Total Miles: 2144.1
The third and final day on the trail with my Mom was also our final day in Oregon, and what a fitting end it was. The final 15 miles in Oregon are spent by nearly all thru-hikers, not on the official PCT, but on the alternate Eagle Creek trail. Plunging down 4000 feet, the alternate leaves the PCT and follows the course of Eagle Creek along a series of waterfalls on a trail that has been blasted out of sheer rock walls for long stretches.
Even on a trail with so many highlights, one feature stakes a claim to being the best of them all: Tunnel Falls. Rounding a corner on trail blasted and carved from the rock, suddenly there it is without warning, tumbling down in a perfect column of white spray.
Tunnel Falls takes its name from the fact that the trail actually passes behind the falls via a small tunnel like something straight out of a fairy-tale.
The feat of engineering that at one time brought this trail into being is something I wish I knew more about. Aside from tunnel falls, the trail along the rest of Eagle Creek is often high above the course of the water, hewed from near-vertical rock and with braided steel cable bolted into the rock for use as a handrail.
The entire alternate along Eagle Creek was one of the true highlights of the trail thus far, and unlike anything we’ve seen. It’s the amazing diversity of this trail on display yet again, and something I was incredibly glad to share with my Mom for her last day on trail.
At the end of the Eagle Creek trail, we had only a few miles left into the town of Cascade Locks, the final town stop in Oregon, with only the mighty Columbia River separating it from Washington. After spending more than 3 months traversing the length of California, Oregon has come and gone in a mere 3 weeks.
My time with my Mom felt all too short, as always, but I’m grateful that she was able to hike with me, meet my friends Beardoh & Sweet Pea, and share in the incredible scenery of Mt. Hood and Eagle Creek under sunny skies. Saying goodbye felt premature, but in my mind I’m already looking forward to October and our long-awaited completion of the Adirondack 46ers.