An unexpected delay can be one of the harder mental challenges on the trail. Thru hikers can develop inertia so strong that it’s harder to stop hiking than to keep on going. Of course it feels great to take a rest day, to fill up on fresh food, maybe to take a shower or clean your clothes. But when the motivation to stop comes from without- a resupply box that hasn’t arrived, etc., stopping can be very hard.
With that said, I’ve been off the trail
Since last Wednesday morning, resting what I think is a strained hamstring. We set out from bend feeling healthy and rested. Day 2 out of Bend I began to feel a twinge in my left thigh, and by the next day, the pain began to be debilitating. My leg was cramping/ hurting all through the night, limiting my sleep for two nights in a row. By the time we reached Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, I realized that I was going to have to get off and rest my leg. I put out a few calls to the various Doctors in my life- thanks Roger, Jesse, and Mom & Dad- and they all seemed to concur that whatever it was, it wasn’t going to kill me but I was going to need to take some time off, and rest the leg. So Becky and I left the gorgeous Timberline Lodge- where the lifts were running and skiing is still open for a few more weeks yet- and hitch hiked in to Portland, a cheaper place to be than Timberline lodge. As we sat dining on absolutely phenomenal Indian food, it was a bittersweet moment- I still wanted to be hiking, to be moving forward.
As time went on, and my leg did not start to feel better, Becky decided that she needed to try hiking alone, in case I wasn’t going to be able to continue on. So on Friday, she got a ride back to timberline lodge, in order to do the next 50 miles to Cascade locks, on the border with Washington, where I would meet her. Not so surprisingly she did the section in about 28 hours, and arrived half a day before I expected her!! We are staying at Shrek’s Swamp- a trail angel’s house here that is a common rest stop for hikers before they head in to Washington state. It is definitely a frustrating experience to be here, watching the hikers come and leave, as I just have to hang out and wait till y leg heals. That said it is also encouraging to be in the trail community rather than alienated from it in Portland. Becky and I are holed up here until Grace and Maxx (Becky’s mom and brother) arrive Monday night. We’ll do a few 10 mile days with them, which should be a great time, as well as a good chance to gently test my legs after 6 full days off it.
That’s most of what’s been going on for us since Bend. The hiking in Northern Oregon is absolutely fantastic (probably even better without a bum leg). It’s defined by steep cliffs and huge volcanoes, covered in glaciers. Each volcano has its own character and it is breathtaking to come up over a ridge and catch your first view of a new one. Climbing to the high point in the mt. Jefferson area, we had a view of Hood, Rainier, and St. Helens. Here at the OR/WA border I think it’s safe to say that OR has had some of the coolest hiking on the trail. Soon enough it
Will be time to see whether WA can measure up.
Special thanks to Inna R. for your amazing care package- we loved it!