Leaving Portland sucked. My friends spoiled me and it was painful leaving. The bridge of the gods was a bit scary to walk over as you can see tons and tons of gushing green Columbia river below your feet. It's a big moment for a lot of people, and they only allow thru hikers to walk across - everyone else must be in a vehicle. We walked slowly across, taking in the views, and once we were on the other side, right back to business.  

 

Lots of climbing in some very humid heat. Whitney and I took a break on one of the climbs and right as we were about to head back out squints showed up, followed by Click! It was so exciting to see the guys, especially since I thought they were ahead of us. After three days we ran into Coppertone - for the tenth time I think? It was a cool morning so he made me tea, supplied root beer floats for those who wanted and as always provided cookies, snacks and bananas. I was a bit worried at this point that my 6 days of food wasn't going to last me 6 days. I had been sparing but it was still tight. I grabbed a large container of peanut butter from the hiker box and after an  hour of relaxing, we were back to climbing some more. We skirting around Mt. Adams, but the clouds were low. It had been chilly all day, for the first time pretty much at all in the past 4 months. The last five miles for some reason my body ached. I hobbled along slowly, using my trekking poles mostly as crutches. Stupid ankle I thought. Whitney would hike, stop, pick some berries then continue on. Once we got into camp I just sat. My ankle ached so badly and it was getting colder. After hanging my hammock, the clouds rolled in, and it was misting, so the tarps went up. To keep it brief, my hammock set up isn't going to work for the state of Washington. I wasn't thrilled with how the whole set up worked in the rain. I woke up to some wet stuff, and it continued raining, misting and being cold the whole day. We had some amazing views, but it was hard to stop at all. After 25 miles, some hail, sleet, snow and rain, we set up camp. More wetness. We camped with cheese beard, click and cupcake and were in camp so early that we actually got to hang out for a little which was nice. I was in my hammock and couldn't get warm. I swapped out all of my clothes for dry ones and got into my liner and fully zipped sleeping bag. It was still freezing, and you could see your breath. The night was long and cold. 

 

The next morning was cold, and wet again. We hiked 20 miles. Cold and wet the whole time, over snowy wet rocks and cliffs. I have no photos because my hands were basically gone the whole day. I started off in shorts and about an hour in, icicles were forming on my leg hair, so I had to put pants on. The wind was gusting so hard it felt like you were going to blow over with every step - I was very happy to have trekking poles. It was about 4 or 5 miles of rough slow cold hiking. The following 15 miles were cold, but we had dropped in elevation so it wasn't as bad. I was soaked and kept alternating between wearing my down jacket on the downhills and taking it off for the uphills. My thoughts throughout the day were all over the place. I wondered why I'm here and then all sorts of random thoughts. 'Why did I get myself into this? Hot chocolate. Burgers. Cold cold cold. Imagine yourself on a beach. Deep breathing so you don't cry. Where are my feet and hands? How do people on Everest poop?' All sorts of things swirl around, especially since I didn't have music on at all. Town. 

 

We got to town and I stuffed a few pieces of pizza In my face, then headed up to a cabin. 8 guys and myself, toasty and warm and drying everything we owned off hooks. The place was cozy and smelled pretty terrible. We watched movies and  stuffed our faces. All is well when you have a roof over your head. 

 

Lately the the trail has been challenging me more mentally than physically. The climbs are kind of whatever at this point, and physical pain can be blocked out with a combination of meds, music and caffine. The mental struggle is roughy especially when you have multiple days of chilling to the bone cold and wet.  

360 miles left. Here we go! 

 

 

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