Day 132: Mt. Adams in the clouds

Day 132
August 28
mile 2242.8-2268.8
26 miles

It did end up raining, beginning around 3:45am. It got increasingly heavy throughout the night. I sat up a few times to see if water was coming into my tent, but it looked like everything was okay. I got up at 6:22 when it had appeared that the rain had stopped. However, it started right back up again! I ate my half portion of granola and my one poptart with my coffee and then got ready for the day.
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During a break in the rain, I got out of my tent to go to the bathroom. Inger had woken up by then and I told her that the spaceship was still here! I broke down my tent, packed everything up, and said goodbye to Inger. I told her that I hoped to see her again, but we both knew it was unlikely. I thought it was strange that I hadn’t seen Puma.
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I continued the climb, getting glimpses of the big mountains in the distance through the burned trees. After a couple of miles, I saw the pond that Inger had mentioned (which was actually off the trail) and then crossed Riley Creek, where I collected more water.
After a mile or so, I passed by a section hiker and then forded a couple of rivers before meeting his partner, who was waiting for him at a trail junction. I was now at the base of Mt. Adams and the water I was fording was run-off from the snow on that mountain. I could not see the top of the mountain, however, as it was heavily obscured in clouds.
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Around noon, I ran into two southbounders. The girl asked me if I was Wendy, which really surprised me. She said they had heard about me. I wondered what they had heard and from whom! She said that they had met StoryTime and he told them that I was close behind. They had started their hike northbound, but when they got to Sierra City, skipped up to the northern border and were now hiking south as they knew they weren’t going to beat the winter weather. I asked them if they had gotten caught in the huge storm that produced the washouts and they shook their head no. I also asked them if there was any snow in Washington. Dixie said there was only one section and that it wasn’t bad.
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A couple of hours later, I reached Lava Spring where I found a hiker drying out all of his gear and eating lunch. He looked slightly familiar, but I could not place him. I apologized and asked him to remind me of his name. It was U-Haul, who hiked with Cowboy and Birdman down Kearsarge and who stayed at the campground with his girlfriend that night. He then remembered me and mentioned something about Mt. Whitney. “You were on top of Whitney with me?” I asked him. He was also flip-flopping and was surprised that the northbounders were so spread out now. He expected to see everyone he knew within a couple of days! He told me that he had run into Cowboy in Snoqualmie and Birdman a few days later. They separated after Birdman got giardia and needed to take a couple of days off. Because Birdman’s wife was going to come out and hike with him for a bit, Cowboy decided to keep going. U-Haul also told me about being right in the middle of the storm that caused the washouts. Lightning was striking all around him and everything he had on him was wet. He wondered what he was doing out there.
He asked if I had seen Babyface and Dixie and wondered if he would catch them today. I asked him if he had seen Whistler or Hooligan, but he hadn’t. He told me that I was the 40th thru-hiker that he had seen from the border, which I nearly couldn’t believe! Later, we talked about the upcoming sections. He told me that he hated the section between White Pass and Snoqualmie and that there was nothing to see there. I wondered when I was going to get to the good views that I thought Washington had!
My short break turned out to be a lot longer than I had intended due to all the talking. I finally got up and thanked U-turn for the conversation and then continued on my way. I still hoped to get in 11 more miles today!
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When I reached Midway Creek, I stopped to fill up on water, as it was supposedly the last source for a long stretch. I would have to hike the remaining 7 miles with a heavy pack! The trail climbed a little over 1,000 feet and at last, I entered the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which I was excited about. I remember Roadrunner telling Salty that this was her favorite section of the trail back in Lake Isabella. I tried to take a photo of myself by the sign, but no matter how hard I tried to smile and look excited, all I could see was the exhaustion in my face.
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Today, I also felt like I was feeling hungrier than I had been, as well.
I reached my campsite at 7:26 and began to set up my troublesome tent. I was so tired!!


Day 131: Trout Lake ( “So, what made you decide to walk 2,200 miles?”)

Day 131
August 27
mile 2227.9-2242.8
14.9 miles

I got up at 6:24. It was still raining lightly, but fortunately, everything remained dry in my tent!
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At 7:44, I started walking. I had less than ten miles to get to the road from which I would get into the town of Trout Lake, which was my next resupply point. After stepping over Steamboat Creek, I came across a big bullfrog scrambling up the bank along the trail to get out of harm’s way. He was the biggest frog I had seen on my journey so far!
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I watched him for a couple of minutes and then moved on, heading down to the road. Once I crossed it, I had to pee really badly. I almost couldn’t wait until I got back into the woods, but somehow managed to. As I was peeing, I saw StoryTime heading across the road! Why now?! There was nothing I could do. Actually, I didn’t really care. I was doing what I needed to do. When he saw me, he turned back and waited for me to tell him that I was done. He went on ahead, but in a few minutes, I found him sprawled across the trail. He said that he hadn’t been able to charge his solar panel in the last few days and was going to take full advantage of the spot of sunlight coming through the trees. (Why he couldn’t sit along the trail, instead of right in the middle, I don’t know…). I was very pleasant with him, taking a couple of minutes to chat, and felt very proud of myself afterwards. I had one more climb of just over 1,000 feet ahead of me before the next road from where I would hitch. It was all in the forest. Luckily, the rain had stopped. When I reached the ridge, I decided to take out my iphone and listen to some music to help me with the last few miles. While doing so, I managed to trip. My iphone flung out of my hand, and my body hurled forward. Very slowly, I sat up. Was my body okay? Where was my phone? I wasn’t sure what had gotten hurt and how bad it was if so. Somehow, everything seemed to be okay… It was my second face plant on this hike. I guess one every 1,000 miles isn’t so bad… Hopefully, a third one wasn’t coming!

Right before the road, I found a garbage can with some stray items in it as well as a register left by The Mount Adams Zen Buddhist Temple. There was also an ornamental house with a statue inside, meant to be the “patron of travelers and all beings in hell”. I was very amused at this. I thought Buddhists didn’t believe in hell in the first place, and why were travelers grouped together with beings in hell?
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I headed toward the road and was surprised to see another hiker waiting for a ride! At first, I didn’t recognize him, but then I saw that it was Puma! Yay! I asked him where Tumbleweed was and he said that he was probably 8-10 miles ahead by now. They had separated last night because Tumbleweed was not resupplying in Trout Lake. I asked Puma if he planned to stay the night there and he said he would decide when he got there. I planned on doing the same thing. I could only afford to take one half day at my first four Washington stops and 3/4 of a day at the final one. Puma had been having a hard time hitching here. I mentioned that my guidebook had said that if we walked a mile down the road, we would get reception and could call for a possible ride. Puma wanted to spend another half hour here first. The first car that passed took no notice of us. It was a very low traffic road in the first place. Fortunately, the second one stopped! The woman in the passenger seat asked us where we needed to go. She looked at her husband, who agreed they could take us the 13 miles to town. Puma and I were going to get into the back of the truck, but the woman was worried they would get in trouble. They were pulling a trailer, but she said it was too bumpy to ride in. Finally, she decided to take one of her daughters with her to sit in the trailer and gave Puma and I spots in the truck. We felt bad and told her we would sit in the trailer several times, but she was insistent. We talked about our journey with the father and learned they were returning from their vacation in the mountains. He thought Puma and I were hiking together. I hadn’t seen Puma in awhile, so we caught up on stories such as what had happened to us with the wasp nest. Tumbleweed ended up getting 8 or 9 stings and Puma got three. We pulled into the gas station in front of the restaurant and headed for the store to find our resupply boxes. They were scattered about in no order and it took me awhile to find mine. I was expecting one from John, but could not find it. Then, I headed out to try to get a room at the B and B. I ended up getting permission to walk through someone’s yard, as I got mixed up on how to get there. It turned out that they were all full. Maybe I would just head back to the trail after all. I walked along the road and found the family who had given us a ride still there. The engine light had turned on in the truck and the father was trying to figure out what the problem was. The wife asked me, “So, what made you decide to walk 2,200 miles?”. (I had told her that was how long we had walked so far back at the trailhead.) I smiled and tried to answer her question as best as I could. “What do you learn about yourself on such a long walk?” she then asked. I told her that you learn how incredibly strong you are, for one thing. After hearing about my illness, she offered to drive me to my next stopping point at White Pass, but I told her I wanted to walk the whole thing. She realized that her offer didn’t fit with my statement about my own strength.
I headed to the picnic tables outside of the store and put my pack and boxes down. I didn’t even notice that Puma was also sitting there until several minutes later. When I was about to head into the restaurant to get something to eat, I was startled to see Warner Springs Monty headed towards me. He said that someone had told him that someone named Wendy was sick. He checked my blog and discovered that it was me. He offered to take me to a hospital if I needed it. I went inside and ordered a hamburger and lemonade, which I had planned on eating outside with Puma, but now felt like sequestering myself away… At least I could charge my electronics while I was in here. I was also able to text a bit with Connie, which was nice. Monty came in and asked if I would be ready to head back to the trail soon. I said that I still needed to sort through my resupply and organize everything. Peter Pan had offered to take Puma and I back. Everyone was fine with waiting, so I got a piece of chocolate cake and a coffee for dessert and bought a huckleberry scone to take with me on the trail. As I sorted through my things outside, a nice older couple began chatting with me. The man had been suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s, but was having a good day today. They love visiting Trout Lake and don’t mind making the long drive. Before they left, I got a hug, my picture taken, and a promise to look for my book in their local library (they don’t have the internet!). I told them it was going to take awhile…
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Once I packed up, we got into Peter Pan’s car and headed out, only to turn around when Monty wanted to see if any other hikers were at the store. Finally, we were on our way back to the trail. We stood outside the car for awhile. Monty always has a lot to say… I was antsy to get going, but didn’t want to be rude. At 4:20, I finally peeled myself away and headed back into the woods. A climb of over 2,000 feet was awaiting me.
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After my brief stop in town, I was feeling good and strong. I had loaded up on water like I always do in town, so I didn’t need to take the time to stop and filter water from the creeks. When I reached a sign pointing to a spring at mile 2240.7, I stopped to check it out, just for curiosity. I saw a bucket tied to a tree which was meant to be lowered into a ravine to collect water. However, there didn’t look to be much water! I headed on and soon saw a woman ahead of me, moving very slowly. I said hello to let her know I was there and she let me by. When I heard her accent, I asked where she was from. “Washington,” she said. She wanted to know how far I was planning on hiking tonight and I told her just a couple more miles. We were now in a burn area and she commented that she hadn’t seen any camping spots in a long while. “Oh, I’ve seen lots of them!” I said.
“In the burn area? I wouldn’t camp here,” she replied.
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She mentioned the lack of water at the last spring and that she had planned on collecting water from there. Her guidebook had made it seem as if it was a sure source. Mine did, as well! I told her that I was carrying a lot and offered her some of mine, but she declined. She said she would just have to hike to Sheep Lake. I knew that that would take her into the night…
I discovered that the campsite I was aiming to reach was a huge, open grassy area! I arrived at 6:35, which seemed like a luxury to me. First I needed to take care of my female issue. I headed back into the woods after dropping off my pack. When I returned, I saw the woman in the field. I guess she had decided to stop here, too! I set up my tent, struggling once again. This time, I didn’t think it needed to be extremely taut because I didn’t think it was going to rain. Inger came over and I offered her some of my water again. This time, she accepted. She said it would be useful to boil water for her dinner. Since her dinners were meant for two people, and she was never able to finish them, she offered to share one with me in exchange for the water. We decided on sweet and sour chicken.
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While outside my tent, I noticed some miniature frogs hopping around and was instantly amused. They were the tiniest frogs I had ever seen! I had to take some pictures. I looked up at the sky and noticed the clouds coming in. They weren’t looking so good… I joined Inger in front of her tent and realized that she was the hiker that had waved to me the night before. She had come out here to hike the Washington part of the PCT. She had planned on hiking with a friend, but she had backed out at the last minute. It was probably for the best, as the friend had never backpacked before and got stressed extremely easily. Inger said she wouldn’t have been able to deal with the fact that there was no water at the last source. She talked about a section of the trail in northern Washington that had been washed out due to some heavy storms earlier in the month and it took me awhile to realize that this had happened this year! It was the first I had heard of this situation. She said she had watched a video of a hiker’s sleeping bag roll down the mountain in that section and terrifying accounts of people trying to get through it. There had been a call put out for trail crews to come out and work on it, but she didn’t know the current state of it. A highway near the area had also been shut down! I learned that Inger was originally from Norway and that she owned an independent travel agency.
While we ate, Inger commented on my tent looking like a spaceship and joked that it might fly away during the night. I looked over at it and started laughing. It did look like a spaceship!
The sweet and sour chicken tasted amazing! I was so grateful for a different and pleasant taste, as well as some companionship and laughter!
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Day 130: More rain, more forest, more exhaustion!

Day 130
August 26
27.1 miles

I was so exhausted that I didn’t even want to sit up and check whether rain was coming into my tent last night at 10:13! I could barely open my eyes!
In the morning, I ate half a ziplock of granola with milk and then had one poptart with my coffee. It was a good combination of nutrition and sweetness! I wonder why it had taken me so long to figure that one out!
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I started hiking at 7:50. The air was cold and I wore my rain layers as I walked. The trail once again remained in the woods. The lady I had met at the Bridge of the Gods was right! Washington was very forested! I was not expecting this!
Immediately after I took a pee break, I reached a camping area with an outhouse! It was around 9:30 am, and a man was just breaking down his tent.
Once across the road, the trail climbed about 1500 feet. After a couple of miles, I passed by Sheep Lake, which my guidebook described as “gross, disgusting water”. It also seemed to be called “Duck Pond”.
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I continued to climb and found a sign that announced a shortcut, which seemed appealing. Not knowing where it actually went, I kept on the PCT.
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Just as I decided to take a break, the rain started coming down again! I hesitated and thought about continuing on, but then decided I needed a snack. I found a tree to sit under and since I was so cold, I boiled some water for my second cup of coffee. I found that I had reception and received a rare comment on my blog which gave my spirit a boost. It’s amazing what a few words can do! As I sat there, I heard some very loud voices approaching. A father and his three children eventually appeared and he apologized to me for the noise. He said he was giving them a botany lesson. They had been discussing the different colors of the berries along the trail and what the colors meant.
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Although the rain was very unpleasant to hike in and the temperature was cold, the miles were fairly easy. I listened to my yoga playlist music, which helped me get my mind away from things that have been bothering me. I also ate a second Snickers bar again. So much of my food was inedible to me now- either because it was stale, or because I could no longer stand it. My diet was starting to consist mostly of chocolate and coffee.
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I planned on stopping at the tent site right after Mosquito Creek, but when I arrived, I saw Story Time and a woman who I couldn’t see very well already set up. The woman waved to me and I waved back and then kept walking. I hadn’t collected water at the creek, as I had planned on walking back to it after I had set up. Now, I wasn’t sure what I would find ahead. According to my guidebook, the next source was nearly three miles away. The rain started once again and my spirits sank. Fortunately, I came across a nicely running creek and was at least able to collect water for the night and morning. Now, I just had to find a place to sleep! Thick plant growth lined both sides of the trail. I bushwacked down the trail a bit to check out a potential area, but it turned out not to be suitable. Later, I again went off the trail when the terrain flattened out. This time, I thought I could set up my tent in a small area in between some young spruce. It was now about 7:20. Again, I struggled immensely with my tent set-up. Knowing that it was going to be another wet night, I had to get it taut enough so the rain wouldn’t drip inside, but still be able to close my tent zipper. I cooked my dinner, washed up, and crawled into my sleeping bag. After another long and trying day, I finally closed my eyes.

Day 129: Rain, trees, climbs, and slugs!

Day 129
August 25
mile 2175-2200.8
25.8 miles

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.
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I packed up and started walking by 7:35. I came across a few more gigantic green slugs on the forested climb.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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!

Day 128: Into the State of Washington

Day 128
August 24
mile 2155.1-2175.1
20 miles

I decided it was worth it to get another breakfast in the lobby before I headed out. The room was crowded and noisy, with children running around and the TV blaring. One of the stories was about a huge fire raging in Yosemite. Today, there was no opportunity to make waffles for some reason. While I was eating, I texted my resupply people and learned that they had shipped my canister fuel to the wrong location. I had been having such a hard time getting information on how much I had left of certain items- my socks, especially, and also my canisters of fuel. And even though I had sent out periodic e-mails, asking for certain things to be sent to certain locations, a lot of the directions weren’t being followed. So much of my energy had been spent on worrying about what I would have to get me through each remaining stretch. Now, I was going to have to carry double the weight in fuel and not know if I had enough to get to the end of the trail.
I headed back to my room for the final packing. Unfortunately, my hat was still very damp. There wasn’t anything I could do about it now. Ever since I had arrived in Cascade Locks, I had been a bit worried about there being someone around to take my picture as I crossed over the bridge into Washington. Now it was time to head out and see.
As I crossed the street, two backpackers appeared right in front of me! Wow! I didn’t have to worry anymore! The road curved as we headed towards the stairs and someone driving by asked if we were hiking the PCT. The two boys did not answer, but I said yes. He said they were doing trail magic. Feeling the need to get off the road, he said he would be up by the restrooms. I didn’t know what to do now that I felt they were expecting me. I didn’t need any food, as I had just eaten. I just wanted to climb the steps and get to the bridge! I cut up the grassy hill and found the couple standing outside of the pick up truck. They understood that I had just eaten, but wanted to offer me something anyway. I said that the only thing I really needed now was someone to take my picture on the bridge. The husband volunteered to walk with me while his wife drove the truck across.
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As we walked past the toll collector, she told the man that he would have to pay, but that I was all set. Only thru-hikers get to walk across for free. When he explained that he was only going to take my picture and then drive across with his wife, she allowed him access.
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I had wanted to do a special pose in this significant place, but when the moment came, I did not feel comfortable, and felt rushed to stay out of the way of traffic. The wind coming up through the grate was also blowing my skirt up! I let my hope about that picture go.
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The man said goodbye and I started my walk across the bridge. I felt so happy! The Columbia river was gorgeous and everything felt fine and hopeful in those few minutes.
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As I reached the other side of the bridge, I saw the Welcome to Washington sign! No one was around who was willing to take my picture there, however.
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I did see the couple further down the road and when I got there, I chatted with the wife for a few minutes. She told me how impressed she was by me and that I was the first girl thru-hiker that she had seen! “Really?”. She said that going it alone is an achievement in itself, but that I am also at the front of the pack! She said they have only seen guys so far!
She told me her husband was putting out some treats a little way into the trail and then they would drive about twenty miles to set up a barbecue for the thru-hikers. We talked about how tired I was and how I thought the open views in Washington would give me energy, just like I had felt walking across the bridge. She then told me that, actually, Washington was very forested. “Oh…”. Her husband came back and took a picture of his wife and I, and then I headed out to the trail.
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I found the box of apples and power bars that he had just put out and decided to take an apple.
Soon after, I reached a trail sign with a ziplock baggie of individually wrapped ghiradelli brownies for PCT hikers, welcoming us to Washington! Wow! This was a nice state!
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I headed into the woods and soon passed by the two male hikers who were just starting their trip. The couple who were doing trail magic advised me not to carry so much water. They told me I would come across a large pond a few miles in where I could fill up, but it turned out to be a fair distance from the trail.
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When I reached a nice campspot in the woods near a creek, I decided to stop and enjoy my brownie!
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The boys passed by while I was getting ready to take off again. I followed them across a bridge and they later stepped aside as we climbed.
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Blackberry bushes lined the trail and I stopped occasionally to eat a few. I headed away from Cascade Locks and the activity on the river and continued to climb into the mountains. At one point, I looked down to see a somewhat startling sight. A huge, green slug that looked like it could only be from a world of imagination inched across the trail! I had never seen or heard of anything like it!
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Later, I encountered a group of people headed south. I almost thought the leader was a southbound hiker before realizing that his pack was way too big for that to be possible. He warned me about a wasp’s nest on the trail around mile 2182 or 83. He said that someone had placed a note on the ground near it but advised me not to stop and read it, or I would get stung! He said that if I had pants, I should put them on, as they went right for the ankles, and to just run through that part as fast as I could!
I continued the climb and looked out over the pretty Columbia river for what was likely the last time. I couldn’t believe that I was now in Washington!
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Further on, I passed by a bulletin board and saw a note left by Band Leader, wondering when he was going to run into Puma again. I knew by the date that I was not going to be able to catch up to him.
A little later, at a place where the trail diverged and I wanted to be sure I was following the correct path, Muppets and Stilts appeared. They told me that Wildcat and Baxter had chosen to take the road walk, which cut off twenty something miles of trail!
As I walked, it was hard to get some bad feelings out of my head. While I was in Cascade Locks, I discovered that after my doctor friend had sent me that message, that she had also unfriended me! She really was burning the bridge and offering me no chance to respond. I also discovered that my friend from the AT who had visited me early on in the hike had unfriended me. I couldn’t believe it. He did something and then wanted to get rid of me? Underneath it all, I know it is about them being unable to deal with their own actions. I also had the unkind words of my resupply people in my head. I wish people could know the power of the words they choose and take a moment to phrase whatever they have to say in a kind manner, at the very least.
I ate my banana that I had taken from breakfast near the top of the climb. My goal for the evening was to make it to Rock Creek. I trudged onward, growing more and more tired the longer I hiked.
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The sunlight began to disappear. I finally reached the creek only to find two tents set up. I walked by, wondering if there were other open spaces, but saw nothing. I knew there was a second creek less than half a mile away and hoped there would be a camping spot there. Unfortunately, there was not. The growth along the trail in Washington was even thicker than that of Oregon! I learned that finding a spot to camp was going to take more planning than it had before. I stopped to rest my shoulders and regroup. The light was diminishing and I felt very unsure about finding a place to sleep.
I headed on and stepped over a tiny stream. I hadn’t even stopped to collect water as I felt like finding a spot to camp was a much more pressing problem at this time. By some great fortune, I looked down to see a flat spot in a grove of trees. I was going to be okay! And even better, was that there was water nearby! I grabbed my collecting bags and walked back to fill up on water, then set up my cowboy camp in the dark. It felt slightly eerie, but I had done this many times before and told myself not to worry. As I cooked my dinner, I noticed beetles crawling around the edges of my groundcloth. I wished I had been able to lie down before I saw them! I took out my still wet hat and decided that it would probably dry faster if I wore it. At least, that is what I hoped!

Day 127: Zero in Cascade Locks!

Day 127
August 23

I didn’t feel the need to get up super early for the continental breakfast in the hotel. When I made my way down to the basement room, I was surprised to find Ole! He told me that he and Trackmeat and Veggie had tried hiking out two days ago, but ended up at some bars and found themselves in no state to hike. So, they headed back across the bridge and took TrackMeat’s father’s offer to pay for a room here. He said they had spent the entire day watching movies and only left their room once to get ice cream! They were going to stay until check-out time today and get in a couple more movies. I told him that I wouldn’t be ready to leave until late in the afternoon, but wished I could zero. I was still so exhausted. I ate some cereal, yogurt, muffins, waffle, juice, and coffee and then headed back to my room. I thought about the words I had said out loud (I really want to take a zero) and realized that I needed to listen to myself. I had not had a day off from hiking since the 4th of July, which I could not believe!
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I headed to the post office to pick up my resupply boxes, brought them back to my room, and then went to use the pool for a few minutes. I needed to let the front desk know if I was going to stay another night, so I didn’t have much time to linger here.
In the lobby, I found TrackMeat using the computer. We chatted for a few minutes and then I said this would probably be the last time I would see him. He didn’t think so and reminded me that they take a lot of time off. He also said that he never applied for his Canadian entrance permit and would be hiking back to Hart’s Pass from the border and would see me then.
I paid for another night and went back to my room to open my boxes. Ham had placed some of my pasta dinners inside my rolled up sleeping pad and the bags had broken. Now there was a mess of dried cheese and macaroni to clean up! After a quick nap, I headed back to the pub for lunch, stopping in the grocery store to see what they had first. There was not much there! I could now see why it was recommended to resupply across the river!
After lunch, I returned to my room, finally having a chance to give my backpack a bath! I also hand washed a lot of my clothes, including my knit hat and then hung everything up and hoped it would dry!
I took some time to write some postcards in the nice room with tables and windows overlooking the river. Wall-E and his friend were having a beer outside and his friend asked if I wanted my picture taken.
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I went out to take a few pictures of the bridge, and then returned to the pub for dinner, eating alone for the third time there.
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Back in my room, I texted a bit with Muk Muk. She had reunited with UB after his many adventures (getting airlifted out of Washington several days into his southbound attempt, starting back at Echo Lake after skipping a good chunk of the trail, carrying a fawn for seven miles to have it die soon after, and hiking huge miles to catch up with Muk Muk). When they reunited at Shelter Cove, he announced that he was in love, and Muk Muk said they planned on hiking together to the border.
While I was here, I also learned how Slack got his name after finding him on Facebook. I saw a picture of him slacklining across a huge abyss between two mountains and my jaw dropped. He was the one that UB had seen at Forrester Pass? I was stunned…
I felt like I had to get an early start tomorrow in order to start to make up for the miles I had hoped to do today. I now had only 25 days to hike the entire state of Washington, which is longer than the entire Colorado Trail! I was now committed to hiking through any weather system that came my way!

Day 126: Eagle Creek to Cascade Locks

Day 126
August 22
mile 2126.5-2155
approx. 26 miles

Just as I started looking for a place to go the bathroom, 4 happy section hikers headed along the path above me. Great… Luckily my body was able to hold out. One of them commented to another on the magnificent sight of the rising sun. I tried to look through the trees, but couldn’t see anything.
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I packed up, climbed back onto the trail and headed on my way. The woods opened up for a brief section that allowed for a nice view. I was reminded of a similar part of the trail in the desert with piles of rocks on one side and an open view on the other.
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Low clouds hung in the air like fog, making the orange leaves on a small tree stand out. It looked like fall.
I continued on and at one point noticed a little animal by a rock on the side of the trail. It scurried underneath the rock when it saw me, but couldn’t keep from poking its head out. I talked to it and after a few moments, it decided to come all the way out. It was adorable! When it became nervous, it would run back under the rock, but again, stick its head out and then gather all of it courage to fully reveal himself. Our little interaction made me feel so happy!
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Soon enough, I found the pipe with water trickling out and collected water. I still had over five miles to get to the Eagle Creek Trail.
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As I climbed to the top of the next ridge, dark clouds covered the sky. Drops of rain began to fall a few minutes later. I decided to just kept going, rather than stop and put on my rain gear. Within minutes, thunder boomed over my head and bright lightening bolts shot down right in front of my face! The storm was directly over me! It was time to run! I moved as fast as I possible could with a thirty something pound pack on my back, allowing the adrenaline to overpower any fear. At last, I found myself back in the safety of the trees. I felt grateful. I took off my pack and dug out my rain clothes. Then, I headed on towards the Indian Springs campground. Only because I had read the directions multiple times beforehand was I able to find the trail. The entrance was obscured with low hanging branches. There was a nice spring on the side of the trail, but I was too cold and wet to stop and collect water. I had to keep moving.
When I got tired, I climbed up a bank and sat on a dusting of pine needles under a tree to partially shelter me from the rain. This was going to be a trying day. After a snack, I continued down the steep trail and finally reached the Eagle Creek trail. I felt extremely tired and down because of the rain. A previous thru-hiker had told me that this trail was the “best of the best”, but I didn’t find it so amazing. Maybe it was due to my mood, my sickness, the weather, and just plain exhaustion. I encountered two young guys heading the opposite way. One asked me if I had come all the way. I scrunched up my face and asked him what he meant. He asked if I had hiked all the way to the pond. “The pond?! I hiked from Mexico!”. He then scrunched up his face, unable to comprehend what I had just said. His friend nonchalantly said, “Yeah. She’s hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.” The other one had never heard of it.
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I found a nice place to sit along a pool of water for my ice coffee and snack, which I hoped would boost my mood. Several other day hikers were around. As the trail got closer to the famous falls, it also got increasingly more crowded. A lot of people passed by without a greeting.
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I waited for a group to head underneath the tunnel and after it was clear, went through it myself. I didn’t find it so earth-shattering. It was just a waterfall. I think expectations often bring disappointment. I remember walking behind a tiny misty waterfall on a trail in Switzerland and being much more excited about that!
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I still had about 10 more miles to hike… All I could do was plod along. I ended up leapfrogging with a small group of guys on a day hike.
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After nearly five miles, I reached the upper Punchbowl falls. Maybe I wasn’t seeing them from the best viewpoint, but I wasn’t impressed by what I saw here, either. I continued on until I reached an intersecting path to the lower punchbowl falls. I wondered what I should do… I finally decided to take the path for at least a little ways. When some people came up, I asked how far away they were and if it was worth it. I was told that it was worth it and that it wasn’t too far. I continued down the steep path, knowing I was going to have to climb back up. Four teenagers were jumping into the water, ignoring all of the posted signs not to do so. I walked on and came to a shallow pool of water with a view of the falls.
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Then, I started my way back to the trail. I walked on and on, feeling more drained with every step. At last, I made it out of the woods and on to a paved road. I still had to make my way to the trailhead. The guy that encouraged me to take the lower punchbowl path asked me if it was worth it as he lounged on a swing. “I guess so.” Two thru-hikers who I didn’t recognize were being picked up by their parents. I wasn’t offered a ride. Instead, I continued walking down the road, looking for the next side trail that would lead me into Cascade Locks. I eventually found it and followed it through the woods and back onto a road. It was once a scenic driving road that had now turned into a historical landmark with informative signs along the way.
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I texted Connie and found out that she was in town. I was looking forward to having dinner with her and possibly sharing a room. At some point, I asked her where she was and told her I was only a mile away. Then, she informed me that she had already taken the bus to Portland! I felt so crushed. Her flight was scheduled for several days later and I thought she was going to at least spend one night in Cascade Locks. I was only a couple of hours away from seeing her. In my exhausted state, tears started to flow out of my eyes. She was one of the few people that I had really enjoyed being around, and now I wouldn’t get a chance to see her again.
I made it to a stone bridge beside a tunnel underneath the highway and took off my pack, drank some water, and dumped some of the excess out.
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Then, I continued along.
Finally, I started seeing the road signs announcing that I had made it to Cascade Locks. I saw the Bridge of the Gods and I couldn’t hold back the tears.
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I had just walked the entire length of California and Oregon, and was now at the border of Washington state. The magnitude hit me hard. I also felt so, so exhausted.
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I moved on, past the fish and vegetable market, and the CharBurger, and towards the entrance of the Best Western. The lady at the desk was very nice. I asked her what time check-out was and she said noon, which brought me great relief. I was going to need all of that time. She recommended the pub down the street for dinner. I dropped my pack, took a shower, and headed down for some pizza and a glass of wine.
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Later, I heard a loud voice boasting about having recently become a “trail legend”. It was Story Time. He had found an audience of locals and was taking full advantage. I headed back to my room in the dark, once again encountering the hitch-hiking “thru-hikers” whose parents had paid for their room, and got myself ready for bed.


I hiked into Cascade Locks and under the Bridge of Gods, which connects Oregon to Washington, last night and all I could do was cry. I am exhausted. I’ve hiked all of California and Oregon (mostly sick) and the toll is setting in. My body is hurting. I can barely walk without my pack. And my left leg bones are crunching together at my knee. And I haven’t had a day off from hiking since South Lake Tahoe (mile 1,094) on the 4th of July! (Part of the tears are about me being at this point on the trail- after all I have gone through! I almost can’t believe it…)
I was going to hike out this afternoon, but decided that I needed a break. It’s not possible to enjoy anything in an exhausted state. And I am so tired of having to hike over 25 miles every single day…

Lately, I have been thinking of a few things I am looking forward to when this hike is over:
-slowly repairing the damage I have done to my body
-taking a few yoga classes with some of my favorite yoga teachers
-having some time to write about and process this hike

-catching up on my friends’ PCT blogs and videos
– getting to listen to some new music (!)
– getting hugs from friends and sharing my photos and stories

I got ahold of some antibiotics for C. diff (the bacterial infection caused by the antibiotics for giardia that I have learned has been causing my intense stomach pain [especially after eating town food!!!] and diarrhea up to 5-6 times a day for the last 3+ months!!)
I am still not better, but at times, have some hope.
These medical issues have made this hike at least 10x harder than it already is… Hardly anyone out here can believe I am still going!
All I can say is that willpower is strong…
This is absolutely where I want to be.

I have made new friends out here, and interestingly, I have lost some good acquaintances from ‘home’ during this journey…
These experiences have made me even more sure and determined to teach the practice of yoga. Our world is clearly hurting. People are hurting.

Unlike the AT, I have yoga to help bring me peace and clarity of perspective whenever I need it. And I have something healing to return to (along with loving people who like to give hugs!).

520 more rugged miles to go! Hopefully the weather will hold out!


Day 125: Ramona Falls

Day 125
August 21
mile 2107.1-approx. 2126.5
19.4 miles

I was one of the first in line for breakfast. Although there were several other thru-hikers around, I didn’t feel close to any of them and preferred to sit alone. My waitress was very nice and brought me a complimentary shot of apple shrub, along with my coffee. I was surprised at how good it tasted! I had tasted apple cider vinegar from the store before, but this tasted so much more delicious! She brought me over a second one. Miraculously, my stomach was not hurting for the first time! I attributed it to the apple shrub and told my waitress. It was made on the site and I asked her if it was available to buy. She went to check with the chef and told me it was, for $25 a bottle. I said I couldn’t buy it now, but thought it would be very helpful to me when I got home. She said I could always come back after the hike.
I was able to do a little correspondence as I ate. I couldn’t believe that my stomach wasn’t hurting and was able to get seconds, including a Belgian waffle. I really liked this place. It was nice to have a bit of luxury right on the trail!
I headed back to my room to take another shower and begin the packing process, which always takes a good amount of time. Then, I checked out and took some pictures around the lodge. I liked the patio outside, even though I never sat out there. It had a very European feel.
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By 11:00, I was finally able to head out again. Slowly, I climbed back up the paved road and turned onto the PCT.
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Lots of people were out for a walk in this section.
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The trail wrapped around Mt. Hood and then returned to the forest, which now had a much more lush feel to it. There were many cascades of water, moss, and ferns.
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There were also lots of huckleberries! I passed by a woman out on a section hiker who had a hard time drawing herself away from these bushes. She asked me my trail name and mentioned a few other thru-hikers who she had met. As I went on ahead, she said she was jealous of my “super-model legs”!
I found a nice creek to stop at and have my ice coffee and snacks. Very soon after, I reached another ford with milky white rushing water. I walked up the creek, searching for a good place to cross. I made it across one section, but still had several more to get across! My one pole kept collapsing, which made the crossing even more challenging! At last, I had made it to the other side and now had to re-find the trail. I wasn’t expecting to lose so much time at that creek and now felt under even more pressure to hike the remaining 44 miles to Cascade Locks by tomorrow!
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When I reached the trail to Ramona Falls, I branched off the PCT. I was a bit concerned about finding my way back, but didn’t think I could get too lost…
Once I arrived at the falls, I wasn’t blown away. It was nice, but nothing incredibly amazing.
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I followed my instincts as to which trail to take when the paths diverged and ended up meeting a southbounder. He wanted to know how the breakfast buffet at the lodge was and if it was easy to collect water from the falls. I told him there was a creek close by, so that wasn’t even an issue. As I continued to walk, I realized that he had been following the creek for awhile. He must have just wanted the more pure falling water!
I passed by another group of young people who were just out for the day and then re-connected with the PCT. A couple of people were set up to camp already. I then reached another creek crossing. The bridge had collapsed and a log had been placed over the rushing water.
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It looked quite scary…I stepped onto the narrow log with my one good pole and suddenly got scared and had to step off. My backpack always leans strongly to the left because of the curve in my spine and I did not feel stable enough. I thought about walking through the water, but decided to give the log one more try. I tensed my stomach muscles and told myself I was going to get across without falling. Somehow, I did!
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The trail climbed once again. Along the ridge, I was surprised to see someone in front of me. It was Story Time. I thought I was the only northbounder on this part of the trail. I passed by him and then headed down the other side of the mountain with him following fairly close behind. When I found a log to sit on, I stopped for a snack break. I was so tired and needed to boost my energy. I also wanted my own space. The mosquitoes immediately started attacking me. As StoryTime approached he said that he had heard that my stomach had been bothering me. I was extremely perplexed. He had heard? I had been telling him that since the day I met him in the Sierras! And just yesterday, I had mentioned it again to the group of people at the table he was sitting at in the lodge after my lunch. I just can’t understand some people… Once again, he thought that offering me some oreos or nutella might help. “No. No, thank you.”
I encountered several more campers right before the road at Lolo Pass.
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I started the climb up the other side, passing under the power lines, and stopped at the little stream to collect water. StoryTime had also stopped there… He had spread his things out across the trail and was cooking dinner. I patiently filtered my water, as he boasted about being able to keep up with the younger hikers and about his recent forty mile day. As I continued on, I noticed a camp site several feet beyond the water and wondered if he would spend the night there. It was already getting dark and I felt disappointed about the number of miles I had hiked today. I had wanted to get farther down the trail so the next day would not be as stressful. I was now in thick forest with heavy growth along the sides of the trail. Luckily, after a little while, I looked down to see a small clearing. I found my stopping spot! I bushwacked down the slope and began to set up my cowboy camp and cook my dinner. Then, I watched StoryTime pass by and head out into the darkness. He did not seem to see me.
During the night, another animal ran up to my head. “Animal!…”. Sometimes, it was hard to get any sleep!

Day 123: Little Crater Lake and some nice company

Day 123
August 19
mile 2074-2099.2
25.2 miles

The lady who was in her tent before I arrived last night was the first one up. I shifted around for several minutes, hearing her move in and out of her tent and then finally sat up. I still felt tired. As I ate my breakfast, the nice girl in the green tent came out and gathered her things for breakfast. She sat on a stump in front of a little table, near the head of my sleeping bag. The other woman joined her and asked about her hurt foot as they shared the hot water for their coffees. I listened for awhile and then eventually got included in their conversation. At some point, she started talking about how they had planned to have some of their resupply boxes brought out to them by their good friends in Portland. They quickly regretted this idea when they found that even after only a few days on the trail, they no longer had much in common to talk about. She said that next time they hike for several weeks, they will just mail themselves their resupplies and be more fully immersed in what the trail has to offer. I found her story to be very interesting, especially after my experience in Bend. I thought that the interactions with my friend from high school, who I have barely interacted with since, and who has a much different kind of energy than me, were difficult mostly due to personality differences, but listening to Ashley made me feel so much better about what I had been feeling. Ashley and Sean were very nice, relaxed, and cool people who, I would imagine, would get along with most people easily. She said that at home, they have lots of things to talk about with their friends and enjoy their company, but while in this experience, they were living in a very different world and found it difficult to connect with the kinds of things their friends were talking about.
I had been feeling quite exhausted the past few days and also felt under immense pressure to hike big miles every day. Another visit with this high school friend felt too taxing for me and not having the time to hike fewer miles would only result in an unpleasant couple of hiking days. Ashley’s stories made me feel better about limiting my outside interactions.
Puma walked through our site while I was still sitting in my sleeping bag for the second morning in a row. He gets up early! I called out his name and waved to him.
When I was ready to head out, the other woman named Peter Pan, was right behind me. She looked at her watch and exclaimed that she couldn’t believe it was already after 8. I looked at mine and said it was 7:53. She didn’t believe me. One of our watches was off…
I hiked up the hill and quickly found my own space. Each time that I took a break, Peter Pan caught up and continued on ahead. Then, I would pass her again.
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When I reached a little river, I decided to take an extended break to have my ice coffee and a snack. The sun was burning down strongly and I had to keep shifting to find a bit of shade under a tree. A family on horses, who I saw preparing on the road, trotted by me. Then, Tumbleweed came along and wanted to know if I had seen Puma. I hadn’t since he walked through my campsite but assumed he must be ready for a break anytime now! Peter Pan followed Tumbleweed as he continued on. He planned on eating lunch at Timothy Lake.
A little bit later, I found a nice bench along the trail and decided to take my pack off and rest for a second there.
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My intestines were still not doing well. I was at least glad to have found a bit of privacy in the woods behind my crowded campsite this morning, but the entire area was one big exposed bathroom with toilet paper everywhere!
From what my app was showing me, I wasn’t even sure if the PCT was going to go near the lake. I could see it down below and it looked to be turning away from it.
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However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did parallel it! I decided to take another break at the edge of the water. The temperature of both the air and the water was perfect for swimming, but again, I felt like I did not have time for that. Instead, I just put my feet in the water, keeping my shoes and socks on. I knew the sun would dry them out again soon enough. Some day, I hope to have time on a future hike to swim…
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I wondered where Tumbleweed and Puma were. I saw no trace of them!
I headed back into the woods and found a nice alcove to take a pack break. There, I found a text message from my high school friend asking when I would be arriving at Timberline. She was trying to make plans. My stomach twisted. I was going to have to tell her that I needed some space. I let her know that I was extremely exhausted, planned to eat, do my laundry, shower, sort through my resupply, and sleep, and journal a little if I had any extra time. I also told her that I needed to hike the 48 miles to Cascade Locks in 1 3/4 days. But I told her she was welcome to join me for dinner at the lodge if she really wanted to come out. As I was typing, I looked up to see a bicycle whiz down the trail. I felt bewildered and stared at it. Then, a second and third one went by.
I continued to walk and came to several signs telling bike riders that they had to dismount on this section and that bikes weren’t allowed on the PCT. These people obviously didn’t care.
Several miles later, I reached the side trail to Little Crater Lake and decided to take it. I walked along a nice boardwalk and came to a very small, very deep, brilliant blue lake.
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It was much, much smaller than I was expecting! Several people were there, reading the signs about it. I walked over to the grass, took off my pack, and took out my food bag. A little later, Tumbleweed and Puma came along! I was so excited and so happy to see my fellow thru-hikers and have some company that I probably waved to them about 5 times before they came over to sit near me. We all thought the fallen trees in the water made it seem creepy. Puma was the first to test the temperature of this ice cold water. As I collected some to filter, the boys talked about their next hike in which they would only hike 5-10 miles a day and have plenty of time to relax and enjoy themselves. I looked over and nodded, so happy to know that we all felt the same way. Thru-hikes are very stressful and exhausting!
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I gave Puma my tangerine. Then, an eclectic family came along. One girl really wanted to jump into the freezing water. She convinced her deaf relative to jump in with her. When she got out, she decided to do it again. It was quite the entertainment for us.
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The boys headed out a few minutes before I was ready.
A little while later, I came across an enormous spider web hanging across the middle of the trail! I had never seen anything like it. I carefully stepped around it and then took a couple of pictures, surprised that no one had knocked it down!
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About four miles later, I found them sitting along the trail, near a side path to a spring. They greeted me nicely and I went over to sit with them for a couple of minutes. The spring was only about 50 feet away, but I didn’t feel like checking it out. I had plenty of water on me. Tumbleweed was talking about how Peter Pan had assumed that he had lightened his pack over the course of his hike and how opposite that actually was. He had added more things as he went along. I knew exactly what he was talking about. That was what had happened to me on the AT! I felt like I kept my base weight fairly constant over the course of this hike and told them that I had never been a light-weight hiker. The boys looked at my pack and said it looked small to them! I am sure that was the first time anyone had said that about my pack! We all headed out together and continued the climb. At a small opening through the woods, we got our first glimpse of Mt. Hood.
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The boys wondered which part of the mountain we would ascend to get to Timberline lodge. As we hiked, I told them how I had been passing time by remembering what had happened at that mile into the hike, in relation to how many miles I had left. Pumas said he had been doing the same thing! “Really?”. I love how we all think and do similar things! They started telling stories about the beginning of the hike such as when they were trying to decide how many nights to spend at the Saufley’s and how many to spend at the Anderson’s, all based on wanting to stay ahead of the “herd”. I laughed, remembering how that was also a big concern for me! “The herd is coming! The herd is coming!”. They talked about hiking with Drama and how they were going to invent a chart app. We talked about why Drama left the trail and his interactions with SunDog and Giggles as he headed back to Tuolemne Meadows. “I’m done with this hiking thing! Possibly forever!”. It was so nice to have a little bit of company again and nice for my brain to get a rest from calculating how many miles I had left to hike over and over and over again!
They ended up calling it a night before I was ready to, when they spotted a flat area in the trees before the highway. They invited me to camp with them, but I told them I would rather hike a few more miles now instead of in the morning.
I headed down to the highway, got stalled when I found a register to read through, and then headed across the road, where I found a picnic table to take a quick snack break at. I ate a couple of snacks to get me through the last couple miles and discovered that Connie had sent me a text. She was now ahead of me at Timberline Lodge because she had gotten lost and scared while she was alone, but got rescued by a nice Indian family who was out picking huckleberries. She spent the night at a hotel in Government Camp and then restarted her hike from the point I was now at. I was happy that I was going to get to see her tomorrow when I arrived there!
I started the climb and reached a ridge as it began to get dark. Both sides of the trail were saturated with heavy growth. Things were not looking promising once again. I continued to walk until, suddenly, I saw a small patch of dirt to the left of the trail that looked big enough to cowboy camp. Still, I dropped my pack and walked on to see if anything looked better ahead. I found a fire ring, but no place to camp, so I returned to my spot and set up.
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As the sun went down, a male hiker approached and stopped very close to me, but said nothing. He was staring at his iphone, his face scrunched up. Is this really happening, I wondered? Finally, he acknowledged me. “Sorry. I’m just trying to see what mile I’m at. This is my first 40 mile day. Are you planning on getting to Timberline for breakfast? I can’t wait.” He headed on. I have no wish to ever do a 40 mile day and I knew I would not make it in time to arrive for the breakfast buffet tomorrow. Lunch would have to suffice for tomorrow.
I hunkered down and recharged my iphone. Around midnight, I discovered a text from someone who had not communicated with me for awhile. I wrote him back. I needed to pee and then realized this was the first and only night I had forgotten to take my headlamp out of my bag! I got up anyway.
Tomorrow, I had about 8 and a half miles, most of it uphill, to get to Timberline Lodge! All I hoped for was that I could eat without a lot of pain!