3 marathons down, 132 to go
Today is hell on Earth. There aren’t many pictures today as a result.
I slept really soundly last night, but boy do I miss my pad. When I was packing the trailer, I had to leave some items out, and one was my sleeping pad because it just took up a bit too much space. I regret that decision, but as long as I sleep on my back, it’s not too bad. When I wake up this morning, I discover it’s been raining for a while. After wondering if I could just stay in my dry tent, I finally get dressed, tear down the tent, pack up the trailer, and begin Hell Day.
Last night’s ending spot is this morning’s starting spot.
It rains all day. I’m slogging uphill, in the rain, on narrow shoulders, and I bow down to every truck that passes me. Because I worship trucks or truckers? Nope, as some minimal form of protection against the cold shower I’m getting from each passing truck. I quickly give up on the idea of seeing because my glasses are covered in sludge I have no real way of removing.
Forward, forward, forward… that’s all I care about. I celebrate each little accomplishment. I’ve gone one mile; only 25.2 miles to go! I’ve gone two miles; that’s 1/13 of the way there!
I’ve made it to 2,000 feet. Only a few thousand to go! And you get a picture of this event because it stopped raining for a moment.
I passed a lot of roadside waterfalls, some much better than this, but you only get to see a picture of this one because I happen to pass it when I wasn’t being dumped on. This is also where I started getting concerned about my safety. Things are narrowing up ahead. I want to push on, but I don’t want to get to that point where I’m in an unsafe predicament and no one can help me. Plan B will happen soon, and I’d be suicidal to do anything else. I feel like I’m cheating, but I have to survive today.
I keep going. It’s not time to call it quite yet. Forward, forward…
Then a truck that is going uphill pulls off in a pull-off area immediately across the highway from me. “Where are you going?” I run across the highway and tell him what I’m up to. He offers me a ride, and I’d be a fool not to accept it. I can’t safely go much further, and who knows how long I’ll be standing in the rain hoping someone will stop. We put my trailer in back, and I hop in. I’m cold and wet and disappointed because I still feel like I’m cheating no matter how much sense it makes.
The trucker is originally from an area in Mexico very similar to the west side of Willamette Pass. I can see it all over his face that he feels like he’s home. He drives a truck in order to help take care of his grandchildren. He often picks up hitchhikers on the road. I think he enjoys the company. He often picks up adventurers, and some of them are clearly crazier than I am. He’s picked up one guy enough times that he now receives Christmas cards from him. He’s been to jail, but I didn’t ask him why. We were only together for about 15 minutes, yet I know all of these things about him.
We have a great conversation, and he thinks I’m an idiot for telling him to let me out in Crescent Lake. He’s going further on my route, and at least he could take me to Chemult where I’d have more options. But that really would be cheating. I needed the help up the last few miles of the pass, but to go further than that, while tempting, would make me feel like I was hitchhiking across the country instead of running across it.
We unload my trailer, and I thank him profusely for all of his help. I then check in to the Willamette Pass Inn. I shouldn’t spend the money, but I’m cold, wet, and sore; I’m filthy and I stink; the thought of camping in the snow is abhorrent right now; and I really need to check on this ankle.
Now I couldn’t be happier. This place has a bed, heat, a TV, coffee, cookies, a microwave, a kitchen, hot chocolate, a fireplace and wood, and, OMG, a BATHTUB! As I told people on Facebook, doing something like this definitely makes me grateful for the smallest things. This may break me, but it’s also building me.
And they have two boxers here! An older girl, and a 7-month-old girl.
I could go next door to Manley’s Tavern where I previously spent many winter Saturday nights, but I’ll be good and go across the highway to the store instead. Eek, maybe not. 13 bucks for a not-very-good frozen pizza. Manley’s it is. I realize I haven’t been to Manley’s in 15-20 years, but nothing except the beer selection has changed. I get a patty melt basket and a Sinistor from 10 Barrel Brewing for not much more than that frozen pizza.
I’ve had a great night.
Oh, about those feet…
Shredded blister on the left fourth toe, and I’m pretty sure my right ankle isn’t supposed to look like that.
How am I feeling? Rested, warm, dry, and happy. I’m a little concerned about that ankle, but I’ll keep an eye on it and keep doing what I need to do to get it back to normal. Knees are a little sore, but I’m not worried about them.
Back on the road tomorrow. In fact, a forest service road for most of the day, and it should be dryer. Good night all.