I woke pretty early and was hiking by 530a. Used my headlamp for a little since I was in the trees. I really wanted to time my beach walk during alpenglow on hood but that didn't happen. :( this huge group of bros passed me and then I passed them when they were on a weed break. The beach walk wasn't as bad as I had imagined. Only the steep parts where it was just soft sand. It was exposed so it was hot when I was in the sun. It was cool to be so close to Mt hood. One day I will climb it which will prob be next spring. I only hiked fiveish miles in the morn but I wanted to earn my buffet. I tried eating very little on the way up to save my appetite. I thought I could survive on just the berries but I felt like I was gonna pass out.
I reached the lodge around eight and went straight to the bathroom to poop and wash my hands. It was really nice. It's weird seeing yourself in a full size mirror. It really shows you how dirty you look. I walked upstairs to get this most talked about buffet on trail. The breakfast was mediocre. The sausage and smoothie was prob the only thing that stuck out. They were out of French toast so I didn't get any. I was too lazy to make waffles too. I'm sure those were good. The waiters treated us so well though. Like we were lodge guests or something. I was amazed. They did seat hikers all together but that's okay. We all smell pretty bad. I've only been hiking like a day and my shirt is so foul! I sat w these two random dudes that weren't super interesting. The sobo guy more so than the other though.
After breakfast I planted my stuff out by an outlet by the really nice lounge chairs. What a beautiful place to loiter. Seriously one of the best. I got to talk to some new ppl so that was cool. I met a guy who is riding his horse the whole way! I was so intrigued and couldn't stop asking him qs. It was all so interesting. His name is Trent, trail name Orion and he has been planning this trip for two years! He is riding in memory of his dad to spread awareness about ataxia. Such an amazing story. He was telling me his process w letting the horses graze in the morning and needing to stop at very specific places for them. So much work with horses! That was probably the highlight of my day. I really love meeting ppl w a story and who aren't just hiking the Pct to be all quick and fast. Hopefully I can cross paths on trail w Trent and his horses.
I finally made my way to the wyeast store to pick up my box around 2p. I was still fill from breakfast no joke. Once again, I have too much food. I had to put a bunch of good snacks in the hiker box. So sad. But the weight is really annoying when you're on your last day and the food bag is still heavy. It surprisingly took me a long time to organize but I wasn't in a rush. It's nice to take your time. I ended up packing out chicken tenders and I squirted ranch and ketchup into my jar for dip. I finally hiked out around four I think. So late!
I passed a ton of day hikers and maybe some loop hikers. The trail north of timberline is a lot narrower so it's hard to pass sometimes. The rest of the day felt really tough even though I only went 9.5 miles. But it was a lot of elevation change. Way more than we were used to. There was also this section w the gnarliest blowdowns. They were terrible bc they were on switchbacks so the only way around them was to crawl over or under them. And these trees were HUGE. I was so frustrated. The drop down to sandy river was so painful. My feet were hurting so bad and my sciatica has been really intense. I just couldn't wait to get to camp and lay down. The last three miles literally felt like eternity. I just want to sleep in tom and do like 15 miles. I feel like I may be able to and still get to the border on fri.
I got to the camp I was wanting but lots of tents there. Thankfully there was a small spot that I could pitch on. We are right by a creek. It sounds so nice. I don't think I've slept this close to water yet. It's so soothing like a sound machine.