a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 2064.9 to 2096.9. Spring camp to Timberline Lodge camp.
It’s cloudy. Cold. Even though the Timberline Lodge breakfast buffet is calling the next morning, we don’t hear the calls. We can’t get up. We’re tired, dispirited. It’s no fun in this weather! But once again, we are in the middle of nowhere and there is only one thing we can do. Hike. Which we aren’t so bad at anymore. So after snoozing the alarm a couple of times we finally get up, and hike.
First we have to climb a little mountain but once we’re on top it’s mostly straight forward, in the lush, green Oregon forest. We both plug our headphones in and are soon back in Hogwarts. There’s just something comforting and supporting about rereading/listening those books we both know so well!
We have a late breakfast and while we are sitting in the middle of the trail in a dry spot we are once again passed by Rocket, Peachman, Freewheel, Merman & Co. and realize once more that we are not alone out here. Of course you don‘t see other hikers for hours on end, but then, when you decide to sit down ON the trail, that‘s when people show up! (Or when you decide to take a bathroom break.)
We meet them again later for lunch at the beautiful Little Crater Lake - one of those places we‘ve been excited to see live! The water colors are stunning, never seen this kind of turquoise and blue water before. The others mention that they will skip the little hike up to Timberline and hitch from the road coming up in 12 miles. Our plan still is to leave about 7 miles for tomorrow and walk into the world-renowned hotel (the Timberline Lodge is a historic American hotel and filmset for the movie „The Shining“ with Jack Nicholson) the next morning, and so we tell them we‘ll meet them at the breakfast buffet the next day. Once they‘ve left though, it starts raining. Again. And we just don‘t know what to do. Of course, a little rain never killed nobody, but it‘s just no fun to feel wet all the time and miss out on some fabulous views because of the constant fog! And we doubt that we will be able to hike much further today, because we are both not feeling motivated at all. There is a family out by the lake, dressed in warm clothing and they’ve probably walked here from a parking lot 10 minutes away. They’re taking pictures and the two boys even jump into the lake. And I can’t help but feel very envious of the fact that they can just get into their (probably super oversized and well heated) car and drive off.
And so we decide to hitch to Timberline as well. Hike your own hike, it‘s called - for a reason. And to skip a part is still better than to leave the trail completely. With this plan in mind we leave Crater Lake again and hike the remaining miles to the highway.
We only reach it when it‘s about to get dark and it takes forever to get a ride into Government Camp, the little village on the bottom of Mt Hood. From here our plan is to catch another ride up to the Timberline Lodge where we want to camp next to the lodge on the PCT and walk into the hotel early the next day.
But no luck. We start roadwalking up the steep road in the hope that someone will stop for us eventually. But it‘s dark now and there aren‘t many cars. And if I haven‘t mentioned it before I will mention it now. Roadwalking at night is so so creepy! How come we aren‘t really bothered with the darkness on the PCT in the middle of nowhere, but get right out scared walking on a road?
We still don‘t get lucky and guess what - have to roadwalk the entire 6 miles up to Timberline Lodge in the rain, which we reach at 9.30pm. What a great day! Nooot! And when we reach the top we have to try and find our way back on the PCT via Guthooks. Which after some bushwacking works well enough and finally we can drop our packs and starting setting up. The wind is howling, it‘s snow-raining and the light coming from the hotel casts an eerie shadow all around. We are so relieved once we are lying inside our sleeping bags. Most of our stuff is damp, if not wet and we really wonder how much longer we can go on like this. Our trip is supposed to be fun. This doesn‘t feel particularly like fun anymore. Is it reason enough to quit or should be stop complaining and pull ourselves together? It‘s tough when the heart doesn‘t seem to be in it anymore and we keep wondering why we‘re actually out here. But let‘s put those unnerving thoughts out of our minds for now, get a good night‘s sleep with dreams about the upcoming buffet and not make any rushed decisions right now.
We are really hungry and make dinner at 10.15pm while we watch our nightly baking episode and finally, finally fall asleep. 28 miles today!