Day 96: The Bridge On The River Columbia

Mile reached: 2166.2 (+19.1)

High: Crossing the Bridge of the Gods into Washington

Low: The hiker trash burger from the previous night

Lowest elevation on trail: 230′

We woke up in the middle of the night as a freight train rolled through town. It was so loud that my body vibrated. “Gandalf” thought for sure that he must have set up his tent on the tracks in a drunken stupor. Several more trains came through in the early morning hours, so we didn’t get particularly restful sleep.

The original plan for the day had been to spend it around town and hike into Washington in the evening as it cooled down. However, we both felt energetic in the morning and the breeze seemed to be keeping things cool. So, after doing a resupply out of the small grocery store we were ready to take off. Just then, we saw “Extra Miles”, who had come into town and decided not to go to Portland. Our plans were compatible, and she joined us out of town.

The PCT crosses the Columbia River on the Bridge of the Gods, which is a modern bridge at the site of an ancient natural bridge of the same name. There was no pedestrian walkway, so we just crossed against traffic with cars and trucks driving around us. Since the bridge was so high above the river, it was a particularly dramatic way to enter Washington, and our goodbyes to Oregon were not very sentimental.

We found tons of blackberries near the train tracks and couldn’t help but gorge ourselves.

The trail literally runs through the toll area.

Almost out of Oregon!

Just a little larger than the Klamath

Once on the other side, a brief road walk led to trail that ascended out of the gorge through private and DNR timber land. It was warm but not oppressive, and the occasional clear cuts provided us with decent views of the nearby volcanoes.

Saying goodbye to Mount Hood across the gorge

One of many clear-cuts

Feeling good, we pushed more miles than we had originally planned. But, we found numerous section hikers at the creek next to which we had hoped to camp. However, I found a marginal campsite in the creek bed itself. “Gandalf” also accidentally packed out a leftover beer from the night before, which we thoroughly enjoyed after dinner before crashing hard.

We camped right next to this bridge.

One thought on “Day 96: The Bridge On The River Columbia

  1. I did not know that the Bridge of the Gods did not have a walking lane. That does not sound like Oregon/WA etiquette.

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