As we all know, the days are getting shorter, and I’ve found myself in the strange pattern of going to bed about 7pm (dark!) and getting up between 3-4am (still dark!). Some of that has to due with always having to pee about that time, but then when I do the math, that’s an 8-9 hour night of sleep…..so that makes me feel about one percent better. Actually, getting up at 4am, making coffee, and writing for an hour or so is rather nice. As I type this I’m curled up in my quilt. It rained last night, so everything is damp, but not frosty. I’ve been out almost two weeks, it’s the middle of October, and I haven’t had a frost yet. Now that is interesting!
Town days are no different. I was up, writing, then walking back to the lounge at first light. I made sure all of my electronics were charged, but my old reliable Anker only had one lone light blinking…arrrrrrgggg. I have two battery pack chargers on this trip, and having one down will be a bummer…but my next few resupplies are closer together and have power options, so I’ll probably be ok. I went until Troy all on the power I started with, which is pretty good for using my phone a lot. My headlamp and InReach also use the juice.
I met the manager of the RV Park, Doug, this morning. He had just changed the opening days from Thurs-Sun to Wed-Sun so it looked like I would be getting my first restaurant meal of the trip! Doug was friendly and gracious, and he had heard I was coming. I love how news travels on trails; at some point I crossed paths with hunter friends of his and I had mentioned my rough path through the Blue Mountains because he was half expecting me. He made me a big greasy breakfast that I knew I would regret a mile down the trail, but I didn’t care.
I was walking by 9am and headed into the Wenaha River canyon. Now there was a fire in the Wenaha five years ago and the whole 20-something mile trail was most definitely not cleared the whole way. The Intrepid Three shared their struggles in here, then I went online to find numerous trip reports about the difficulty of the hiking after about five miles. So going in I was planning to head out of the canyon after about eight miles. I don’t need to struggle when someone else already has…besides, until more trail work gets done, the BMT will need a workaround in this section. The good news about going up out of the canyon is the views…at least I hear the views will be great.
I did struggle some, and had two fords as well. I really do not see folks having to ford the Wenaha in the Spring or early Summer, it will be too high. As it was my legs and feet were numb by the time I got to the other side. Brrrrr.
It rained on and off today, but that didn’t take away from the incredible beauty of the Wenaha River. The canyon walls were hung with basalt hoodoo and castle formations. The river had deep cobble beaches and shrugs of log jams at the corners…both signs of a free flowing river…and it flows big when it wants to!! This area had a lot of flooding earlier this year, and some of the trails and roads ahead are still damaged and closed. The Umatilla River (I’ll walk in that drainage in a few days) had record breaking floods; a lot was lost in the raging waters this February.
I climbed up about 300 switchbacks when I got to the Hoodoo Trail and caught my first rainbow of the trip when I neared the top.
The road walking was wet, mostly because it was raining. I didn’t really stop much more than a few minutes at a time today since the canyon was slow-going and the cold rain was not conducive to a long sit-down break, so I pulled into camp early and got warm.
My friend Melissa (Treehugger PCT 2006) gave me some of her dehydrated food to try, and I wanted to feel fancy so made her bean and cheese dip…and yeah girl!!!! So good!!!