Sunday, 12 August 2018
Trailhead and Tentsite (437.9) – Dirt Road and Trailhead (454.7): 16.8 miles / 420 total miles walked
I was still so tired when I woke up, and it was pretty cold. Also, everything was wet, I even had a small puddle of water next to my head. Still, I changed into my hiking clothes, packed up and started walking.
The trail led through forest mostly, with a few glimpses into meadows, foggy and gloomy in the dawn lighting.
We had initially agreed to take a morning break at Bear Lake, but when I got there, it was still cold and foggy. Also, it would’ve been a descent down to the lake for water. I didn’t feel like doing that, so I left a note in the dirt for Sink and continued on.
After about a mile I came to a pond, where the water was easily accessible and didn’t look too bad. I filled up my bottles, made some Ramen and watched the sun attempting to peak through the clouds.
I left another note for Sink in the dirt, intending to make it another 9 miles to a trailhead (with pit toilets😎) for a longer break.
About a mile in I was standing to the side of the trail, allowing a couple of northbound hikers to pass. They were wearing enough clothes to survive Antarctica and weren’t particularly friendly.
So when I stepped back on trail to continue my journey, I turned to look at them one more time…..and tripped.
Because of the steep trail and my velocity, especially with an unbalanced, heavy pack, I couldn’t stop my tumble downhill and on my last step I heard a snapping sound, and had intense, shooting pain in my left ankle. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
I just lay there for a while, took my sock off and looked at the damage. My ankle was already swelling, but I could at least move it, although painfully. As I was sitting there I tried not to cry, because I was seriously afraid that this stupid accident would mean the end of hiking for me.
I sat for about a half hour, another hiker coming by, asking if I was okay, and then a really nice family offering to help me carry my stuff to the next lake, so I at least had water. I opted to stay and wait for Sink, who was just a few minutes behind.
She came down the trail, all smiles and bouncy enthusiasm, and when she saw me sitting down, just kind of stopped and looked at me funny. Usually, when I stumble she laughs at me (not mean or anything), and we keep on going. This time, not even she found it funny.
We decided to make our way to Blue Lake, because it had water, and reassess the situation. I hobbled the mile down the trail, and it wasn’t as super painful as I thought. I parked my butt on a log and Sink jogged around the lake trying to find anyone with a map, so we could figure out the most reasonable way out of this mess. But there was no-one there.
We even got some long-distance assistance from NakedRiver, courtesy of Sink’s InReach (satellite messenger), and a very nice couple came by and gifted an ACE bandage to me, so I could stabilize my ankle. I had of course gotten rid of my own bandage a few days before in an attempt to save weight. 🙄
We stayed for about a half hour, it was still really cold, when OnePiece showed up. And then I was shown how truly great the hiking community is. Sink and OnePiece each took the heaviest pieces of my gear, leaving me with barely any weight to carry, and we headed out slowly to the closest trailhead that had definite access to a road.
It was a 7 mile walk, but without much weight to carry, and Sink walking behind me for support and encouragement, I made pretty good time. We got to the trailhead at about 4 pm, OnePiece came in right behind us and returned my stuff to me. And then we tried hitching a ride.
Almost immediately a car stopped and the two nice ladies were kind enough to take us all the way to Carson, a city on the Columbia River, more than halfway to Cascade Locks, because they ‘were just out for a drive anyway’.
As soon as they dropped us off at the highway leading to Cascade Locks, a van stopped and gave us a ride to the Bridge of the Gods, the gateway to Cascade Locks….and Oregon.
Sink and I walked across the bridge, which doesn’t have a pedestrian walkway, and is SEE-THROUGH, she screaming her head off in fear, while I just laughed at the hilarity of it all.
ver a month into the trail I have made it to the second of three US states, granted, with some skipped miles, but I still walked more than 400 miles already, which kind of boggles my mind. I just hope that I’ll be able to do a lot more miles before I have to return home…..and leave all the wonderful people I met behind.
First stop in town was at the AleHouse for food. They are so nice, and didn’t mind our dirt or our smell, each hiker even receives one free beer. TwoCents was there, I hadn’t seen her since Steven’s Pass, and we chatted with her and another hiker while we inhaled our burgers. So good.
Sink and I decided to get a room for two nights, so I could elevate my foot and ice my ankle without too much hassle. The cheapest place we could find was the Columbia Gorge Inn, and the owner, Steve, turned out to be a true gem. He gave us a nice room and was there for any inquiries or requests we had. Thank you Steve! He even managed to find us a place to stay with a local for the following few nights…..just amazing how many generous people you meet when you’re just out here walking.
After a shower I pretty much collapsed on the bed and my caring nurse (aka Sink, my trail wife) fetched some ice and beer, and we pretty much watched movies until we fell asleep.
I’ll probably be trapped here for about a week, so there won’t be much to report. I appreciate all healing thoughts that you send my way.
Keeping you posted…