Day 95 | mile 2147.1 - 2176.6 | 29.5 miles

Woke up at 6:55 to Forrest busting in and yelling “vamonos”. Sweet. I love walking up to exclamations in Spanish.

Pine State for breakfast. I had the best pastry of my sorry life - marionberry pop tart. We also had 2 biscuit sandwiches with eggs. Portland is so cool.

not my photo

The climb out of Cascade Locks is notoriously steep and long. So, we decided I’d slack-pack that 30 mile stretch. We started at 9:30. Forrest came with for the first 7 miles of the climb. Then turned around at the junction to Heartbreak Ridge.

I climbed on. Listened to How I Built This about Stripe. I had no idea the founders were Irish.

I was only carrying my pack, 2 water bottles, 2 peaches, a sandwich, and a peanut butter rice crispy. So I was able to move fast. I’d tighten all the straps really tight on the downhills so I could run. Had a couple of scary close calls tripping over roots but was able to right myself both times.

Using my inReach Mini for the first time! Alex got me an inReach before the start of my trip. But around Big Bear Lake (250-ish miles in) it started having issues acquiring GPS signal. It still worked sending and receiving messages and it would always track if the screen was on. Anyway, it was a never ending struggle to get it to work most of the time on the trail. I’ve almost thrown it off a cliff in frustration several times. Finally, Alex took pity on me and got a new one. We are going to return the old inReach. The mini is working perfectly. Crossing my fingers it lasts until the end!

Took a break about 20 miles in. Reached in the pack pocket to eat the sandwich and found the apple butter leaked, the sandwich box cut open the bag that held the peanut butter rice crispy and smeared chocolate all over, and the peach was mush. Fun! I ate the peach and whatever I could of the sandwich and moved on. I was glad to be at a water source so I could wash my hands. It was probably a little optimistic to think the food would survive all the shaking when running downhills.

The last 5 miles to the road where Forrest was going to pick me up were downhill. I was running the switchbacks thinking about how much time I’m saving. Another root. I flew forward trying to right myself again. Not so lucky this time. My left ribs found a root hiding under a thin layer of dirt. It knocked the wind out of me I laid there wide-eyed not able to breathe for what seemed like minutes, but I’m sure it was just a couple of seconds. When it finally took a breath it came with pain in my side.

It was already 7:30 and the only people I ran into were SOBOs. The last one was setting up camp a few miles back. Each breath was painful, I laid on the dirt moaning I pain, and wondering if this is the end of my hike. After a couple of minutes or so, the pain subsided and I started crying from relief. I was going to be fine.

Walked the rest of the way to Forrest. True to form, he was carrying a Thai iced tea 0.1 miles from the road.

Forrest drove to JR and Frank’s place where I took a shower and started laundry again. Why do showers make you feel so good?

Forrest slept on a couch the night before and wasn’t comfortable. So, we got a hotel for tonight. Once there he had some Thai chicken and mango sticky rice.

I opened the box that Selby sent to Cascade Locks for my birthday! This crazy sent me a cake!!!! I can’t believe it. So amazing. It was zesty and lemony and everything I wanted.

I ate the whole thing right after midnight with olive oil ice cream. And that’s how I rang in 28. Thanks to Selby for making me feel special 1,200 miles away.