Still hiking

It’s kind of hard to believe that we finished our PCT hike a month ago. I miss it. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done and I was ready for it to be over. But now that I’ve been home for a while, I want to go back. It was the best adventure I’ve ever been on.

A couple of weeks after we finished our PCT hike, we were supposed to do a weekend hike in the Goat Rocks wilderness in Washington. Just as we were leaving the house, I did something to my foot. It’s the foot that gave me the most trouble on the hike, and that I’ve been having pain in since April. This felt like something tore in my heel, and it was very painful. I knew that I wasn’t going to make the Goat Rocks hike. I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to this hike for months. We headed out anyway, filling a small cooler with ice so I could ice my foot. We had the very small hope that it might feel better the next day. If not, we would just car camp for the weekend. Well, it did have some improvement the next day, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry a pack up some pretty steep terrain for 30+ miles. We were meeting friends at the Walupt Lake campground to set up our cars for shuttling. We drove our friends to the trail head and said our goodbyes. It was really hard to do that, because I still really wanted to go. We decided to head towards Mt. Rainier and just make the best of it. 20140913_131518 2014-09-13 14.24.14 We drove around, admiring the sights, until we decided to camp at the Ohanapacosh campground. We’ve camped here many times with our sons, but it’s been about 20 years since we had been there. After spending 3 weeks on the PCT, camping in a campground with lots of other people was a bit of an adjustment. We relaxed and read and just enjoyed being there. After a full day of being off my foot, I felt like I could take a short, easy hike. There’s a trail that goes to some falls, right near the campground. We had taken the boys there so many years ago, and it was fun to relive those memories. 20140913_173456 That 2 mile hike was just about as far as I could go, so I was really glad I listened to my body and stayed back (not hiking Goat Rocks). We ended up having a great weekend, even though it wasn’t what we had expected to be doing.

I’ve been trying to get my foot to recover, treating it as plantar faciitis. I had my Dr. visit yesterday, and that’s what she thinks I’m dealing with. I had x-rays done and the tech and I could clearly see a good sized heel spur. I’ve got an appt. with a podiatrist in a couple of months.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to do some hiking. I was really missing being in the forest and hiking. So, we decided to go on an easy hike at Siouxon Creek, in Washington. We had never been there before, so that’s always fun. The drive out there was beautiful and the trail was easy. 20140928_153055 There were many small waterfalls, and the water was very clear and cold. 20140928_130659 20140928_131331 20140928_125052 It was really nice to hike without an agenda. While hiking the PCT, it was always about getting to water or a campsite or a resupply point. You always had to keep moving. On this hike we just took it easy and really took in our surroundings and investigated different little side trails. 20140928_153153 We just enjoyed being where we were. We hiked 8 miles. I got new shoes the day before and I felt like my foot wasn’t hurting as bad as it would have been before. I really needed this mentally, so it was worth the pain. I was hoping we could get one more weekend backpack trip in before winter settles in on us, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. I’m hoping my foot will heal over the winter months and I’ll be ready to take on the mountains once again. Meanwhile we’re going to keep trying to get day hikes in, until there’s snow and then we’ll start snow shoeing.

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Thankful

August 31

Yesterday we picked up our fur babies who were lovingly cared for by family while we went on this adventure. Our dog, Millie, was VERY happy to see us. Toby, our cat, could have cared less. Typical.  My niece made this awesome surprise for us.

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It’s got Jim and me on the trail with Mt. Hood in the background.  Complete with our tent, animal prints in the mud and an impressive waterfall.

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The outside is decoupaged with an Oregon map. She really put a lot of time into it. She’s so creative. Thanks Ella! We love it!

There were some of my posts that didn’t go through while I was on the trail. I’ve fixed those so now everything is there if you’d like to take a look.
Today we’re just hanging out, catching up on shows we recorded and just taking it easy.

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Eagle Creek

August 29

We camped at Indian Springs which is at the split where you can either continue on the official PCT, or take the more commonly used Eagle Creek alternate route. It was the last place we will make camp for this trip.

We wanted to go through Eagle Creek since we hadn’t ever been there. Right away the trail dropped quickly. It’s hard to capture the steepness in a photo, but it was really steep.

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As we entered the denser forest, it started to feel more like a jungle.

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This upper part of the Eagle Creek area was so beautiful.

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Tunnel Falls was incredible

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I think that upper part is the best. The lower part isn’t as beautiful, and that’s the most popular. We started seeing a lot of weekend warriors and day walkers. They smelled so clean! The week enders had such big packs, it was kind of funny. Our good friends picked us up and we went to Cascade Locks for a big burger. We’re home now and freshly showered and in clean clothes. It’s been a fantastic trip. I’m so glad that Jim and I did it together. So many memories. We hiked around 320 miles.

I’ll do a post after I have a chance to settle back I to my regular life, about what gear worked and what I would do differently.

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The rivers

August 27

Timberline Lodge was so nice!

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We had a delicious buffet breakfast at the lodge before hitting the trail. It was a beautiful morning and it was cool to see the ski areas without snow.

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We started approaching the rivers. The first one was the Zigzag River, then the Sandy, and the last big one was the Muddy Fork. Each river is down in a canyon,  so we did a lot of elevation gains and losses.

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As you can see, it was interesting. There was a little “bridge” over the Sandy River.

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It was quite wobbly.  Jim took my pack over and I made it over without getting wet. Whew,  glad that was over with. When we got to the Muddy Fork, we loaded up with water because we knew we would have to dry camp. What we didn’t realize, was that we had a huge climb ahead. Not enough switchbacks! We finally made it up and over, and started down the other side. We made it 17+ miles to Lolo Pass where we made camp. Several other hikers joined us and it was fun talking with them. They were more than happy to take our extra food. I haven’t been eating all the food I brought, so there’s always some extra.

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300 miles

Today we hiked over the 300 mile mark for this trip

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We had great views of the mountains. Mt. Hood

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Mt. St. Helens and Mt.  Rainier

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We could see Eagle Creek, which is where we’ll be heading tomorrow to finish this trip.

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We only hiked a little over 13 miles today to Indian Spring where we made camp. It’s the last time Jim has to blow up the air mattresses.

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Tomorrow will be the end of this trip. It’s bittersweet. This has been a blast!

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Timberline Lodge

It’s been brought to my attention that some of my posts aren’t showing up. I don’t know why that is or what to do about it until I get home. So, hopefully this will work. I’m a bit upset about that since this is my journal of my trip, and I can’t recreate what I was feeling at that particular moment.

On to today, August 26

We hit the trail knowing we had a luxurious stay at Timberline Lodge ahead of us. We knew we needed to climb some elevation,  and I planned to go slow. The trail surprised us and was pretty gentle. 

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We passed the 2100 mile mark for thru hikers.

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That’s about 266 miles for us, and that’s pretty awesome! Later down the trail we got a little history lesson about the area.

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The last mile was almost straight up in sand. Boy was that tough! I was so glad I was getting a shower later.

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The lodge is pretty amazing. Even though I live close by, and I’ve been up here to ski, I’ve never been in the old lodge. And, I’ve never been here without snow. So it’s like seeing it for the first time.

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We immediately found food and we’re so happy to be here. When we look out over the valley, we can see Mt. Jefferson and the North Sister mountain.

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It’s a little mind boggling to think we walked from there to here. We’re clean, our laundry is done, we’ll eat some more, then we’ll head out tomorrow. 

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The half days

Yesterday was a nice relaxing day, visiting with Scott and Valerie at Timothy Lake. We only hiked 12 miles and we’re there by noon. We didn’t hike any further because Scott drove us to Little Crater Lake where we made camp back on the PCT. Today we only hiked 11 miles to Lower Twin Lake. We took it slow and didn’t feel rushed to get anywhere. I liked the stress free rhythm of today. Two half days in a row. It really feels good.
We finally got our first view of Mt. Hood.

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It’s the last mountain for us to cross. Our hike is nearing the end. In some ways it feels like we’ve been hiking forever. Then again,  it’s like the journey only just began. It’s been fantastic overall. There have been some really tough days, but the hike in its entirety has been amazing. We’ll get to Timberline Lodge tomorrow,  where we’ll pick up our last resupply box. We’re going to stay the night. It’s Jim’s birthday Wed, so he gets to be a little spoiled.

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