Finding a new gear probably isn't even the appropriate phrase for my approach to the Washington border. I'm not traveling faster, I'm just walking longer.
Five AM wake up calls are the new routine as I (not always successfully) seek to establish a 14 to 15 hour hiking day. That means hiking from 6 AM or 7 AM to 9 PM (including breaks). And as a result, I've been covering 28 to 30 miles of trail in a single day.
By lunchtime on Saturday I'll reach Cascade Locks, a town bordering the state of Washington on the Columbia River, roughly 40 miles east of Portland.
And all this extra effort will bring me within 500 miles of the Canadian border, with three or four more weeks to go. The threat of serious snowfall, not societal commitments, encourages me to stretch the hiking day.
This past week in Bend, I purchased additional gloves, a new sleeping bag, and a kukuxumusu buff in preparation for potential snowfall.
While some locals caution the worst, I assure them, I'm from Cleveland, I'll probably be alright.
PCT Mile 2,076.3.