Today was the first full day after returning to the trail and it felt good to be back in full swing again. The three shorter days leading up to today worked out all the kinks and the muscle pains went away today. The feet even felt pretty decent. Most of the day was spent climbing up and down in the coolness of an overcast day.
I woke up about 5:00 and listened to music until 5:45, then I rolled out of the hammock, ate my breakfast burrito, and headed out at 6:30. Yesterday had been so hot and lasted well after dark. I slept on top of the sleeping bag until about 3 am when I was finally cold enough to get inside the bag.
The coolness accelerated in the morning. It was probably about 65 when I set out from the campsite, but within an hour of climbing, it was probably closer to 45 degrees. It was very overcast and even though I was not in the clouds or fog, I was right even with them. Even wearing gloves, my.hands were cold. The heat generated from climbing kept me.from getting too cold, but several times I almost.put my rain jacket on just for the warmth. What a stark difference from yesterday.
All day I kept bouncing between 1000 and 4000 feet. The climbing was a little painful on my left Achilles heel if the grade was a bit steep. I could walk on my toes without pain, but the extra flexion if the ground slopes up more than about ten degrees would cause pain. I found two ways to mitigate the pain. If I could find a rock to land my heel on as I stepped to level out my foot, that would be pain free. If no rock was at the right spot to step on, I could step sideways to shallow the angle. Pointing my toe either left or right seemed to work equally well.
Another odd thing going on today was having my phone reboot itself while it was in my pocket. It has done it five.or six times during the trip and did it a few times yesterday, but today it rebooted five or six times in an hour. It seems to take a bit of juice to do a reboot, so the most worrisome part about it doing this is the extra consumption of power. By the end of the day, it had used 50% power where it would normally be 20-25% for a day. I took it out of its bumper case to see if that was interfering with the power button. That seemed to work for a while, but then it started rebooting again. I could see that the bottom side of the power button was depressed when it rebooted, so it is definitely sticking on the bottom side. When I stopped for lunch, I cut the bottom half of the bumper button out so that it can only depress the top half and will.protect the bottom half. That seemed to work well, but it did reboot once near the end of the day. If I can find a pencil, I’ll try to grind some graphite on the switch. I may also have to stop keeping it in my.pocket just to protect it.
The scenery all day was pretty good. The view in the picture is.looking back at the Columbia river towards Mt Hood. I was still able to receive cell signal from the river gorge, too. The clouds lasted most of the day but did seem to break about 4 or 5 PM. It never did actually rain, but some of the trees were dropping dew from the clouds.
The combination of thick green forest, moderate uphill and downhill grades and very little level terrain, coupled with all of the views being of rolling forest and the threat of rain all day made me think of the Appalachian Trail. Aside from the actual species of plants and trees, you would have a hard time telling if I was hiking the PCT or AT today.
Even though I only hiked 23 miles today, I consider it a good day of hiking. I would have preferred to hike 25, but the morning went so slowly stopping alot and messing with the phone far more than I wanted to. I hiked until 7:15 so it was a pretty full day. That’s about as late as I can hike and still have enough light to set up the hammock, but I’m cooking and eating in the dark. I can probably start fifteen minutes earlier but the days are sure getting shorter much faster than I would like. I need to knock out miles to make Canada before the snow sets in.
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