July 4th 2018
Falls Creek – US route 30 (mile 1083.6)
17.4 miles

Total miles: 1102.6


I lay in my tent and watched the firefly show which was amazing. They were everywhere, floating around and lighting up and shooting through the sky. There were other lights that looked like distant lightening, but I was unsure. There were some fireworks going off somewhere that I could hear but I didn’t think they would light up the sky like that. I looked between the trees to find some stars but I couldn’t see any. The sky was clear I was sure but maybe there is just too much light pollution around here. I debated with myself for a while about putting the fly on my tent but decided not to and that was a good decision. I had a great nights sleep and woke up at exactly 5:30am because it felt and sounded like something was tapping on my pillow. That was weird. 

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I ended up packing up and getting going by 7am. In 17 miles there is a restaurant which is high rated by hikers and very hiker friendly. I pinned all my hopes on getting here and stuffing my face full of good food. It’s July 4th. A holiday. But we were pretty sure it would be open. 

There was a bit of a climb to start, and of course it was already hot because it never went below 24°c, but after that the trail wasn’t too bad. A little rocky in places but that’s pretty normal for the trail. I made a brief stop at a privy. There was trail magic in there in the form of toilet paper. I thought there could be trail magic somewhere today but this wasn’t what I imagined! 

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I heard someone walk by while I was in there and later on I caught up to Bryce. We walked together to the state park where there was a water spigot. I stopped briefly to take the insole out of my right shoe. I had started with them in to see how it was, but 7 miles was enough and the intense pain in that little ball of my foot was too much. I kept the left one in. 

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Bryce stopped there for a break but I knew there was 1000ft to climb so I carried on and it was like someone turned up the heat and the humidity. The air felt thick as I ascended. The sweat was unreal and it was just pouring out of my face, popping out the sides and rolling down my cheeks. It was even rolling down my arms and dripping off my elbows. 

I went slowly. Too fast and I would have started to feel funny and faint so I kept it slow and steady. Aside from the crazy amount of sweating I was able to get to the top without too much bother, although my foot was now hurting, even without the insole in. I decided to take the little side trail at the top and go to see Chimney Rocks. It was a bit of a disappointing outlook, just looking out over to the next ridge and at trees. On the way down I saw Peaches who was struggling with some chafe. She is sweating a lot and her shorts are rubbing her outer thighs. She wants to go into town and get something tighter fitting. 

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Bryce caught up too and we walked together along the ridge for a bit. With Bryce in the lead I was walking a bit faster than I normally would but it wasn’t a struggle to keep up. Weirdly it then started to rain which was surprising. Normally the temperature drops a bit and it goes dark before it rains but none of that happened. 

It rained a lot! I was fine because I got my umbrella up but the others got pretty soaked. It didn’t cool off at all. My feet got soaked but I hardly noticed, normally the water feels a different temperature but it was also warm. We had hoped that the humidity would drop after the downpour but it just seemed worse. It probably lasted for about half an hour. Long enough to make giant puddles on the trail! Maybe the water will help to stretch my shoes…

With three miles to go to the shelter we found a rock to sit on and I took off my shoes and rung out my socks. My stomach felt like it was about to eat itself but I didn’t want to eat anything because I wanted to be really hungry for the restaurant. Gusher caught up to us and we all walked together the last 3 miles telling stories of hitchhiking so that made the time go quickly and it made me forget about how many rocks there were. 

We made really good time and got to the road around 2:20pm. Perfect time for a nice big lunch and some ice cream. Peaches was already at the road trying to hitch a ride to Walmart which is about 7 miles away. It was a huge busy and fast road and she wasn’t having much success. 

We walked the half mile to the restaurant and she walked with us while still trying to hitch. We could see the Timbers sign and we could see a massive ‘open’ flag next to it. Yes. Then we got there and it most definitely didn’t look open. It wasn’t open and I was devastated. I had pinned a lot of hope on this although I was secretly worried about this scenario! 

It was a tough blow. We sat outside wondering what to do. Peaches ordered an Uber to take her to town and after a quick google to see what was around, seeing there was a Subway, and I have been craving subway for so long, we decided to all go with her. We didn’t think there would be room for all of us and our packs so we stashed our packs behind the restaurant and just took our valuables. 

We walk into Walmart and it’s a Walmart super centre which is massively overwhelming. The subway was inside and it was about a mile walk to find it!! I got a footlong flatbread stuffed to bursting with rotisserie chicken, cheese, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, green peppers, guacamole and a shed load of chipotle sauce, which is the only reason I love a subway. That sauce. I didn’t have much trouble eating the whole thing although I got a little slow towards the end. Two cookies and 2 soda refills later I felt really really good. 

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It was so cold in there we were shivering. Outside it was disgustingly humid. The weather had taken a turn on the way in and a huge thunderstorm rolled in. We could hear the thunder rumbling outside. I mentioned jokingly that there might be a cheap motel around here and maybe we should just stay. The others all said yes instantly which I wasn’t expecting! Well it is July 4th after all and we can eat and drink and have a nice time. 

We made a plan. We had to go back to get our packs so after buying some snacks for the next couple of days Peaches and I went back to the closed Timbers restaurant, with the same Uber driver who brought us into town, and we got the packs. When he brought us back into town he didn’t charge us. So nice of him! We arranged for him to come and get us the next morning. 

Gusher and Bryce had sorted out the motel room and bought some beers and we piled into the room. We did the normal stuff. Showers and laundry and looked outside happy to see it was continuing to rain. 

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After a while I asked if anyone was hungry. So we ordered in pizza. And it came straight to the room. The pizza man actually knocked on the door of the room! 

We watched Captain America and Ninja warrior, and we went outside and lit our sparklers!

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Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 57

 

 


 

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