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The Breathtaking Tunnel Falls, Oregon on the PCT

Reunited with the pack, it was time to pick up the pace. With a pep in her step, Texas Time returned to 20+ mile days. The mosquitoes still swarmed, but they weren't quite as ferocious with more warm-blood bodies for the pests to feed on.

The PCT comes semi-close to Bend, OR. On July 12, the group hitchhiked into Bend and rented an Airbnb. My husband has a friend who lives there, so he drove for five hours and fifteen minutes to visit Texas Time and his friend. I would have accompanied him if not for our socially challenged Bichon Frise who cannot be boarded, so I missed seeing Courtney and meeting her people. Jay took her to REI and Fred Meyer to resupply and took possession of her ice axe, since she no longer needs it.

While spending a zero day in Bend, Texas Time and her pack enjoyed tubing down the Deschutes River. They had a great time. After she texted tubing pictures, I commented that at 5’ 3” our daughter brings down the group’s height quotient. Jay pointed out that she also brings down their tan quotient. Most of the group hikes in shorts. Texas Time wisely wears long pants (or short pants in her case) as protection from ticks, mosquitoes and other insects as well as the damaging effect of the sun. Afterall, we are direct descendants of Snow White—the fairest in the land. We have no legal documentation, but just looking at us should provide all the proof needed. We do not tan. We simply turn red and then the red fades to white.

Hiking through Tunnel Falls and Crater Lake—mentioned in the Don’t Quit on a Bad Day blog—represented the highlights of Texas Time’s Oregon PCT experience. With lots of ferns and greenery, Tunnel Falls resembles a gorgeous tropical jungle. Because of the sheer cliff on one side of the trail, a cable line is bolted into the rock to steady hikers. The trail continues behind a waterfall and through a tunnel. Wow! I would love to check out Tunnel Falls some time, but when I looked it up online, it is an almost 7-mile hike from the parking area to the Falls and then another 7-mile hike back. Whew! The farthest I have hiked is 8 miles. Based on that, I could make it to the falls, just not sure that I’d make it back to the car in one day. And it would be embarrassing to require a careflight ride out!

On July 21, the group crossed over the northern Oregon border into Washington state! They have approximately 520 miles to go until they arrive at the Canadian border. With resupply locations scarce and far between on the PCT in Washington, the group mailed boxes of food to strategic destinations along the trail. Planning is crucial. Trail Angels, select businesses in trail towns, and post offices accept and hold packages for PCT hikers. It takes a multitude of angels to watch over thru-hikers.

The inclines and altitude increase as they near the Washington/Canada border which will probably decrease their daily-miles hiked. With that in mind, they plan to arrive at the border by the third or fourth week of August. Good luck!


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