Total distance: 1770.7
I can’t even begin to express the perfection of the timing for my injury to have happened. I got to spend 6 days off in great company and now slowly gaining strength back in the kindest and most gentle trail I’ve ever hiked. I would have preferred to never have been injured, but if I had to choose a time for it to happen it would be now.
I woke up this morning on the sandy beach of Lake Hyatt and made my way to the bathroom to take a warm shower before getting started. The color of the water reflecting the sky made me feel cozy and comforted and I struggled to leave the campground. Finally, around 10 am I left to walk the most gentle trail imaginable. I think I gained 2,000 feet today over thirty miles. To give you an understanding of that chillness, a few weeks ago I did a 33 mile day and had an elevation gain of 10,000 feet. This is heaven.
I felt so comfortable from the moment I got onto the trail and became lost in the enchanting green provided within the Fir forest. My shin had zero swelling and the pain was non existent. I never even took a single pill for pain. I walked slowly and went in and out of the canopy. Every time I stepped out from under the shade of the pines I was scorched in the heat of the sun, but it never lasted for than ten minutes. Beads of sweat developed on my face as I climbed my only hill of the day and I felt that internal fulfillment that is instigated by effort and hard work. It felt so good to finally be pushing myself again and not feel pain in the process.
I’m falling into a healthy routine of breaking every five miles to raise my shin above my heart while I rest. The forest I’m walking seems old and understood as if it has waited for me for a thousand years. I feel peace and comfort within its grip and want to rest in its warmth for years. The smell of pine needles baking under the burning sun seeped into my nostrils and filled me with nostalgia for my younger years in Louisiana. I was so joyful today and completely filled with the space I found myself in. I never want to leave Oregon.
I eventually made my way to a road that led to a resort on Fish Lake and caught a ride from a really sweet woman from Ashland. She was one of those people who speak really quickly and react to what you say even quicker. For some reason I feel pressure to make those kind of people feel comfortable as if they are feeling awkward or unsure of themselves even though they most likely are completely comfortable in how they express themselves. I’m the one whose uncomfortable.
I was met by a large woman at the resort who told me to “bring my things inside so they don’t get raped by chipmunks”. I chuckled and adhered to her command. I bought a six pack of beer and made my way to the boat ramp to watch the sunset over the lake. As I sat there I watched an osprey dive and catch a fish and then another one soar around in hopes for the same result. After twenty minutes there were six osprey flying around and I sat in awe and wonder. I drank a few beers and listened to Trevor hall as I sat on the dock and basked in the beauty of an Oregon sunset. These are the moments I live for. The moments I push myself for. The moments that keep me going. As I sat there on that dock I felt so understood and fulfilled with the wonder of the world around me and was sad to think it would eventually end. I pushed that out of my mind and created a place for the present to wrap me in a blanket and warm my heart and mind. I sat for a long time.
I finally got up when the birds left the lake and found my way to the hiker section and set up my tent. There is never an “easy” section of a trail and there is always a lesson to be learned, but sometimes the lessons are softer and easier to feel. Today my lesson was peace. I felt it from the moment I woke up and stood under warm water and feel it now as the gold light lifts its finger from the mountain before me. Thru-hiking is a trip, filled with a million possible realities and I’m so thankful for a taste, however, I wanna eat it all.