Total distance: 1859.3
Anyone who knows me knows that caffeine and I don’t get along very well. My heart begins to race and my breathing shortens and I start to feel panicky of anxious when I drink half a cup of coffee. I never developed the tolerance for it, but for some reason when I’m physically active I cannot get enough of it.
This morning I woke up to the sounds of my new friend’s alarm at 5:15 and almost immediately deflated the last breath of air in my saggy pad so I would get up quickly to catch the sunrise. I was offered a cup of coffee and happily took the scolding beverage as I made my way to the rim to watch the sun lift its head above the ridges opposite from us. The sun rose rapidly over the mountains like a native greeting and I sat drinking hot coffee feeling blissed to the max. I started feeling the twitches from the caffeine so the three of us took off down the trail and carried a 3.5 mph for a few miles before taking our first break.
Someone had left a cache for hikers at a road which came in at a perfect time during our 29.1 mile waterless stretch. We ate some food while blaring “The Pina Colada Song” when a nice woman brought us a huge bar of chocolate and smirked at our scene. I finished my coffee after six miles, I know it takes me forever, and got the jitters again and had to get moving.
We had an 8 mile smoothe stretch to a road leading into another resort that we joked about going into for a glass of coke, but when we got there we actually started hitching and just as we were about to give up an angel scooped us and drove us the nine miles to more caffeine. Boom.
Diamond Lake Resort is filled with families vacationing at Crater Lake and Diamond Lake and looks like it is straight out of a Family Vacation movie. My buds and I grabbed a table and ordered our cokes while charging phones and drooling over the food menu. We all got dinner salads, with rolls and butter, and a side of fries. For me this is splurging.
After an hour we got hooked up with a ride and made our way back to the trail by 3 pm with our plan to do a massive day reinterpreted into “let’s see what happens”. I left the dudes and began the six mile climb up to Thielsen Mountain. The climb was smoothe and caffeine ran through my veins making me a machine charging up the hills. I felt incredible and full of energy (is it real energy or fake? Like am I really that full of life when I’m high on caffeine or is it a lie and my body is slowly dying?) and made it to the top without needing to break. My shin felt incredible and even pushing big miles and a quick pace it stayed strong.
I felt like pressing on so without waiting for my new friends I hiked on and eventually made my way to the highest peak in OR and WA. It’s kind of a bummer of a moment sitting there knowing that this will be the last time I’m this high on the trail, but it was also encouraging knowing that is never have to hike this high up again. I sat at the summit and took in the moment as clearly as I could until strolling another mile where I set up camp overlooking a ridge with incredible views of rolling hills to the east.
I don’t think my new friends are going to make it in tonight, but we all hoped to be in Shelter Cover tomorrow night so hopefully I’ll see them then. I felt back on track today like the fog of my injury had been lifted and I could push hard without pain or stress. I’m still walking cautiously to some extent and using my poles for stability, but I feel like my body is healing up and giving me all it can for the final push to Canada. 800 miles to go from where I’m sleeping tonight.
- Blood splatter from mosquitos.