Miles hiked: 7.89 (2155 to 2162.89)
Brushes with poison oak: ~173
Staying with Shazaam kept me and Any Minute Now away from the hiker-filled beer garden/free camping area which evidently turned several shades of ugly on Saturday night. Much as I like a fight, the idea of compromising my hike with a drunken brawl doesn't appeal to me. One friend of ours was seriously injured in some affray; he will not be able to finish due to a shattered jaw. Very sad. I thank Shazaam heartily for the alternative lawn in her peaceful pear orchard, where we enjoyed the company of her wonderful American Staffordshire terrier for a day while waiting for the post office to open this morning.
By 10, we had sorted out our resupply and mailed some items back to various folks. If it weren't for general delivery, I can't imagine how through-hiking would be feasible. Shazaam drove us to the entrance of the narrow, steel-grated Bridge of the Gods and we walked up to the toll booth. "You guys cross free, but you need to walk opposite the traffic," said the mellow toll-taker, pointing to the left side of the span. Ya, there's no pedestrian sidewalk, no shoulder, and I knew this beforehand, having driven over the damned thing so many times to count fish and sea lions for the Army Corps of Engineers at Bonneville Dam. Avoiding PCT hikers from the comfort of a vehicle is a whole damned different experience from walking against traffic on a windy open bridge with a broad blue river waffled under your feet through the grate. Mildly terrifying, very cool. I recommend crossing on foot if you ever hike the PCT. Lots of people hitch because it's, well, mildly terrifying, but, like most scary things, it is exhilarating.
We crossed, took necessary pictures, then began to climb the state of Washington. Looking at the map, this state is a perpetual climb or steep descent; someone forgot to install the flat parts. My feet hurt thinking about the next 500 miles. Also, as a substitute for moderate terrain, some whimsical forest sprite planted poison oak all over the first 7 miles. Cute. Thanks. Intermingled with ferns and blackberries and stinging nettle and a thick mass of other green shit is the occasional patch of PO. I am prone to serious systemic reactions to the stuff, and so is Any Minute. Slowly, we picked through the plants while climbing ever up and also watching for ankle-turning rocks. Hiking shouldn't be this stressful. Finally, at less than 8 miles, exhausted from constant poison oak adrenaline, we decided to call it a nero and quit at the only flat campsite we'd seen all day. I doused myself in Tecnu and hoped for the best.