I woke up sick. Sore throat and the beginning of what is my yearly chest cold that I always seem to get. There is no way I would be able to hike if it progressed like it usually does. I made the hard decision to end the hike (again.) I was afraid that I would be 20+ miles from an exit and unable to hike due to having coughing fits. I checked out how to get home and saw that it was a fairly easy bus ride into Portland where I could catch a flight home. I was torn on whether I was actually upset. I really enjoyed the last couple days hiking with my friends but the thought of heading back out there alone for another 600 miles just didn’t seem fun. I felt as if I got what I needed and wanted out of the hike. I walked 1,700 miles. That in itself is an accomplishment. I may not be the thru-hiker I set out to be but I’m OK with that.
Going into the hike I criticized people that quit, especially those who got so close to the end. Now that I’ve walked 1,700 miles in their shoes I get it. It’s hard. I’m tired. I’ve never been so tired in my life. I’m tired of every aspect of the hike. The thought of having another crushed Pop-Tart, peanut butter, and bar makes me gag a little. With that said I’m going to miss it. I want to come back and finish up the trail in shorter 2-3 week sections. I’d love to get the band back together (5 Star and Tami) and do some hiking.
I texted Mayfly to see if she was still up for breakfast. She was camped out just outside the lodge at that big camp spot where the crazy lady looking for her husband was. I told her she should come take a shower and then we can go stuff our faces. I met her in the lobby and we headed back to the room. She took a shower and then we went to breakfast. It was pretty good. It was a buffet that had all your standard breakfast food. They had a variety of fruits and whip cream for the waffles. I didn’t stuff my face too much since I wasn’t feeling well and swallowing was getting hard.
We went back up the room and grabbed our stuff and then I checked out. Said goodbye to the sweetest puppy dog in the world who was fast asleep behind the counter. Her paws were twitching. Dreaming away getting chased by bunny rabbits. I asked Mayfly if she wanted to come with me to Portland but she said she had a package she needed to get in Cascade Locks so she is just going to do the hike and then see what she wants to do. I said goodbye to her and then headed over to where the bus would pick me up to take me to Portland.
The bus showed up 15 minutes later and an hour and half and one bus change later I was on the outskirts of Portland getting on the lightrail to take me to the airport. Since I bought my ticket at the last minute through South West I wasn’t able to get a boarding number until I went up to the gate. They gave me my boarding pass and I was C24. Great, I’m going to be dead last on the plane. The plane starts boarding and luckily I wasn’t last. I was third from last! I walk on to the plane and there is an aisle seat in the first row! What?! That’s the best seat on the plane! I asked the older lady with her grandson if it was open and she said it was. I sat down and was pretty excited to have the seat. Shortly after take off I fell asleep for an hour. I woke up and was a bit surprised I had actually fallen asleep for so long. I never sleep on a plane.
The plane landed, I picked up my pack from baggage claim, and then my mom picked me up. We had dinner and then she dropped me off at my house. I was happy to be home and to be done. Since being home I haven’t done much. I started looking for a job and have a couple opportunities lined up. I also did some work on my 1967 Mustang. I enjoyed having a small project to occupy my time. One realization I had on the hike was that I want another project vehicle. I spent a lot of time thinking about what cars I would like.
I had dinner with Jeremy and got to see my beer with the label on it! So cool! He is also making an IPA that he is going to name Mangus Fail Ale.
I’m sure this post comes as a disappointment to some of you. I never expected that I would get so many people reading this blog and for all the wonderful comments. I would have loved to been able to post an entry of me at the Canadian border but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I probably could have kept on going and just dealt with it but I didn’t want to risk it. My hiking career isn’t over and when I do make it back to the trail for the sections I missed I definitely will post here. I’ve received a lot of praise about my writing, which I did not expect. I’d like to continue it somehow and so I’ve been kicking around ideas of what to do. It may be hiking related or it may be something completely different.
Tami and I got up early so that we could pound the trail into submission and get to Timberline Lodge as fast as possible. Food and a shower were calling our names. We had bit of a climb before us but nothing a couple of experienced PCT hikers can’t handle. We did hear that it was a bit sandy so we knew that would slow us down. It also was looking as if the weather might turn a bit ugly later in the day.
We wake up at 6 and start to pack up as quiet as we can. Which is not quiet at all. Lots of rustling. I’m sure the other hikers hate us. I eat my pop tart as I wait for Tami to finish. I pour out the crumbs behind this log I’m sitting against. A few minutes later a Gray jay flies down and picks up a crumb. I pick up a piece and hold out my hand and channel my inner Disney Princess. A few seconds later one lands in my hand and picks up the piece. So cool. I’m a regular pocahontas.
Last night was a weird combination of hot and sweaty but still cold. I was up again by 5 and just laid in my tent until about 5:45 when I started packing up. I packed up all my stuff and went over to the others were and waited for them. By 6:45 we were off. Continue reading
I slept pretty good last night. I woke up a few times but was able to fall asleep again quickly. I of course was up at 5 but the group agreed on 6. Since we are only doing 20ish miles I didn’t feel the need to be up at 5 like I used to. I kept waking up every 10 minutes and finally by 5:45 I started getting up. I always seem to grunt and moan when I get up. Later Jeremy told Tami and Mayfly that I “was making old man noises.” I told them I’m 30 going on 80.
Woke up at 3:45 so that we could ride on Portland’s light rail to the greyhound station. It was so early and I only got abut 5 hours of sleep. Although I did fall asleep right away. We got onto the light rail at 4:15 and wouldn’t you know it there was a crazy person. It doesn’t matter what city you’re in or what time of day (or night) it is; there is always a crazy person talking to themselves. After about 45 minutes of jerking back and forth we get to our stop and make our way to the greyhound station. We stop at Starbucks then we walk over to Voodoo donuts. The last time I was in Portland I learned of Voodoo Donuts but didn’t go. It was after the bars closed and we were walking to the light rails when my friend told me that apparently Voodoo donuts is a thing. We walked by it and there was a line out the door and around the corner. Keep in mind it’s about 1 am. Why? Can they be that good? Well I got one and it’s pretty good. Not sure I would stand in line for an hour while drunk but you never know. They did have good names such as “triple chocolate penetration.” Kinky. Continue reading
The last couple weeks I did a whole lot of nothing and it was everything I thought it could be. I ate a lot of food that wasn’t trail mix or peanut butter. I laid in bed and watched a lot of Netflix. I also remembered why I hate Arizona. It was hot. So hot. I reactivated insurance on my old bronco but it has really crappy air-conditioning and it sits outside. So I was always hot and sweaty driving around. Continue reading
I’m home in Phoenix now. I took a greyhound from Weed to Medford and then a flight to Portland in a tiny prop plane. Had about a 3 hour layover and then flew to Phoenix. I got to Phoenix at 5:30 and my mom picked me up at the airport. I decided to just stay at my parents house for the night. My cat is there and it was nice to see him. Continue reading
Last night was horrible. I might have gotten an hour of sleep. My back was pulsing with pain all night. I packed up my stuff at 5:20 and was gone by 5:40. I had less than 6 miles to the road into Etna. As I was hiking I made my decision. My back and feet were in too much pain and I was starting to worry about causing permanent damage. I decided I would go home for a couple weeks and then hop back on the trail at Bend, Or with my friend on August third. Continue reading
I had another restless night. My lower back was in constant pain. Just a dull pain enough to make laying on my sleeping pad uncomfortable enough to prevent sleep. I woken up just as it was starting to get light out around 5:20. I packed up and was downing yet another pop tart by 5:45. I was hoping I’d feel better today. My feet and back felt OK but I know it’s a temporary feeling. Those two have been getting sore earlier in the day. Continue reading