August 1st, 2018
Mm 2190.5 to mm 2162
Distance: 28.5 miles
It was a great night of sleep, on which we all agreed. It was very quiet, right up until the 0430 alarm. I made oatmeal and took my time sipping coffee, so I was on the trail later at 0545. We had another 28 plus mile day planned, but with such early starts, there’s plenty of time.
I shortly caught up to Spatz and then Skybird. She wanted to go slow all day to nurse an inflamed tendon in her foot. I slowed down to chat for awhile but resumed my normal pace after the first creek we came to, Panther Creek.
The trail had gone down all morning and then traveled through a flat-ish area with lots of roads, farms, and houses. The surrounding forest also took on more of a rainforest feel with plenty of moss and ferns. I felt like I was back in NZ.
At some point on this day, I might have passed Anish. She’s a bit of a celebrity thru-hiker, with multiple fastest-known-times on long trails, and is going for her triple triple crown. She is trying to do all three long hikes in one calendar year! Her days are typically 40 miles long, back to back to back. I wish I could have gotten to meet her but she was probably moving too fast for me to even see her go by.
I took an early lunch break at a creek, then began a 2000′ slog up a mountain, only to go right back down again. I reached Rock Creek around 1630 to find quite a few others already camped there. I tanked up on water and couldn’t resist a swim in a deep pool. It was great and I even saw some fish in there.
Then I was climbing again, this time with about 7 lbs of water. I went uphill for another 2000′ and 4 miles. I finally got to the campsite around 1830 and found a place just big enough for my small tent. There were two girls and a regular sized tent taking up the rest of the site.
I hadn’t seen my 2 trail buddies since the early morning and wondered if they would try to stick to the plan or just camp earlier. I felt bad that I had taken the last spot at the site but you just never know what you’re going to find up the trail. The later you go, the more at risk you are of finding a site all full. We are also getting pretty close to a major city (Portland), so there are a lot of people out for short trips. Lots more NOBO’s and city-dwellers spells ‘crowded.’ Usually I don’t worry about finding a spot for just me but it’s a lot harder finding a spot for 3 tents.
Sure enough, around 2030, Sky and Spatz got to the campsite. All I could do is shake my head. They were in good spirits and ok with just going ahead another mile or two to the next potential site. I found out that Spatz had gotten a migraine in the morning and laid on the side of the trail suffering for hours. We had just been discussing the topic since I had gotten a bad one at Trout Lake. But I have prescription medicine for dealing with mine and all he had was advil. Again, I felt bad because had I been around, I could have given him some of my meds to clear the headache. At least he had recovered and still managed to hike over 30 miles. Thru-hikers are tough.