August 31, Sept 1,2
Miles: 15.5 + double zero
PCT: 2288.5 – 2303
Total Miles: 575.9
I woke this morning and it was very cold so I slept in a little, then sat in my sleeping bag contemplating how it would go once I got up. My clothes are all soaked from the rain yesterday, and they didn’t dry much in my tent. The worst part of every day is putting on my wet clothes in the cold morning. It’s nearly unbearable. I finally summoned enough courage to start eating breakfast (Captain Crunch) and start the process of packing up. I put on the wet shirt with several yelps, then the pants. I packed up and headed down the trail. 15 miles to the road that will take me into Packwood if I can get a hitch today.
It started with a down hill for a little over 1000 feet, then about 1500 feet up. Next the trail dropped about 2000 feet to the road. It was cold and overcast with a little drizzle here and there.
When I reached the road, I decided to walk to a parking area where day hikers were parked as I may be able to talk one of them into a ride to Packwood, which was 20 miles west. I started talking to a gentleman who said he just came from Packwood, and didn’t want to drive all the way back. I kept hitching while he kept asking me questions about my hike. After a while he offered me a soda, then suddenly said, “Oh, what the hell, I’ll take you”. Sweet Jesus!! I got a ride within about 15 minutes.
When we got to Packwood, the whole main street was filled with food vendors and other stuff that looked like a carnival, but there was no carnival that I could detect. I discovered later that Packwood has an annual swap meet that thousands of people around Washington attend and I happened to hit the weekend of this year’s event. He dropped me off at the Packwood Inn and wouldn’t take any money. Another super great person helping thru-hikers.
I stayed at the Packwood Inn for 3 nights as I needed to order some rain gear and boot inserts. Since it was a holiday weekend, next day delivery wasn’t until Wednesday. The hotel is super hiker friendly and gave me a great discount. They also let you use their laundry once all the towels and sheets are washed for the day. Great management. I would stay there again without hesitation. It was a nice rest but I’m eager to get back on the trail. I’m still sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for my packages to arrive from Fed-ex and UPS.
There were lots of other hikers filtering through town, some I knew, others I met for the first time. I spent some time talking with them but I didn’t want to share my room. I really like having a room to myself when I’m in town. When I have others around, I get nothing done. This time, I managed to catch up on my woefully late blog posts and I feel good about that.
Bill (Blackhawk Down)