August 24, 2015 (22nd Re-Ration – Portland)
Tentsite before Wilson Road (2077.4) to Hwy 26 – Portland (2097.0)
19.6 PCT miles today
2142.9 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 1,401 ft, – 1,461 ft
Tonight I’m going to bed with a full heart and a huge smile. After an incredibly easy 20 miles of hiking, Pickles and I made it to highway 26, where our dear friend Shyam picked us up and brought us to Portland for 3 days of rest, relaxation, and time with friends. Sometimes it is more about the people you are with than a particular place that makes you feel at home. Pickles and I lived in Portland for about 4 years, so it already feels like home to us, but being here at my best friend Laura’s house with her husband Shyam makes me feel just about as comfortable and content as I’ve felt all summer.
The hiking today was ridiculously easy. The path was wide, flat, and well-maintained for almost the entire 20 mile length, and we only had two short climbs that were less than a mile each. We cruised at a nice fast clip, and then because we weren’t being picked up until 2, we took our time during breaks, enjoying an extra-long lunch and even making moves on a potential rental apartment in Tahoe for this winter.
We reached our meeting place, the trailhead to Frog Lake on highway 26, 5 minutes early, and saw our friend Shyam pull up at exactly 2pm. Shyam is the owner of an incredibly popular food cart here in Portland called “Chez Dodo” and through texts over the last week, we had made it very clear that his delicious Mauritian food was on our mind constantly. He had told us he’d bring us food, so of course our mouths were watering by the time he pulled up. Unfortunately, he hadn’t had time to cook anything up himself, but being the incredibly thoughtful and generous man that he is, he did still bring us burritos from another food truck. We scarfed down the food and began the drive into Portland, exchanging stories and smiling ear to ear with joy that we had finally made it to this point in our hike.
After a quick pit stop at Dairy Queen (I couldn’t help myself), we headed over to Shyam and Laura’s beautiful new home which I still hadn’t seen since they’d bought it. Laura was still at work, but Pickles and I quickly took showers (Shyam was too polite to admit to our faces that we smelled, but he seemed more than willing to make our showers a top priority) and did a load of laundry. We then headed over to the food cart for some dinner and to pick up Shyam’s cousin Soulekshna whom they currently have staying with them. By the time we got back to the house, full and sleepy, Laura was home from work and we broke into a couple beers and sat at the dining room table, catching up and making plans.
Laura is my Matron of Honor for our upcoming wedding, and she is so great with helping me plan all the various events that will make up the celebration. We talked for hours about every detail and she even read Pickles’ and my vows which we have written but are keeping secret from one another. We had a great time swapping stories and laughing. There is just something refreshing about spending the evening with a couple of your favorite people in the world.
Even though it has gotten late and we’re completely exhausted, we couldn’t be happier to be where we are right now. We have a lot planned for our zero tomorrow, but it is all stuff we are looking forward to, and just thinking about coming back to this comfy bed in this cozy house at the end of the day brings us the peace of mind that only comes from coming “home”.