Friday, September 3, 2010

Mile ????: Hitching as hiking, the scariest campsite yet


After a lovely morning of more "vegetarian, organic, bountiful fare" we took stock of how far behind schedule we were, and what to do about it. This, of course, prompted fighting amongst the ranks. Microburst wants to complete the entire trail as fast as possible, and actually could, she is pissed that she is saddled with me and my slow pace. Sweet 16 also wants to do the entire trail, but most importantly wants to ge to Canada in time to see her brother and catch her plane home. Obviously, I'm not entirely sure what I want, but I'm sick of struggling to keep up and worrying about mileage and pace etc. The more the trail sucks, the more I'm tempted to quit, but if I start cheating in a way that I can enjoy the experience, I think I can make it to Canada. Microburst and I are bound to one another by our increasingly important tent, and none of the three of us want to break up our trio.

We hitched a ride out of Breitenbush back to the fire detour/shuttle route with a massage therapist from Portland. While we waited, we debated the merits of skipping not just the 12 burnt miles, but all the way to Mt Hood to get caught up to schedule. We had finally all agreed it was an ok plan when the shuttle came by and picked us up. We got in, and were back to indecision land. I was all for the hitch, especially since we're meeting/greatly imposing upon a friend of my friend, and I'm afraid that a weekday arrival in Cascade Locks/Hood River would be much worse than our original weekend plan. Sweet 16 surprised me with a yes vote, and finally Micro agreed again to the hitch. So Ryan the cute shuttle driver dropped us off at the junction between Highway 46 and a forest service road to the PCT.

Shortly after we were picked up by Justin and Janelle, other Portland residents down at Breitenbush, taking the scenic route back home. Janelle entertained us with stories from the set-decorating business. They dropped us off at a gas station at the intersection to our next road. From there, we hit up people for the six mile ride to Sandy.

A young couple with a bright and talkative 5-year old daughter took us, even though it was farther than their final destination. Somehow we all completely spaced on offering them gas money, even though they were clearly somewhat poor and had gone out of their way to give us the ride. As they drove past once we were dropped off, the man slowed down and sheepishly asked if we were 4-20 friendly girls. Though we're completely fine with others smoking, none of us actively do, nor do we carry any, but I instantly realized how tactless we had been to not offer gas money. Feeling terrible the three of us quickly scrounged up $9, which I hope more than makes up for the mistake.

From there we had a long hike along the highway to the next gas station, where a local man who introduced himself as, "just a nice guy," agreed to give us a ride to Welch's halfway up. He gave us the history of the area and interesting tidbits.

At the grocery store-gas station he dropped us off at, we were having miserable luck and getting nervous as the sky started growing darker. We finally had luck with two guys out with their dirt bikes and four-wheelers and coolers, out for a weekend of fun. We had only asked for a ride 1.5 miles up to a better hitching location, but when Dean realized that he could take us farther on his route, he did.

Now we are attempting to stealth camp at one of the ski resorts on Mt Hood before we get back on the trail in the morning. We thought it wound be super-chill, but we passed a number of OTHER tents on our way up: were these other cheapskates, or homeless people, or tweakers? As we looked for flat spots, we could hear male voices in the distance and see headlamps. So we went further. As we were cooking dinner, suddenly we could see a flashlight working it's way up toward us from the OTHER side. We quickly turned off our headlamps and waited quietly. From Micro's feak-out over proximity to the other tents and voices at the first campspt we found (and left), I was surprised if not a litttle bit pissed at how quickly she turned on her headlamp and resumed noisily scraping her pot once the light was even with us.

Tonight I sleep with my bra on, valuables tucked in the sides, knife back in the cleavage.

Morning upate:
Lived to tell the tale. Nothing more exciting happenned than gettin up to pee and reinflating my sleeping pad.
- Typoed on my iPhone

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