It was another early morning for me…hours before sunrise early…that probably has a lot to do with going to bed when it’s dark. A la 7:30pm.
I had road miles to Troy today, and even though the rain held off all night, as soon as I started to pack up it started again. Go figure.
It was alright though, I donned my layers of gortex and trash bag and was ready for the day.
Again with the golden grasses in the rain. The walk was absolutely stunning. I saw big flocks of turkeys crossing the road, and deer speeding through fields so picturesque it could have been a Christmas puzzle I was working on with my mom. Pastorally perfect.
The barns, the fields, the rolling hills, and there…in the horizon…the confluence of the Grande Ronde River and the Wenaha River. My destination.
I’ve been to Troy before, but to be honest I don’t remember much about it. Kirk and I have both packrafted and rafted the Grande Ronde River from the Minam Store to Troy, but I didn’t experience this place by walking down to the river after backpacking through 200 miles of rugged wilderness. It was different this time, and much more powerful.
The Redmond grade I was walking down had massive switchbacks, and no joke, I think I walked in view of the canyons for almost 10 miles. I listened to the Backpacker Radio episode with Twerk (trailname), the photographer behind the gorgeous Hikertrash Vogue photos. I took Twerk out for lunch when he was in Bend on his 2018 PCT thru-hike…it was a completely random Instagram invitation, I had been following him and his photos that year, and he had posted some down and out stuff about the fires in Oregon that year, so I thought a little trail magic at Wild Rose Thai restaurant might help.
Please take a few minutes to check out Twerk’s work. I think he’s going to have more copies of his book out soon. I missed out on getting one the first time around. I won’t make that mistake again!
Ok, back to the walking…or not. On long long road walks like this sometimes it’s a deliberate strategy to go deep into your thoughts so you don’t feel the pain of the road. Today I didn’t stop for a break even though I walked almost 12 miles. It was raining, and it was a town day. On town days all bets are off. You can do a 20-miler by noon if you are hungry enough. Today I rolled into Troy at 10:30am.
So this place doesn’t have a store or gas station, but it does have a restaurant that is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and today is Tuesday. I knew that going in, so wasn’t crushed by the thought of not getting a real meal. But it also has an RV park with showers and laundry!!!!! (and wifi!) I didn’t need food if I could get clean. I had been offending myself with my smell all week, and could NOT WAIT to get clean.
First quarters. I didn’t have quarters. I walked around the RV park till I saw someone outside, and wouldn’t you know it, this nice gentleman was from Bend and he happily exchanged my $5 for a bag of quarters. I couldn’t figure out how to use the shower and the folks that run the place were gone (I believe showers are $10 and you get a key), and again my new Bend friend helped me out, and just asked that I pay the kindness forward. I payed it forward into the RV park’s donation box and will do another kindness for a stranger TBD. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful world? For every kind thing someone does for you, you do two in exchange…imagine the ripple effect!! Kindness for everyone!
So there I was, showered and wearing clean clothes. And…for the first time since starting the hike, not wearing any bandaids on my feet. I know! I’ve gone through boxes of bandaids on this trip. In fact friends, I haven’t been completely upfront with you. Remember on day one when I said everything went according to plan with preparations for the hike? That wasn’t exactly true. The day before Kirk and I left Bend I had an unfortunate incident with a nail and the bottom of my foot. I’ll spare you the details, but in an instant that Thursday morning I knew everything had changed. I would have to deal with an open wound on the bottom of my foot while trying to hike 17 miles a day for a month. Now, over two weeks after that day my wound had healed and (knock on wood) hasn’t posed any additional problems, but let me tell you, I had to WORK to keep that thing clean, dressed, and cared for at every break for the first week plus. I almost didn’t tell you, but I do think it’s important that people know you can heal out here. I’ve seen all manners of injuries (and had all manner of injuries from a brown recluse spider bite, to anaphylactic shock after a wasp sting, to second degree burns on my hands after a stove accident), but the real issue is acceptable pain and injury, and unacceptable pain. I am a wilderness first responder, and have been for years, and really the best thing to do in many of these situations is to see if you can manage it in the field. In all of those above situations I (and those hikers around me) managed them in the field, well, cause we had to. But folks, it all comes down to making good decisions, and just because I hike with an open wound on the bottom of my foot doesn’t mean you have to too. Just make the decisions that are right for you. I’m glad I made my decision to continue with this hike and bring the extra supplies to manage it in the backcountry.
Ok, back to the day.
Christina came to visit again today with my resupply package and a homemade bloody Mary (she is the best!!! I’ve never had one with real tomatoes….it makes a BIG DIFFERENCE).
Also included was a piece of carrot cake from her birthday yesterday!?!?!
I walked down the street to some free camping on the river, and pitched my tent before taking in the sunset from the rocky shore of the river. This is living.
If I let myself, I feel how sore I am. Trying not to think about it.