DAY 22: 0 miles
Today was a day filled with a lot of bad timing. I wanted to get on the trail as soon as I could so I woke up early, as it was going to be a long day of commuting. To start off, the streetcars were delayed in Portland. From there I had to jump on a bus which I rode for an hour, then was to transfer to the Mt. Hood shuttle. Unfortunately, the Mt. Hood shuttle only runs a few times a day, so I had to wait an hour and a half for the next bus. Since I needed to get groceries anyways, I went to the convenience store to build my resupply. I had a lot of stuff on me that I need to ship to my next stop, so I went to the post office as well. Of course it was closed, since it was a Saturday, so I was really hoping I’d be able to ship it out of Timberline, or else I’d be carrying a lot more than my pack could carry. I went back to the bus stop where I met Scott and Carla, two others who were waiting for the Mt. Hood shuttle. Carla was also section hiking the PCT, and had been waiting for the bus since 9am. Poor girl! We all chatted for quite a while, when Carla noticed my bag of stuff I needed to ship. She told me there was a UPS store down the street that was open, but of course, the bus would be arriving in 10 minutes so I didn’t want to chance it. The next shuttle wasn’t coming for another 4.5 hours. We got on the bus which was about another hour, and got off at Timberline Lodge. I went straight to the gift shop to ask about mailing out my stuff. THANK GOODNESS they were able to!! I was not down to carry all that stuff for 5 days!!
It was already 4:00pm, and I didn’t really know what to do. The next camp wasn’t for another 5 miles, which I knew I could do, but didn’t know if I wanted to. I had such a long day of commuting and was super hungry, so I decided to eat at the lodge and then camp near site. I decided the rest would be beneficial so I could have a good day tomorrow.
From there I went to Timberline Lodge to eat a delicious but overpriced meal. The lodge was gorgeous and looked like a great vacation spot. It may look familiar to some, as the exteriors were used for the Overlook Hotel in the movie The Shining.
The Timberline Lodge with a gorgeous view
After that, I went outside to set up camp. It was only 5:00pm and I was ready for bed.
When it’s 5pm and you’re ready for bed……
I went outside to read a little, when anther hiker passed by and stopped to chat. She was in her mid 40’s and had thru hiked the PCT NOBO last year. She told me her body was “addicted” to the distance and she tries to get out to do weekend sections as often as she can. I really hope my body feels the same way when I’m done and it translates to running!!A full marathon is my next goal!
She was doing some trail magic and offered me a beer, so we sat and chatted for a while longer. It was really cool to hear from another solo female hiker. She told me she was camping a mile south, but was back tracking in the morning to come back and eat breakfast at the Timberlines famous breakfast buffet. (The Timberline Lodge has a breakfast buffet that is often titled to be the best meal on the trail). As much as I LOVE breakfast, I was so eager to hit the trail that I was going to get up early and skip it. After hearing she was backtracking just to eat there again… I had to go. What was the rush anyways?
After she left, I went to my camp and fell asleep. Hopefully Oregon treats me with a good second first day on the trail!
Another view from Timberline Lodge, just south off the trail.
DAY 23: 21 miles,
Since I was staying for breakfast, I was able to sleep in until 7:00am. Naturally, that did t happen. I was up at 5:00am, tossing and turning until I had enough and got up at 6:30am. I went to the lodge and waited for breakfast to open at 7:30am. Breakfast definitely didn’t disappoint- they had homemade waffles and pancakes with a topping bar, eggs, potatoes, a yogurt bar, fresh fruit, pastries… just about everything!
Yum yum yum yum!
I filled up fast and hopped right back on the trail. My day started with some beautiful views of Mt. Ranier. The terrain was very different from Washington, it was very dusty, coarseand flat. I spent the morning walking through Mt. Hood National Forest. It had almost felt like I wasn’t hiking the PCT. The trail was much more maintained than it was in Washington. No more blowdowns!!!
I flew through the first half of the day and couldn’t believe how fast I did the first 10 miles, especially considering I didn’t get on the trail until 8:30am. It had to be a mistake. Must have been the flat terrain and new trail runners (which by the way I’m loving). I was so happy to be done with blisters.
I stopped for lunch and continued on. Just after the lunch, the trail lead to a gorgeous view of Mt. Ranier. I was mad I hadn’t waited to eat lunch there, had I known.
I sat for a few minutes admiring the view, when two other southbound section hikers passed by. They were from Montreal and had started in Snoqualmie, where I had gotten off. We talked for a bit then went on our way. I hiked slightly behind until we stopped at a site off of Timothy Lake. There was a campsite 2.5 miles further which I wanted to hike to so I could get my 21 miles in, and since it was only 4:00pm it made sense. I stopped to talk to the guys, who were talking about going swimming and making a campfire. This made me want to stay even more but I still decided to carry on. 0.3 miles before I reached my intended camp, I found a gorgeous campsite that I just couldn’t pass up. It was right off the lake with a flat space for my tent and a fire pit nearby. I immediately stopped to set up camp.
My favourite campsite on the trail so far.
I went swimming while it was still warm out and the water was gorgeous. While I was laying in the water eating spoonfuls of Nutella, I knew this was one of the happiest moments I’ve had on the PCT yet. I swam for a long time and read a bit by the water.
Beautiful view of Lake Timothy from my perfect campsite.
After that, I made my first campfire on the PCT (FINALLLLLLLY), which basically started itself. These were the things I had been waiting for. I had been really missing the camping aspect on the trail.
I am truly wondering if any campsite will beat this one. I was extremely happy to be ending the night without feeling neither cold, wet, miserable or sore. Definitely one of my favourite PCT memories yet.
DAY 24: 28 miles,
The last few days I’ve had a terrible cough caused by the dust, which is only getting worse considering how dusty the trail is. Because of it, I really hadn’t been sleeping well. When my alarm went off at 5 I did not hesitate to turn it right off. I got up again at 7, which was later than I wanted to sleep in for.
While I walked through the forest, I did not regret sleeping in, as the light shone through the forest beautifully. One thing that has really frustrates me is that I cannot get a decent picture that even remotely captures the beauty of the forest here. I won’t be posting any until I think one suffices!
It’s funny how much longer the miles were in Washington. I flew through this morning. It was about 11:30am and I had done 13 miles. What?????? That had to be wrong. I wanted to break at 15 miles, but when I reached Warm Springs River it looked like a good lunch spot.
A few minutes later an Australlian northbounder, around my age, was passing by and decided to stop and eat with me. We talked about the trail and travel and tons of other stuff. He said he was honestly so ready to be done with the trail, something I have heard from many Northbounders. This made me feel happy about my decision to section hike. I never wanted to feel that way on trail, and after 2600 miles, it would be hard not to. He had said at this point, his favourite moments were stopping to talk to people like me, which made me feel good. We ended up taking for almost two hours, which was way longer than I intended but I couldn’t pass up the good company.
I continued on. As usual, the second half of the day was dragging. What slowed me down a lot were the fact that there were no views. In Washington, you ALWAYS had an incredible, substantial view, so it was a big change. My pace decreased incredibly and my feet were starting to ache. I took a short break to get water and eat candy (I honestly don’t even like candy but it seriously does wonders on the trail). I continued my dreaded last miles. I even had to play some music for the last two miles to get me through.
I wanted to go further since it was decently early and I was so close to 30 miles, but my feet were not having it. 28 miles was the most I’ve done so far so I didn’t feel too guilty.
I was really happy to run into the Austraillian today or else my day would have sucked. It was the first day I didn’t get any sort of views.
I set up camp at Jude Lake, went swimming and made a campfire again. I ate dinner, read a lot and wrote about my day. Honestly, having a campfire at the end of each day made everything so worth it.
The second half of the day had me starting to feel miserable, but once I was at camped I learned to love the day… minus the lack of views. Really hope tomorrow brings some nicer scenery!!
DAY 25: 30 miles!!!!!!!
This morning I had a good pace going and for the first time I felt like a real hiker. I was glad to wake up with this feeling because today I was going to try and do 30 miles. One thing I liked about Oregon so far was that I didn’t have to wake up at 5:00am to be able to get a decent distance of hiking in.
I got to Olallie Lake Resort in a few miles where I scrimmaged through the hiker box and bought a few things.
View from Olallie Lake Resort. Lovely place and the workers were so friendly and kind.
There has been a missing 21 year old hiker in the area for a few days, so I have been hiking alongside a search and rescue team. It’s been very sad. One of the crew members stopped to talk to me a bit. It’s been so long now that they have stopped the search, but anyone in the Mt Jefferson area please keep your eyes and ears out. Here is more information regarding the search.
I had to push through a permitted camping area until I had only a few miles until my campsite. I was stopping almost every mile for a 30 second break, it was terrible. Right at the Hunts Creek Trail junction there was a BEAUTIFUL campsite with a view of Mt. Jefferson. I wanted to stop but I also wanted my 30 miles in, plus my intended campsite was listed as a viewpoint so it had to be good.
I finally got there and the sun was setting. The view was amazing.
DAY 26: 25 miles
Today I woke up not feeling it at all. I knew it wasn’t going to be a great day just by how I felt, but I tried to stay positive. It seemed that days I would end up in towns or resupplys were always hard.
I really had to push through the day. I had 25 miles to do and was only at 10, but I had to break. I sat by a pond and ate my food, not breaking for long. I packed up and continued.
Today was really hard for many reasons. I was seriously running out of things to think about. Lots of people have said you explore parts of your mind you didn’t know existed while hiking. That was not that case for me. It was also extremely hot out and no shade, as I was walking through burnt down forest for most of the day.
Burnt down forest looks cool for five minutes and then it sucks. All the water sources I had been passing had been dried up. I came to a patch of snow and filled my water bottle up in case.
I got to Santiam Pass at Hwy 20 where I saw a few Northbounders. They were crowded around a water cache- the first one I’ve encountered while on the trail. I filled up, and even though I only had 6 miles until Big Lake Youth Camp, I didn’t think I was ever going to make it. I was so sick of this stupid burnt down forest.
I was so miserable these last miles and the camp was no where in sight. I was starting to believe it wasn’t real. FINALLY I reached my destination, just as dinner was being served.
Big Lake Youth Camp is a camp that is very hiker friendly. They invite hikers to stay, eat and hangout, all only by donation. They are even building a PCT hiker hut, where they have showers and laundry as well. A very accommodating place.
I was pretty happy when they were serving vegetarian taco salad for dinner. I loaded up my plate and went outside to eat. They had a gorgeous view of the lake and the day had now seemed worth it. I got to talking to a few of the leaders, got more food, and then had a shower which had been highly anticipated. After that, it was basically time for bed, so I joined a few other hikers by the coves where we cowboy camped on the shore of the lake. I couldn’t ask for a better spot. It was unbelievable. We watched the sun set, as the sky turned to black and was then filled with more stars than I could imagine. It blew me away. I wasn’t sure what my plans were for tomorrow, but I didn’t really care. That could wait.
DAY 27: 11 miles.
I woke up today with another gorgeous view of the lake. I have been really torn about what I wanted to do next, and since I was enjoying my time at Big Lake so much, I thought this might be a good place to take some time and figure it out.
I got up and went to the lodge, where I started talking to one of the leaders. We talked for a long time and I really enjoyed his company. I grabbed some breakfast and went outside to eat. I hung out there after since it was so beautiful out and tried to figure out my plans. Another worker from the camp, Troy, came to talk and we ended up chatting for the whole afternoon. We had some really great conversation about home, travel, God, music and many other things. I was very thankful for the people I was encountering here. We did a little yoga since I was so sore still, then Troy went off to work. I saw by the shore to finalize my plans.
I had planned on staying another night at Big Lake and was debating with the idea of hiking more or getting off trail. I wanted a break and the next section was 8 days until I could get off trail. It was longer than I wanted. The problem was, the next section after that at Crater Lake was closed due to wildfires. It was one of my top sections to hike on the PCT so I was pretty bummed, especially seeing that it probably wouldn’t be open anytime soon.
Since I was feeling ready to get off trail, I thought it would be safest to follow through. With that, I realized it made most sense for me to leave Big Lake now, because it was 11 miles until the highway where I could camp and hitch into town the next morning. I felt bad not being able to say goodbye to the guys I talked to today, so I am hoping to get in touch. They both brought me so much peace and positivity.
I got back on trail which felt good. I also felt good to be hiking which definitely helped, considering I left at 3:00pm and was planning on doing 11 miles. I was angry to be back in burnt down forest and the heat was killer. I approached the dreaded lava rock which everyone warned me about. This section was interesting in terms of scenery because it was so different.
Sisters has a really interesting history for those who don’t know. There is a cluster of three glaciated stratovolcanoes; the North Sister, South Sister and the Middle Sister. Read more here, it’s super interesting!
I hiked through the lava rock which KILLED my ankles. I got to camp sooner than expected. I set up and went to bed pretty fast. I’ve been finding myself never hungry on trail and having to force myself to eat. Then in towns, I indulge In everything and am never full. I don’t think that’s normal.
Anyways off to bed with a few different days to follow…
DAY 28: 6 miles, off trail.
I woke up today feeling really shitty. I felt nauseous and sick. I was super happy to be going to town. I packed up, hiked for a half mile in lava rock, and got the McKenzie Pass and Hwy 242 junction. I did not think this through as McKenzie Pass was going to be incredibly hard to hitch out of, since I was at the end of the highway. I hiked for about 6 miles down the street and a couple from Barcelona picked me up. They had an awesome van setup as they were traveling down the west coast too. We had many of the same spots planned to visit which was pretty cool. I was envious of there setup and hope to do that in the future!
They dropped me off at Sisters, where I immediately went to breakfast at Gallery. I was happy to see blueberry pancakes on the menu because that’s all I’ve been craving! A bunch of locals were interested in my travels, so I was quite busy talking most of the time I was there. The staff was incredibly sweet and the food was delicious- exactly what I needed. To my suprise, the old couple I had been talking to behind me paid for my meal… so sweet!
I walked around Sisters a little which was a really cool small town with a lot of cute shops. I needed to catch a bus, which required me to go to Bend. So I hitched a ride there, got a room at the Three Sisters Inn (which was extremely expensive and did not provide a hiker rate) and spent the night in bed watching tv!
My plans have really jumped all over the place so the next few days have been interesting. Thanks for reading, I know this was a pretty long one!