoon though and we had to kill some time.
Trouble and I went to the grocery store and got some drinks and hung out in front of the store for a while, but then caught up with Army and Twist again to go get lunch at the Bridgeside restaurant.
We spent quite a bit of time there, until we finally checked into our hotel room, where we did the hiker deed and took long, hot showers in turn.
We were somewhat de-smelled by 6:30 pm and Twist, Trouble, and I decided it was time for an ice cream. Army stayed behind with ice packs on his shins, because he was having trouble with them again.
The three of us made our way down to the Locks of Dogs & Treats and got ourselves some ice cream and then hung out in front of the shop in the colourful plastic chairs and watched the traffic whizz by.
An hour later we got hungry and went out looking for somewhere to eat. We got the tip to try out the local brewery and were happy to give it a whirl. What a fantastic tip that was.
The place is really great and has outside seating next to the river. They offer their own beer, which is great, and truly excellent food.
We had a lot of fun and stayed late, until it was dark (probably around 10 pm-ish).
It was a truly fantastic day. Thank you all.