PCT WA Day 1 – Bridge of the Gods – take 3


Bridge of the Gods (2.148,2) to cedar Mountain campsite (2.156,2)

8 miles

Crossing the Bridge of the Gods

Far away places we visit three times in our lives must be something special. Memories were shooting all through my head when I crossed the Bridge of the Gods for the third time in my life. In 2016 I ended my first hike on the Pacific Crest Trail here, in 2019 I started my first attempt of the Washington section and now – four years later – in 2023 I crossed the windy bridge again. There’s hardly any room for pedestrians on the bridge and you need to walk on the left side to look at the driver who is coming towards you. Generally it gets very windy once you are out and over the Columbia River.

Columbia River

A white Tesla stopped well ahead of me and was too scared to drive past me?! Was he afraid I would put some scratches into his car with my poles? I didn’t know. Other than that I was fine and even big trucks passed me at a safe distance. People here take care.

I hit the trail on the other side and slowly started my climb out of the Columbia River Gorge. It was hot and I was wearing long trousers. Would I regret my decision which was based on fear of too many bugs? I wasn’t too concerned as I had hiked in these trousers and temperatures over 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) before. I had a late start in Cascade Locks and it was already 3 pm when I started to climb. Anyways, day one could be a short one, right?

The thoughts in my head were buzzing. I always thought hitting the trail again would feel like coming home. In some ways it did and in other ways it did not. My heart and my thoughts were with my friends Donna and Jeff who I had visited before. As I wrote in my latest blogpost Donna is fighting brain cancer and she needs all the support she can get. (Did you donate to the GoFundMe campaign?) The two and a half weeks I had spend with my friends, the moments we shared and especially the fact that I had to leave again were something I was jewing on all day.

Gillette Lake

Gillette Lake looked familiar. I have already done the section up north to Trout Lake so this is the second time for me. I hiked on through the afternoon heat and was thankful for the lush green forest of Washington that provided much needed shade. I met quite a few hikers – northbounders and southbounders – and many blackberries along the trail were fighting for my attention. But I felt still full from the late lunch of Fish & Chips at the Bingham Fishmarket in Cascade Locks. You name it! For the third time in my life. I cannot recommend this place enough!

Fish & Chips in Cascade Locks

I passed the campsite at which I stayed in 2019. I needed to get some more miles in. A 12 mile waterless stretch was coming up and so I decided to fill up water at the last spring before and camp at the next campsite. After only 8 miles I feel quite exhausted and my body is happy to get some rest. The tentsite is a wide open area on a small ridge. Someone wrote its good for stargazing. So here I am stars, ready for the show!

3 replies
  1. Vern Henry
    Vern Henry says:

    So disappointed I didn’t have lunch with you. Cascade Locks is in my backyard. Maybe your fourth time. Enjoyed hiking with you in 2019. Have a great hike and summer.


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