If you plan to take the Eagle Creek Trail into Cascade Locks this is my advice… 1. Although rumoured to be steep, and bearing in mind I didn’t see it for myself, take the Indian Spring Trail down to Eagle Creek. 2 miles beats the alternate 6 any day; I don’t care how steep it is.
2. Don’t do it at the end of a long day when your feet are hurting, and 3. Don’t expect TOO much, I thought there’d be unicorns and Oompa Loompas running around the way people had talked about it. Sure walking under a waterfall was pretty neat and a first, but I just wasn’t feeling it after the 20 miles I’d hiked to get there.
The first 12 miles barely had any water. I was lucky I grabbed half a litre at the just trickling Salvation Spring because the mysterious piped spring that Yogi and Guthook mentions at mile 2132 was nowhere to be seen. I concurred with three other hikers that this pipe didn’t exist because we all ended up out of water and thirsty at Indian Springs.
Poor Joel, an older hiker I met for the first time yesterday, was sprawled out on the trail about two miles from the spring when I walked by. He’d already run out of steam but was hoping to make it all the way into Cascade Locks. He managed to catch up while I was eating lunch and we chatted about the incident where another hiker told me not to do the Eagle Creek Trail, and told me I should ‘be a man’ when I told him I wasn’t interested in hiking all the way from Timberline to Cascade Locks in 24 hours. Joel had been sitting at the table behind me and overheard the whole conversation. This other hiker was so concerned about people who had missed sections who call themselves thru hikers. I told him to hike his own hike and not worry about how others hike theirs.
Joel and I also discussed which route to take to the Eagle Creek Trail. He showed me his map and decided he would take the short way on Indian Spring Trail because he was shooting for Cascade Locks. I figured the other route continuing along the PCT to Wahtum Lake would only be about 2 miles longer and would let me stay on the PCT for as long as possible. As time ticked over I thought maybe my route was actually 3 miles longer, but when I bumped into a group coming in the opposite direction who had a map with distances on it, I realised I’d travelled an additional 4 miles to reach the intersection at the opposite end of the Indian Spring Trail. I wasn’t overjoyed by this news.
I think the additional miles messed with me mentally, as I simply wasn’t able to enjoy this trail that I’ve been looking forward to hiking since I started planning my PCT hike. I also wasn’t able to make it all the way to 4 1/2 mile camp. I stopped at another camp 0.7 miles earlier and am now a little bummed that I’ll have close to 9 miles into Cascade Locks tomorrow morning. Ah well, tomorrow is still a bonus mile day.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure there’s a rodent trying to get into my food bag. Instead of having it gnaw through my tent, I’ve put it just outside. I’ve also put my trash ziplock outside as a decoy. I can hear the bag rustling and am pretty sure I’m going to find a few holes in the morning.