Miles: 1161.0 to 1185.9 (25)
Today we drop down low, really low, down to 4641 ft elevation. For us this is really low and hot now. Elevation is something I worried about at the beginning of the trip but I was concerned about going up into elevation not about coming out of it.
Coming down, the heat is pretty rough as you are from where there is still snow. And when you do, your water bottles crush and you feel like you drank a ton of coffee because you have so much oxygen. On the plus side, injuries heal faster at lower elevation and you can hike like mad.
I mentioned I would touch on “why” I am doing something that many consider arguably crazy. On many days I honestly do not have an answer to that and I walk along thinking “what on earth am doing!?!?” But the ‘before’ the hike “why” was different than my why now.
My hiking partner Bugs has a great story for his ‘why’, he had sent himself one of those emails to your future self and it read “if you are still at that job and still doing nothing then you need to get out and do something crazy” and so he did. My personal “why” is a bit more nuanced.
Basically I was sick of ‘someday’, and also I was bored. After I quit smoking a lot of my ‘someday’ things started to come up as suddenly ‘possible’ somehow. Things like going to see the ‘night of 10,000 lanterns’ during Loy Kratong in Chiang Mia to taking up biking and running to this, the mother of all “someday’s” I had told myself. 17 years in the making, I followed a few blogs almost every year and had always dreamed of it as the ultimate get away, the summer of heights and getting to hike every major national park and wilderness area in the west. By ‘bored’ I mean I have always judged my personal worth and identity on my job, and I loved my job but I needed a change, something to mix it up, something radically different. However, right now I would not mind being back at work, there is a nice value to steady and smooth.
Is it what I thought and what I wanted out here? Yes and no, ‘yes’ in that I have seen amazing things and feel changed, I feel different, like a new person, a better me. A happier me indeed, one who has truly rambled and enjoyed every second. ‘No’ in that it is not a “get away” in any way, you need to schedule time and ‘do your miles’ each day. Even days you don’t feel like it, or don’t feel that good. And town stops you have town chores like resuply and mail, charging electronics and Internet stuff. And now at this, the halfway point in time (mileage halfway point is in a week or two), the trail is a determined march to Canada (some say “death march”) trying to bust out 25 and 30 mile days each day to make it before the snows. I am exhausted right now, everything hurts and I want to eat everything and sleep for a month.
Note: Interestingly we found out there are no southbounders this year, the snows in Washington put a halt to all southbound progress and there is still snow in passes in Washington and even in some Oregon passes so I will not get to meet any southbound thru’s.