9/4 about 21 miles.
On 9/3, after hiking 9 miles to make up the lost PCT miles due to the Eagle Creek Fire Closure, Alex, my Portland friend, picked Lighthouse and me up near the Wyeth Campground exit on 84. Lighthouse and I were hiking on difficult rocks the size of our fists for miles, and the 84 highway traffic was relentlessly irritating. Alex brought us a couple of road miles closer to the Bridge of the Gods. We all walked over it, in case it closed the next day.
Lighthouse and I said goodbye and I went into Portland with Alex to resupply and rest.
9/4 After eating a delicious breakfast out with Alex and her friend, Nancy, Alex drove me back to the Bridge of Gods. I got hiking again with Lighthouse. Washington! Damn these uphill climbs! Tall trees! Moss!
It is hot and humid and sweat drips everywhere. My back is soaked. I jump and swim in a lake while Lighthouse wades near the shore. On a ridge, I turn on my headlamp at 8pm. The ridge quickly descends and I lose the 6,000 ft elevation gain within minutes. The wind is blowing. In the smokey breeze I continued hiking into the dark to Rock Creek, mile 2164. Tents are packed in near the creek, and so I find a spot on the riverbank, setting up my tent and cleaning my dirty feet. It’s too smokey to see stars and the sounds of the creek lull me to sleep.
2164-2185. 21 miles. Approaching fire closure.
Hills hills hills! Fires fires fires!
Stopped a few times for a couple of hours to talk on the phone w the IRS and Wave Hill. My sculpture broke in transit! Bugger!. I meet Uber Frog. A note around mile 2174 reads: “everyone is getting off at wind river road. Rd 60 closed.” I keep going. Not a soul on the trail, nobo or sobo. Peaceful. Cowboy camp with mac and cheese.
2185-2195 plus East Crater Fire Reroute
Blah. Gallery tells me they can’t repair piece and hang it by opening. I’m the only person on the Pct btwn 2185 and reroute. See locals and people willing to give me a ride.
9/7 – period. Watching hornets eat my blood on a plant. If I had more water I would make more coffee. I’m depleted of vital energy and so it is decided, time to go into Trout Lake. I continue walking on the fire re-route. I don’t have cell service or toilet paper (paper towels). I run into a few cars parked on the gravel road. A bunch of young men are in hammocks or just waking. They are out there berry picking. They give me napkins and I suck water through my water tube, spit it back out onto the napkin, and wash my face. I feel disturbingly refreshed by this act.
The boys watch and don’t seem disturbed. Maybe they do these things too. Maybe they are ferral too. I mean, I never pictured this type to be picking huckleberries and yet here they are, with purpose and determination and grit to harvest the most huckleberries ever.
I also encountered two trucks with hunters out to shoot bear and cougar.
Bow and arrow, “to give the animals a fair chance.”
I thought this would be illegal but no, they do kill these big, amazing beasts here. “Overpopulation.” Says Les.
Of, “humans, right?” I want to ask.
Dennis, this amazing Zen painter and architect picks me up on road 88. His home in Trout Lake is tastefully designed and peaceful, and decide to recoup for the day. On the way to his house, I meet up with Aladdin, Stabby, Halfway, Potato something, Arry Narry, and Cal, all at the grocery store. I pick up my resupply and write friendly notes on other hikers’ packages.
Back on the re-route and trail tomorrow, where I hope to get to White Pass in a few days. There is another 70 mile fire closure ahead, with no reroute, so I will have to skip these miles. The fires have burnt my Pct spirit and I feel sad to not be able to see the views of anything. I haven’t seen clear views since Sierra City, CA. I have been dealing with fires and smoke since Northern California. It is depressing. I try to keep things in perspective: even in these fires, this is more satisfying than hiking in NYC.