It was a wet, wet day. It started with hope, raining most of the night, but stopping by sunrise and even the tree snot was starting to dry out. I was on the trail hiking by 8:00, relatively dry and lighthearted.
I reached a ski hut an hour or so later--very nice little setup, and the stove inside radiated heat from a fire someone must have built overnight. If I realized how nice this place was, I would have pushed on the evening before just to camp here overnight. As it was, since the fire was burning, I knew there were people just ahead of me on the trail. I didn't know who, but there were hikers near. The weather started misting again, and I thought about hanging out in the hut in the hopes it would blow off. I grew impatient, though, and the forecast I last saw called for good weather. So I pushed on ahead.
The misting turned to a sprinkle, and the sprinkle turned into a rain, and the rain turned into a drenching, demoralizing downpour.
|The ski hut|
The one bright spot of the whole day was catching up with Noga, who I hadn't seen since Mammoth Lakes. I thought she was behind me and was stunned when I found her hiking ahead of me and in the same direction as me. I hadn't seen her in any registers. Nobody had mentioned she was nearby. We compared notes and it sounds like she pulled ahead of me when I took those two days off near Cascade Locks. I asked about Shani and Evan, who she was last hiking with, and Shani--as it turned out--was merely a section hiker, never having planned to thru-hike the entire trail. She did all of California before leaving, though, and--as Noga explained, was probably enjoying a drink on a Mexican beach somewhere right now. "I think she had a good idea," I told Noga, as we stood miserable in the pouring rain.
Evan--I don't remember what she said happened to him, and I apparently didn't see fit to write it down in my logbook. I think he went off to school or to do some work in Israel or something. But he too was now off the trail. Once those two had left, Noga started pulling huge miles through Oregon, catching up and passing me by shortly into Washington.
She also told me about a conversation she had with her dad. Her dad had done a Google search for Noga and Shani's name with the term "PCT" and found my blog entry about the day we went over Forester Pass. But he didn't tell her that--he started telling her details about that day that she hadn't mentioned. Like the sunscreen that turned Noga's face white. And the incident with Charmin rushing ahead to catch up with Hasty, who was actually behind her.
"Dad," she asked him, "how do you know all this?!"
And he just told her that "Ryan" says to say hi.
"Who's Ryan?" Of course, she didn't know my real name--only my trail name. But my blog has my real name on it. "Ryan," he told her. "You hiked with him." Which confused her even more.
Finally the secret of his intimate knowledge of that day was revealed, and she finally worked out that the Green Tortuga was also known as Ryan, blogger extraordinaire. =)
|Wet, wet, wet.... Would it ever end?!|
I pulled out my camera and took a picture of Noga, saying I'd post it to my blog for her dad to enjoy. =) "Of course, it'll probably be five months before I post about this day and you'll already be off the trail, but say 'boker tov' for dad!"
I do tell people about my blog if they ask if I keep one, and I'll even volunteer that it's one of the best hiker blogs out there, but most of the time, they just nod their head, and I know they're thinking, "Yeah, whatever. Everyone thinks their blog is the best thing out there." I've seen a lot of hiker blogs, and I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm the funniest blogger out there, nor can turn the best phrase, nor spell the best, but by golly, it's hard work to describe every single day of my hike in as much detail as I do--and even include photos! It takes an enormous amount of time and dedication that most thru-hikers aren't willing to commit to. And I've seen a lot of hiker blogs over the years--many of which I've enjoyed reading--but I knew mine was something special. In a class by itself. So I'll tell people that my blog is one of the best ones out there, and they nod their head in that, "Yeah, I've heard that before," kind of attitude, and just smile to myself thinking, "If only they knew...." So my blog isn't a big secret, but at the same time, most hikers I meet don't know about it, and those that do rarely follow up and read it. So Noga hadn't read my blog before, not until her dad found it and pointed it out.
|Say "Boker tov" for dad! =)|
Noga and I passed each other several times throughout the afternoon. Late in the afternoon, I set up camp at an unidentified road crossing. I wasn't exactly sure where in the trail I was at--with all of the rain, I didn't want to pull out my maps to look and ruin them or get them wet. As long as I was on the trail, I didn't worry too much about where on the trail I was located. I set up my tarp and dug some small trenches around my lair with stakes to make sure the water flowed around me okay.
Noga showed up about a half hour later and told me she was thinking about pushing on ahead. Her map showed this thing called an "outhouse" about a half-mile ahead and, as she explained, "It sounds like a protected structure!"
It was hard for me to keep a straight face. "Yes, they usually are protected," I told her, "but the weather would have to be a heck of a lot worse than this before I'd consider sleeping in one!"
I love hiking with foreigners when English isn't their first language. =) I'd actually sometimes forgot she was from Israel because her English is almost completely accent-free, but then she'd say something like that to remind me that she's not from around these parts. =)
So I told her what an outhouse was. "Remember that small little structure behind the ski hut you stayed in last night?" She nodded. "That's an outhouse."
She decided that setting up camp in an outhouse wasn't her idea of fun, and set up camp near me instead.
|Noga asks a hunter about the|
|The view from under my tarp. That's Noga's tent set up nearby.|