Lewis River – FS road 23 (trout lake)
12.9 miles.
716ft up. 2933ft down.

I woke up early and peeked out my tent. I could see the sun coming up and it looked like there was a clear sky. A clear sky. Amazing. I packed up quickly and I was on the go at 6:15.

It was a clear sky but oh boy it was cold. I realised I was in the shadow of Mt Adams and it was right there, looking majestic. That looks like it would be a fairly easy one to climb.

As I rounded the corner I was struck with the most beautiful views. All the clouds were hanging low in the valley and you could see Mt Rainier. I spent a while staring at the views. None of the pictures do it justice.

My fingers were numb and I had the great idea of walking with my hands in my pockets and my trekking poles under my arms. It was a great idea until I tripped and almost fell flat on my face, I managed to save myself but I jarred my right hip and knee. Ugh. Just one little thing can screw up your hike. Luckily, I think it’s ok.

I got moving a bit quicker to warm up. My gloves were off and on several times as I went in and out of the sun. It was mostly downhill so I cruised the first 7 miles, I saw loads of people still camped and a few speedy northbounders zoomed past me.

I tripped twice more. What is wrong with me today?!

I saw Running Red. He was standing with his arms outstretched, eyes closed, facing the sun. I wondered whether I should disturb him, he looked totally lost in the moment. Eventually I said ‘you not started walking yet?’

I carried on and soon got really hot so I stripped all my layers off. As I was packing up I heard some noise, it was Running Red singing at the top of his voice. It made me smile. He blazed past me and he says ‘you have to sing on a day like this’. You do.

He made me hike faster. It was all downhill. I tried to keep up with him. I didn’t manage it of course but I eventually caught him when he stopped for a wee. I managed to trip a couple of times on the way. No Bueno.

We only had a mile to go to the road so we hiked together and chatted. 13 miles in 4hrs 15 minutes. Not too shabby. We got to the road and tried to hitch. Not many cars on this road. One car came by and drove past. We decided to walk down the road a bit (it’s a 14 mile journey to Trout Lake and they say you get cell service a mile down the road). I got service, the English phone got service, the American phone didn’t. I called the general store and I was given a list of people to call who may offer rides. The first man I called, Doug, said he would be there in 20 minutes. Excellent.

We sat on the side of the road and it was hot! Doug picked us up and dropped us right outside the store. My first priority was to get an ice cream, a chocolate milk and a litre of Sprite. There is a hiker hang out area next to the store and Running Red and I spread ourselves out.

I was undecided about what to do. Go back to the trail or stay the night? I have heard that the store has a room with 3 beds in for $25. I asked if there was room. They said no. So I decided to go back to the trail. After a real meal.

We met a northbounder called Irish. Yes, he’s Irish. We all went to the cafe for food, the road was closed so we had to hop easily across the river to get there. I ordered a 1/3lb burger and fries. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish it but I nailed it. Quicker that Running Red! Then I also nailed a slice of huckleberry pie and ice cream.

Feeling good and back at the hiker hang out I supplemented my resupply, mostly with Cheetos and Fritos, and packed up my stuff. I made a plan to get back on to the trail by getting a ride with Irish. Then Drake appears! I heard his stories about the last couple of days. He said he was going to stay the night so I decided to stay as well. I think.

A northbounder called Greybeard says he has two spare beds in his room above the store. He has the room! So I bagged one of the beds. Still unsure about whether I was going to stay.

We heard a scuffle out the back and some drunk guy was trespassing on another guys property. He wouldn’t leave so he got punched. Quite hard by the sounds of it. I went with Drake to the cafe so he could get food. The river had risen significantly since lunch and we had to ford it! Fording a river in town! Whatever next?! I just about managed to jump it.

Drake and I decided to split a burger and this time we had sweet potato fries. I had not seen them the first time!!

We saw some more hikers get dropped off and one guy looked really spaced out, we said hi and he just said ‘that was the sketchiest ride’ and wondered off. We went back to the hiker hang out and there were more people there. A nobo girl and Jules from the Ale House at Cascade Locks was there having given a hiker, Couchman, a ride. We chatted to her for ages and she gave me her number in case I need anything. Nice.

There was a post on Facebook from a woman asking people to look out for her boyfriend as it was his birthday today, she said he should be around Trout Lake. And it turns out it was Arvo, the man who just had the sketchy ride. And it also turns out that the man who gave him the ride was the man who was drunk and took the punch earlier! Irish and I took pictures with Arvo and posted them on his girlfriends post to let her know we found him.

By now it’s 6:30pm. I guess I’m staying the night! I go to the store before it closed to get another ice cream. I have eaten a significant amount of food today. We sit around chatting until way past hiker midnight. Town is such a screw up.

Doug is giving some of us a ride tomorrow at 8am.


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