Mile 2094.4-2111.7 (17.3)
I woke at 5:45am, packed up in a few minutes, and was charging my gadgets in the lobby of the Timberline Lodge by 6:15am, waiting for the breakfast buffet to open.
It was quite the breakfast. I had four plates of food and lots of coffee.
Just before heading out, I got a text from Pat that he had a half day and could meet me on the trail later this afternoon. There was only one road crossing, so my 30 mile day would become a leisurely 17 miler. I was so happy I’d get to see him.
Fueled by love and caffeine, I skipped down the trail. There were lots of skiers riding the chairlift up to the slopes, folks milling about by Mt. Hood, day hikers on the trail. It was hot out, the sky bright.
I switchbacked down to river crossings, climbed back up through the forest, did it again. The trail was dust and sand, the biting flies were out. Plenty of water. I met more southbounders, some stopping to talk and other trucking towards the lunch buffet.The heat wore me down. I got another text that Pat was running late so my pace slowed, my energy flagged. Walking is no longer a conscious act, but effort still waxes and wanes. I hovered on the low end. Crossing small scree fields to muddy glacial creeks didn’t give me much boost.
I took the trail to Ramona Falls and stood in front of her, delighted by the cooling effect of the cascade. Natural air conditioning! The next mile was flat and shaded, following a burbling creek with clear water.
One good climb, a short walk on a low ridge, many handfuls of huckleberries, and I was at Lolo Pass, waiting. I paced to keep the flies off me. Soon enough, Pat pulled up. I jumped in the car and we sped away.
He took me home for the weekend. In the grocery store, I was walking slowly and with a slight limp. Another shopper asked me if I was ok. I guess I looked rough. I’ve had shooting pain in my knee and hip occasionally over the past few days and when I stop hiking my body gets very stiff. Maybe I need a little rest.