I swore I heard huffing in the middle of the night, I woke with my heart racing and gave a little whistle and stopped to listen to the night. It was still, nothing moved…could it have been one of the others? Whatever it was, I didn’t hear anything else and eventually fell back asleep.
I heard G get up early early…it was just after 5am and still dark, but we all were eager to get to town, so I began to make coffee and pack up, making it on the trail while I still needed my headlamp, something I have only done one other time so far this trip. I really wanted to make it to the post office before it closed at 4pm, and had 24 miles to hike along with a 20 mile hitch. Lets go!
The morning was still and as I traversed the grassy ridgelines I could see the big climb I had coming up. Sweating I climbed, climbed, climbed to the spiny and rocky ridge of this range, and found golden meadows of long grasses swaying in the breeze on top.
I kept hiking, feeling strong in the cool of the morning, to a tiny little trickle of a creek which would probably be my last water source of the day. G was there and we chatted for a few minutes before he was on his way, his desire to get to town was even stronger than mine! I found out later he jogged a good bit of the next 16 miles to the highway…now that’s dedication.
It was a bright day, and as I made my way down a big ridge to meet up with yet another 1,000′ climb, I took a much needed break in the shade and drank my liquids.
Hot climb! Even hotter on top, the rest of the day had almost no tree cover, and while I loved the views and walking on top of everything, I was drinking my water much faster than I had anticipated.
By the time I got to a dirt road I would walk the rest of the way to the highway I was THIRSTY and had almost no water left. Darn! I’ve been so good about carrying plenty of water so far on this trail, but today I failed….failed that is until I noted that there were some potential sources on the Ley maps that didn’t appear on the Guthook app. They had been dry in previous years, but I crossed my fingers. Rounding a bend in the road and seeing trees in a ravine, I knew this would be the spot, and sure enough there was a little creek running under a culvert in the road. WATER!!!!! I sat down and drank about a liter and filtered some more….enough to get me to the road.
Ahhhh, won’t do that again if I can help it!
I met a couple of forest service guys driving up to the trail…they had just constructed some new trail that I had just passed through and they had even put in one of those elusive register boxes, it is a nice treat to be able to check in to see where friends were ahead.
Then, highway! It was a busy 4 lane highway, and I jumped the fence between a frontage road and pavement to stick out my thumb. It took about 15 minutes but finally a car with Washington plates pulled over. Three college students were driving back from BYU to Spokane and were awesome enough to give me a ride to Lima and hook me up with some carrots and fruit. They were telling me about their friend who hiked the PCT last year and was on a long trail that went through the Rockys this year…it was Handy Andy! What a small freaking world that I would get picked up by another thru-hiker’s friends!
I got dropped off in Lima only to find the post office had changed its hours to close at 2:30! What kind of post office closes at 2:30????? So I called my bank to get the Fedex tracking number for my card that was supposed to have been delivered, only to find out it was getting returned. I bet they arrived when it was closed and thus returned it. ANNOYING! So I would have to bum $$ off someone for my resupply and stay here. I hate to inconvience others like that. Grrrr.
I found G at the Mountain View Motel, he had gotten a big room and offered to let me stay there, I gratefully accepted and swooned when another hiker, Rhodes, offered me a beer. A cold beer on a hot day was perfect. I showered and started to feel human again.
Soon Delightful and Funk rolled up and we all had a good ‘ol time hanging out, getting dinner at Jan’s Diner across the way, and tieing one on at Peat’s bar down the street. Other than the fact that I seem to have forgotten how to play pool, it was a great night.