I’ve been a lot of things on the PCT, thru hiker and lasher, slack-packer, hikertrash, and even a trail angel. But I’ve never truly been a SOBO (southbounder) until now. After a few days of rest in Portland, buying a new phone, resealing my leaky tent and of course, eating, I am ready to resume my hike and it makes a lot more sens to get back on trail up here rather than spending two more days off trying to get back to Crater Lake.
At Timberline lodge, Stephen, Onyx and I wander a mini maze of use trails until we’ve accidentally passed the PCT and have to backtrack. But I soon see a familiar wooden post and, crazy day that it is, turn right to head south. It feels so wrong! I find the little toggle that reverses the direction of my PCT phone app, but adjusting to ordering map pages backwards is going to take more time. I have a feeling I am about to get a lot better at subtraction.
The flowers are new, the landscape, the direction. Everything seems exciting again. Views of Mount Hood, now free of clouds. Giant pink flower clusters of wild rhododendrons.Within a few miles I’ve already made a new trail friend. Autumn Leaves, Appalachian Trail veteran and father of three college age daughters, who is thru-hiking solo from Canada to Mexico. He’s camped alone for the last seven days running and seems eager for company. After a few miles of good conversation we end up camped at the same spring. A shorter day than I intended, but still 14 miles with a 1pm start after most of a week off will have to do.
At the end of the day, walking South is still strange, even if it is walking toward friends. I fall asleep wondering if one morning I will head the wrong way down the trail, like accidentally going home to your old house after you’ve moved.
July 16, 2016
PCT Total: 1834