The wind she does a-blow…
PCT mile marker 1869.6, miles hiked today: 13.6 plus 0.8 side trail (steep!) to water, 14.4 total
It’s 2:09am as I write this, having just returned from getting up to water the leaves. I’m all nice and cozy again, and listening to the wind howl and swirl, as it has done all night, and my tent fly shudder. Once again I’m delighted with the bomb proof-ness of my awesome Copper Spur tent. I may be slightly nervous about a tree falling over on me, all of the blowdowns in this area of Oregon from last year’s storm “standing” as a pertinent reminder, but that’s probably more likely than my tent collapsing! Ok, time to return to sleep, such as it is.
That evening – wow, was it cold this morning. My zlite back panel/sit pad/tent kneel pad also has a new use – to put around my hips when it’s really cold! It worked amazingly well – much better than layering my rain pants and coat over the top of my quilt – it’s just the right length and stayed in place! Once I managed to force myself to leave the cozy warmth of my tent, it was full rain gear on to stay warm while hiking, climbing no less – that hasn’t happened in a while. Plus, I kept everything on except my hat until 11am! There was frost on the trail and surrounding grass as I climbed to the official OR/WA high point first thing this morning, and while not very impressive I took the obligatory picture and quickly went on my way. The rest of the day, in comparison, was delightful weather wise! It warmed up nicely and the cold breeze died down. It is so quiet in comparison to last night, it’s startling.
I struggled with emotions today – I felt so lonely, down on myself, and wondered what I was doing out here. Was I just running away (again)? Tears happened for the first time on this trip. It seemed that everyone I’d encountered recently had a hiking partner to share the joys and frustrations of the journey. I felt so envious. I said goodbye to Traveler and Bump at the first break site (though actually saw Traveler at the water source later that afternoon), and encountered a southbound couple around lunchtime. I fully expected these folks to be the last people I saw for a while, but lo and behold the trail provided – at the ridiculously long and steep side trail to water (the target distance I had for today), there were suddenly a plethora of folks! All, unfortunately for me to see them again, southbound, but I definitely got lots of social interaction in . Plus, there were 2 other solo guys, which made me realize it wasn’t just me out here by myself.
In fact, I decided to stay here (I fully intended to hike on as it was only 3:30 when I was getting water) based solely on the fact that a section hiking trio, Joe and Steve along with Steve’s son Paul had happily announced they were done with their mileage and staying too. Ahh, company in camp for the second night in a row!! We chatted and chatted, watched the sunset and moonrise, and considering I decided to stay at 4pm, I didn’t enter my tent until 8pm, definitely my latest night “out” since being on the trail the past 2 weeks!
Tomorrow I take the Oregon Skyline Trail alternate, and who really knows if I’ll see anyone – it doesn’t seem to be popular with the southbounders. On Thursday I’ll arrive at Shelter Cove to resupply, shower, and do laundry — and will hopefully see folks there.
2 weeks in and I’m wishing so hard I’d tried to arrange to hike with someone, even though on the other hand I do love the freedom to not have to compromise. Do I have another 2 weeks and change in me, especially as we get out of prime hiking season and I anticipate seeing fewer and fewer people out here? I guess we’ll see – I am loving it, I’m just wishing I had someone to share it with.