Tent site – tent site 
26.5 miles.
3548ft up. 3018ft down

It was cold last night, I put the fly on my tent for extra warmth and I fell asleep still with my down jacket on mid typing. At least I was warm.

15 miles to shelter Cove today (13.5 trail miles and 1.5 side trail). It promises food, laundry and a shower. As I’m packing up a couple of southbounders pass me, they have flipped about a bit and restarted at Cascade Locks.

I start a bit later this morning. I set my alarm for the usual 5:30 but it was still really dark so I reset it for 6. I got going at 6:30 wrapped up like I was yesterday. Hands in pockets I make my way down the trail. I quickly catch up and overtake the couple, I have to walk fast to keep warm. I cruise along and after one hour I have done 3.3 miles. Killing it.

I can see the sun in the tree tops and I long for it to reach the trail, but it is easier to go faster when it’s cold, so I maintain my 3 mph pace. I needed a poo when I woke up but I thought I could wait until I reached shelter cove. I couldn’t. I kept feeling a motion, which may have just been wind, but I wasn’t confident enough to find out. Eventually, after a couple of hours I had to run off the trail and it’s a good job I didn’t release anything as I was walking because this was definitely not solid. It’s really horrible having a runny bum when you have access to a flushing toilet, it’s much worse when you’re in the middle of the forest.

I move on, the only thing I can do, and it finally warms up enough for me to delayer. The next few miles go by and I get a nice view and I pass a lot of lakes. All of them look like perfect swimming lakes, if only I had the inclination to get in.

The trail is a Nordic skiing route in the winter and there are lots of signs high up in the trees. Not confusing at all!

I pass a few northbounders, all smelling clean from their stay at shelter cove. I go down the side trail, over the railway line, and walk the mile of road to the resort. There are a lot of people there when I get there. All going north I find out. I don’t know anyone and everyone else knows each other.

I put my electronics on charge at this overloaded charging station and I take a look in the hiker box. Nothing but unlabelled ziplocks full of unidentifiable substances. I head to the store. It’s half empty. It’s either been ransacked by all the nobos or they are preparing to shut down for the season. I needed to resupply here for the next 3 days. I have plenty of ramen in my bag – about 5 packets – so that’s ok. I ended up buying a 13oz pack of chips ahoy cookies, 6 twix, 3 starburst packs, 2 cakes, and for now – 2 cans of Sprite and a frozen pizza (which they cook for you, but it was $10 and I think that’s expensive for a frozen pizza!). It ended up costing me $35 dollars in total which I thought was a lot. Then my card got declined. Great. Luckily I had enough cash but it has wiped me out so I hope I don’t need cash for anything, and I hope there is nothing wrong with my card!

There is an excruciating exchange between a hiker and the girl making the coffees – he wanted a double espresso with a splash of hot milk. Doesn’t sound too difficult to me. But she says that’s a latte. No it’s not a latte. Then she says she can’t heat up the milk. The exchange goes backwards and forwards for much longer than it should have done until the hiker finally got want he asked for.

The pizza takes 20 minutes. I drink a soda and wait. When the pizza is ready I collect it from the store, served in its box, I take a bite and think it’s delicious. It hot and it’s not from my food bag. Half way through I realise it’s just a frozen pizza and frozen pizzas aren’t that nice. I finish it and drink the other soda. All of these nobos are talking about doing their laundry. I know there is only one machine. I also don’t have any detergent and I probably don’t have enough money to buy any. I give up on the laundry idea. I decide against the shower too. It’s only been 2/3 days. Something like that.

I try and send some messages using the store wifi but it is so slow I give up on that too. My parents know I’m alive, my friend and her baby are OK and my other friend is looking into audio books for me. That will have to do. I’m missing my friends a lot. I’m not getting a great vibe from these people here, they know I’m going south. I’m not one of them so I guess there is no reason to talk to me.

I pack up my stuff, get some fresh water, have a little (solid) poo and make my way back to the trail. A man sat outside his RV chats to me on the way out. Asks me if I’m having a good hike. I tell him I’m southbound and he tells me he spoke to a good looking guy who was headed south about three days ago. I had better get moving then.

I walk the road again, cross back over the railway and head back to the trail. It’s 2pm. I hope to make another 8 miles with a 2000ft climb.

I am uncomfortable. My hip belt is crushing my internal organs, not leaving enough room for the pizza which feels like it’s being forced upwards. I am also incredibly thirsty. I realise it’s probably from the pizza which was probably 50% salt. I take it slowly. I don’t even have to do 2mph to make it to camp by 7. I drink a litre of water and fill up again at a lake. I drink another half a litre and take a litre with me.

The dust is horrible. I can see it floating about in front of me. I can feel it going into my lungs and collecting in my nose. It’s making it difficult to breathe. It’s also making my lips really sore and dry. They have a crust around the edges. And then it happens. I need a poo. Again. What it that about?? 2 nature poos in one day!

About half a mile before the camp spot I really need to wee. So I throw my stuff down and go next to the trail. One second after I pull my pants up and a guy walks up the trail, that’s the closest I’ve come to being caught.

I plod on and make it to camp at 6:30, the mosquitos are everywhere and I have been bitten all afternoon. Today they have been favouring the bum cheeks and the elbows. I set up my tent as quick as I can. I think it’s going to be another cold one.

It is a nice spot with a great view, but I also think this looks like prime bear territory! I hear someone else come over and poke my head out to say hello. His name is Mayor and he is heading north. He is unimpressed with most of those nobos hanging out at shelter cove because apparently they are hitchhiking more than they are walking. I got that vibe from them.

A Chinese girl comes into camp too. Mayor is cowboy camping. Hopefully the bear will choose him first.


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