August 8, 2016, Mile 2116: Adventures in Water Crossing

At Salvation Spring, Mile 2116

Got up early, and threw my condensation-laden gear into my pack. Next stop: the Sandy River. It was just around the corner, and my first task was to take the lay of the land…er…river.

Where the trail met the river, there were rocks to cross. But everyone I had talked to said to use the ad hoc bridge made of branches. This was maybe 20 feet long, and made of half a dozen branches, ranging in diameter from 1-2 inches. The bridge wasn’t stable, but it was crossable. And it appeared to be preferable to a ford.

Those of you playing along at home will know that I hate unstable bridges. I have just enough vertigo to make my hikes interesting, and when crossing a river, interesting is the watchword of the day. If I could choose anything about my hiking self that I could change, this would be it. It’s frustrating, sometimes downright embarrassing, and is generally a pain in the neck. It’s probably also designed to keep me humble (sigh).

Anyway, I inched across the bridge, and let out a big sigh of relief on the other side. Meh.

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Just up from the river, the PCT has an alternate route, which is a loop near Ramona Falls. It’s a lovely waterfall, light and lacy. This is one of two alternates in northern Oregon, and I’m glad I took the time to see this one.

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Immediately after the Ramona Alternate rejoined the trail, I had to cross the Muddy Fork. This is a large stream, and the bridge came down years ago. In its place are two large logs, and while at the beginning you can use the upper log as a handrail, by halfway across you need to use a (slack) line instead. Fairly straightforward, but it helped to have another hiker take my poles and give me a hand up at the end. In turn, I waited until the next guy came along, and took his poles the same way.

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As it turned out, the guy I helped is from Ballard. He’s working in web design, and was really interested in the program I’m taking. He also thought it was awesome that my grandma had graduated from Ballard, maybe 85 years before he did!

So tonight’s goal was Salvation Spring 2116. When I arrived, there was one tent set up, with a brother/sister pair about my age, Notion and Sisyphus. Turns out we met briefly at Barlow Pass, as they went on up the hill.

There was a guy from Switzerland, and two women of maybe 60, who were SOBO through Oregon. And the last pair was Lock and Caps, whom I’d had breakfast with at Timberline.

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