Day 99: Washington is Close

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Mile 2096.9 to mile 2123.8

A bunch of hikers were hanging about outside the Lodge in anticipation of the breakfast buffet. Joining them I caught up with Mr Gigglez and Tunes. At this stage of the game we are all running on calorie deficits and dreaming of a massive feed. We know and talk about what we will eat even before the doors open.

We are ushered to ‘the hiker table’ and expertly waited on with ice water and hot hot coffee poured straight away. They know what we’re about, experiencing the hiker herd for days on end each year through the hiking season.

It was a strange mix in the restaurant. Mainly cashed up guests who can afford the $350+ a night stay at the lodge, neatly dressed and smelling nice; in amongst a few tables of hiker trash decked out in dirty clothes and a fair lack of personal care. Like many similar places to this they stare at us, we don’t give a toss about them with only one thing on the mind – load up plates and get stuck in.

1st course of eggs, bacon, sausages and home style potatoes. 2nd course of pancakes topped with berries and smothered in syrup and cream. 3rd course, pastries, fresh fruit and berry smoothies, accompanied by lots of apple juice, water and coffee of course.

I don’t want to bang on about food all the time but it does preoccupy our minds quite a bit heading towards the end of this journey. I’ve lost a lot of weight, not sure how much and it will be interesting to weigh in at the end.

With full stomachs there were a few options kicking around. Most hikers will sit on their butts for half the day and let food digest, hiking out later, some hanging around for the lunch buffet as well. I was feeling great and was keen to get moving, choosing to walk off breakfast by hitting the trail.

Loading my pack I had to loosen the hip belt slightly for the first time in a long while.

Heading out the trail was up and down all day with a major descent first off and the straight back up again. It was hard work. Even with a later than usual start there was enough time in the day to get in 25 miles or so, placing me 3/4 of a day from Cascade Locks.

Typical for a lot of Oregon the trail stayed mid slope in the trees and didn’t offer up any real views. There were loads of Huckleberry and Salmon berry all day. Stopping to pick and snack fresh fruit is always nice.

I had 25 miles in by 6pm but didn’t have enough water with me to camp at a popular spot half way between Timberline and Cascade Locks so had to hike on. Finding a small trickle of water a few miles later it took around five minutes to fill a litre from the small seep, 15 minutes to have all my bottles filled. With water for the night and following morning I pressed on. The next marked camp site is 7 miles further on and there was no way I was going to get there. Positioned on a side slope there was not really any flat ground to setup a tent either. Another 2 miles or so I found a really small clearing right on the edge of the trail with just enough room for my tent without the fly. If I set the fly up it would have been pegged into the trail itself and there are always hikers walking through at night.

Sure enough, bedded down and on the verge of sleep a couple of hikers came walking past in the dark, head torches bouncing along to light the way. Just about every night there are hikers walking by into the dark. I don’t get this strategy at all. I’d much rather start early in the day and walk to just before last light allowing enough time to cook dinner and setup camp.

One comment

  1. Loving your photos. It appears that the long haul walkers can also be very mature. Perhaps it is their way of coping with the world or loving the challenge.

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