Piped Spring – piped Spring
27.1 miles. 3893ft up. 4266ft down.
I woke with a start after a deep dreamless sleep. I was worried I hadn’t set my alarm or I had slept through it. I looked at my phone. 05:59. 30 seconds later my alarm went off.
I guess I should get up and hike. I put on my stinky clothes and pack up and start hiking. It’s cool but nice. I’m not cold I’m comfortable. Perfect weather for hiking. I decide to put my foam pad behind my back today, my bag has been dragging on my shoulders and I think it’s because there is no adjustment left in the hip belt. Despite my horrible diet I think I have lost a few pounds already.
The light is streaming through the forest and is looking beautiful and Oregon like, then the trail stretches out through more open plains and it takes on a different feel. Everything is dry and grassy. It looks like a tinder box.
The day did not quite go to plan as I got actual useable decent cell service for the first time in nearly the whole of Oregon. So I spent a lot of the day on my phone. Contacting friends. Looking up stuff. Making arrangements for Ashland. A lot of the trail passed me by as I was hiking along staring at my screen.
I passed Grizzly creek and the aqueduct but decided to pass on the water there and carry on to the next source. Just before I got there I ran into a guy called Stranger Ranger from San Diego who was giving out his phone number to southbounders and offering them rides from the southern terminus. Very nice of him.
I got to the water. A tap with a trough under it. One of the more bizarre water sources, but a good one because it didn’t need filtering. I was going to stop here and have something to eat but there was a slightly odd guy and a tonne of bees and wasps around so I carried on. I sat on a log and ate my slim jims, cheese crackers and Oreos. And I wasted time on my phone.
The clouded were gathering which was nice, I haven’t seen clouds for a while and it was a welcome relief from the sun. It started to feel really humid and I wondered if it might rain. I would love it to rain. Dampen down some of the dust. If it rained I would just stand out in it and get wet.
It didn’t rain, but it did continue to feel humid. I saw a lizard, another reminder that the trail was changing. As I was walking along looking at my phone I almost stepped on a rattler lying across the trail. That shook me up. I banged my poles on the trail next to it hoping it would slither off into the forest but no, it just stayed exactly where it was. So I launched a small twig at it and it moved a bit. I launched a bigger twig at it and it didn’t like that. It sat on the edge of the trail and rattled and curled it’s body. Great. Now I’ve pissed it off. Eventually it creeped it’s way back across the trail and moved into the undergrowth. I took my opportunity and ran past it.
I put my phone away and concentrated on the trail. I’m not even going to make 25 at this rate. But eventually curiosity got the better of me and the phone came out again. I was already down to 20% battery but tomorrow is town and I get to charge everything so it didn’t matter. I had a message from a SOBO hiker. There is a fire near Seiad valley and they are probably going to close the trail.
Well, no one like to hear of a fire anywhere, especially not on the pct, but, a slight wave of relief came over me. I might have to skip forwards and not through choice, but necessity. I can move forwards and take off some of the pressure and not feel guilty about it.
By now I had wasted a couple of hours of the day just being on my phone. It’s better when there is no service!
The trail dips in and out of the forest, and in and out of open plains. The trail opens out to views towards Ashland. There is an orangey haze in the distance. Is that from the fire I wonder? As I continue down the trail the haze gets more pronounced.
I stop a few times. I have to wee. Then I have to get rid of the foam behind my back, I am too sweaty. Then I have to sort out my feet. I can feel piles of dirt and bits of debris in my shoes. I have holes in them now and there is something from the shoe digging in to the top of my big toe. I take them off and empty them out while precariously balancing on a rock that really isn’t designed for sitting on. There is nothing I can do about the pokey bit. It’s part of the shoe.
I move on slowly. I try and call my parents, maybe that will stop me looking at my phone and I can keep walking. I speak to them briefly but my phone keeps dipping in and out of signal.
Eventually I make it 25 miles but decide to continue another two to a piped Spring. I get there at 7:10. I could have easily done a 30 or more had I just kept walking all day and not wasted so much time. Oh well. It is what it is. And now I only have 9 miles to do in the morning to get to Ashland. Nice quick morning miles.
I grab some water and I pitch my tent. I sit inside and get on Instagram. Before I realise it it’s getting dark and I’m getting cold. I have done nothing to set up. I hastily get everything organised. I’m in a really crappy spot and I’m rolling over to one side. I’m annoyed at myself for letting myself get cold as it’s going to be hard to warm up. I had intended to make myself a hot chocolate but now I can’t be bothered. I eat my remaining few Fritos and that will have to do for dinner. I’m hungry and thirsty but I can wait until town tomorrow.
My face felt really crusty so I took a moist toilet wipe and wiped my face with it. Of its good enough for your bum it’s good enough for your face right? I needed to make myself a tiny bit presentable tomorrow.
I hear some noises outside and my senses heighten. Then I see a head lamp. It’s just another hiker. They set up near me. I finally get off my phone and try to sleep. It’s way past hiker midnight.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.