Mile 2109 to 2125
Eagle Creek Alternate 4.6 miles
In the middle of the night two giggling girls wearing headlamps weave through our camp, waking me. Their parallel lights and erratic behavior simulate the common courtesy typical of a drunken driver. At about 3am a torch-less north bounder pounds by on the trail. The vortex pull of Cascade Locks and the Oregon border appears strong, even in total darkness.
When we wake for good Kevin scrambles and is packed to go a full minute ahead of me. Later he tells me he did not want to hear about a blog entry that starts: “Lacking the pull of a breakfast buffet, Kevin lounges lazily until…”
Today our goal is to reach the PCT alternate trail known as Eagle Creek. Like the Rim trail at Crater Lake, almost every thru-hiker chooses this beautiful parallel option, if only to walk the cliff ledge that leads behind the famous Tunnel Falls.
The elevations today are mostly easy, following a high ridge line. We pass Lolo Pass and go around Sentinel Peak, Preachers Peak, Buck Peak and Indian Mountain. The alternate trail branches off at Indian Springs and is notoriously steep with really no switchbacks. I am pretty sure my dot watching father will notice we are off the official PCT and conclude something has gone majorly wrong. On our way down we are very glad we are not going up. About 4.6 miles down the alternate we find water and camp. I eat the last of the hiker box mystery meals. This one is something or other with couscous.
Tomorrow we plan to enjoy the Eagle Creek waterfalls and make it to Cascade Locks in time to pick up my new shoes at the Post Office.