August 31, 2017
Warm Springs ~2029 to ~2064
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 118
Sleeping next to the side of the road again, this time on Warm Springs Reservation. Vice talked to the Sheriff of the Tribal Police who said as long as we’re not on private property and as long as we’re not causing a ruckus, nobody should bother us. It’s still nervewracking. Semi Trucks driving by going 80 miles an hour, just 30 feet from our heads.
We are now 30 miles from Timberline, and we are meeting Arianna there tomorrow. She’s in Portland today and taking a bus in.
We had almost bailed this morning before starting the hike because the thought of pulling a 35-mile day with questionable water on the interstate was impossible. I checked in with Vice, and he reminded me of something I had told him. Strengthen your resolve. With that, and with the hope of getting a permit to camp, and with Vice having talked to the Sheriff, I was ready yet again to at least try. To go out there and put eyes on it before quitting.
Walking through the reservation was like death. First a 5-mile climb hanging on to the far side of a guard rail. RV’s and semi trucks whizzed by on the inside of the guard rail, we clung to the outside and pulled ourselves up, hand over hand, to keep from sliding down the shale slope that our feet slipped on with every step. At the top of the pass, the road became a scorching wasteland with absolutely zero shade, the heat waves billowing off the asphalt. Being able to see all thirty miles of road up ahead. It was stressful. There was tension.
Sam and I had a moment. I told him he didn’t need to be here. He said if he wanted to leave he’d already be gone faster than I could say bye. He walks a lot quicker than me, and he put some serious distance in between us. A couple hours later, after I had been walking alone for some time, Sam called me. I knew we had been close behind Vice and Boathouse, but Sam caught them! He said ‘we’re not alone out here!” Vice and Boathouse made up a threesome, walking with a girl called One Day. The girl with the dreadlocks from Shelter Cove.
Alex and I caught up to them at the only water source we could see on the map that wasn’t in a canyon. We filled up, took a short break, and hiked on. It was so great to have a group of buddies to get support from. To find a home in friendly faces.
And as we neared the end of the open expanse that was the plateau of Warm Springs, we saw a herd of horses running through the fields. And in the distance, we saw Mount Hood. The place we were going. Snow-capped and steady, watching over the landscape. Hello, friend. We’ll see you tomorrow.
We stopped earlier than usual because the shoulder got really narrow and it didn’t feel safe walking anymore unless we were in a ditch, but there isn’t a very good ditch. We’ll still have to ditch walk before sunrise tomorrow, but it’s easier when you only have to think about the sun coming up and visibility improving. About things getting better rather than the light going away and drivers getting sleepy and you still having to find a place to sleep, potentially having to find a place in the dark.