I had an interesting self discovery today after a few people had suggested I spend more time on trail with other hikers to lighten my mood. It is definitely true that things started to pick up for me after meeting Brad and Melissa just past Crater Lake, chatting with Madam Squirrel and Madam Weasel that same day, and then spending my morning, lunch and afternoon break with Brad and Mel the next day.
I also had a bonus pick me up by receiving a surprise package from some friends of Fuller at the water cache past highway 138, and the next day I received a message from Heidi (a wonderful trail angel in Oregon), telling me she and her family were camped at Windigo Pass with lots of extra food (which just happened to be where I’d planned to camp that night).
I hiked with Brad and Mel for the last 6 miles to the pass which absolutely flew by, due to a lot of laughter and the thought of what delicious treats lay ahead! Heidi and her beautiful German Shepard met us about a mile down the trail before the pass. I’d seen some huge paw prints on trail and was starting to wonder what creature had created them!
Heidi’s husband and two beautiful children greeted us on arrival, and after setting up camp we were served tomato soup, sausages, bread and fresh salad, followed by tiramisu for dessert! I couldn’t believe how fortunate we were to stumble upon such incredible trail magic. We shared trail stories before bed, then the next morning we were spoiled with lattes, juice, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and salad for breakfast. Unbelievable! I honestly can’t thank you guys enough.
That morning after the incredible feast, I felt energised and seemed to fly through the first 12 miles to Summit Lake. There was a lot more climbing than the previous days, but I was enjoying the change of elevation which kept my mind completely occupied until it was time to break for lunch. Summit Lake was one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve had the opportunity to swim in on trail so far!
Because I didn’t hit the trail until just before 10am, I settled on a 23 mile day which left me 6 miles to the jeep road down to Shelter Cove Resort in the morning. The hike into the resort was a lot quicker than expected, and I was absolutely thrilled to discover upon arrival that they had wifi. The store had a fantastic patio and the whole place was so perfectly compact I fell in love with it immediately. The women at the store said I was like a ray of sunshine coming in the door, and I told them I’d finally broken out of a dark slump and was feeling wonderful! They grabbed my packages, made me a latte, and made me feel at home.
So many great people arrived at the resort while I was there (Dingo, Mud, Katie, Lullaby, Bill and others). I camped with Dingo and Mud that night, and led them back to the PCT this morning as they’d come in on the Skyline Trail. It was great to hike with them, and I said it was like clocking over free miles because it almost felt like I was cheating it was so effortless.
I broke away after the first water source, but a big group of about 10 of us kept breaking every 8 or so miles at the next lake together. This is where my self discovery took place. I’ve never been one for big groups, and much prefer to socialise either one on one or with a few people at a time. I think I feed off the energy of others, and just like in the real world, too much alone time can cause me to fall too deep into the dark thoughts that develop in my head when my own energy levels diminish. I need to find the right balance to keep the positive vibes flowing.