Total Miles: 2164.8
On the last day of August, we’d finally reached the last state of the trail, my now-home state of Washington. At only about 100 feet above sea level, the Bridge of the Gods that spans the Columbia River linking Oregon to Washington is the lowest elevation on the entire trail. For fans of the book Wild, it is also the place where Cheryl Strayed’s adventure on the PCT came to a close. The thought of ending this adventure before witnessing all that the mountains of Washington have to offer is hard to fathom.
A short stroll across the bridge and we were officially in the Evergreen State, knowing that the incredibly low elevation meant only one thing: climbing all the way back up and onto the crest. As if to welcome us, our first batch of ripe blackberries was there beside the trail only steps over the Bridge of the Gods.
Looking back to the bridge, it looked like every other day on this trail, sunny with blue skies, but that was about to change as Washington rolled out a welcome mat of a different kind while the afternoon wore on: a dose of its trademark gray clouds and drizzle.
Though it never was more than a drizzle, it was hard not to view the weather as not only a forewarning of soon-to-be changing seasons but also a change in climate, from the drier, sunnier Oregon to the more moody environs of the Washington Cascades. Before long, we had climbed up into the clouds and were only hoping that the real rains would at least hold out until we’d finished our day and set up camp. Shortly thereafter, a young elk traipsed through the woods next to the trail after spying us moving in its direction. All told, it was a fitting introduction to the state that will be our home for the 500 miles that separate us from Canada.