I manage to be awake by 7, if under protest – there’s bed to be enjoyed, for goodness’s sake. Pineapple calls a bit of a reprieve, first for coffee, then for breakfast, then for… sitting around? Okay, I guess – it gives me more time to catch up on stuff – but then it comes out that she was waiting around on me. Girl, you’re running this show, I was only planning on doing 18-odd miles today. Ambition leads. Of course, she says let’s go and I still have to go grab water and, apparently, use the toilet one last time, but then it’s in the car and off with Gary to the trailhead.
There’s construction there this morning, because apparently there are certain days of the week on which people work; I’m nervous that I won’t be able to connect my footsteps. Pineapple refuses to do the roadwalk after her experience two days ago, so we drive through and drop Pineapple where the trail becomes a trail again. I’ll catch her later. I shyly ask Gary if we can ask the construction folks if I can walk the road past them; he has to go back that way anyway, so sure. The worker we ask laughs at my stubbornness, first internally, then externally, but says yes. Gary drops me just past the trail with hugs and well-wishes, and then it’s onward through the construction site.
The workers are friendly, smiling when I smile and nod at them; the gentleman I asked if I could walk through gets a wave, and I get a wave in response. Then I hit the actual trail, and it’s onward – and upward. I pass Tarzan pretty much immediately; he passes me almost immediately thereafter. Maybe I’ll see him again, maybe not.
Four and a bit miles in, it’s past the Pilot Rock trailhead, to a nice view of Pilot Rock:
I’m getting my fill of rad volcanic formations.
The hike itself is nice today, beautiful and rolling, but goodness gracious me is it hot out. My brain refuses to imagine how hot it is down there in the valley, and it starts to miss civilization with its air conditioning. Still, wouldn’t trade it for the views.
There’s water right around the ten-mile mark today, and also, turns out, a shitload of wasps. Tarzan’s nearby, curled up in the shade, eating, and I need a break; I was planning on cooking here – my first hot meal on trail – but the wasps are too many for comfort and, as per usual, they have zero chill. I grab some water – enough to make it to the source that’s two miles ahead – before I roll on along, leaving Tarzan to his midday nap.
At the next source, I get enough water to dry camp – I’m not sure I’m going to the Hyatt Lake Outlet like Pineapple is; I’m just going to see how I feel, see what time it is. The walking is slow going – I’m trying hard to make miles, but my pack is town-heavy, and it’s sweltering out. I turn on The Read, try to get into it, but am routinely brought back to myself every time I take a drink and sweat pulsates out of my pores.
Part of the trail is collapsed through here – I climb through over around trees in the way, and find myself satisfied with the performance of my brand new Altra Lone Peak 3.0s. So nice to have tread again.
The landscape’s all rolly polly – never too difficult, which is nice, given the heat.
I reach the camp I was gonna stop at – a mile before Pineapple’s camp – at 7:30, but it sucks – nothing flat and lonely, so lonely. I know I can make Pineapple’s camp by 8, so I haul and manage to catch her as we approach the water.
I set up to eat my first hot meal, to much
trial and error – first, I put the setup on a wobbly surface, and then, I try to boil much too much water, and I’m too stubborn and/or stupid to pour any out. Still, I feel pretty triumphant while I eat my slightly-watery mac and cheese with extra parmesean and salt. It’s a learning curve, I guess. I nosh on cookies to fill me full to bursting before packing everything up and crawling into my tent.
It’s still super warm out, but I know it won’t last – I’m struck by the fact that I’m in Oregon, with less than a thousand miles to go; this experience, as long as it’s taking me, is fleeting. I try hard to enjoy the evening settling around us as the sound of the reservoir lulls me to sleep.
Day: August 18 • Start: 1716.2 • End: 1738.7 • Day: 22.5
Notable Accomplishments: Ripped the town bandaid off • Drank enough water • Ended up going the distance with Pineapple