Miles 470.6 – 497.4 >>> 26.8 (43.1 km)
We started the day quite leisurely and we really enjoyed the mosquito fee zone. Eventually we had to get up though and we hit the trail around 7:30 am.
We crossed a highway soon after and felt a bit weird to see and hear cars again.
We got compensation for our brief suffering in civilisation, when we came across a beautiful bridge over the Wind River, just a few yards later.
We kept going and it was amazing how quickly the scenery changed, from moss covered trees, to leafy forest, to sun dried meadows – all in the space of five miles.
At around two, we came across Snag Creek where we ran into a couple other hikers we’d already met earlier that day: Twist and Patch and my old hiking buddy John (now Army). We hung out for a while together and enjoyed company and a cool creek for drinking and the cooling of other body parts.
After that, we had a 4.5 miles (7.2 km) up in front of us, covering 1850 feet (560 m) of elevation. That’s about 410 feet per mile. Nothing too steep, nothing too dramatic. And yet, I only made it to about a mile before the top, when I suddenly felt weary and had to slow down. A few steps further and I felt weak and started shaking and let myself sink to the ground. I had absolutely no energy left in me. A curious sensation.
Thankfully, my food bag was still well stocked and we were only a day from Cascade Locks away and started to gobble up my power bars. Soon after, Trouble caught up to me and realised quickly that I wasn’t doing too well and sat down next to me and watched me eat. Twist came up behind us soon after let herself slide down to the ground and didn’t want us to make room for her to get past us. So we sat there for a while, the two women talking, while I was munching on yet another power bar. A few pop tarts followed in quick succession, and I finished off by devouring a few cookies for good measure. After that I felt better and normal again and we could go on.
This is the day my hiker hunger kicked in. All my bodily reserves had been depleted and now I lived on the stuff that went into my mouth that very day.
Trouble and I briefly discussed how long we’d want to hike today and we both agreed that it would be advantages to get as close to town as possible, so that we could make it to proper town food early in the morning.
So we kept on hiking – and hiked deep into the evening. It was wonderful to hike this long. To see how the light faded on the trail and how dark it was already in the forest sections. At one point we heard a bear crashing through the undergrowth below us and it was magical.
We made it to our campsite just before nine. Instead of setting up in the remaining twilight straight away however, we sat down for a while and were happy to have hiked this far.
In the end we set up in the dark. Me on slopy and rocky ground and Trouble hanging her hammock from less than ideal trees, but it didn’t matter, we were home.
The next morning, Trouble told me that a bear had approached our campsite. Since she hadn’t been sure whether she’d need backup to chase it away, she called out my name to wake me up. I just didn’t wake up though. Guess, I was really out of it. Sorry for letting you down, Trouble.
Thankfully the bear scarpered just because of her calling me and everything was well.