Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 137

​Day- 137

Date- 8/30/16

Location- Top of ridge

Elevation- 5,000 ft

Distance Traveled Today- 30.6 miles

Distance Traveled Total- 2055.7 miles

Weather/Temp-  overcast, clear, 60s 70s

Injuries- none

Pain level- low

Spirits/Morale- resolved

Days without shower- 3

Hunger/craving- low


Another day,  another 30 miles closer to the finish line. I was hiking by 7am, and for the first time since reaching Oregon, I couldn’t see the sky.  It was totally overcast and chilly,  with the promise of rain in the air. Broken promises today, because it never did… thankfully.  

I hiked about a mile out of camp before stopping for breakfast; three old fashion donuts; I’ve been on a donut kick lately. To preserve the integrity of my donuts, I’ve been using Tupperware once again to store them.  A little awkward in the pack,  but it’s working AND totally worth it.  Everyone wants to laugh at a hiker who carries Tupperware, until they see the pristine condition of their snacks. 

It was 8.5 miles of uphill from the moment I woke up.  Not terribly hard,  but monotonous. At the top of the climb I found a young red headed man sitting on a rock having an early lunch.  “Is this the top?” I asked, trying to make conversation even though I knew it was the top. The young man held a finger up to me, as if to say “just a moment.”  He reached into his pack and pulled out a notepad, then held it up for me to read. It said “I don’t mean to be rude.  I don’t speak, but I can hear you.” I smiled at him and nodded as I said understandingly, “No problem, what’s your name?” “Justin, yours?” He scribbled.  “Mayor,” I replied, “nice to meet you,” as I shook his hand. “Cooly” He scribbled and smiled. “Southbound thru hiker?” I asked.  He nodded. “Awesome, you got lots of great stuff ahead of you!”  

 Not wanting to take up his break/lunch time with him scribbling to make small talk,  I decided I’d let him be. “Safe steps and happy trails Justin,” I said before a final parting fist bump.  

The rest of the day passed in a blur.  I was feeling really good, moving quick,  and only took two real breaks all day.  The longest one was over an hour at a small,  simple, lakeside resort called “Olalle Lake.” I bought a few soft drinks and Gatorades, chugged them,  relaxed, then began burning miles again.  

At the top of my final climb,  when I was debating whether to push another 4 miles,  I came across a young woman who’d just set up camp.  “Good evening,” I said as I walked by,  prepared to keep going.  She hadn’t been looking at me when I spoke,  but she jumped when she heard my voice.  “I’m sorry,” I chuckled.  “Oh, I’m just a little spooked” she replied.  “I just saw a bear two miles back.” “Ooh don’t worry about them, they never do anything.” I assured her.  

Long story short,  we talked a while about bears and hiking before she hinted that she would feel more comfortable not camping alone.  I had my 30 miles for the day,  so I was happy to oblige since I enjoy camping around others as well; especially since it’s such an uncertainty for me these days.  Turns out she’s a southbound section hiker from Canada doing all of the PCT in Oregon.

My plan tomorrow is to bust out another 38ish miles to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood,  then stage a final sprint into Cascade Locks. The weather forecast is looking dubious at best.  

Go to Day 138.

Go to my book page; “Racing Winter on the PCT“.

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