OR Day 5: 9/4/16

Fish Creek Resort to resupply – PCT mileage marker 1770.7, miles hiked: 10 + 2 side trail 

I’m starting to feel like “Pathfinder” again!  Soup (NOBO thru hiker I met yesterday and was camped near me) called “Good morning Pathfinder!” as he came up behind me on the trail this morning.  Everyone else I’ve met has traveled on quicker than I, or has been going the other direction – so single encounters have been the norm.  It seems like a long time since I answered to my trailname almost easier than Renee.  

This morning’s hike was super chilly to start with, in fact I don’t believe I took off my gloves until nearly noon.  Lava rock sections began almost exactly 1 hour into my hiking this morning – of course, just after I’d patted myself on the back for hiking 2.65 miles in 1 hour ~ fastest I’ve gone so far (and near my old thru hiking norm).  Needless to say, my pace slowed way down, karma style!  

The trail through the black lava rocks (welcome back to the Cascade strato volcanoes!) was amazingly well built.  Plus, pretty, as whatever rock they used to fill in a path is red – contrasted nicely with all that black!  There was a huge tree blow down on one of the ridge walks, and it was definitely a “take off your pack and scooch underneath” moment.  I was just glad there was enough room for me to go under, as over seemed impossible.  

Mt Mcloughlin dominated the views, and as the morning mist dissipated, I was happy to be in the sun.  I found a perfect break spot (not much cleared areas today) where a handy tree and rock made a perfect seat.  The nearby rocks held up my tent fly, drying the condensation from last night.  

Once I diverged onto the incredibly well maintained 2 mile side trail to get to Fish Lake Resort to pick up my resupply box (all the while having my fingers crossed it had arrived as scheduled on Friday) i saw lots of mountain bikers, allowed on that trail) and several day hikers enjoying the holiday weekend Sunday afternoon.  

Not a sight normally found on the trail!

Fish Lake at sunset

I was lucky enough to run into a pair of trail maintainers right near a confusing intersection on the side trail – I learned later that the one trail was more direct to the PCT camping area, but not to the store/restaurant.  I’m glad I chose the direction I did – my priorities (food!) is clear right off the trail.  The trail maintainers also told me the side trail hasn’t been worked on this year, and there is a record # of blowdown trees across Oregon.  No thank you, I’ve already heard the trail north of here is full of blowdowns, I’ll retrace my steps tomorrow.  

All through the hike today, I was debating with myself – maybe I should just resupply and hike back up to the trail….I don’t really need to shower yet, it’s only Day 5!  (Yea, most people think it’s time for a shower after 5 days of backpacking).  Then I realized – I am a section hiker, which in my mind means I see the sights without guilt of getting more miles in, enjoy all experiences on the journey, go slower and that’s ok!  I got a great meal mid-afternoon, a huge burger and chocolate milk shake, then sorted thru my resupply and gear, had a shower and then decided to do laundry. No denying I like clean clothes especially when I’ve just showered!  Hiking pro tip: yes, you can clean your hair with a bar of soap, you don’t need shampoo.  I’m always stunned that my hair doesn’t look that terrible after not being washed for many days (and after sweating a ton).  

Guilt-free town eating!

I spent an inordinate amount of time (aka all the time my laundry was happening) planning specifics of where I’m going to camp in the next few sections.  I’ve decided to do 2 alternates:  the Crater Rim alt, and the Oregon Skyline Trail.  Both are slightly shorter than the PCT, but more importantly seem more interesting.  Unless I’m able to increase my daily mileage to above 15-17, however, I’m not sure I can keep to my initial itinerary (what was I thinking planning every day to be nearly 18 miles?? Including days into and out of resupply spots?  Oh yeah, that was the Renee of 2 years ago!).  I’m percolating on it now, I can probably extend my trip a few days and only need to reschedule a dentist visit to replace a filling on 10/3.  Hmmm….we’ll see.  I don’t want to make a decision too soon until I see how my body is holding up.  As it is, I’ve only planned 1 true zero in Sisters.  All the other resupply spots are neros (lower mileage – like today! Term comes from combining nearly and zero).  

There’s no one else here in the Fish Lake backpacker camping area, which is a bummer, I was hoping for some company.  In the store/restaurant I met what looked like a mom and daughter duo who had just finished the same section – they must’ve started earlier in the day on Weds or perhaps Tuesday, too bad I didn’t meet up with them before, as we were pretty much on the same schedule.  It’s interesting coming in to “town” looking so out of place – i.e. On foot!  Everyone I encountered was very friendly.  

Health:  boy, my GI tract certainly has an opinion about eating beans every day!  I didn’t even consider that my “taco” mix, which is awesome leftover for lunches, has black beans in it….normally I avoid beans more than 1 day in a row.  Well, at least I’m not sharing the tent with anyone!  

Cough is actually getting a bit worse, sucking on a cough drop as I type.  I’m hoping it’s my lungs just getting adjusted to the dry air and dust again, but I’m keeping an eye on it.   Almost (but not quite) to the point of wheezing.  On a happier note, the bee sting from a few days ago doesn’t really itch and the swollen area isn’t getting any bigger, so I’m saying it’s improving ;).  Ahh, the joys of minutiae when your current endeavor depends on your body happily working out every day, all day long.  


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