If wishes could be reality…
On Oregon Skyline Trail alternate, Crescent Lake Campground, mile 9.3, after hiking 6 miles on the PCT. 0.3 mile side trail to CG. Total miles hiked today: 15.6
2 weeks ago today I was winging across the US on my flights to Medford to start my Oregon section hike. It seems both shorter than that, and also twice as long. Time seems funny out here on the trail, where people go in and out of my life so quickly, but miles go by so slowly.
I decided to do the Oregon Skyline Trail (OST) alternate (was originally the PCT) for a few reasons:
- Yesterday I developed 2 blisters – one on my right heel and the other on my left pinkie toe. Climbing definitely aggravates the heel one, so the route with less elevation change was considered positively.
- Fewer miles (8 less than the PCT) also helps the feet.
- This route was said to have more water and is 1000 feet lower than the PCT – the water was a consideration, as I believe that contributed to the blisters.
- Where I’m camping tonight was described to have a fabulous beach (it does!) and views of Diamond Peak (also true). Plus I confess I love having potable water, garbage can, pit toilets, and a picnic table
All in all, I’m satisfied with my decision, but being here at the CG is kind of….creepy. I’m not sure if it is because it’s the middle of September in the middle of the week, but literally NO ONE else is here, at least in this loop. The water is still on, the Pit is open and has TP, and the garbage containers have refuse in them….but where are the people?? I didn’t come in the main entrance, so I’m nervous I missed a sign or something. Oh well, I plan to be up and out before 7 tomorrow so hopefully no one will even realize I’m here, if I shouldn’t be. Kinda lonely though. In the last few miles as the feet began complaining, I had fantasies of yogi-ing some goodies or even a ride tomorrow from campers — alas, it is not to be.
After leaving camp this morning and wishing the best to the trio, I made good time to the road where the alternate started. I’m very happy with my decision to stay put last night, not only for the companionship, but also the site I would’ve been aiming for was a lot colder. Plus, the climb to get there would’ve been much harder at the end of the day. Yea for good decisions!
At the “not much traffic advertised” dirt road crossing, in the 15 mins I was there taking a break, I saw 2 motorcyclists, a car with at least 2 people in it, and a SUV towing an RV! All at 10:30am on a Wednesday morning in the middle of September. On the alternate trail, no backpackers to be seen, but mountain biking is allowed (unlike the PCT) and I saw a group of 4 guys who looked like they had been out overnight, and a solo guy on a day trip.
I’m a bit bummed I’m missing some views from the PCT that the trio told me about, because while the Skyline trail is pretty, it’s mostly walking through pine forests with some nice lakes – pretty par for the course thus far in Oregon (oh no, have I become jaded already??). Oh well, I’m not backtracking now, and I do think my reasons are still good ones. Hopefully I’ll see some folks on the trail tomorrow, or baring that at Shelter Cove. The loneliness is turning out to be a big thing for me (again – I felt this way in WA 2 years ago too). I’m usually fine while hiking, but here in camp I really crave companionship and human interaction. Sigh. I’m still enjoying the journey, but it’s reiterating for me what I prefer, guess I had to learn that lesson once more. And a completely solo hike out of season isn’t it – at least when I’m not in trail shape to keep up with the folks I’ve already met.
However, I feel like I’m walking off the stagnation of the past 2 years, the depression and anxiety, some of the weight gain, and really living again. Not that I haven’t made strides in these areas recently, it’s just easier out here to feel proud of myself, unconditionally. To celebrate that I hiked over 15 miles today, even though I might have wished things to go slightly different. I know I’m a control freak, and that can be challenging in and of itself when I’m stretching myself – I’ll admit, taking this alternate is doing that, as I don’t have the reliable PCT signs to go by, nor Guthook’s excellent elevation and waypoints (though the alternate is in Halfmile) and I feel out of place here in the empty campground. In fact, I feel anxious about being here — it’s getting hard to fall asleep I’m so amped up.
I have about 12 miles tomorrow, I’m hoping to get them done by early afternoon to get my “town” chores done.
Any Oregonians reading this – a great long weekend or week long loop hike would be the OST (20.5 miles) and then taking the PCT (28 miles) back to Shelter Cove – just my 2 cents!
Post script – 9:15pm: the moon is so bright tonight, and shining directly into my tent door, I thought it was someone’s headlights – paranoid much?? Especially considering I didn’t hear any vehicles, and that would’ve been obvious…*face palm*
Gear notes: I need more thread, sad as that is! I’m getting my silk long johns tomorrow to hike in, but I’m not sure how they’ll hold up even compared to the fragile shorties.
Health notes: cough seems to be better, despite the very very dusty trail again. I could see it billowing at times – and my legs were SO dirty before liberally applying the wet wipes. Even that didn’t get all of it off – thank heavens for a shower tomorrow! Minorly, though it is super annoying, I have a skin crack in the crease on my left hand thumb joint. I knew I should’ve brought the liquid bandage – it was a debated item that I said no to, as I don’t remember carrying it on the PCT in 2014.