It seemed unusually dark in the morning. I didn’t know if rain was coming, or if it was just dark because I was in the thick of the forest. I ate my chocolate granola for breakfast. At 6:30, one of the guys who had camped at Rock Creek walked by! There was still no change with my intestinal issues.
I packed up and started walking by 7:35. I came across a few more gigantic green slugs on the forested climb.
By 9:43, I had passed the other hiker. Shortly after, I stopped for a snack break. We then leap-frogged each other for awhile. He wanted to know if this was going to happen all day. He asked if I was keeping a blog, as he had been reading several other hiker’s journals from this year, including Story Time’s, who he was happy to run into.
As I walked, I told myself that I needed to get all of the people that had been causing me stress during this hike to get out of my head and find some peace for myself instead. This was my final state and I now had just under 500 miles to hike. It would all be over too soon.
I was aware of keeping my eye out for the wasp’s nest, and as I rounded a little bend in the trail, I suddenly saw the piece of paper on the ground, gasped, and turned around. It looked like the wasps were congregated on the right side of the trail. I took my rain pants and rain jacket out of my pack and put them on. Then, I prepared myself to keep to the far left of the trail and hurry through. I made it through with no stings! The air was quite humid, so I had to stop and take off the rain layers when I had a chance.
Rain started to fall before I reached Trout Creek.
I had planned on taking a break here at the half picnic table, but now I wasn’t sure what to do. I put my pack cover over my pack after taking out my food bag and set it against the table. Then, I put on my rain layers once again. I needed to find another place to go to the bathroom and ended up scraping my leg on a big fallen tree on my way. Although the rain remained, it was light enough for me to stay and have an ice coffee and snickers before I headed across the bridge. On the other side, I saw a sign warning about recent mountain lion activity near the area in which I camped last night! Great! There were no signs on the side of the trail from which I had just come! (I actually thought about a mountain lion in the area as I was hiking last night, although I really thought we were long past their territory!). Muk Muk was not going to be happy about this!
I continued on to Panther Creek, which was the last water source for the next 13 or so miles. It had been raining on and off, but once I stopped to go to the bathroom once again, it picked up again. I found a tree to sit under and snack, not wanting to go out into exposed territory to collect water. However, I had a limited amount of time for breaks! It was now after 2pm, and I had 11 more miles to get in and a big climb in front of me! I finally walked over to the creek to collect water, sat back under the tree to filer it, packed up, and headed out with my 3 liters of water.
The trail climbed just over 3,000 feet over the next 9 miles. It was a lot tougher than I expected. The rain stopped for awhile, but just as I stopped to take my second Snickers bar break, it started coming down again! I had no reception in this area, but I actually felt relieved about that, as I was able to stay more within myself and not worry about interacting with other people.
Just before I reached a dirt road, I ran into a man and woman and their dog. The man had a German accent and asked me if I was doing the whole trail. “When did you start?” he asked. After I told him, he exclaimed, “Holy crap!”, which amused me. He then asked me if I was going to finish the whole thing. Several people had asked me this question since around mid-Oregon. Did they really think I was going to call it good enough to just end the hike somewhere in Oregon or Washington? Of course, I was going to hike the whole thing!
I reached my campsite at 7:23 and proceeded to struggle greatly with the set-up of my tent once again. It took me so long to get the tension adjusted so that I could zip it up!
I cooked my dinner and discovered that my winter hat now smelled like mold. Wonderful… The earliest that I could wash it would be in Trout Lake. I felt exhausted again. I am so tired of hiking 26 mile days!! That is one thing that I will not miss after the trail- the high pressure to consistently hike big mile days every day!