Day 149: mile 2355.4 to mile 2379.8

9.11.18. 24.4 miles.

I got to sleep pretty early last night, definitely before 9. I was incredibly warm and comfortable in my quilt, socks, balaclava, and thin liner gloves. It was a cold night, so I put on the extra layers, and shoved my other clothes into the foot box of my quilt to keep them warm and dry. I did ditch the gloves halfway through the night as it was getting a little too warm, but otherwise I was very cozy. I had to get up first thing though as I really needed to go to the bathroom. It was barely light out, even though I knew the sun was rising, because of the clouds. After finishing business, I hopped back into my tent and got ready carefully, trying not to shake off any of the condensation inside onto my things.

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When I got back out of my tent, I saw some blue sky in the distance and light pink clouds. My tent was also much drier on the outside than I anticipated. It must have stopped raining well before the sun rose. I packed the tent up, and walked back to the trail. I was hiking in most of my layers, like I had been the last 2 days. My shirt, thermal layer with my hood pulled up, rain jacket, shorts, and rain pants on top of those. Plus, my liner gloves and waterproof mitts over them. Even though the sun was starting to come out, the foliage lining the trail was dripping wet, and the rain pants and jacket kept me from getting wet when I brushed up against them. I got pretty warm though as the morning went on since the sun was out and I was climbing. At one point, I shed all my layers except for shirt & thermal top. It felt freeing to finally have my legs move normally and not hear the swishing noise of the rain pants with every step.

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The weather was pretty erratic however, and eventually I needed to put my rain layers back on because it started raining again. Of course, the rain came to a halt when I reached a wide open area, and found 2 other hikers there: McGuyver (different than the desert one), and Windy. I briefly met them when I arrived at the cabin yesterday, but they left shortly after I got there. We chatted for a bit, and I seized on the opportunity of intermittent sun to pull my tent out and let it dry completely, and took off my shoes & socks to see if they could dry at all too. I cooked up a packet of ramen for lunch and sat enjoying the warmth of the sun, and glowering every time the clouds moved back over it. Once my tent was fully dry, I packed up again and got moving, which was a good idea too, since it started raining again within 10 minutes of me leaving my lunch spot. I donned all of my rain gear again and went off.

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I reached a spring and filtered some water, only what I needed though, as it was raining pretty hard at this point. It’s not exactly fun sitting in the rain while filtering water. The whole experience is just very wet. It didn’t help that the place the spring was in was a muddy, trampled meadow. My feet got even more wet. After some more steep up & downs and a few more miles of hiking, I came upon a large gravel road and saw Windy on the other side. I went over to take cover from the weirdly sunny drizzle to check guthooks to see where I was and how far I needed to keep going to camp, when a truck with huge UW stickers on it rolled up. 2 people hopped out and asked us if we’d seen Moses, another hiker. I’d never met him, but they told us they were going to do trail magic! And to think I almost walked away.

Little Rabbit and Codex were their names. They’d been hiking on the trail this year, but had to get off due to injuries. They’d been hiking with Moses, and wanted to do some trail magic for him. The more hikers that showed up in the meantime, the better! They were incredible. I chatted with Little Rabbit about UW (she’s an alumnae as well) in the warm truck, while Codex cooked up grilled cheeses and coffee in the back. It was raining pretty hard during this time, and Windy & McGuyver sat in the car w me and Little Rabbit. All of us were talking about the trail, getting warm and dry while eating grilled cheese and drinking coffee. This was a pretty incredible surprise!

Windy & Codex

Windy & Codex

After an hour of hanging out, the clouds seemed to part and the rain stopped. I seized this clearing as an opportunity to start hiking again, but not before trying to ascertain whether my shoes had been delivered. Knowing I had done all I could with REI, I called the hotel I’ll be staying at, where they were supposed to be delivered to, to see if they could look for me. I was met with a very unhelpful man, who claimed to have “800 hiker boxes” in their back room, and who would not look to see if my package was there. I explained that I believed the package was lost, and was trying to check, but he firmly stated he wouldn’t look until I arrived tomorrow. I asked if he could tell me which post office was the local one so I could call to see if the package had been delivered to their P.O. Box, and he said “there is no local post office. The hotel is the P.O. box”. Realizing I was not going to be getting anywhere with this unhelpful man, who was now flat out lying to me, I thanked him and told him I’d see him tomorrow. I’d heard this hotel has mixed reviews about friendliness towards hikers, but I knew that when I got there tomorrow, I’d have to “kill them with kindness” so to speak. I also knew that my package from REI had no more scans today, so hoped they’d keep to their word and overnight shoes like they said they would. If not, I can probably squeeze a few more miles out of them and have them sent to Steven’s Pass, where things seem a bit more organized and helpful.

After thanking my wonderful trail angels, I left the road at 5, with 5 more miles to hike to my hopeful campsite. I had a bit of a climb after leaving the road, but after that, it was mostly flat and downhill to the creek where I’d be camping by. It started raining lightly again during my hike, and I hustled to get to camp before it really started raining. Luckily, I was successful, and got my tent set up within minutes, carefully pulling things inside, making sure to keep essentials dry. I made my dinner from the tent, and got ready for bed. It doesn’t sound like it’s raining anymore. It doesn’t really matter if it does or not, because I’ll be getting to the pass tomorrow, and will be able to dry out all of my things when I get into my room. Hopefully, all of my packages will be there and I’ll be able to check in early, but I won’t be holding my breath!

Day 148: mile 2334.1 to mile 2355.4

9.10.18. 21.3 miles.

Not going to lie, today was a rough day. I woke to my alarm and turned it off immediately. I didn’t get much sleep last night thanks to the loudly snoring section hiker next to me, plus the wind and rain. I went back to sleep, too tired and not wanting to deal with a wet tent. I woke up again at 6:20 and figured I should get going. To my greatest displeasure, there was a puddle of water inside my tent in the corner that sloped down the most. I’m not sure if the sloping is the reason for the puddle or there’s a leak. I got ready moderately quickly, trying to make sure everything else stayed dry. My sleeping quilt was damp from the humidity.

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I was the first to leave camp, a little after 7. I knew there was a wood cabin 13 miles into the day, and I was dead set on getting there for lunch, hoping there was room to hang/ lay out my wet things to dry. Not much exciting happened in the morning. It was windy, cold, and rainy, and most of the hike was in a recent burn area, which was pretty spooky. The trail was relatively flat or downhill with small spurts of up. Finally, the last few miles were in the living forest, and I coasted down to the cabin. I arrived just before noon, and recognized a few hikers. The one I didn’t know had previously hiked the trail and was hanging out at the cabin, going to meet up with friends. He kept a fire going in the wood burning stove, which warmed the cabin and me so much. I was able to hang my tent, pad, quilt, and down jacket from rafters and hooks and lay out my shoes & socks to dry. It was pretty glorious. And I even made hot mashed potatoes for lunch. Much better than cold soaked ones. I am definitely happy to have my stove for Washington. Occasional hot lunches are nice.

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Many hikers showed up, and even some trail magic arrived! Toast, a previous thru-hiker and her friend Turtle came with lots of food! Bread, cheese, arugula, cookie dough, cinnamon bread, all kinds of goodies! They were great conversation as well. Toast told us that it was very rainy for her this whole section too (White to Snoqualmie Pass), and empathized with us. I hung out at the cabin for 2.5 hours, chatting, eating, and waiting for everything to dry. The longest lunch break I’ve had since the desert, probably.

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I finally packed up and left, making it about a quarter of a mile when I realized I left a pair of socks drying above the fire. I hustled back to grab the pair before setting off again. The afternoon was not as easy as the morning. Much more climbing, and the rain and wind picked up again. After 5 miles that felt like forever, I reached a spring and filtered more water, the next not being for another 12 miles. After getting water, everything was just harder. I’ve had an area on my mid-upper back on my right side that just sometimes goes numb when I’m going uphill with more weight on my back, and that was starting to hurt. I made it about 2 miles before reaching a road with service: I needed to deal with my REI package still. In the cold, I got on the phone with them to see where it was. They still didn’t get any scan updates, and the very nice woman on the phone told me if they didn’t see any scans tomorrow, they would overnight me the shoes directly via UPS instead of ups/surepost where it goes through the post office. I’m still hesitant they’ll be coming, but I’ll just need to have some faith! I only went another mile further for the day, stopping about 5 miles short of where I roughly planned to make it to. I stayed at the cabin too long, and I really don’t like getting to camp after 7 now, and it was cold and rainy and I’d rather sit in my tent than continue hiking into the evening. So I am camped next to a dirt road, made my dinner from my tent and and hoping for a more peaceful night tonight.

Day 147: mile 2308.6 to mile 2334.1

9.9.18. 25.5 miles.

Today was such a gorgeous and great day, despite the over 1 mile of vertical climbing I had to endure. My day started off with the longest climb of the day, and it was pretty cold and on and off cloudy. Once I broke out of the forest, the ridges and rocks were so cool. I definitely felt like I was in the Washington I recognized.

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The trail undulated up & down and I entered into Mt. Rainier National Park, and even got some peeks of the mountain, though it was hiding in the clouds for a lot of the day. After some more up & down with lots of opportunities for blueberry picking, I decided to eat lunch at Dewey Lake when I saw Sprinkles & Burps there. Usually I’m on the lookout for shade at lunch, but since it didn’t really warm up today, I was very eager to join them in their patch of sun by the lake. The lake was so pretty and had a white sandy beach. This would definitely be a good swim spot if it wasn’t so cold out!

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After lunch, I had a decently steep, but short, climb to a ridge, and then descended by a pond and then to a major road that leads to the entrance of the park. Since it was a Sunday, there were SO many day hikers out, and weekenders finishing backpacking trips. I hadn’t seen this many day hikers since Carson Pass the weekend before 4th of July. I can see why it’s a popular destination. The mountains are so pretty and the lakes are so teal colored, and the trail is wide and has a nice, easy grade. I stopped at the trailhead parking lot to use the pit toilet and throw away my trash. The sky was getting a little ominous too, so I rearranged some things in my pack: putting all clothes in my waterproof pack liner and moving a couple things from the outside pocket.

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Sure enough, on the next climb to Sheep Lake, it started to rain. I pulled my rain jacket on, and as I got to the lake to grab some water to filter, it started raining harder. It didn’t rain hard for long. The rain would fall fast, then lighten up, then stop, then sprinkle again, etc. typical Washington. It was cold though, so I was pretty thankful to be hiking uphill to keep my body moving and warm. I didn’t bother putting my rain pants on because it wasn’t pouring & windy.

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The ridge walk for the rest of the day was very pretty and I had great views of the mountains! Once the rain really stopped, I even got to see a beautiful rainbow! It was marvelous. I also had a bit of cell service and checked on my shoe package. It still has the same info, so when I get service tomorrow, I’ll need to call again to see where that package is. With any luck, it will be at the hotel’s PO box. Fingers crossed, because I do need new shoes. The insoles and heels are getting holes in them, and while that’s not an issue itself, it means the shoe is wearing out, and I’ve been able to feel the trail more, in a bad way. By the time I get to Snoqualmie Pass, I’ll have worn them for almost 700 miles, so I definitely need a new pair.

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I was happy to make it to my tentsite at a reasonable time and be near water. I take a bit longer at night now because I’m cooking, and getting to camp by 7 is ideal for me now, bc I have enough time to cook and eat before it gets dark, which is around 8, and it’s very very dark by 8:30. Tomorrow I’m going to have so much less climbing, so that will be a treat!

Day 146: White Pass to mile 2308.6

9.8.18. 13.7 miles.

I did not sleep super soundly last night, despite the very comfortable bed. I just kept waking up. Finally at 7, I gave up on trying to sleep more and gathered my phone, laying in bed scheduling blog posts, until about 8:30 when I realized I needed to get up and get things organized. I packed up some of my things and opened my resupply box to double check if I needed to buy anything else to supplement it. Then I went back to the gas station to get a latte & breakfast sandwich to bring back to the condo. I saw Sprinkles & Burps there, and they asked if they could take a shower in the condo before I checked out, as they didn’t get to the gas station until after dark and everything was closed. I welcomed them over, and they quickly showered before going back to the station to get WiFi before leaving. I continued to wash my cook pot and cold soaking jar & finish packing while watching tv, and at 11, checked out.

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I went over to the gas station to get a lunch of sorts and do a few more phone things. I checked the status of my REI package with my last pair of shoes, and the tracking info was kind of weird so I called them to see if it had been delivered, and they basically said they don’t know, but the package should be delivered today to Snoqualmie Pass. I then called my mom and forwarded her the order info so she could keep an eye on it and run interference if need be. Looking ahead on guthooks, it looks like I’ll have cell service at least once a day into Snoqualmie, so I’ll probably be able to take care of this myself.

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Finally, I left White Pass around 12:15, and walked the road back to the PCT. I was so happy to be back on the PCT. The trail really is just so much nicer. Not much to comment on about today. It was kind of cold at times, and the clouds in the sky were semi-threatening, but no rain came. The sun even came out for the last half of the day.

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What was pretty crazy though, were the number of hunters out! It’s elk season and these people literally haul huge canvas tents & teepees out as a base camp. Towards the end of the day, I saw 2 hunters crossing the PCT and then motioned for me to be quiet, as I approached them. They had just shot a bull and told me they needed to “finish” and that I might not want to watch. I was looking around wildly for the elk bc I wanted to see one. He looked so peaceful, sitting on the ground, but with an arrow in his chest. And then I watched them shoot again and he faltered and tried to get up to run away. I left after that. I was reminded of a podcast I listened to that was a truly beautiful recount of an elk hunt on She Explores - originally told on the HumaNature podcast. I know I saw game hunting in a different way after listening to that story. I never like the thought of killing these beautiful animals (and I don’t think I could ever do it), but the people who pay for the hunting tags are 99% very responsible hunters and have lots of respect for the animals they hunt, and eat this meat as a main protein source for the whole year, which I definitely see as much more responsible than the factory farming industry. Also, I think people who don’t hunt forget that the tag fees are a huge revenue source for our public lands. Anyways, it was one of those moments that I kind of never wanted to see, but I’m sort of glad I did see it.

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Another cool thing: I hit 2,300 miles today! Less than 350 to Canada! Today wasn’t a super difficult day hiking-wise, and I almost wish I had a full day so I would have been able to get some good miles in, but my quads and calves were so tight and sore from the extremely steep ups and downs from the alternate yesterday. I can’t even remember the last time my muscles hurt this much, so a shorter day was definitely appropriate. I am camped by a nice river with 2 other hikers I met today: Estes and Lupine.

Day 145: mile 2275.2 to White Pass

9.7.18. 3.4 PCT miles, 15 alternate miles, 18.4 total.

So many feelings about today!

Sunrise on Mt. Adams

Sunrise on Mt. Adams

The morning started off wonderfully. The sunrise was gorgeous, the alpenglow on Mt. Adams was amazing, and continuing deeper into Goat Rocks was awesome. The climbing was steep and rough, and even involved 2 icy snow fields, but the views were incredible. When I saw Mt. Rainier, my heart skipped a beat.

First glimpses of Mt. Rainier

First glimpses of Mt. Rainier

I kept climbing, more than the PCT because I wanted to do the “Old Snowy” hiker alternate, which is a short but steep climb up to Old Snowy mountain, and has an even more amazing view of the Knife’s Edge portion of the trail and Mt. Rainier and the surrounding mountains. Another super cool sight was seeing the fires burning in the mountains.

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After going up Old Snowy, it was time to come down, which took forever. Basically, everything took forever today because of how steep the trail was. This was a combination of steepness and loose rock and shale and steep drop offs on each side. After that descent, I had a couple more short, steep ascents and descents on the Knife’s Edge, and then a much gentler descent down to Elk Pass, where the PCT was closed due to the proximity to the fires burning.

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Here, I started the approximately 15 mile (according to my Gaia GPS app) alternate to highway 12. In short, the alternate was rough. The first half was a combination of longer downs & ups that were very steep. Then there was a nicer downhill to Lost Lake, and I ate my lunch a little bit past there. After that, there was a big climb up to the ridge, where I had great views of Mt. Rainier, but the climb was exposed and again, I was sluggish after lunch. After that, there was a beautiful, but very steep downhill, followed by some steep, undulating trail. I took a lot of breaks, mainly by eating wild blueberries on the side of the trail. Finally, the trail seemed to be going downhill, though it was pretty rooty. I reached a small creek and filtered water, then continued on. I knew there was a river I needed to cross at one point, and I came up to it, and couldn’t find a log/ was too lazy to bushwhack upstream to find a good one, so I attempted to rock hop but ended up just fording the river. Ending my day in wet feet. Nice. I thought for some reason, the trail would be downhill to the highway, since it’s always like that, but in this case, the trail was uphill all the way from the river to the highway, at least another 0.5 mile, but it felt like more.

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Watching the changing lenticular cloud formations over Rainier was a highlight of the day

Watching the changing lenticular cloud formations over Rainier was a highlight of the day

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I got to the road at 6:30, exhausted. I started the alternate at 9:45 am. It took 9 hours to go 15 miles, which is a much slower pace than I can do on the PCT. This alternate made me appreciate the work that goes into maintaining the PCT and how nice the grade is. I can only hope that the next 2 fire closure alternates in Washington aren’t as miserable. I was incredibly happy to see Macro at the road, along with a ride, with his buddy! They gave me a ride to White Pass, and I got there just in time before they closed to grab my package and some extra snacks. I hadn’t intended on staying in a room here, but I was so exhausted and wanted a shower, so I walked over to the condos next door and got a room for the night. I showered, ate my extra dinner (Mac & cheese), drank my soda, and talked to my parents on the phone before crawling into bed and watching Friends before falling asleep.

​Day 144: mile 2249.5 to mile 2275.2

9.6.18. 25.7 miles.

I slept very well last night, which has been a nice theme in Washington so far. I think it’s because the temps have been cold enough at night where I’m comfortable in my quilt, but not so cold where my face and hands are freezing if they stick out a bit. So that’s been good! Orangutan, Toe Jam, and Rigby were all up at the same time as me, though I left a little earlier than them. Toe Jam asked if she woke me up last night bc she had a mouse trying to get into her tent, but I didn’t hear anything.

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I walked with Macro for a bit, asking him about his SOBO AT hike. I’d be lying if I wasn’t thinking about doing another long trail, and *if* I did, the AT would probably be next. The trail wasn’t too exciting in the first part of the day. Lots of up and down and hiking in the trees, and leapfrogging with people, which is sometimes fun, sometimes just like, “yeah, I saw you 10 minutes ago and now you’re passing me again. We don’t need to stop and say the exact same things to each other 10 minutes later”. A good “hey!” is just enough for me.

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My lunch break was NOT restful as tons of flies were swarming me. I must really smell bad. They were the kind of flies that you see hovering around dog and horse poop. I ate three bagels though, knowing that I’ve been hungrier recently, and that I’ll be getting into White Pass tomorrow, so I may as well just eat!

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After my lunch break, the trail was much more exposed and it was hot! And that’s when the climbing began. The grade wasn’t bad, but I was sluggish after lunch and the sun just made everything worse. I’m trying not to complain about that, because I know I’ll be begging for sun at some point in this state, but it really does tire me out! The climb was beautiful though, once I started getting close to Cispus Pass. This is where the Goat Rocks really start. And it was amazing. Absolutely incredible. I couldn’t stop smiling or taking pictures. Once I reached the top of the pass, I saw Toe Jam, Rigby, and Wind Spirit taking a break up there, and they clapped as I came up. They’re a nice bunch. We gaped in awe of the beauty around us, and I continued down the other side of the pass.

Those white lumps are mtn goats! Sorry for the bad zoomed quality

Those white lumps are mtn goats! Sorry for the bad zoomed quality

beautiful Dr. Seuss plants

beautiful Dr. Seuss plants

I had my music on and the wind was blowing, and I was concentrating on not tripping down the trail, but I suddenly heard yells coming from the other side of the small valley, and it was Twinkle Toes and Jinx yelling at me to look up! So I craned my neck in an awkward way and saw mountain goats!! I saw a mama and her kid walking up rocks on the ridge way above me. It was sooo cool! I’ve never seen these goats in person before. I waved a thanks to them before they took off and I continued down the trail, hoping for a better viewpoint like they had. I reached a turn in the trail where another backpacker had a pair of binoculars, and he asked me if I’d like to borrow them. There were about 50 goats on a small patch of green way on the top of the mountain. I couldn’t believe how many I was looking at, and so many babies too! It was awesome. Toe Jam, Rigby, and Wind Spirit caught up with me and we walked to the next water source to fill up. We were all very happy about how beautiful the trail was, and so happy to have these amazing views and such good weather! I felt a little guilty, knowing Hot Mess & Butters had miserable weather in this section, which is such a shame.

the white specks on the upper right field are goats!

the white specks on the upper right field are goats!

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toe Jam & rigby filtering water

toe Jam & rigby filtering water

After collecting water, there was still a good amount of time before I wanted to be in camp, so I pushed a little further up the next big climb and am camped in a beautiful alpine meadow with Wind Spirit, with a wonderful view of Mt. Adams. The sunset was beautiful. One of the few that I’ve enjoyed on trail, since I was usually asleep for them when the sun was setting later earlier in the summer.

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Tomorrow I get to see the rest of the goat rocks, and I’m so excited bc it’s supposed to be the most beautiful part, and I’ll be seeing it in the beautiful morning light!

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Day 143: Trout Lake to mile 2249.5

9.5.18. 20.6 miles.

I didn’t get the best sleep last night on the store’s lawn. There was a street light that seemed to be angled right at my face, and a surprising number of cars drove by on the highway. At least I got to sleep in a little bit. By 7 though, I was up and talking to Hot Pants again, chatting about gear and plans for the day. She was going to stay in town for a bit longer bc another one of her friends was showing up. I packed some of my things, and laid my tent and sleeping bag in the sun to completely dry out, then me and Hot Pants went to breakfast at the cafe. I had a great breakfast: a huckleberry latte, coconut pineapple pancakes, and I took a breakfast burrito to go to eat on trail. This ended up being a very good decision.

Hot Pants & me 

Hot Pants & me 

I said goodbye to Hot Pants with the promise of us needing to get together when we’re both back home to catch up on how the rest of the trail went for us. As we were finishing at the cafe, so many people showed up. It was a huge reunion! Patches & Rob were there and I gave them the run down of Trout Lake. They weren’t staying the night, but wanted to get some things done.

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I went back to the store, alarmed that I only had 1 hour before the shuttle back to trail left. I quickly packed all of my things up, went on the hunt for my lost sock (found it!), filled up water, braided my hair, and managed to order my last pair of shoes to Snoqualmie Pass. I hope they arrive! Otherwise I’m going to have to call in a favor with Will & Angel when they visit me at Stevens pass. It’s always so odd ordering online when you need to make sure “PCT Hiker” and an ETA is on there somehow and these places have multiple address lines, so it’s a pretty full order form.

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I got on the 10:30 shuttle and we were driven by Doug, the man who organizes all these trail angel shuttles to/from the trail. Truly an angel and he loves talking about hiker stories, Mt. Adams, the PCT, and his town. He was a very nice man, and fun to listen to. By the time we got dropped off and I reorganized a few things, it was a little after 11. I wanted to make it 20 miles to camp, so I got moving. The day started with a climb, but it wasn’t too steep. I had to filter water about 2 miles in though since there was no water until after the whole climb. But, it was totally exposed, as I was climbing through a burn area. This burn area was from years ago, as there is a lot of new growth mingled in with the burned trees.

Twinkle Toes with Mt. Adams

Twinkle Toes with Mt. Adams

I ran into a trail crew in 2 parties and talked with them for a bit and thanked them very much for being out here and making our trail walkable. They do a lot of hard work! Once I finally topped out on the climb, the trail undulated up and down for many miles. I got water at a small stream, joining Twinkle Toes, Jinx, and Excel in filtering. There was still 10 miles until the camp spot I wanted, and it was already 4 pm. I blew through all of my snacks, so I broke out the breakfast burrito, the perfect eating while hiking meal. The trail undulated some more before finally turning into the nice descent.

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All day the view of Mt. Adams were so stunning as we did a half circle around the mountain. I even got to see Rainier for a bit, and I reminisced to Twinkle Toes about how much I love that mountain. The descent was decently long but not too steep. I was zooming down the hill, wanting to get to camp as early as possible. I ended up rolling in around 7:30, and found tons of people already there. Thankfully, there were also tons of campsites. I dumped my ramen in my cold soaking jar along with water, and then set up camp, collected more water from the nearby spring, and briefly chatted to some hikers I met in Trout Lake: orangutan, rigby, toe jam, and wind spirit. After bidding them goodnight, I crawled into my tent and finished setting up, and ate my perfectly rehydrated ramen, and now I get to sleep.

​Day 142: mile 2211.8 to Trout Lake

9.4.18. 17.1 miles.

I woke up to my alarm at 5:45 and immediately needed to go to the bathroom, so I took care of that and then crawled back into my quilt bc it was so cold this morning! I bundled up and threw my hiking clothes into the foot box to warm them up a little before putting them on. I finally finished getting ready and put my thermal layer on as well, wearing it this morning until 10! It was just pretty cold.

Love these vintage trail markers

Love these vintage trail markers

The trail this morning was mostly downhill with some minimal climbing. It was pretty too. I walked through some meadow-y areas in between forests. I had about 17 miles to do until Trout Lake, and I tried to make it to the 12:30 shuttle to town, but I missed it by 15 minutes. If only I didn’t have to pee and filter water, I’d probably have made it!

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After my water filtering stop, there was a steep 1,500 ft climb and then a steep descent to the road. When I got there, I stuck my thumb out and only had to wait about 10 minutes. A lovely young family on a camping vacation in their huge Winnebago RV picked me up! They live in Washington and had so many questions about the PCT. They thought it was so cool and wished me luck on the rest of my journey.

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I got dropped off right at the general store, and immediately reconnected with Hot Pants, the only person I knew pre-trail on this hike! We met on a Bay Area women’s hiking group site and went hiking before the trail, talking about gear and all kinds of stuff. Hot Pants is so easy to talk to and it was really nice seeing a familiar face. We got lunch and she showed me where everything was in town. I then took a shower at the campground, and did my laundry. Unfortunately, I am missing a sock. I’m hoping it turns up in someone else’s laundry tomorrow, as there was another load put in right after mine.

After chores, we hung out some more and I was able to resolve my audiobook issue. We set up our tents on the lawn behind the store, then we got dinner and huckleberry pie at the diner. After dinner, it was time to crawl into our tents. We put our next to each other so we could talk and we did until 10 pm! I couldn’t believe we were up so late, but it was time to sleep. I’m hiking out tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to this next section of trail!

​Day 141: mile 2185.7 to mile 2211.8

9.3.18. 26.1 miles.

I woke up this morning pretty groggily to my alarm. I was in the middle of a dream when it woke me, which is always disorienting in real life, but seems even more so when on trail!

I packed my things up, and it was already surprisingly warm (by PNW standards). I began the rest of the climb, which was about 2,000 more feet to go in 6ish miles. I had some phone service at the top, and needed to lodge a complaint about my Harry Potter audiobook. There were huge swaths of the audio missing! I was so bummed when it skipped a whole chapter last night that I couldn’t listen on, even though I’ve read these books loads of times. Hopefully they will sort it out. After the climb, I descended to a spring to fill water, running into Patches & Rob, and then Excel & company showed up. I ran into all of them again at the dirt road/ trailhead 2.5 miles later. I was excited to use the pit toilet and continue my streak of not digging a cat hole yet in Washington.

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Having already done 12 miles, and since there were picnic tables, I decided to just eat lunch here and do a longer afternoon. I didn’t really take that long of a break, under an hour, before getting up and hiking again. My next destination was Blue Lake, where I needed to fill up on water. But I had a decent climb in between that. I put on podcasts to listen to, and pretty quickly into my hike I was stopped by day hikers in front of me who were walking trail angels! They gave me a 6pack of Oreos and a Starbucks via! Truly angels, since I was pretty hungry later on in the day, and ate the rest of my daily allotted snacks AND the Oreos.

After a pretty exposed finally push to the top of the climb, I started descending to Blue Lake, a beautiful lake where I didn’t get any good pictures. I did filter water, take a short break, and rinse my dirty socks. I only grabbed enough water to get me about 4 miles to the last water of the day. I also had an interesting animal encounter here! I was filtering my water on a stump when I heard something that I assumed was a squirrel scurrying up a tree trunk. But when I looked over, it was HUGE, had a very long body and tail and it’s face looked like a fox. We stared at each other for a good 10 seconds before it took off again. Idk what it was. A pine marten maybe?

Hit 2,200 miles today!

Hit 2,200 miles today!

The trail undulated up & down to the next water source, and I got more water, and I also decided to cold soak my ramen tonight instead of cooking it, bc I thought I might get to camp a little late.

There weren’t a ton of tentsites listed on guthooks, but there were a couple of comments about potential unlisted spots. I decided to just hike until I found something decent. I found a nice cleared spot about 1.7 miles before the spot I originally anticipated going to, so I decided to stop early and have a relaxing evening. It got cold fast, so I quickly changed into my baselayers and did my evening chores while eating my cold ramen in my quilt. Trout Lake tomorrow!

Day 140: mile 2159.9 to mile 2185.7

9.2.18. 25.8 miles.

I woke up naturally at 5:30 this morning, though tried to make myself sleep a little more, until starting to get ready at 5:50. I was hiking by 6:30, and the sun was rising through the trees. It was a little chilly this morning, so I put on the new layer I sent to myself at Cascade Locks: a thermal weight hooded Patagonia base layer with a quarter zip. I figured this would be good for moving warmth and to sleep in if it was really cold. It did well, though I was hiking uphill soon enough and I needed to take it off bc I was also in the sun.

Mt. Saint Helens & Rainier!

Mt. Saint Helens & Rainier!

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams

I had an amazing view pretty early on of Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams, AND Mt. Rainier. I couldn’t believe I could see Rainier, and I teared up seeing that mountain. To explain how much I love that mountain is a long story, but I’ve basically been infatuated with it ever since moving to Seattle for college. UW has a walkway called “Rainier Vista” which is a beautiful tree-lined pathway with a large fountain at the bottom. Some of the most beautiful buildings on campus flank this path, and the most grand sight of all: Mt. Rainier looms large over the scene. I always knew it would be a good day if I could see the mountain. Every time I saw it, I would get a flutter of excitement and happiness in my chest. The view simply never got old, even though I looked at it almost every day for 4 years. So, seeing Rainier this morning got me quite emotional. I really felt like I was in Washington.

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After a little bit of uphill, there was a long descent. I passed by Excel, DHS, Jinx, and Twinkle Toes in their tents still, and continued down the hill. Next, was a steep climb up. Washington has not been warmly welcoming. It is very different than Oregon. We’re back to long, steep ascents and descents. There was a stream in the middle of the climb, where I stopped to fill up water and eat a snack. Once at the top of the climb, I ate lunch on a dirt road where I had service. After lunch, I went right back down. These miles seemed to take forever. I’m usually pretty sluggish after lunch, and you know it’s bad if downhill and flat miles seem to take forever. However, I did cover good ground, it just didn’t feel like it. I stopped at a river to filter a little water and I soaked my feet, scrubbed the dirt off my ankles, and rinsed a pair of socks. It was only 2.5 miles until the next water source, but I was out of water, and I figured I’d fill up for dinner at the next river, since there was a huge climb after the last source.

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Before the next river, I stopped at a forest service campground to use the pit toilet and throw away some trash, before going along to the river and filtering more water. I ran into the crew there, and also Sprinkles and her partner, Burps. I haven’t seen them since around the Shasta area! It was nice to run into them and catch up. Burps wasn’t feeling too well. I hope he gets better soon! After filling up on water, where a ton of people happened to be, and late in the day, it was kind of a race to the campsites along the climb. You always know when there’s people congregated at a water source towards the end of the day, you’re going to by vying for spots with these people. I was the last to leave the water, and after a steep 1,600 ft ascent in 3.5 miles, I was the last to arrive at the first tent site. Luckily, I was able to squeeze my tent in a spot next to the dirt road. Patches and her dad were also at this site! It was nice to talk to them again. I got to camp around 7:30, and I realized that’s just too late now that I’m cooking dinners again. It gets dark so fast now, and I’d like to be done with dinner when it’s still light out.

Day 139: Cascade Locks to mile 2159.9

9.1.18. 13.1 miles.

I woke up early this morning, probably bc I went to bed so much earlier than my other days in town. I was still exhausted though, and tried to go back to sleep. Eventually I got up and went to breakfast at Bridgeside for the last time. After that, I went back to the hotel to finish packing, and to patch up the hole in my tent mesh that I failed to do my other days in town. I turned the tv on and discovered a Harry Potter marathon was happening, so I happily watched that while sewing up the hole. I was sad that I needed to hike out today instead of enjoying the HP marathon and laying in bed. I had until 12 to check out and took every minute of that time.

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At 12, I messaged a young woman who follows me on Instagram. She lives in Portland and wanted to come out and meet me, as she wants to hike the PCT. I told her she was welcome to meet me in Cascade Locks and hike into Washington with me! So she met up with me, and quickly drove me to the grocery store as my waterbottle had grown mold, something I just noticed this morning right before checking out. We parked again and then walked up to the Bridge of the Gods, and I walked into Washington!

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Marissa was so sweet and so game to hike a little with me, even though the walk across the bridge with tons of cars was a little unnerving. Marissa took my picture with the bridge, and then we continued to the trail. We hiked about 3 miles together, and she was able to ask me many questions about the hike and my motivations and about hiking solo and fears involved there. She was awesome, and I can’t wait until she hikes the trail herself! Social media can bring people together!

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As I was saying goodbye to Marissa, DHS, Excel, Twinkle Toes, and Jinx showed up and we all talked, and then a bee randomly stung me on my inner thigh and it hurt so much, and still does as I’m writing this in my tent tonight. I was laughing a little bc I know Butters was also stung right as she entered Washington, as well as another hiker who I follow on insta. Excel showed me her now bruised thigh where a bee stung her as well. I just couldn’t believe I had also gotten stung upon entering WA, where there were hardly any bees, when I had managed to escape NorCal, which was swarming with them. Oh well.

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After saying goodbye to Marissa, the real uphill started, and it was pretty brutal. It was pretty steep in places and unrelenting. I stopped for a break at the last water source for 12 miles and filtered enough water for hiking and cooking. I got my stove back for Washington, so needed to take cooking water into account again!

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Finally, after many hours, I stopped climbing and descended a bit to the place I’m camped tonight. I’m happy I made it this far during that climb. It was definitely not fun with a fully loaded pack and lots of water. I can already feel that my hips and chest/ shoulders are more tender than usual. 

Day 138: Cascade Locks/ Hood River Zero

8.31.18. 0 miles.

I woke up relatively early for how late I went to bed last night, and went over to Bridgeside to eat breakfast. After that, I went back to my room and started putting my resupply boxes together. I was getting through them fine until I realized I had bought too much food. I had forgot that I wasn’t going to send something to Stevens Pass bc they only do UPS/ Fedex delivery and those stores did not exist in Cascade Locks. So, on another whim, I decided that the extra food was too valuable to not send it along, and decided to go to Hood River to send a box via UPS. While I was there, I figured I’d buy some more food to make the box to Stevens worth it, so I went to the store, then UPS to send my box. I had to take the same shuttle to Hood River as I did Portland, but Hood River was closer. The town was very charming, and they had a nice $1 shuttle bus that made it easy for me to get around. I only had time to go to the store and UPS, then I was back in the shuttle to Cascade Locks. Before going back to my hotel, I grabbed a burger, fries, and the largest soft serve cone in the world.

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I was thoroughly tired from my busy two days when I got back, that I just crawled into bed in my room, and watched tv and relaxed. Eventually, I ventured over next door to grab dinner to bring back to my room, and I ran into Easy Company, Queso, Reverse Pigeon, and Kool Aid. I chatted with them for a bit, but I was so foggy and tired I really couldn’t hold a conversation for long, and bid them good night (it was 5 pm) and walked back to my room. I ate a little while later while watching Impractical Jokers, called my mom & Allison, and fell asleep.

Day 137: Cascade Locks/ Portland Zero

8.30.18. 0 miles.

I slept in this morning, laying in bed until 8. The hotel had breakfast vouchers for the diner next door, Bridgeside, so I meandered over there to eat. After breakfast, I went back to my room and started organizing and counting my food from care packages and my partial resupply box. After that, I went over to the local grocery store to buy my resupply for all of Washington. I was pretty disappointed, however, about the lack of options. I knew I couldn’t resupply fully out of this store. There were things I really wanted that they didn’t have. Frustrated, I left the store with a partial resupply, went to the Post Office to grab boxes & check if my package from Katy showed up, and with some more digging, they found the package.

I went back to the hotel and looked at my still long list of groceries I needed, and had an idea. Why not go to Portland to finish grocery shopping, and also eat some of my favorite foods? I looked at the shuttle online and found out there was one leaving really soon, so I grabbed my things and my empty backpack and ran to the bus stop. It only took about 1 hour to get there by the shuttle, and soon I was in Portland! While on the shuttle, I discovered amazing news: the Northern Terminus had reopened! My spirits were lifted so much. I had been dreading trying to make a decision about what to do about the closure. Now I know I still get to walk to Canada on the PCT! The shuttle dropped me off on the east side, so I needed to hop on the light rail system to get downtown. I immediately went to Blue Star Donuts to grab a few donuts, Whole Foods to get some goodies, and then went to Safeway to finish my shopping. I stopped by REI to get some Nuun tabs and replace a couple tent stakes, then took an Uber to Salt & Straw to get ice cream! Yum. I realized however, when I was trying to plan my trip back that there were no more shuttles to Cascade Locks for the day. Crap. I had read the schedule all wrong. Immediately, I texted Patches bc I knew her and her dad had a rental car and were going into Portland to shop. Thankfully, she responded and said I could of course get a ride with them back to Cascade Locks in the evening. Thank goodness too, since I would have been screwed if they couldn’t. Feeling better about my situation, I went and got some Thai food, then walked back downtown, got a PSL from Starbucks, then stopped by Grassa, a great Italian place to grab a pasta to eat later for dinner.

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Still needing to kill time before meeting up with Patches, I walked over to Patagonia and browsed, while an aspiring PCT thru-hiker noticed my hiker vibes and asked if I was hiking the trail, and we talked for a while about the trail. I then ventured over to the Montbell store, wanting to try on a few items, and ended up buying some lighter weight liner gloves, waterproof mitts, and a balaclava to replace my beanie that never could stay on my head well. After the shopping, I took an Uber across the river to where I was meeting up with Patches and Macro, at a pub where Macro was meeting a friend from when he lived in Portland. His friend was sooo nice and welcoming of us. After chatting for a while and everyone else eating their dinner, we finally left, and I drove back to Cascade Locks with Patches and her dad, thanking them eternally for saving my butt out here. When I got back to my room, I totally crashed, but not before eating my pasta and a couple of the donuts I bought.

Day 136: mile 2130.3 to Cascade Locks

8.29.18. 16.5 miles.

I didn’t set an alarm again this morning, just planning on waking up whenever. I did hear stirring, which I found out when I woke up was Macro and Patches moving about. I got ready pretty quickly and was soon hiking.

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Unfortunately I took a bit of a detour, accidentally hiking uphill on a side trail instead of the PCT. I went to the bathroom and then backtracked to the PCT.

There was a decent amount of incline in the morning, mostly through a nice grassy forest. The undulating up & down lasted for about half of the miles for the day, and then the long descent to Cascade Locks began. I stopped pretty quickly into the downhill to grab some water from a spring since I still had a decent amount of miles to walk to town. A really loud, annoying group of boys that were blaring their music over a wireless speaker came up behind me and also sat down to filter water. At least they turned the music off when they saw me. I don’t really understand why people blast their music out here. I don’t care if you listen to music, but put headphones in. Blasting music out loud is against Leave No Trace ethics, something many PCT hikers could use a course in before beginning the trail, but I digress.

I finished filtering and took off downhill. It was about 8 miles to town. I walked through a lot of burned area, from the fires that devastated the Gorge last year. There was some regrowth in some areas, but it was mostly just dead trees and dirt. The further down the trail I got though, the less fire impacts were seen. The trail was very, very rocky and steep in many portions, making this descent not very fun, and it took longer than normal to keep my footing secure.

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I reached a footbridge with 2 miles to go until town and saw Macro and Patches sitting by the water. They too were exhausted. We complained a little about how the descent was so mentally & physically taxing. I was so tired and hungry, but I just wanted to get to town so I walked on. Those last 2 miles were again undulating trail with random steep uphill sections, and they seemed to go on forever, until I finally reached a gravel road and followed the signs to the Bridge of the Gods. I stayed on the Oregon side of the bridge, and stared in awe of it. I couldn’t believe I was finally here! I had walked the length of 2 states, and I couldn’t believe I was looking at Washington across the river, at last.

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After admiring my accomplishment, I walked down under the bridge to town, which is practically on the PCT. I went straight to a diner that had loaded hot dogs and milkshakes and ate some lunch. After sitting there for a while eating and on my phone, I decided to call the hotel I was going to stay at and see if I could add an extra night to my stay. I originally planned on camping this first night, but when I got to town I just really wanted to relax. Thankfully, they had an opening, so once I got off the phone with them, I went to the post office, right next door to the diner, and got my packages. I had a package from myself that I had shipped from Ashland, and care packages from my mom, Pammy & her mom, and Katy. The PO couldn’t find Katy’s package, so I left and texted Katy trying to get some more info about when/ how it was sent.

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After that, I went to the hotel and checked in, went up to my room, and collapsed on the sofa. I opened my boxes, called my mom, pulled all my clothes out, took a shower, and did my laundry. This all seemed to take forever though, as I was really just wanting to relax. I had texted Patches about getting dinner later, but we both fell through on that, both of us being full from lunch still and us doing chores, and she reuniting with her dad who came to join her for Washington.

I eventually fell asleep after finishing my laundry and watching an episode of Bachelor in Paradise.

Day 135: mile 2106.8 to mile 2130.3

8.28.18. 23.5 miles.

Today ended up being a pretty chill day, and I hiked a surprisingly small amount of miles for having a full day on trail. My alarm went off at 5:30, but I went back to sleep and started getting ready around 6, and was hiking by 6:45. I camped near a junction last night that is an alternate to the popular Ramona Falls, a waterfall I’ve been wanting to see for a long time! The alternate and waterfall were beautiful, and I’m happy I did it.

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Next it was a super steep climb up the mountain, the last steep climb in Oregon! Not that there were too many. The sun was streaming through the trees in a really pretty way. The trees really have been spectacular. They’re so massive and old, and the forest just smells SO good and the air is SO fresh. After the climb there was downhill, but a lot of rollercoaster up & down. I finally got some great views of Mt. Hood since it was a clear day. There was more up/ down, but mostly up to my lunch spot for the day, 14.5 miles in. I laid out all of my gear since there was some sun: tent, quilt, and pad to dry out and everything did! Patches, a hiker I’ve met so many times, ate lunch with me and she was so nice! We have lots in common and it was nice to have a good convo with someone on trail.

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As happens most of the time in the afternoon, I was suddenly beat, and hiking seemed hard, even though I ate a ton of food at lunch to lower my pack weight, and was only carrying a liter of water. I was thriving on the sugar of skittles towards the end. I originally wanted to go a little further, but when I got to the Wahtum Lake campsite, Patches, Macro, and Party Hal were there so I thought it would be nice to finish early and hang out with them instead of forcing myself to hike more and camp alone. I’m trying to socialize with other hikers more. Sometimes since I’ve been solo, I get into a really solo groove and do everything alone, but sometimes it’s nice to hang out at camp and chill and talk with other hikers.

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I honestly can’t believe I’m getting to Cascade Locks tomorrow and will finish Oregon. So crazy!

Day 134: Timberline Lodge to mile 2106.8

8.27.18. 9.9 miles.

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Last night was very stormy indeed. I woke up multiple times to gusty wind and would lie and listen to the rain splattering on my tent. Good thing I got to sleep in, at least, and not have to pack up my sopping wet tent in the dark. I debated for a bit about what to do in the morning. It wasn’t raining anymore, and the sun was starting to come out, but my tent was under dripping wet trees. I figured it wouldn’t get the chance to dry as long as it was under the trees, so I completely packed up, put all of my “need to stay dry” things into the pack liner, and everything else on top of that, and shoved my wet and dirty tent in the outside pocket.

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I was finally ready for the wonderful buffet breakfast! I walked back down to the lodge and sat in the dining room for 2.5 hours eating. Everything was delicious. The biscuits & gravy were so good, and there were homemade sausage patties that were just amazing. I got full almost instantly, and was never really hungry for the rest of the day, though I forced myself to eat my hiking food so I wouldn’t have extra weight to carry.

just a small amount of my breakfast

just a small amount of my breakfast

After eating, I sat down in the lobby area near another hiking couple: Whoppie and Spellcheck. I hadn’t met them before, but they were really nice and we talked for a while. They got a room at the lodge for tonight so they were just lounging around. They watched my stuff for me while I went to the gift shop across the parking lot to pick up my resupply box. When I finished with that, I organized my food and pulled some things out of my pack to sort of air out/ dry. I was kind of hidden in a corner, so I didn’t look too disgusting doing this to the average hotel guest.

The clearing clouds

The clearing clouds

I used the internet and called my parents, and was having just a really hard time getting up and going. It was warm inside and I didn’t really want to go back out to the chilly outside. The sun was peeking through, but it was still cold.

Mt. Hood hiding

Mt. Hood hiding

Finally, I got hiking at 4, and hiked the majority of the afternoon with a hiker I’ve been leapfrogging with a lot since Big Lake: Party Hal. He’s pretty nice. We were both headed to the same camp area, near the alternate to Ramona Falls. The hike was mostly downhill in the trees, though there were supposed to be nice views of Mt. Hood occasionally, but the mountain was fogged in. There were some nice views of the green hills in the distance. I got to camp around 7:30 and set all my things up. My tent is still wet, but hopefully it will dry out a little tonight, and hopefully there will be some sun at lunch tomorrow so I can really lay all of my stuff out to dry. There is a large group of weekenders here, and it’s 9 pm and they haven’t shut up yet. Hopefully they go to bed soon. There’s also someone smoking nearby, probably those same people, which is not what I want to smell while going to sleep. Ugh.

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Day 133: mile 2069.4 to Timberline Lodge

8.26.18. 27.5 miles.

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I woke up this morning to a very wet tent. I don’t know if it rained overnight, but it was at least really drizzly. Again, I had to shake off my tent and just kind of fold it up instead of really putting it away.

I feel so important!

I feel so important!

It was cold this morning, but not as bad as yesterday. I hiked with my rain jacket all day long, but didn’t need my rain pants for the first part of the day. It was nice, easy hiking in the morning, through lots of trees and included a side trip to Little Crater Lake, a spring-fed lake that is super clear and very blue. It was very cloudy this morning so it was hard to really see the color though. There was also tons of horse poop on trail, which really bothered me today. I felt like I was dodging it most of the time.

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I reached a highway where there was a picnic table at the trailhead, and decided to eat lunch there. Here I needed to put my rain pants on to stay warm since I wasn’t moving anymore. Bjorn, a hiker I’d been leapfrogging with, joined me and we ate and talked.

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I only had 10 miles to Timberline Lodge, less than usual for the afternoon. The first 5 miles were a gradual hike up then down to another highway, and after this, the trail was just completely uphill and got steeper. I could tell it was lightly raining, but it wasn’t so bad while I was still under treeline. Once I broke treeline, however, the fog was so heavy, I could barely see in front of me, and the wind was whipping like crazy, blowing rain everywhere, especially onto my glasses, making it even more difficult to see. I finally got to the camping area after a long slog through wet sand to the top of the climb. It was more sheltered up there, but still really windy and rainy.

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I quickly set up my already wet tent, threw some dry things inside my tent, then went down to the Lodge, which I couldn’t see bc of the fog, to warm up. I met some hikers inside and ended up eating pizza with Bjorn as we lamented going back out into the storm to sleep. We eventually left the lodge, and I guided some other hikers who hadn’t set their tent up yet to the camping area. I immediately hopped into my tent, happy I wasn’t soaking wet anymore, and set up my sleeping pad and quilt, changed into my baselayers, and snuggled up. I can tell it’s going to be a long night.

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​Day 132: mile 2040.2 to mile 2069.4

8.25.18. 29.2 miles.

It was so cold when I woke up this morning, I really didn’t want to get out of my quilt! I didn’t realize how cold it was until I accidentally touched the top of my tent and felt ice on the inside, and once I’d finally packed up, I discovered that the whole of my tent was covered in frost. It definitely feels like fall is moving in. Cold mornings, evenings, and nights, cooler and shorter days.

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I had a quick 5 miles to Ollalie Lake, where I didn’t really need to stop, but since it was cold, kind of wanted a coffee, so I stopped in for about a half hour. The lake is in the national forest and the store there is very bare bones, cash only, no electricity. It’s a fishing lake with a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson.

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After Ollalie, there weren’t really any views the rest of the day. I had a moderate climb right after the lake, and I saw a coyote cross the trail near the top, and then I descended down a bit to where I took lunch near a spring. I tried to dry out all of my things, especially my tent, and had decent success, though it was covered in dirt that stuck to it from the dampness. I felt a few rain drops and quickly put my quilt back in my pack, but they didn’t last. Even so, I finished eating and packed up my things. It was cold sitting still, so I swapped my puffy for rain jacket as I got hiking again. It took me quite a while to warm back up, even though I was going uphill. I didn’t take it off until the clouds cleared and there was sunshine to warm me up. I stopped for a bathroom break near the top of the climb, and much later realized that I regrettably left my pee rag near where I went. I’m sorry for littering!! I didn’t realize I had lost it until about 5 miles later.

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After the climb, I descended until a river where I needed to get water for dinner and the night, then had another climb, this one much steeper than the other 2 of the day, but shorter. Once I reached the top, I just had a little bit left until camp. It was getting cold again, and there was no sunshine, just clouds.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow a lot! Should be pretty, and I can’t wait to see Little Crater Lake and get to Timberline Lodge at the end of the day!

Day 131: mile 2014.8 to mile 2040.2

8.24.18. 25.4 miles.

Brrr. It was very cold this morning. I woke up around 1 am and realized that the mesh on my tent door was damp and I could hear water splattering on my tent. I closed the one door that was open to fully close my tent, shoved my clothes into the foot box, and turned off my alarm. I knew I wasn’t going to want to get ready until the sun came up with this weather. I woke up naturally at 5:45 and started getting ready. It was still very cold, and there was so much fog. I realized after a while that I don’t think it actually rained, because the trail wasn’t very wet, but I was just in a very large cloud.

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I started hiking just before 7. The trail rollercoastered around through some burn area, some beautiful trees, and up onto the ridge line where I finally got out of the clouds and saw them clearing. And those wet clouds brought the smoke away too! I haven’t seen such a clear blue sky in so long. Even though I was freezing, the morning was absolutely gorgeous. The clearing clouds, the blue sky, the smell of wet trees. Amazing. And I hadn’t even seen the views of Mt. Jefferson yet.

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When I did, I could believe my eyes. The mountain was just so beautiful! I haven’t seen a volcano so clearly yet on this hike bc of all the smoke. Everything was just perfect. I took a lot of time staring at the mountain, taking pictures, and watching the clouds roll under and over it. I was relieved to find out that even as I kept hiking, I kept getting different angles of the mountain. So I kept stopping for more pictures and admiring time. I also ran into a ranger an she checked my permit. My first time having it checked! She was really nice and we chatted for a while before I moved along, too cold to stay still for long. I’d been wearing my rain jacket and pants all morning, and didn’t take them off until the bottom of a long descent down to a beautifully clear creek.

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Next was the big ascent for the day, and possibly the most prolonged/ steep climb in all of Oregon? Half of it was through a burn area, where I took my lunch much later than usual next to a creek, and the rest was a beautiful climb through Jefferson Park, where Mt. Jefferson looked so different, looking at the north side of the mountain.

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Once at the top of the climb, I had my first views of Mt. Hood in the distance, rising above the clouds. I had a long descent down the climb, and eventually made it to camp around 7:30. It was a cool evening too, and I needed to put my rain jacket back on a few miles out from the campsite bc I was pretty chilled. I’m happy I sent a warmer moving layer to cascade locks. I think I’ll need it for Washington.

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​Day 130: Big Lake Youth Camp to mile 2014.8

8.23.18. 19.7 miles.

I didn’t go to bed until well after dark last night. It was cool bc I finally got to see some stars. Not so many though bc the moon is almost full. The smoke really blew in overnight though. I could barely make out the trees across the lake. I slept in again, as there was no rush to hurry up since breakfast wasn’t served until 8. I slowly got ready and went back up to the hiker building, charged my things that I used, braided my hair, got some free coffee, and waited until we could get breakfast. Which ended up being more around 9. This camp is all vegetarian, so I had biscuits & gravy, fake bacon, fresh pineapple, Frosted Flakes, and toast. The fake eggs didn’t look appetizing at all. I really am not a fan of any type of buffet-style eggs. I hate looking at them in the warming dish.

Only 650 miles left!

Only 650 miles left!

Three-Fingered Jack (I believe) in the smoke

Three-Fingered Jack (I believe) in the smoke

view of wasco lake

view of wasco lake

After eating breakfast, I re-organized my pack, and was finally off around 10:30. The hiking was super slow going at first, even though the terrain was pretty flat. I took a break at the 2,000 mile marker (!!) bc I was tired. When I reached the Santiam Pass trailhead only a mile later, I took another mini bathroom break. Then the first climb started. About 1,800 feet over 7 miles, so it was gradual, but felt never-ending. At the bottom of the descent after the climb, I filled up in water at a pond in a burn area, and started cold soaking my dinner. It was already 4 pm, and I knew that I was running out of steam. I set my sights on camping at Rockpile Lake, at the top of the next climb, instead of pushing any further. That turned out to be a good decision bc I was getting hungry by the time I got there, and I was getting cold too! The wind had picked up, which seems to be a theme recently. The lake and camp area is really nice. I got some water, washed my feet and legs, set up my tent and hopped in for the night.

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I was feeling less than motivated today, but I think we’re mostly out of the burn areas now, and the next few days should be really beautiful.