Miles: 13.01
Camping: PCT mile 1740.40

I woke up to the sound of thunder at 5:45 this morning. Longing for the opportunity for solitude but also wanting to sleep in, I pondered my options for a short while. I ultimately opted to get up and enjoy some time to myself. I made some coffee and toast, then sat watching the storm with my headphones in my ears. Not a soul was stirring, and I had a nice healthy dose of quiet time before the others awoke. It was a perfect Pacific Northwest morning with rain and coffee on the veranda. After a couple of hours the kitchen was bustling with people making breakfast. Angles brewed up some coffee and made a killer breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes, onions and warm baguette with avocado. String Cheese and Switch shared fruit and yogurt, and we all happily feasted together. I loved the quiet morning to myself, but equally loved the community breakfast.

Angles and I were the only ones hiking out so we cleaned up and packed out after breakfast. Word came down the line that the trail is now closed between Seiad Valley and the Oregon border, so I am especially happy to have made it through when we did. I would have been very disappointed to be turned around there. A few friends I hadn’t seen in a long time were hitching to Ashland today from the closure, and part of me wanted to linger until they arrived. I knew that I better make my move when I did though, I needed to get back on trail, town time was over. Our journey today began with my first hitch since Chester. Since then, I’ve been offered every ride I’ve had. I guess I had some dues to pay too, as it took us almost an hour to score a ride back to the trail.

Finally back in action, we set out at 12:45, and aimed for somewhere between 10-15 miles. About an hour in we ran into Caboose and Sacred Cow having a snack break. We chatted with them a bit and decided that we would all camp together tonight. The walking was easy as far as terrain goes, but I felt like I was moving through molasses. My body was complacent from time in town, and my mind needed a jump back into the game. I’m glad my Oregon resupply is handled, because I can really focus on hiking for the next few weeks, and have no reason to linger in town. I have a new shoe strategy being implemented for Oregon, and I hope it’s a recipe for success. I used my new Superfeet insoles for a couple of hours, and then switched to my new Chacos. My feet were not hurting outside of normal soreness, but we didn’t go too far either. I can’t really tell how my new system will work just yet, but I didn’t end up taking Ibuprofen for once!

We got all of our water from springs today, so I happily kept up my system of not filtering. I feel spoiled, and know it won’t be like this the whole way. I’ll take what I can get, especially in the name of not spending eons on filtering. Spring water simply tastes better as well, especially after drinking faucet water from town.

After I started feeling like I’d had enough for today I heard the Vuvuzela (a South African soccer horn). This is a horn carried by Sacred Cow, and he uses it to alert people of certain activity using a variety of tones and blasts. In tonight’s case, he was sending me the message that they had found a camping spot. Having hiked with Don’t Axe (an ex Naval Sea Captain), Sacred Cow has learned some naval signals using his Vuvuzela. I appreciated the alert, as I’d fallen behind the group and wasn’t sure if I should be seeking camp on my own or not. Fortunately Angles, Caboose and Sacred Cow had the same notion that it was time to call it a day, so we all set up in a nice field that butted up to the forest.

We sat in a circle eating dinner as clouds began moving quickly overhead, darkening the sky. The temperature spoke of rain to come, and just as we were finishing our food, the forecast came true. The rain started gently enough that we continued sitting together for a while, but soon it started coming down steadily. At this point I was feeling unusually tired, so I was content climbing into my tent and saying goodnight. I hope my feet feel better tomorrow, my plan is to wear my shoes with the inserts until lunch and then switch to Chacos after lunch. Until then…

morning on the veranda