Day 82 | mile 1750.4 - 1792.0 | 41.6 miles

Well, today was the worst day on the trail so far.

Was too hot in my sleeping bag most of the night. At some point I felt how sweaty the backs of my legs were, threw the bag off me, and put on my wind gear again. Guys, I’m saving so much time by not setting up a tent though.

Woke up at the normal time, but stayed “in bed” while I ate breakfast and caught up on my writing. Finally left at 7.

Passed Extra Mile. Then passed Oats at 11. She had left camp at 5:30. She was having lunch with Groover, Pacecar, and Major Tom. I wanted to stop with them. I really really like Oats. But I also wanted to make it to hwy 140, possible trail magic, and the water there. I pushed on.

Seeker and Everest were breaking there. I joined. They’re really chill. We chatted. I had a bagel with cream cheese and leftover tuna. And lots of snacks.

The guys i had passed earlier came out of the woodwork and joined us. I finally met Gandalf! (He is the guy Baby Blanket was chasing. Way back before I hurt my shin and had to take time off.) We spoke Swedish.

Left at 3:30. It was hot. No water on trail for 25 miles. My plan was to get water at a spring a bit off trail in 11 miles. One by one, the guys passed me. I can’t even dream of keeping up with them. They’re all super tall and each of their steps is at least 1.5 of mine.

This is the stretch that I promised a lot of mosquitoes. And boy, did they come out. Usually, you don’t have to worry about being bitten as long as you’re moving. Not with this quantity. They’ll find a way to land on every open square inch of skin.

I stopped to pull on my wind pants and head net. Did I mention it was hot? Wind pants and hot breeze. Mmm. I love Oregon. The heat, relentless mosquitoes, rationing water (and no way to drink without sacrificing some blood from your hands) made it for a very unpleasant hike. To top it off, I’m hiking toward the fires in Crater Lake NP. It was getting progressively smokier.

The boys all stopped 4-ish miles before the water I was going to. I continued. There was a baggie of weed at the tent site near the spring. Trail magic for someone!

I could’ve stayed there, but it was only 7. I could push a few more miles. And maybe the mosquito situation would be better a bit further. With a heavy pack full of water, I hiked on.

Mistake! It got worse. A lot worse, it seemed. Maybe because the sun went down? I watched the sunset through dead trees, a cloud of mosquitoes, and mosquito net. The whole sky was orange because of the smoke.

I swore I would stop at the next tent I saw. Unfortunately, the next tent I saw I recognized as this guy’s. I get really bad douche chills when I’m near him, so I hiked on into the smoky night.

Finally, 7 miles from where I said I was going to camp, I stopped. I was totally exhausted. There was a tent set up there. He was sleeping. “Hi, I’m sorry. Do you mind if I camp here?” I set up my tent and finally laid down.

Ahhh, no buzzing. Not so fast! 6 mosquitoes got into the tent in the split second that I jumped in there. I set up my stove to boil 2 cups of water (inside the tent!) and went to work on the stragglers. I couldn’t clap-kill them because I’m a considerate camping neighbor. And I had to be careful not to knock over the pot and the stove and set my tent ablaze. I had more success once the stove was off.

Lasagna for dinner. It is still just as good as the first time Selby and I shared a pouch at Kitchen Creek. It feels like a lifetime ago. Finished the dried mango bag that Alex sent.

InReach was having trouble sending messages. I fell asleep scratching all my mosquito bites and waiting for a message. I chose this life, I chose this life, I chose this life.