Highway 26 – trooper Spring
31.5 miles. 3779ft up. 3290ft down.
I thought the traffic might be less noisy overnight. I was wrong. What sounded like great big trucks going very fast and motorbikes making an awful noise carried on seemingly all night. This resulted in interrupted sleep and weird dreams all night. I woke up not quite knowing what was real.
I was tired so I snoozed my alarm. This is not a good start to a big day. Maybe I can do 40 miles today? The elevation doesn’t seem too bad and this is the place to do it, right? So I packed up and I was on the trail at 6:20am.
The morning was beautiful, the clouds were hanging low and looking pretty and the temperature was perfect, nice and cool. I got some phone signal and had to sort out a few life admin things. This made me cross. When you’re living so simply these small things become a big deal, and things are so hard to sort out when you’re on the trail.
I haven’t been hearing that much from people, it’s weird because people are reading all about me so they think they know everything, maybe they don’t feel the need to send a message to ask how I’m getting on. I had to send a couple of emails and when I got replies straight away with some messages of support it overwhelmed me for a moment and I sobbed. I’m such a cry baby! I sometimes feel like I might be losing my mind but I know that in reality I am just physically and emotionally tired. Messages are nice. Messages help.
I also have completely fallen out of love with my backpack. There is no adjustment left in the hip belt. It’s uncomfortable. It’s got several holes in it. It has developed a squeak. It smells. So I spent more time than I should of persevering with very slow internet connection, looking up Hyperlite Mountain Gear bags. They are expensive!
I had faffed about for too long and needed to get going, this was supposed to be the easy bit and I wasn’t making the miles. I put a picture on Instagram and Facebook, it will either help me feel loved or it will make me feel the opposite. Damn you social media and your ‘likes’ and your justification for existence.
It did put me in touch with a girl who is a few days ahead of me – Spice Rack, an Instagram ‘friend’ – I think she started a couple of weeks before me. I’m closing in. I want some people. She told me there was a nobo asking after me. Hmm, I wonder who that could be.
I carried on through the nice wide, pine needle cushioned path until I made it to Timothy Lake. I was half an hour ahead of my 10 miles in 4 hours pace so I decided to have a little break by the lake. I had been passing a steady stream of nobos this morning and had seen about 30 so far. Just as I left my lunch spot a man approaching me says ‘is that Puff Puff?’. It sure is, but I had no idea who this guy was. He followed my blog last year and linked back to my blog from his. He had been looking forward to meeting me and I find that odd, it’s just me you know. It was nice to chat to someone but as always we have to go our separate ways.
After the only view that morning of the lake I continued on for the next 10 miles through the trees, only popping out of them through a clear cut area which accommodates the power lines. Not exactly a great view. It was getting a lot hotter too.
I met a guy sat having some lunch and I assumed it was just another nobo. But it’s a SOBO! Walking Mantis, I met him just as I was starting out at Harts Pass. He thought Marvin and Sue were my parents dropping me off. We chatted for a while and I had to move on. Got to keep moving.
That’s a few people I’ve caught up to now. Maybe I’m not doing that badly after all.
I started to feel weak and lacking in energy so I sat on a log and rummaged around in my food bag, I thought I only had cookies but I found goldfish and cheetos. Yes! So I ate all the goldfish– which are little cheesy baked snacks.
Walking Mantis passed me.
I made it down to the Warm Springs River, which looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. Filled up with water and prepared for the climb. The climb was gentle but it was still uphill and I don’t like going uphill. Especially when I’ve already walked 22 miles.
I kept going, up and up. With 7 miles to go I saw Walking Mantis again, he suggested setting the pace, but I told him to just go on. I needed to put myself in a zone so I plugged myself into a podcast and continued to plod uphill slower than him. We were planning to camp at the same spot so I’ll see him there. I came out of the trees for a second to get the only view, of trees.
I continued to see a steady stream of nobos and I estimate I saw around 70 today. Some were really stinky to the point I almost gagged. Most were friendly and pleasant and the majority moved out of the way to let me past. Only one guy didn’t say anything and wasn’t going to move for anyone. ‘Rude’ I said as he went by. I don’t think he cared.
I was feeling dehydrated and there was a bunch of huckleberries along the trail which I was getting distracted by. They are really tasty but kind of annoying as you have to pick at least 6-10, which is time consuming, just for one mouthful.
At 30 miles I was really starting to feel it. Even going downhill hurt. My feet, heels, ankles, legs, knees. All very painful. There is no way I can do a 40. It hurts too much. I tried to pick up the pace and I got to trooper spring at 6:40pm. 12 hours and 20 minutes. Not too bad for a 31.5 mile day.
No sign of walking Mantis. Looks like I’m camping alone tonight.
I set up my tent and lie in it with my legs in the air. Everything is throbbing. The hard ground feels nice. I read a bit of my book and try to relax for half an hour. I can’t be bothered to ‘cook’ tonight so I eat 2 string cheese, Cheetos and cookies.
I get cosy and around 8:15 a couple come by looking for water. They set up their next to mine. I’m not camping alone. I advise them on the water but I never found out their names.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.