Miles: 19.96
Camping: Timothy Lake, 3 miles from PCT mile 2088.43

Despite the persistent hoofing around my camp by a deer I slept pretty hard after my 30 mile day. It was difficult to make myself wake up, but I knew there were good things waiting for me at the end of todays hike. I packed up and headed out, feeling surprisingly spry for having had such a big day yesterday. The ease of the hiking and the excitement of going to see a friend had me smiling as I hiked. I sang songs, twirled my trekking poles, and made fast progress towards my goal.

I took a break for second breakfast and didn’t take another until lunch. Both were short breaks, taken only to eat something in order to keep my energy from dropping with my blood sugar. If I hadn’t needed to eat I could’ve easily walked the miles today without a break. It’s the last of the easy hiking on this stretch, before Washington reminds me how much work it can be sometimes. Oregon has shown such compassion for us weary travellers, a beautiful break between California and Washington. I look forward to the challenge ahead, to wrapping up a summer of walking north, to the beautiful wilderness of the north Cascades. But for now, Oregon holds my heart, as it is truly the only place I want to call home.

Timothy Lake is a big lake by Mt. Hood a fairly short drive from Portland. It has 1 developed campground, and several more primitive sites around its shores. There are quite a few spots where you can hike or boat in, and my friend was at one of these on the north shore. I approached the south end of the lake shortly after lunch and walked the 4 miles along it’s eastern shore, completely taken in by how big and green it is. It was bigger than I remembered it but it was a taste of home. After reaching the northern shore I had to jump over to the lake trail for 3 more miles of walking off of the PCT. I hadn’t been expecting the extra miles, but feeling willfully compelled and committed to the weekend, I surged on. I knew the reward would far outweigh the onus of an hour of extra walking, and there would be no regrets.

I was going to see Will, a friend from Portland who had a big influence on my hike. Though I already had designs on doing the PCT, Will is the one who encouraged me to commit to it. He had hiked in 2007 and he knew that if I really wanted to do it, I had to take the chance I was given. There was no more putting it off because that is something we can always do, but we can’t always find time to hike the PCT. Will is the one who gave me the extra push I needed, and it has been great having him in my corner. Now without planning for it, he happens to be camping on the very lake I am hiking by today. So, of course I walked the extra 3 miles.

I found camp at about 4:15 after finding a few clues left on the trail by Will. It was such an interesting mix of emotions walking into their camp. I hadn’t been away from other hikers since I flew to San Diego on April 27, not for one day, ever. The only world I know is very PCT-centric, but it felt good to leave that protective bubble, to venture back into what us hikers refer to as “my other life.” Will was there with 3 of his friends and a Golden-Doodle named “Kava.” It was so cool to see my friend standing there, like he’s been in the woods all along and I’m just catching him now. The trail is like that. Life is like that too. It felt so good to be welcomed by him and his friends, to sit down and have a beer in the woods after a 20 mile day, the day after a 30 mile day. It felt so foreign to get into camp and have coolers of cold things, and amenities such as frisbees and canoes. It’s like the Ritz of camping for thru-hikers, sans a proper camode. We survive without them as regularly as you’re accustomed to having one though. It’s just a matter of perspective. This was all quite luxurious from my perspective, and it got better. More people arrived,with more things, and dogs, and food. So much food. So many wonderful people, all so warm and inviting to the stinky unshowered dust bunny from the trail. Everyone was so fascinated by me, which sometimes makes me uncomfortable, but I was comfortable there. I didn’t mind sharing my experience it was a refreshing new group with refreshing perspective. They were just like the people who hike, easy to get along with and fun. So much fun. We played a game I forget the name of, but it involves throwing frisbees at ski poles that have beer balanced on them, and we had a giant fire, and we had real champagne, delightful Pinot, beers, food and laughs. It was a great night among new friends, a night I needed, away from the trail, in the next wonderful place.