Day 117-123

Day 117- Cascade Locks to Trout Creek

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We woke up at around 6, which means we didn't really leave our beds until 630. Snuggles brewed up some coffee, and we ate some muffins. Darwin and I slowly packed up, and were rolling by 8. We cruised the bridge again, got some pictures, and started climbing. About an hour and a half in we passed Nuts, who was just destroying an entire blackberry bush. We pushed past and kept working away on the climb. After 10 miles we passed the top and started to descend. I kind of quickly pulled away from Darwin and after another 6 miles I decided to finally eat. After a half hour Darwin caught up and passed me looking for water. I caught up to him and we found Hummer chilling at an amazing river so we hung out and I swam a bit. I eventually headed out to get the last climb done. Once up and over the climb I found ACB and Suavé hanging out by the river. So I decided to eat because I didn't think I had eaten enough. I crushed summer dinner a candy. Darwin rolled by and headed off to find camping. Which turned out to be like 400ft down trail. So we set up and went to sleep after talking for a while. Daily milage-29.7m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 118- Trout Creek to Bear Lake

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4 am came fucking fast. I slept through the whole night for the very first time on trail. So that was dope. Darwin rolled out ahead of me so I set off hiking alone. After about 6 miles I was surprised to still not have seen him, but I stopped for water, and immediately saw Darwin coming down the hill because he realised there was no water for 12 miles. Up the hill I quickly distanced myself from him but I stopped 6 miles up the hill with a good view of Mt Hood to eat. I decided that I needed to eat more than the day prior because of how shitty I felt. Eventually Darwin rolled up and we are together. After a bit I set off before him and hiked the last few miles of the climb. I found cell service and used the time to make some post trail arrangements. It's so damned surreal to be making concrete plans for the end of trail. It's been so so long, and how things are real. Either way I kept hiking while I texted and called my mom, because I spent trust myself to not roll my ankle or walk off a cliff, which I've done one of before whole texting and walking. Once that was wrapped up I picked up the pace and started to listen to GOT on audiobook. I grabbed water and a nice cold Spring, and moved the last 2 miles to a little campsite with picnic tables and a pit toilet. I ate there with a SOBO until Darwin showed up. Eventually ACB rolled in too. After an hour and a half, and one Darwin nap later, the two of us headed out. We were both really feeling it today. Heavy legs and heavy minds. Being in trail this long wears you down. If anyone things that this is fun, there wrong. When you go on a weekend camping trip and you have fun the whole time, this isn't like that for 4 months. Like 80% of the time you're tired, you hurt, and you would rather do anything else. We're both experiencing that wall marathoners hit near kilometre 40. So we hiked together to talk about whatever. Darwin told me about his podcast he was listening too, and about famous authors, I talked about the ramifications of not voting, and the complex issues with the US healthcare system. Suddenly we had crushed 7.5 miles, so we went for a swim, ate some snacks, and moved on. Our plan was to hit Bear Lake and make the call on camping. Once there we decided to be at camp by 5 and not push it today. We hung out in our tents due to the thousands of mosquitos, and talked for a few hours while eating. Eventually passing out by 9. Daily Milage-32m

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 Day 119- Bear Lake to Killen Creek

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We woke up and very quickly broke camp, and got the heck outta there due to the zillion mosquitos around us. We hiked fast as they were still swarming us. Shortly though as the forest thinned and the light started to come up, the bugs also went away. We passed by a few roads, and trail heads, and we stopped near one of them to have a quick snack. We had gone a tad over 10 miles, so we were perfectly on pace. After this we did the long descent into the Trout Lake road crossing where we'd planned to meet snuggles. We got there and no snuggles, or cell reception. So we made a decision to head to the next road, which was over a mile away. We rolled into that spot, and found snuggles Ina parking lot waiting for us. She made us sandwiches and we drank some cold beer. We packed up the food she was carrying for us, and we hung out for a while. Suddenly I noticed it had been more than an hour. So I decided to head out. It was a long long climb up out of this valley to get to the side of Mt Adams, and a lot of it in very exposed burn sections. It was amazing though the views this afforded. I passed by a lot of SOBOs, and eventually came to the first real river crossing since the Sierra's. So I forded that sucker, and did the last 4 miles to Killen Creek. I found some tent space, and then Darwin rolled in. We had dinner with 2 SOBOs and was in bed by 8. Daily Milage-36.1m

 

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Day 120- Killen Creek to Goat Rocks Tentsite

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As is tradition, we were up at 4am, and were rolling by around 5, as full on laziness is starting to set in. I wished myself a happy birthday, I am not getting closer and closer to being actually old. I am well on the wrong side of 30, but fuck it, time to keep walking. We set off, hiking together for a while. but my shin splint was in full on anger at me so I moved a bit slower than D. I was starting to look at how far we had gone, and was trying to decide on where I wanted to camp, when surprise! D was chilling on a log in a tent site, so I stopped and ate with him. The bugs were annoying, but still not bad compared to Oregon. We ate, I ate a bunch of my candy too as I was feeling sorry for myself with the pain, and we moved on. We were passing lots of SOBOs, and we passed Ran(pronounced Ron), the guy I hitched into Bend with, which was super cool to see him. I got ahead of D on a long ascent here, and started to get some great views, after a few hours, I was alone, and hungry AF, so I found a log and stopped to eat. Here Ran and his crew passed me and D kept going to get to the next water source so he could eat. I packed up quickly and moved on to lunch with them. we hung out and had a good chat for a while, which is when i realized that we had one climb up to a pass, and that's when we truly entered Goat Rocks....we had been in the wilderness area for about a dozen miles, but truly into the scenic parts. This was pretty exciting. I was still in pain, so i headed off ahead of D with plans to stop at a tent site in Goat Rocks. I climbed without pain, so i set off and kept a good fast pace, but largely I was hiking with Space Jam and Ran. We got up to the pass and holy shit....it was actually amazing. The view was just stupendous. This is also when we realized that it was Saturday....so it was going to be busy here. This is a popular weekend trip. We passed a tonne of people, I yelled at one coupe to not leave their bag of dog shit on the trail(literally a bag a their dogs shit, who packs it up into a bag, then leaves it there....), and i ended up hiking away from those two guys when they decided to chill and hang out in the meadows. It was periodically raining during this part, but just spitting, so I didn't get the most pictures because of packing and unpacking my stuff depending on weather, my camera is moisture resistant, but i am untrustworthy of lens/camera mating without an o-ring. I got up to the top of the climbing, and started the snow crossings to get to the Knifes Edge, this section was starting to get hella cool. I finished the snow, and gained the ridge-line. I crossed it, and climbed up the far side, as I crested the top, I saw 3 simultaneous lightning strikes.  So i started to move with a whole lot more urgency. I got my ass off the top of that alpine area(hint, you get struck by lightening in these situations). Quickly getting to the area D and I planned on camping, I found some tent spots in a copse of trees, and hung out with the guy that was also there with his rad Huskies. Darwin never showed up, so I figured I would find him eventually. I had some whiskey for my birthday courtesy of the dog guy. we watched a few forest fires get started by lightning, and eventually the storm cell blew out. I was asleep by like 9, because that's how old guys party. Daily mileage-35.2

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Day 121- Goat rocks to Whites pass to Tentsite near Ranier

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I was up at 4, and rolling by 0445, I saw someone up ahead of me, and quickly caught and passed him, it was Racer X, who i knew was near me and may be why Darwin moved on, as the two of them had some beef. I did the little bit of climbing that was needed to get up to the only pass for the day, and sat there to have some coffee and watch the sun coming up while I talked to a section hiker. He regaled me of his story of having a tree explode near his campsite from a lightning strike. I eventually headed out, did the long ridge-walk, and finally got to the top of the ski hill. I passed by a bunch of trail runners, and headed down the hill. I talked to a forest firefighter who told me there was a fire started just east of me, but I should be fine. I got cell service, and called my mommy as I wasn't able to talk to them on my birthday. I eventually got to the highway, and did the road walk to Whites Pass gas station(that has a restaurant, and accepts hikers packages. I had a belated birthday beer, then I had 5 more. While I was in line to buy some snacks,  I heard my name, I turned around and a random girl was like "hey, do you remember me?", I didn't, and turns out she was one of the teachers that gave ACB and I a ride into Yosemite. It was so cool to run into her and her husband, also, she had an ACE bandage I could use as a compression sleeve for my shin splint, so that was amazingly serendipitous. Darwin bought me some pizza, and all the guys there sang for me. We charged up our shit, ate a lot, drank not enough water, had a shower, and suddenly we had been there for 4 hours. So we packed up, and rolled out. We got onto the trail, and I quickly was filling up the bottom of my water bottle pocket with garbage.....fucking day hikers. Darwin and I stopped for some water a couple miles in, and the bugs were not fun. So i didn't wait for him to filter, and I headed off. I caught and passed a bunch of section and weekend hikers, and was making pretty good time. D and I had planned on a campsite that looked decent on Guthooks, and I got there in the waning hours of the day, and of course it was occupied. I kept going, and eventually found a spot that was ok, but had a lot of skeeters. After about 30 minutes D showed up, and was a little grumpy, ok a lot grumpy. Turns out a lot of the SOBOs that we were passing all wanted to stop and chat, and the spot we were going to go to that was a mile back, was where he wanted to stop. So we ate food in our tents as is the new tradition, and chatted for a while. We went to bed, after I wandered around trying to get a good picture of the mountains around us. Daily mileage-32.5

Day 122 Tentsite to cabin

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4am came as jarringly early as it usually does. We slowly got packed up, and started rolling. About 10 minutes into the hike, I turned around and was floored by the view, the sunrise was fucking amazing. Oh boy was I in for a treat if I thought that this was my good view for the day. Minutes later we entered the shortest stint in a National Park on the whole trail. Mt Rainier National Park we skirt a corner of it for a little over 5 miles. Shortly after entering it we got our first really good view of Rainier....shit I want to climb that. It was a slower day as every corner the sunrise on the mountain got better, and D and I kept stopping to shoot it. We eventually got some miles down, and stopped for second breakfast around about our normal of 10 miles in. The bugs were annoying, some biting flies were around here, but we ate, and headed off. Stopping shortly after at the highway pass to use their toilets, before climbing up and over a pass. We ran into a couple section hikers that knew Darwin, as is normal, so we talked for a bit. Then headed off. After about 2 hours of hiking we got a good view of a ski hill, and got dope ass cell service. Darwin stopped for a bit to order shoes, so i continued on, and made a quick call home. Soon we started to get into some really burnt sections, and Darwin had caught up to me here. We talked for a while about vlogging and the future of the garage gear industry(garage gear companies are synonymous with small companies, aka they work out of their garages). we had plans to stop at a cabin I saw ahead, that would be a decent day for us, but everyone we passed said they were going there. Darwin and I got separated but no biggie. I got to the cabin, and found the party. There was more than a dozen people there. mostly SOBOs, a huge group that was hiking together. Also found a couple Canadians, so that was dope. D rolled in a few minutes after me, and after a few starstruck looks, people normalized and we had a great chat with this group. We hung out for a few hours with them, and had a good stretch and massaged my legs. Finally we headed off the sleepy land at the late hour of 9 o'clock. Daily mileage-35

Day 123- Cabin to mirror Lake

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We woke up at the same time as normal, god dammed 4 am. Its starting to get tiring, being awake and hiking before there is even natural light. We are back to hiking with headlamps in the early part of our day, so that's super duper. We hiked a couple miles before we stopped to grab water from a spring, and that is the last time I saw Darwin for the rest of the day. Turns out he got stopped by the group of dudes at the spring and they cooked him up some coffee. I hiked on, and eventually stopped at around the 9 mile mark  because I had a pretty decent view. I ate, had some coffee, and rolled on. It was starting to get pretty warm, and once I was around the 18 mile mark it got pretty hot. We entered into an old burn area, and the sun was just pumping. There was a spring at about 24 miles for the day, so I planned to stop there. I ran into a bunch of SOBOs, and FINALLY met Einstein. Darwin has been getting told that he needs to meet him for some reason. Neither of us knew who this dude was, but we kept getting told we had to meet him. So I was stoked to meet another NOBO, as there was very few around now that we were so far ahead of the bubble. I had a quick chat with him and he headed off, leaving me alone at the spring. I waited for like 45 minutes for Darwin, but he never showed up. So i headed off. After a couple miles I ran into something I hadn't had in a while....TRAIL MAGIC!!!!! I had a beer, and a banana, and 2 sodas. It was so glorious, I was actually craving a cold beer all day. After that I headed off, and kept hiking on my own after waiting for 40 minutes for Darwin. I was hoping he was ok, as he was complaining about his feet. So i just kept walking, and every camp site that I wanted to go to was just ok, and every SOBO I talked to spoke so highly of Mirror Lake. So off I went to see if the rumors were true. I got to camp, and found Einstein there. I dropped my bag and jumped in for a swim. It was so amazing, cool, not cold. and I found a dope ass rock I could sit on that ended up being neck deep, so i could soak my body in the cool water. I got out, set up, and cooked up some food. Darwin finally rolled in, and was in a pretty grumpy mood. So i left him alone for a bit to chill out. He swam, and ate, and I finally waddled over to ask how he is, he was just hurting and was bummed. We made plans for the next day and hit the hay. Daily mileage- 37.3m