8/22 5 pm-8/23 5 pm : 51 miles
I left Bridge of the Gods at 5 minutes to 5 pm, after eating and relaxing for two days in Cascade Locks. The weather was cooling, the air was clear and my legs felt ready!
Hiked up 5,000 feet or so- 3 hours and about 10 miles in the evening. My legs felt fresh and good.
This morning at 2 am I scared the pants off a camper with his tent right in the middle of the trail. He exclaimed, “shit” and bounded towards the door or his tent as I tried to quietly pass, snapping twigs as I went. I said, “it’s just a human.” And he said, “shit” again.
The rest of the 40 miles to Timberline was lovely, speedy, and a bit warm towards the end of the day.
My package didn’t arrive in time at Timberline Lodge so I bought food for the next 50 miles from a vending machine and bought lunch at the fancy restaurant there gazing at Mt Hood.
8/23 5 pm to 8/24 5 pm
2 hours in the evening- tired from lunch and the heat of the day, but did about 7 miles downhill letting Mt Hood fade into the background.
Then, I travelled another 44 miles from 3:10 am to 5 until I arrived in Ollali Lake, a special spot with simple cabins on the shores of this pristine lake with Mt Jefferson watching over the goings on below.
I bought food for the next 100 miles to Elk Lake and are tortillas with string cheese while watching the lake water lap over the small rocky beaches of the small lake.
8/24 5 pm to 8/25 5 pm 43 miles
2 miles climbing from Ollali in evening for good sleep.
Camped at Cigar Lake by 7 pm- best night of sleep so far.
41 miles through Mt Hood Wilderness and past Mt Jefferson by 5 pm the next day.
Awoke and began a long and hard climb up to pass by Mt Jefferson- along lava fields, snow fields and an incredible sunrise. Hiked through alpine meadows and streams and then acres of burned forest from the 2017 wildfires. Crossed a couple of rushing streams from glacial melt.
Saw two deer, an owl, lots of people visiting Mt Jefferson.
8/25 5 pm- 8/26 5pm 50 miles total
9 miles in evening after Mt Jefferson heading towards Bend.
Next day I hiked/ jogged 41 miles from 3 am to 5 pm.
Three sisters was incredible.
Ate a moon pie in an environment that felt like the moon
And a Milky Way candy bar.
Resupplied at Elk Lake and had the best ice cream ever!
8/26-8/27 5-5pm: 48 miles
4 miles in the evening past lake country after a resupply and meal at Elk Lake plus 3 bonus miles to get there and back.
Then the next day-44 through Oregon high desert and lake speckled wilderness to Shelter Cove.
The day was filled with gorgeous lakes, a foggy morning and mostly soft, forested trail.
I love Shelter Cove and the Rosary lakes area, it makes me want to move to Oregon.
8/27 5 pm -8/28 5 pm- 51 miles
7 miles in the evening after Lake Odell and Shelter Cove. I had a good amount of energy after a grilled cheese sandwich and ice cream by the shores of the lake and enjoyed a quiet evening of climbing to the highest point of the Oregon/ Washington portion of the PCT.
44 miles the next day up to 5 pm through Mt Thielson wilderness – now having to carry more water and rely on water cashes since this land is as dry as a lizards back.
8/28-8/29 5pm- 53 miles
9 miles in the evening through the Oregon Desert to enter Crater Lake National Park. The weather was perfect after some afternoon heat and the trail flattened like a pancake allowing for some muscle recovery after some of the bigger volcano hiking.
I fell deeply asleep next to the trail under a starry sky and surrounded by dwarf trees and spindly shrubs.
Next day, 44 miles (including my detour)before 5pm- the first 20 or so were easy, with some deeply sandy parts but plenty of cold fresh springs and rivers to assuage my desert thirst and bring some refreshing sights of colorful wildflowers to contrast the dry and burned forest of the Crater Lake area. Weird to go through the National Park and not actually see the lake, but the hiking was pleasant enough and I could think of nowhere else on the planet I would want to be.
I made it to Mazama Village for my next resupply package by 1 pm and quickly inhaled about 1,000 calories of ice cream and prepackaged hostess pie within about 45 minutes, chatted with some thru hikers and repacked my bag.
Back on trail by 2:30 or so, and by then it was hot and the trail turned to mountainous, rocky, burned terrain, with no water at all for 20 miles. Here we go. I find the burned areas sometimes extremely depressing and nearly cried with the thought of millions of acres burnin all over the western states right now. Some ecosystems may thrive with regular burns, but this acceleration of wildfire, drought, unseasonable weather patterns has me depressed and anxious about the future of our planet.
8/29 5 pm-8/30 5 pm – 52 miles
7 or so miles in the evening:
Once water was found at the end of the burned area, and I was once again under forest canopy, I felt a rush of relief, and planned to tackle the next 1,800 foot climb and descend a bit by 9:30 or 10 pm and make it to 100 miles left for the push… but by the time I even started the final climb, I felt ready to fall asleep. 7 nights of 4-5 hours of rest were starting to wear on me. So I compromised with myself, climbed 1,000 feet or so for a good view of the setting sun right as the canopy was thinning out and crashed out around 8 pm. Thankful for rest and level ground, good weather and gorgeous scenery… also feeling the pain of the long days on my feet. My feet had developed cracks from the dry and sandy terrain and the dirt and sand were rubbing in the cracks making them painful and raw. I whimpered in my sleep.
Next day I started hiking my 2:40 am, but still knew I wouldn’t make it to my next resupply – Hyatt Lake before closing, so had to do some strategizing. With 108 miles left, I didn’t have enough calories for the entire push, but did know that I could stop at Callahan’s lodge in Ashland- just 1 mile off trail tomorrow if I skipped tonight’s resupply. So I counted my limited calories left for the next 80 miles or so- a king size twix, a little Debbie, a peanut butter and date sandwich, a rice crispy treat, a packet of salty crackers, and decided to push on.
The day was lovely- lovely weather, a long descent then a traverse and long descent past Mt McGlaughlin, a few more water stops and a transition from the Cascades to the Siskew Mountains to the west. I hiked past my final lava fields and bid adieu to hiking on lava- phew.
Soon, I was hiking through dry grasslands and last tall ponderosa pines of southern Oregon. The sights of smells of this area always remind me of Northern California and home. I can smell my nearness to California and the end of this journey for now.
8/30 5 pm- 8/31 at 11:03 pm
9 miles in the evening to get to mile marker 902 (southbound) just about 60 more miles to the border. I camped at lovely Grizzly Creek and ate a bit of soaked oats with soy creamer and fell asleep under a starry sky and blazing moon.
I slept for about 4.5 hours and was back on trail by 2:45 am. This was the start of about 62 miles ahead of me. 59.5 to the border plus two to get some food and snacks halfway at Callahan’s in Ashland.
The morning started strong, cool, a beautiful with a large, bright moon, and quiet forest with the occasional deer snapping twigs and staring at the ‘hummingbird’ going by.
Before long, I was hiking along a gorgeous rocky crest towards Pilot Rock in the Sugar Mountain Wilderness and gazing at views at California’s Mt Shasta. Hours later, I began to descend to cross highway 5 near Ashland. The weather was pleasant and breezy and I felt buoyant with the knowledge that the border was a mere 50 kilometers away.
I stopped by Callahan’s with a one mile detour- ordered a grilled cheese, bought some candy bars and was trotting back to the trail within an hour of arrival. I was ready for Mt Ashland! The sweeping views, whispering mountain streams and late season wildflowers were calling my name. Of course, this meant another 5,000 feet of elevation gain, but my feet kept moving forward as if a magnet was pulling me to California.
The sun set and the moon rose as I was traversing a high ridgeline of the Siskiyou Mountains. The moon was nearly full and helped light my path to the border along with the beam from my headlamp. Time slowed, but I continued to trot on, and by 11 pm was on my final descent to the border to California.
And then it was finished. The journey from Canada to California, the push to make a record of fastest self supported time across Oregon on the PCT and the goal to go 1,000 miles in August for black maternal health. All was complete. My buddy Scott who sent me off at the Bridge of the Gods will say at the end of a big day of climbing or running, “I am complete.” Well, yes, I would second this.