0 In North America/ Oregon (USA)/ Pacific Crest Trail/ Washington (USA)

PCT 2018 Days 130-144

Day 130

Miles: 60!!!!

Health: Surprisingly, fairly good!

Currently reading: Un-Ashamed & The Devil in Pew Number Seven

Wow, wow, wow! What a crazy day and night! Let me start from the very beginning.

So, on trail, there are different “challenges” you can attempt if you so choose just to shake things up. You can pack out and eat only McDonalds for a week, you can pack out and drink a six pack in a day etc. The only challenge I was really interested in was the 24 hour challenge. Basically you just hike for 24 hours straight (breaking only to drink water, eat, and pee) and see how many miles you can get. I thought this would be a good thing to pass the time while Hen was away at the wedding. I knew I would want to end at a road to hitch to town so I had to decide how many miles I thought I could pull off. Deep in my heart I knew I wanted to try to do sixty miles, I had heard it had been done before so I wasn’t being totally crazy, but I had no idea if I could do it. I decided I wasn’t going to stress about the actual “24 hours” restraint, and if I completed it in 26 or 27 hours, I would still feel like I accomplished my goal.

I set up my tent 60 miles away from the 2,000 mile marker (and 60.9 from the road into town) the night before my quest. I planned to get started at 6:00am but when I awoke at 5:00am it was freezing, so I decided to start in an hour. I left at 7:05am. Ideally, I would make it 60 miles by 7:05am the next morning. Here goes nothing.

The week leading up to the challenge I had been training my body to take fewer breaks and shorter ones. I took breaks about every eight miles and rested briefly. I always take short breaks only out of sheer boredom.

I was making good time, going at least 3 miles per hour all day, breaks included, which meant I was slightly ahead of schedule. I wanted to get ahead so that when the darkness and cold hit, I could slow down if needed.

I was hiking through the Three Sisters Wilderness which was unbelievably gorgeous. This has been my favorite section of trail so far.

I ran into friends all day and they were all so encouraging and motivating. At 7:30pm, after 12.5 hours of hiking and 36 miles done, I ran into Spirit Kick and Weezer who had set up camp. They cheered me on as my last group to be seen before the night hit.

The last 21 miles of my trek was a waterless stretch which meant I had to load up on water at a pond as the sun dipped below the horizon.

I flicked in my headlamp and walked into the unknown and the night. I had been unaware of the fact that in my chosen 60 miles I was facing a few miles of loose lava rock. Loose rock is the bane of hiker’s lives because it is slow going and painful. I hit the lava rock at around 10:30pm and mile 45. I had to slow down to a snails pace and not only strategically place every footstep but also dodge the enormous spiders that all seem to come out with the moonlight. I was discouraged. I was cold and I was tired. I was alone and had no choice but to continue because there was nowhere to stop and camp on this lava rock even if I wanted to. But that’s not my way, I’m stubborn and tenacious and I was going to accomplish this. Otherwise, I actually felt pretty good.

Once past the lava rock I was at about mile 50ish and it was only 1:00am. I was going to do this and, amazingly, it was going to be less than 24 hours! It was a bit creepy walking in the deep wilderness alone, at night, but I hadn’t seen much wildlife lately so the likelihood of running into a cougar was low. Every twig snap was obviously Big Foot, though. At one point I did shine my headlamp into the forest and I saw two eyes gleaming back at me. It was a deer. A very frightened and confused deer who then began to thrash around, so I moved on. Deer make stupid decisions when their confused. Well, I guess humans do that too.

I finally made it to the 2,000 mile marker and 60 miles for that day a little bit before 5:00am. All in all it took me less than 22 hours to hike 60 miles. I could have done it in less than that if it weren’t for those meddling lava rocks! I also could have hiked on for another two hours and tried to get close to 70 miles but it was dark and I knew I wanted to take photos and video at he 2,000 mile marker once the sun came up, so I decided I was more than satisfied with 60 and I set up a cowboy camp next to the marker. I didn’t sleep but I had a snack and curled up inside my quilt.

I’m very proud of myself and amazed at what the human body can do. We weren’t designed to hike 20 miles everyday let alone 60. Glory to God and not myself for being able to do this. I asked for supernatural strength and determination and He gave it to me.

Once the light had broken through the darkness I snapped some photos and danced for my vlog. I packed up camp and headed to the road to hitch into Sisters, Oregon.

Day 131-132

Miles: Town days

Currently reading: The Devil in Pew Number Seven

I got picked up by a super nice lady who had no idea I was a PCT hiker, she legitimately thought I was a hitchhiker. I explained all about the PCT and we talked about how nice Oregon is. She dropped me close to the hotel I was hoping to get a room in and thankfully they had an awesome hiker rate and put me right in a room. I showered, it had been eleven days since my last shower, and headed out to do laundry. I went to the grocery store to buy some food and got a Subway sandwich and a Dairy Queen blizzard. I had been wanting to get a Guinness as my reward for my 60 miles but couldn’t find it so I substituted it with the Blizzard.

I called my mum and my sister and uploaded my content. Then I slept and had the most glorious sleep of my life.

The next morning I had breakfast and Hen showed up. We decided to stay one more day as I was still sore and she hadn’t slept much last night. We explored Sisters which is such a cute town! One of my favorite trail towns, for sure. We went to a tea room and ate at a delicious Mexican restaurant. We resupplied and Hen found me a Guinness! Score! We had Subway for dinner again.

Day 133

Miles: 22.6

Health: The arches on my feet aren’t feeling so hot.

Currently reading: Slumdog Millionaire

We slept in until about 6:30 and then got breakfast at 7:00. We packed up and headed out to hitch. I realized I had forgotten to fill my water bottle so I had to go buy a new one. On the way out I ran into Spirit Kick who had gotten a ride from Bend. He was heading to another part of the trail so who knows if we’ll run into him sometime, maybe in Cascade Locks.

We got a ride from a super nice man and headed back out on trail. It’s good to be back but I am still sore from my 60 miler and Hen is rusty from being off trail for eight days. We went rather slowly and took long breaks. The views of Mount Jefferson were spectacular.

At one break we were met by a very bold chipmunk who ended up eating out of my hand. Life made.

Day 134

Miles: 26

Health: Just cold. Always cold.

Currently reading: Slumdog Millionaire

Woke up cold. It’s been really cold lately. I know I’m in the Pacific Northwest now.

Today was rather uneventful. We entered Mt. Hood national forest after a really steep climb. We crossed a raging creek, by far the most intense crossing since the High Sierras. We had to ford it which meant our shoes were wet for the rest of the day. The creek also had the body of a dead horse in it which was super sad and traumatizing. I wish I hadn’t seen it. Apparently, a woman was riding on the trail and since it had recently rained the trail collapsed and she and the horse fell. She broke a leg and the horse broke all of its legs. She was rescued but they sadly had to shoot the poor horse. Sorry to bring the mood down. Now we’re all depressed.

We tried to camp by a lake but there was only space for one more tent so I let Hen have it and I pressed on a bit further till I found somewhere to stealth camp. I think the week alone has made me dislike camping around big groups even more. I enjoy the peace of camping alone.

Day 135

Miles: 25.3

Health: No complaints.

Currently reading: Slumdog Millionaire

I woke up and was met by Hen as I finished packing up my gear. I recounted my very weird dream where I went to investigate the house across the street only to find a small, green/white alien who bore a remarkable resemblance to the dead horse butt corpse I saw yesterday. I knew I was traumatized. The mind is a strange place.

It was so cold this morning, well, all day really. It never really went above 50 degrees all day long. I was bundled up for most of the day and even ran down the trail to try and warm up. The sky was cloudy and the sun couldn’t reach us in the forest anyway.

The hikers mentioned having seen coyotes, elk, and a mountain lion recently but I haven’t seen anything in the last couple of weeks.

We hiked with Crumbs for much of the day. I met him on the morning of my 60 mile challenge.

We got some awesome trail magic from Chia Pet who was giving out beers and roasting bagels with veggies and cream cheese. It was friggin awesome.

We camped away from water as to try and stay as warm as possible. I will be bundling up tonight like it did in the Sierras. I discovered my main course of my dinner was only 200 calories. That’s not great when you’re burning about 5,000 a day. Oh well.

Day 136

Miles: ???

Health: Cold. Oh, so cold.

Currently reading: Slumdog Millionaire

The hike into Timberline Lodge was cold but lovely. Mt Hood is most impressive and thankfully we got a beautiful view of it on the hike in.

The hike up to the lodge included two miles of loose sand which is the worst possible thing to hike through. It’s like running a marathon up a beach with a 25lb backpack on.

I was really worried about camping tonight because apparently a storm is about to hit and it is supposed to be even colder than it already is.

Timberline Lodge is fantastic and gorgeous. They are super hiker friendly and just let us hang out in the lobby and charge our electronics. We were there on a Saturday, so it was super crowded and a wedding was going on. We got a pizza from the Blue Ox bar.

It began to rain and the temperature dropped. I’m gonna be honest, I almost had a nervous breakdown. This was by far the worst night I’ve had on trail yet. I just didn’t know how I was going to survive in that cold when some of my gear was already wet. I may have overreacted, but I just wanted for this trail to be done with. All that being said, I headed out into the cold, wet, night and made it work.

Day 137

Miles: 23ish

Health: Mental breakdown imminent

Currently reading: Slumdog Millionaire

Last night was cold, but I got some sleep. It rained a lot and my gear is all wet. I got up before anyone else, packed up my tent, and headed back into the Timberline’s lobby. It was quiet and warm and I set myself up next to the unlit fireplace.

Hen, Crumbs, and I got the expensive, yet totally 100% worth it, breakfast buffet. I had a waffle, hash browns, eggs, pastry, and the most impressive got chocolate of my life – the snow cap dream.

We left the lodge in the rain and headed out to demolish some miles. We got a tiny bit of trail magic in the form of gatoraid and bananas. We didn’t get as far as we had wanted because of the horrific weather. We had to set up camp in the rain which meant our already wet gear was now drenched. I had one set of dry clothes to change into to avoid hypothermia, but I was still cold. Why am I doing this trail again?

Day 138

Miles: 28

Health: Sore

Currently reading: Slumdog Millionaire & Uninvited

I woke up to everything being drenched and the sound of continual raindrops on my tent. “Oh, Grace, you’re such a baby! It’s just a little rain!” You may be thinking that, but let me assure you just how utterly horrible it truly is. I’ve been cold since about day two of this hike but continually was assured that Oregon and Washington would be pleasant in the summer months, certainly not 40 degrees. We also haven’t really had any rain on trail as of yet, so this is all new to me. Also, most of my warm gear is down which, when wet, is completely useless. Finally, I’m just tired y’all! This has been an amazing adventure but I think I’m really ready to get to Canada and go home to my cat!

So, I awoke with that mindset. I packed up all my wet gear into my wet backpack. My hands shook as I pulled on my wet shirt and wet raincoat. I tied up my wet shoes and ate some semi-wet breakfast.

Hen and I busted out 20 miles by 1:00pm only stopping once to eat a quick snack, not even bothering to sit down. Unfortunately, the Eagle Creek alternate, which includes Tunnel Falls, is still closed from last years wildfire. I’ll have to come back and see that someday. Google it, it looks super magical.

The sun began to peak out from behind the clouds and we basked in the sunlight. We are women of simple pleasures. Sunlight. Hot chocolate. Taco Bell. Warmth. Doggos.

We had a huge, massive decent to do into Cascade Locks, the lowest point on the whole PCT at 77ft. We went from 6,000ft to 77ft. Hen’s knees were bothering her so I ended up in front. Since I had service I called my Mum and talked with her for the last four miles.

In order to get into Washington you walk across The Bridge of the Gods which is an epic moment in the life of PCTers. We won’t actually cross the bridge until tomorrow but seeing it in person was an incredible moment. I’ve walked all of Oregon! I’m entering my final state! This is where Cheryl Strayed/Reece Witherspoon went home, but not me! I’ve got one more major hurtle to conquer, and even though it may be cold, I’m in this to the end!

We had planned to stay in Hood River for the night so we headed to the bus stop. We ran into River and Mermaid and Napoleon. We’re all still here! Craziness!

We got the bus, got a hotel, did laundry, and went to Taco Bell for dinner. This will probably be the final Taco Bell of the trail. Tragic! Hood River also has a Walmart. I do love a good Walmart.

All of our stuff is laid out around the room trying to dry out. We shall hit the trail again tomorrow.

Day 139

Miles: Unintentional zero

Health: Good

Currently reading: Uninvited

I slept so dang good last night. Hallelujah, I love sleeping in a warm bed. We got breakfast at Starbucks and resupplied. We went back to Walmart and then packed up our stuff as fast as possible. We had to be out by 11:30 which was a challenge. We walked to the downtown area to go to a gear shop. We both wanted to get a fleece, which we got. We ran into Crumbs and took the bus back to Cascade Locks with him. I had a wicked headache which may have been from the drastic elevation change.

We got lunch at the Thunder Head Brewery. A super nice lady came over and handed us a $20 and told us she wanted to buy us a round of drinks. We got some mulberry cider and geez I am a lightweight on trail!

We had planned to hike out today and get a few miles behind us but Hen’s knee was really bothering her so we decided to stay one more night. We camped at the park and got dinner at the grocery store. We ate out on Thunder Island. I decided to add some dancing to the end of my latest video. We received a text from Crumbs saying, “Nice dancing” and got a whistle from a ferry floating by. Apparently we had an audience.

It was a perfect moment watching the sun set over Washington and The Bridge of the Gods.

Day 140

Miles: 25

Health: Pretty dandy

Currently reading: Uninvited

Last night a group of idiots kept me awake for much of the night. Hikers are the best or worst sort of people and I’m so tired of the worst dominating the trail.

Once my alarm went off at 5:30 it took me awhile to start moving. We headed out around 6:45 and went towards the Bridge of the Gods. This was a crazy surreal moment. The bridge is talked about by Thru hikers from the very beginning, it’s a bigger deal than getting into Oregon for sure. The bridge also scares a lot of people but I loved it. I loved looking down to the water through the grated and danced across to my hearts content. Hen figured it was named the Bridge of the Gods because so many hikers ran across it crying, “oh god, oh god, oh god!”

We took our pictures and danced as usual on the Washington side and then headed to the trail. The trail today was very green and forest heavy. I loved it. The moss is thick and magical. I rescued two or three slugs from certain death. The water is cool and plentiful.

We camped with Crumbs, Boo Boo, and Young Buck. I’m really enjoying the bubble we’ve been in recently. We all seem to have similar views on the trail and we’re just thankful to be here and to have gotten this far.

Day 141

Miles: 25

Health: As a horse

Currently reading: Miss Peregrin’s School for Gifted Children

Holy smokes, today was epic! Today is a day I shall tell my grandkids about, and in the meantime, every single human I meet in between.

It started out normal enough. We all left camp around 7:00am. We had a nice break at Wind River although it was quite cold. I think I’m just going to be cold for the remaining time out on trail.

We had a big 10 mile hill to climb today which was as bad as that sounds. I had super low energy today for some reason which didn’t help. Crumbs kept seeing snakes which was making me jealous because I’m usually pretty good at spotting creatures.

At the top of the climb we took a break and had an awesome view of MT Adams. Adams is huge and very impressive. It dominates the horizon.

We got some great news that the Northern Terminus now has an alternate and we can walk into Canada like we had originally planned. It had been closed because of a wildfire. All the remaining hikers were having to decide how they were going to have to end their hike and it was such a bummer!

I was super cold by the end of the break so I took the lead and literally ran down the trail part way. I ran enough to get quite a bit in front of Hen, Crumbs, and Young Buck.

That’s when it happened.

The greatest moment ever on trail.

I looked down to see some poop, or animal scat, on the trail and wondered what creature left it. I wondered if it could possibly be mountain lion poo. I turned a corner on the trail as I thought this and low and behold I see a fully grown MOUNTAIN LION trotting down the trail away from me. Clearly it heard me coming and decided to get the heck out of dodge, but not before I got to see it! What is my life?! I wanted to see a cougar SO BADLY!!! I metaphorically peed my pants and decided it was best to wait for the others to catch up instead of walking alone towards where the meat eating lion had left the trail. I vlogged my reaction and watched the tree line to make sure it wasn’t about to pounce.

When Hen and Crumbs caught up I about lost my mind from happiness recalling my experience. Seriously, my goal with this hike was:

1) Complete the PCT

2) Summit Mt Whitney & see a mountain lion

I had a huge, goofy grin on my face for the rest of the day. I am just so thankful!! Happy dance!

Day 142

Miles: 26

Health: Good

Currently reading: MPSPC

Today was much less eventful than yesterday. There was an elevation gain first thing in the morning complete with its own personal rain cloud sitting on top. I was cold and wet before 8am and forgives this was going to be a crap day. Oh, and it was windy af.

Thankfully, the sun finally did come out. I had super low energy today, and everyday lately. I think my body is frankly just pooped at this point.

We kept hiking with Young Buck and camped with him five miles before Trout Lake. He explained how thruhiking is considered an extreme sport, which makes sense, but it’s pretty awesome nonetheless.

Day 143

Miles: 18

Health: Cold. Frozen.

Currently reading: MPSPC

We had five miles this morning to get to the road for Trout Lake. Trout Lake is super hiker friendly and even offer a shuttle for hikers in and out of town. We wanted to be there for the first shuttle which was at 9:30. We got there a good 45 minutes before and sat in the sun.

When the shuttle arrived, a pickup with a couch in the back for the hikers, we climbed in the warm cab. We saw and chatted with Crumbs and Boo Boo who were each getting back on trail.

The ride down took about 20 minutes and we arrived in the tiny town of Trout Lake. It was a hopping place as they were having a flea market. We got our boxes from the general store and sat down to sort them.

I had friends from Kingwood, Bill and Angie, who were on a West Coast road trip, coming to see me and Hen for a couple of hours. They arrived ten minutes after us and we all sat down to chat about thruhiking and their trip around the West. It was so wonderful to see friends from home, especially friends who were so interested and supportive to this adventure. We all went to lunch at the one restaurant in town and got burgers. Young Buck joined as well and the three of us told them story after story of the trek. They got it. It was awesome. We took some photos and video and then Angie and Bill gave us some Gatorade, chocolate, and fruit which hit the spot immediately. We said goodbye and made plans to get together once this was all over and share more stories.

We got the shuttle back to the trailhead and as we sat on the side of the road eating dark chocolate and blackberries, Spirit Kick walked up! We knew he wasn’t far behind but it was great to see a friendly and familiar face. He was heading in to Trout Lake, but we swapped tales before he managed to get a hitch into town.

The rest of the day was chill. Truly. It was chilly and once we set up camp I was literally shivering. I love Washington but I’ll love Canada more because that means I’ll be heading South again.

Day 144

Miles: 27

Health: Ugh

Currently reading: MPSPC

Last night was so cold. So cold. So cold. This morning was also cold. Everything is cold. How do people live here?

On the bright side, the sunrise was beautiful and the sky was clear all day. I’m sure we’ll run into smoke soon but today was not that day. It was absolutely stunning. The views here are unmatched. We had enormous Mt Adams on our right and the even more enormous Mt Rainier on our left. You could see layers upon layers of blue mountains for miles and miles. There were acres of green pine trees and beautiful lakes reflecting the sun and sky. Ok, now I can see why people live here.

We also got surprising and wonderful trail magic from the Rainbow Cafe family. They were cooking up burgers, chips and salsa, biscuits and gravy, salad, and sodas. Even though we hardly ever see other hikers, so many showed up. We must be in a bubble again. It was such a blessing to have trail magic in such a perfect spot for it as well.

Once I left the Rainbow Cafe I just started to feel like crap. I’m sure it had nothing to do with their awesome food, it just happens when you’re putting your body through so much. I felt sick for the rest of the day.

We found a secluded campsite and I crawled into bed as soon as I could.

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