7-21-17,pct mile: 1819.2 , 21.miles
I don’t remember much of this day at all. I have really fallen behind on this blog but I swear there is a good reason and the reason is this: I am tired AF. We have to go faster and farther these days as the window to get to the northern terminus by September 5th is closing. There are very few zeros now. At night,after hiking by all day, I have about 30 min to type and I am too tired to think well enough to put together a decent post. Really all I want to do is sleep. Now all these days I haven’t blogged about are no longer fresh in my mind.
As I type this, I am in Portland at Lisa’s house taking a zero. Sarah has been feeling weak and needed the rest. I will attempt to get a few of these done so I can get back to writing events down as they happen. Dylan is doing his best to help by turning on the tv while simultaneously playing video on his phone and also giving me tutorials on his new games with the tenacity of a hound that has treed a raccoon. One nonsensical sentence bleeds into the next forming a scroll of unknowable dialog that stretches to the horizon. There is no escape. “Excuse me, are you paying attention to me?” He asks. “Yes” I lie. This will not be easy. Months of silence a tranquility have left me highly susceptible to overstimulation. My head begins to ache. Sarah is downstairs, likely pretending to sleep. It is a wise move. Upstairs in the living room there will be no rest.
I looked back at the pictures I took on my phone and there are three. None of them are particularly good or jog my memory at all. I know we hiked in to Mazama Camp with Fluffy ,Peanut, Scoops, Joe Dirt and Lt Dan that day. Mazama Camp is a National Park campground not far from the rim of Crater Lake. Crater Lake is an amazing geological feature. It is all that is left of the giant ancient volcano of Mt Mazama which died in a massive almost incomprehensible eruption which covered 1 million square miles of the earth with ash and pumice and in which the entire mountain collapsed on itself. The giant 2000 feet deep caldera that remains is filled with pristine ultra blue water that changes color with the movement of a the sun. The water is entirely from rain and snowmelt and is incredibly pure. In the middle of this deepest lake in America are two islands, one above and one below the sparkling water. Two baby volcanic peaks slowly pushing there way back towards the sky. It is an amazing, beautiful and, in stark contrast to its violent history, tranquil place. But that would have to wait until tomorrow.
Dylan has now switched to showing me what I can only describe as disjointed mashups of Pixar trailers. He pauses every 15 seconds to explain the clip then rewinds the same 15 second clip and plays it over and over and over and over. “Nah nah nah nah nah nah, whoops, I didn’t need to see that!” the tv blares again and again. He then records the tv on his phone and holds the phone to my ear. “Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah.” The phone blares in my ear. Dylan “explains” at the same time. The explanation is more babble. Babbling incessantly over the babble on the tv and the phone. Babble in stereo. His brain is racing like that of a coke fueled 1980s film producer. The fever dream thoughts rattle out of his mouth at a thousand miles an hour like a machine gun loaded with ideas. The plot is bananas. Unrelatable. Fit only for an audience under the influence of some powerful hallucinogen. This is how Return to Oz got made. The ache in my temple begins to pound. I desperately want back out on the trail. I cannot endure this. The hiking is far easier.
Sarah wakes up and plays the bad guy. “Matt has had enough now Dylan” I pretend not to know what she is talking about while silently thanking her in my head and retreat to the bedroom. Sarah also reminded me of a few things about the day I am blogging about and sends me some pictures she took. She is so helpful. One item is that several people got lost and hiked some “bonus miles”. Another is that there was a literal ton of downed trees to navigate. The third is the hiker party we had in camp. Fourth: our reintroduction to Xantera: the worst catering company on earth.
At lunch that day we lost track of Peanut, Fluffy and Lt Dan. As we were eating lunch with J.D. and Rodeo, we realized they had not passed them or caught us. This was highly unusual as they, particularly fluffy and lt Dan, are much faster hikers than us. We feared they had become lost. It would have been easy to do. The day was a maze of downed trees. The fallen pines had lay on the trail for so long that there were multiple footpaths tromped out around them. It was a lot like an obstacle course. There were so many in some areas that we would briefly lose the trail and have to navigate back to it. In addition, there was one spot in the trail where we almost took a wrong turn at a trail junction. The side trail at this point looked more like the PCT than the actual PCT did and the signage was confusing. This is where I, it turns out correctly, assumed the others had gotten lost. Not long after, the frustrated trio appeared on the ridge. Fluffy was particularly annoyed. They had walked an extra mile or so before sensing that something was off and backtracking. It could have easily happened to me.
When we arrived at the campground we retrieved our packages from the campstore and bought some beers. There were twenty or so microbrews to choose from which is very Oregon. Peanut’s package had a small issue. A little visitor had gotten into her box, nibbled through a few items and shit a bit. She dug through the contents hoping not to see a mouse body. Luckily for her and it, the stowaway had escaped after only ruining a few food items. As we sat around the tables in front of the store visiting and drinking, joe dirt suggested we have a hiker party. We all agreed this sounded like a good idea though, in truth, I doubt any of us knew what a hiker party would entail. Except of course that whatever happened would be over by 9pm.
Before we could party we had to set up tent and eat. Sarah and I joined scoops for dinner in the nearby lodge. The good news is that it was still open, the bad news is that it was run by a company called Xantera. We first encountered this affront to culinary taste in Yellowstone. It tentacles have slowly been wrapping around the national parks in the west, squeezing out the good food and leaving a trail of burnt onion rings in its wake. Our dinner that evening was edible but, even by hiker standards, substandard.
Sarah and I returned to camp to see how the hiker party was going. It was about what we expected. Joe Dirt was sitting alone in the dark quietly eating a dehyrated meal. We sat and talked for awhile before Scoops , perhaps sensing that someone nearby was about to have some mild fun, tipped over Sarah’s beer.
That was it for the evening and that’s it for this post. I hear Dylan arguing with Sarah upstairs so I guess I should go relieve her.