Nannie Ridge Lake – Lewis river
27.7 miles.
3564 up. 3241 down. 

I was reading a bit of my book and just as it started to get dark (before 9pm) I read something about an abandoned theme park coming to life and some mannequins riding around on the Ferris wheel. That totally creeped me out and I had to continue reading for a while until I came to a nice bit.

It rained seemingly all night and was still raining when my alarm went off a 5:30. It looked pretty grim out so I snoozed my alarm repeatedly until 6. I wasn’t going to wait for it to get better so I packed up and left by 6:40

My first goal was a 27 mile day, my second goal a 30 mile day. Pretty much the same elevation as yesterday but over double the miles. Sounds doable.

It was cold and cloud covered to start. The sun tried to make an appearance but it only lasted about 2 minutes before the cloud won. The trail was wet, and all the plants were soaking so I didn’t stand any chance of keeping my feet dry. They were soaked and squelching within minutes.

The first 9 miles of trail was pretty uneventful, aside from the giant mushrooms and the fresh cuts which I said a little thank you for every time I crossed one. Apart from one big event.

A guy was walking towards me and we said hello. He said hey were you on the trail last year? I looked at him properly – it was Paparazzi (or Papa Razi as I later discovered)! I found out that he made it to Timberline lodge last year before running out of steam, so he is back to finish up this year. We had a great catch up then it was time to go our opposite ways. He told me he had submitted some pictures of me to the class of 2015 video. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it yet.

I had eaten all my snacks by 10am and I had already drunk more than I had the whole of yesterday. I decided to stop for lunch at a lake, but it must have been the only place in this section with mosquitos, so I just carried on. I was able to stop a bit later next to some water and I ate some Cheetos and some tuna and crackers. I’m super hungry today. I ate my second Twix.

Eventually, at around 2pm the sun came out for a bit. I even managed a few miles without my waterproofs on. The wildflowers were beautiful all day.

I saw a few people heading north throughout the day. Some you stop to talk to, some you don’t. Some you get a good vibe off, some you don’t. Some are really friendly, some aren’t.

It made me think a lot about connections with people and how weird they are. Some people you just click with and some people you just don’t. A couple of SOBOs I met last year for just the briefest of moments I still interact with on social media.

I met Trout and Hobbit. Hobbit was really sweet but Trout had a very high opinion of himself and seemed happy to spend most of the time bragging about his achievements. Is this an American / British thing? I very much downplay what I have done and only tell people I have hiked the trail before if really necessary. But this guy has climbed every mountain in America by the sounds of it. Twice. And doing the trail with a busted knee because finishing the trail is more important that losing a leg – seems like a bit of a dumb attitude to me. I told him to take care of himself and hiked on.

One guy I met was impressed with my pace and told me I was making good time, which was refreshing to hear because most people question my ability to make it through the Sierra in time. Another guy seemed surprised I was a solo female, even in the post Cheryl / Reese era that we live in, people are still surprised to see women out here on their own.

I met a nobo girl, Sprout, who said she had seen about 6 SOBOs today, which means there are at least 6 people heading my way within 50 miles of me. Good to know. Just behind her was Kingstreet who was cute. Shame he was heading north!

Near then end of the day was a fairly significant creek crossing – the one where Vince lost his trekking pole last year. I crossed on a precariously places log and prayed I wouldn’t fall in. It was actually an easier crossing than last year.

I know Mt Adams is right there but I haven’t seen it all day. A lot of the water is flowing down from snow melt and it is a bit silty.

I made it 27ish miles and came across a tent site north of the river where I had intended to stay. I needed water so carried on to the river and really didn’t want to walk back on myself to the tent site. There was another site in 1.4 miles. I could make it there. But after I crossed the river there were some camp spots just after so I decided to call it a day there. I was cold, my feet were dome with being wet and I was hungry. Again.

So I pitched my tent, really close to the trail, I had no problem finishing my chicken Terryaki mountain house meal and treated myself to a hot chocolate to get warm. I also nailed a bag of Twirl Bites (yummy yummy British chocolate!). As I was drinking my hot chocolate I heard someone shout ‘Puff Puff?’ It was Running Red and a new friend he had picked up. They had done 34 miles to get here and were aiming for a 40 mile day. Nutters. His friend – I never found out his name, he wasn’t that chatty – had done the Te Araroa before this. But I doubt I will ever see him again to ask him about it, he started 10 days after me and hadn’t done less than a 30 mile day yet. Whatever.

Red told me he had seen Strings and Drake. They got lost on the knife edge and they got snowed on!! It shook them up a bit and they ended up pitching their tents just after and drinking tea to warm up. He said they were aiming for a 20 mile day today which by my calculation means I’m about 15 miles ahead of them.

The weather is unseasonably cool and a lot of the nobos, who by the sounds of it have had very good weather until now, are a little shocked by the temperature. It’s something that can be explained very easily and often is by people I have met – this is Washington.


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