August 23, 2015
Tentsite past Breitenbush Campground (2049.7) to Tentsite before Wilson Road (2077.4)
27.7 PCT miles today
2123.3 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,889 ft, – 4,328 ft
I honestly don’t even remember most of today’s hike. I’m pretty sure it was almost all the exact same from beginning to end…lots of pine trees, some burnt, some not, a smooth pine needle and dust path, and the very occasional spring or creek. There were no views to speak of, partially due to the thick smoke filling the air and partially because of non-stop tree cover. The only memorable moments in today’s hike are the times when we weren’t actually hiking.
This morning we only had about 5 miles to hike before getting to Olallie Lake Resort and its little store that is only .1 miles off trail. Last night, after taking an inventory of our remaining food, we made a plan to stop briefly at the store to pick up a couple extra snacks, so we didn’t have to think twice when we got to the spur trail. With a plan in mind, $10 max and no more than 15 minutes off trail, we headed for the well-stocked and friendly run little market.
After making our selections (a coffee to share, snickers for this afternoon, and pop tarts for tomorrow morning), snagging a couple items from the hiker box (Chef Boyardee for second dinner tonight and beef jerky to have with lunch), and chatting with Dennis, the nice employee at the front counter, we hopped right back on trail. We had spent exactly $10 and 15 minutes and were feeling great. Then, less than .1 miles further along on the trail, we happened upon a second hiker box. This one didn’t have much in it, but we each took a Sprite to drink at lunch, and I pulled out a pair of almost-new Hoka shoes that someone had left behind.
Choosing the right pair of shoes has been a nightmare out here on the trail, and I am still in the middle of my search. I’ve been curious about Hokas and have wanted to try them out, and this pair presented the perfect opportunity. They were a half size smaller than I would have bought, but they fit well enough, so I strapped my new Asics that I picked up in Bend to the back of my pack and journeyed down the trail in my new kicks.
Much of the rest of my day was spent contemplating my shoes and whether or not I liked them. They became far too small by the end of the day as my feet swelled, but other than that, they seemed to make for some smooth sailing. I’d say I had less pain overall by the end of the day than usual, which is of course the ultimate goal. I’ll try them again tomorrow and go from there. If nothing else, it will be nice to have another pair of shoes to wear rather than trying to get 700 miles out of these Asics GT-2000s.
Lunch was made slightly more entertaining by the massive number of bees that seem to have infested all of Oregon. It only took a minute or two for Pickles and I to realize that there was no way we could eat with 20 to 30 bees buzzing around our heads, hands, feet, and food, so we decided to try something new and use our tent as a giant bug net. We didn’t use the poles at all, we just climbed in through the door, zipped it up, used our hiking poles to prop up the walls and ate in peace. It worked great and got us through an otherwise maddening situation.
Since we knew we’d be dry camping again tonight in order to complete our chosen number of miles, we planned to fill up bottles at Warm Springs River. When we arrived, a few of our favorite hikers, Tutone, Cashmere, and Physio were all there, along with a family of section hikers, and we enjoyed a much more lively and laughter-filled water stop than expected. We shared stories about the songs we had stuck in our heads, our foot pain and the various solutions that we’ve all found along the way, and finally, our plans for the next week, before gathering up our things and continuing on.
Tonight we stopped in this particular campsite because our phone showed that we had 4G and we thought we might be able to get a few things done before getting to Portland, but once everything was set up and I tried opening the Internet, the 4G mysteriously disappeared, never to return. Oh well, life on the outside will just have to wait. At least it means we’ll get to bed earlier and be well-rested for our big, long-awaited nero tomorrow in Portland.