August 5, 2014
Start: Halfmile 2155.0
End: Halfmile 2185.0
Distance: 30.0 Mi
Cumulative: 2,225.0 Mi
Tough day, but I wouldn’t change an inch. So beautiful. And so nice to finally be back out here. Today marked my last 5-day carry, which means this is the heaviest my pack will be the rest of the trip. Small victories.
Saw tons of bear scat on the trail today. And a sign reminding me that this is Cougar Country. Lovely, Garfield returns. Looking forward to hopefully seeing more wildlife the next few weeks. More, and different, that is. Good place for it, Washington.
I keep hearing about fires burning up north. Guess it’s the start of fire season here. Nothing currently affecting the trail so far as I know. Hopefully that remains the case for a few more short weeks. At this point, I’ll do what I gotta do to maintain a continuous walking path. Road walks for days, if need-be. The only thing that could break my spirit at this point is if they close and re-route around the border monument. No whammy, no whammy!
I ran into an over-50 hiking club from Vancouver, WA today. They were so nice – and totally pumped on my trip! They asked if I needed anything: “Nope, I’m all set. Carrying more than I need as it is, but thank you!” It’s neat how people are sometimes so fascinated and instantly impressed when you tell them you’re a thru-hiker. I walked here from Mexico! It’s almost like being a (really, really) minor celebrity. I love chatting with folks who are interested in the trip. Tonight, I’m camped at Trout Creek near some weekend warriors. Jesse, Alex, and Stephanie invited me over for a beer and a chat. Jesse is interested in thru-hiking. So many questions. Loved the chatter, and the company.
I’m feeling like a greenhorn tonight, the inevitable effect of taking nearly a week off. Huge climb out of the Gorge took its toll. Thirty miles of stout ups and downs, as expected. Sore and aching. Hoping for a quick recovery time, as per my namesake. Stopped earlier than I was planning today to aid in that process. Originally shooting for 35 miles, but this spot was too nice to pass up – and I’m beat. Expecting to feel fresh and strong in the morning.
August 6, 2014
Start: Halfmile 2185.0
End: Halfmile 2214.0
Distance: 29.0 Mi
Cumulative: 2,254.0 Mi
Had hoped to head out by 6a, but snoozed until 830a instead. I needed the rest. Felt fantastic today, fully refreshed and ready to go. Ah yes, feeling like a seasoned thru-hiker again. Good as new.
I would’ve gotten even more sleep, but a mouse chewed through the side wall of my tent last night. The crinkling woke me up around 1130p. I was disoriented, so it took me a minute to realize what was happening. Eff! He’d already gotten through and was stealing my M&M’s. Of all my food, NOT MY M&M’s! I got up and chased him away, enraged. He was hopping around, scurrying in and out of the brush. Certainly not a permanent solution; certainly he’d be back. Oh god, I just wanna sleep. I packed the food bags in my backpack and plugged the hole with a bandana. Good enough, I thought as I hoped for the best.
Yes, I sleep with my food. I usually use it as a pillow. I’ve been doing so for over 2,200 miles. This is my first issue, but it’s been a long time coming. I knew the risk. Not planning to change my system unless this becomes a trend. Besides, this is the purpose of Tenacious Tape. Patched this bad boy at lunch today. Hashtagfirstworldproblem.
Honestly, the worst part is that he contaminated a huge bag of peanut butter and pretzel M&M’s. I was so looking forward to those. I’ll never forgive him. Who knows what kind of diseases he’s carrying and might transmit via his saliva. Now I’m carrying dead weight – and possibly Hantavirus – in my pack. Hm, appetizing. I don’t like M&M’s that much.
I was pretty peeved the entire morning, then I reminded myself that I’m an uninvited visitor in his home. How rude of me not to offer. Can’t blame him for his sweet tooth; we’ve got that in common.
August 7, 2014
Start: Halfmile 2214.0
End: Halfmile 2237.5
Distance: 23.5 Mi
Cumulative: 2,277.5 Mi
Arriving in Trout Lake today was like coming home.
Pretty easy hiking most of the day, despite the ups and downs. Gorgeous tread. I was cruising right along until I got stung in the face by- something. I dunno what it was. He just flew right at me, landed in my eye, then stung me high on my right cheek. The whole thing transpired in a split second. I stumbled and nearly fell, dropping my trekking poles and flushing him out viciously with both hands. The bite site turned red and swelled immediately. It freakin’ hurt too. Rotten little jerk. But wait- I’m the intruder. That reality makes it easier to forgive. Besides, it’s just a little discomfort. No real harm.
Staying with Brendan and his family tonight. Steak for dinner. Soccer after. Then ice cream. Now movie night: Divergent. Gonna sleep in a bed and hit the trail refreshed in the morning. Goat Rocks soon. Yeah, my life is hard. So hard.