Today’s weather was an absolute contrast to yesterday’s with clear blue skies and full sunshine! I was able to see the top of Mt Hood for the first time and could see all the way back to Mt Jefferson where I’d been only a few days before. There were lots of day hikers from Timberline on the trail, so my first few miles were slow, as I couldn’t help but stop to chat and answer their many questions. One group of four women asked if I could take a picture of them and were absolutely shocked to discover I was a thru hiker. They said most of the ones they’d seen were dirty, smelly and mainly had long un-groomed facial hair (referring to the men I assume).
I told them all about my journey so far, about UB, run ins with wild animals and windstorms. Their excitement gave me such a boost that I hiked the first 9 miles without taking a break, then found a nice open flat spot to have lunch. I ditched my salami at Timberline as I suspect it was causing my after lunch tummy discomfort. I did feel a little better a today so maybe this was the key.
I had to cross Sandy River immediately after my break, and was surprised at how nimble I felt hopping from log to rock to log all the way across. A group of women watching even gave me a round of applause when I reached the other side successfully. Soon afterwards I took the Ramona Falls trail to see the giant waterfall, then came across another river crossing which I did not execute quite as eloquently.
The rest of the day was mainly uphill along switchbacks, then finally down again to the campsite I hoped to crash at. I was devastated when I found it occupied by four tents already. One of the occupants was a former PCT hiker and offered me a space, but it was so crowded I simply followed his directions to the closest water source (which took me a while to find), then carried on until I found the first semi flat spot.
Tomorrow I’m planning to hike around 23 miles to the 4 1/2 mile camp on the Eagle Creek Trail. I’m excited to see this trail which I’ve been planning to hike ever since I started reading about the PCT!