And this is where the story ends. The last day, just four miles from becoming a Triple Crown.
As I understood it at the time, Jordan could come pick me up, but not until late afternoon. So I waited until it was fully light out to start getting ready, primarily because there were a couple of videos that I wanted to shoot. Jake was already gone down the trail by the time I came outside. It only took a couple of minutes to pack up after that (see video), and I was hiking by 8:30.
The trail followed the edge of a bluff above the Salmon River (not that Salmon River) with line of site to the cell towers serving Timberline Lodge, so I tried to check on my ride and arrangements for later. Nothing seemed settled, so I turned off the radio to keep conserving battery.
The only event of note while walking along the ridge to the highway was encountering a little brown lizard. I had one stop along the way for a snack, and arrived roadside about 10:30.
After shooting some pictures and video to document the fact that I had finished all three trails at this random spot in the middle of Oregon with dozens of big rigs roaring slowly by straining their way up the pass, I found a sunny roadside spot with shade I could step into to thumb down a lift to Government Camp. Out of meals and expecting to be waiting for my ride to Portland most of the day, I figured the small town 6 miles away would be a good place to wait. I didn’t want to subject a stranger to the scent of me for longer than that.
After about an hour without any bites, I decided to start walking. The last time I hitched from that spot it took three hours, and I knew I could walk into Government Camp in that amount of time. But I did continue turning around to try to flag down any vehicle smaller than a camper when I heard one coming.
I was probably only a half mile down the hill when a big pickup truck pulled over. Don was willing to give me a lift to Government Camp, but before we even got that far, he mentioned he was headed right past the Portland Airport. And my hotel for the next two nights was right there near the airport. In short, he agreed to take me the whole way into Portland.
Along the way, he talked about everything–world news, politics, his favorite quote, the last Blockbuster in Bend, a life spent hitchhiking. He even recited a poem. Don was an old bearded hippie that never stopped working. And it was only a couple of days past his birthday!
As for the reek of concentrated sweat I carried, he didn’t even notice. He could only smell the patchouli oil on his mustache. Convenient.
It only took an hour to get to my hotel in Portland, so it was just after noon. They didn’t have a room ready, so they upgraded me to a deluxe suite. And as soon as I was inside, I jumped straight in the shower. I put on a set of fresh clothes, put my dirties into the guest washer, and walked out to a nearby diner for lunch.
Eventually, I had returned, my clothes were clean, and I walked back out in them to visit the Target, where I was met by Meg and Jordan for a night on the town. I was up pretty late. And then I had a whole other day in Portland after that. But the point is that they were the first people I knew that had met me as a Triple Crown.
Which means the fundamental story of this blog is concluded. I’m interested in how many words I’ve written and pictures I’ve taken for this blog. Perhaps I’ll update one more time for that. I’m definitely planning one more post with a special video I’m working on.
But for now there’s this: I’ve completely worn out the tent I bought to start all this in 2020. I’ve been through countless boots, water filters. I’ve upgraded my camp since stove and punctured my water bag. I’ve been through at least 3 sleeping bags and at least five knives. Whatever hiking adventure I move on to next is going to be done with a lot of different stuff in an entirely different way. Perhaps I’ll learn to ultralight. I’m sure I’ll get up to something else eventually. Thanks for following along this far!
Trail miles: 3.8