PCT trip log days 45 – 48

📍this section is on Molalla Land, in the Three Sisters wilderness, along the Ring of Fire.

August 11, day 45

16 miles

.

I haul out of Big Lake Youth Camp after procrastinating all morning charging my stuff and talking to Willy Wonka. He’s a fun hiker from Britain and we had a nice chat. He had front row center at a Fleetwood Mac concert, a ticket he paid over a grand for, and was showing my videos of this. Of course I was interested, as a gay. This got me listening to Rumours as I left and hiked the next 16 miles up to where I am camping tonight.

.

Music! I hadn’t realized how much music really makes my morale better. I’d gone without last section because of my battery charging issue. But now my batteries are all fully charged and I got to jam out today. Sometimes when you’re an enneagram 4 like me, you really need to get out of your own brain and hear someone else’s voice. Music does that for me.

.

In today’s hike was a miles long lava field. Walking across actual rocks. I hated every moment of it and cursed out loud several times when I’d almost trip. At least my new insoles were keeping the rocks from poking my feet. Still, my feet were sore on the forefoot again today. A trip to REI in Bend may happen. I’m so irritated with my constant shoe issues.

.

When I was coming up to camp, I was listening to Loudspeaker by MUNA on repeat and feeling every word. I’m finally, finally in a good mood hiking! Last section was so bad for my morale, it’s really nice to feel good. I take a picture of myself to celebrate. I feel emotional being in the Three Sisters wilderness for lots of reasons, and the emotions include sadness but not all sadness. I feel gratitude to be in a place I’ve dreamed of being since I first saw a picture of it 9 years ago.

.

I have reception at camp so I stay up way too late talking to people and Instagramming, just enjoying having the ability to connect with loved ones while on trail.

August 12 day 46

27 miles

“Being radical isn’t just about your role, is about how you show up in the world.”

“The work that I do is my healing work.”

(Snippets from the Healing Justice podcast I listened to today)

.

I drag myself out of bed this morning and tell myself to move. Nothing in my body wants to be awake. I don’t get out of the tent site until 7:30, later than I like.

.

My first miles are slower than I’d like. I’m having huge anxiety about the email I sent to my email list this morning, wondering if I worded things well, wondering if it was in any way problematic. It takes me a few miles to chill. At least the terrain is gorgeous. I’m loving walking by the Three Sisters.

.

I’d been worried the Three Sisters would be hard for me, but for the most part I just feel so grateful to be here. It’s so beautiful. I decide I’m the South Sister, Rachel is the Middle Sister, and Stephanie is the North Sister. Of course.

.

Having my headphones back charged has me going ham on music and podcasts today. I listen to Tarot for the Wild Soul’s August Forecast, then listen to episode 41 of this season of Healing Justice. In one part they are talking about how desire is our guiding force, and getting down to what you truly desire. I think about all the dear relationships in my life. I think about my deep desire for connection.

Suddenly it hits me that I am trying to build a family. This comes when I am walking through a burn just below the South Sister, and I feel the synchrony of place down into my bones. I cry and cry. I think about my close loved ones and how all of them remind me of my sisters in some way. I see what I want and what I’m trying to do and my heart feels both so broken and so whole and desirous. I think of the dear one whose moon is in Gemini like Rachel’s. I think of another love who sent me cards scented with earl grey tea and how her handwriting looks like Stephanie’s. These are the examples that spring quickly to mind but there are hundreds more. I think about how both my sisters, but especially Rachel, echo through all my relationships and leave traces. How I’ve tried to rebuild a family since they’ve gone. How they were my family within a family, the safety from the nightmare. I think of how I want kitchen table polyamory and how the desire is, at heart, for a family. I think about how this is the deepest desire I have, and how my biggest fear is to find it and then lose it again. How I sometimes feel doomed in a way. How I’d had some of that with Heather and Dave, and then everything happened with Noah and a part of me felt like I brought it with me. I think about this because I’ve been in Sisters and I’m hiking in this space that holds so much of everything, Noah and Heather and my sisters too. I think about a dream I had recently about someone I care about, I think about how scared I am that I’ll bring doom to someone else. I think about how since I was young I’ve always been able to feel the boundary between life and death, and sometimes I hate it. I think about all this and I cry and cry. And this feels like the most significant moment here in the Sisters, this moment where I realize that all I’ve ever wanted in my soul is a family, and all of my fear is about losing it. This so far also feels like everything this hike has been about, working with a fear of loss.

.

I decide I want to hike into Elk Lake for dinner. It will mean 27 miles, and I haven’t been hiking very fast. But I am starving and I want real food. I pop a couple of clif bloks and bang it out. About a mile out, my stomach turns and gets upset. I’m stubborn, so I kept going, making a beeline for the toilet as soon as I arrive. Despite this I again stubbornly ordered a blackened chicken salad. Because of my stomach upset, I couldn’t finish it. But it was delicious. And Elk Lake itself was gorgeous, one of the prettier lakes I’ve been by here in Oregon (there are SO MANY LAKES). At dusk, a sailboat drifted softly across the top of the water and made it look like something out of a dream.

.

It got to be 8pm and I desperately needed a place to set up camp. I walked up to the forest service campground, but couldn’t find a spot. A woman called out to me (we’ll call her Pam 1) from her picnic table and asked if I was hiking the PCT and offered to let me pitch my tent at their spot. At first I said no. I wanted a quiet spot and to be alone. But after walking the whole campground I realized it was my only option and went back. Both ladies at the spot were very gracious and Pam 1 was obviously somewhat drunk. In chatting with them both, I discovered that both of them were named Pam, and both of them were born on the same day, they were “both Leo’s”, they informed me gleefully. They were here celebrating their birthdays. Pam 1 says, “we’ve been together for many years!” Pam 2 laughed and looked vaguely uncomfortable and said “not like TOGETHER, we’re not lesbians.” But Pam 1 kept repeating this phrase throughout the night. I have a theory that Pam 1 wants more, lol. Pam 2 regaled me with stories of them hitchhiking around the country in their early 20s. Pam 1 offered me wine and poured me a heavy glass of very good Chardonnay. I sat and sipped. Pam 1 kept saying “I’m so happy you’re here!” and Pam 2 would look slightly embarrassed at her effusiveness. At one point Pam 1 said this and gave me a hug. Pam 2 meanwhile was asking me “as a therapist” what I thought of past lives and if I believe in them, to which I said yes and then mentioned trauma and resilience being passed down in DNA. The whole thing was quite amusing and I was glad I’d decided to camp with them just for the story of it.

August 13, day 47

27 miles

.

I woke up at 5:15am, not wanting to be up. I was still so tired. I tried to go back to sleep, but to no avail. Around 5:45 I got up and did my camp chores. But I didn’t really leave until around 7:30am. Again. I was just. so. tired. I didn’t even want to move this morning.

.

I tried something new. I let my body be tired and I just moved slowly down the trail for the first couple miles. My body is tired… I will let them just do what they’d like. After about 3 miles, I woke up naturally and started to move faster. Much faster, to my surprise. In no time at all I’d done 10 miles. What? Okay, then. I guess I should let my body figure things out more often. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

.

I wasn’t feeling in much of a music or podcast mood today, but I was turning over lots of thoughts around gender in my mind. Fretting and worrying about my own gender identity. It seems like I have a couple stable months of feeling very solid in my identity, and then it shifts again. It scares me, because my deepest value is to be authentic, and what if I’m not being authentic? These thoughts run rampant through my mind, and I find to my great luck that Dara Hoffman-Fox has recently done an episode for Multiamory, and I had forgotten but had downloaded it before leaving town. So I pop it on, and it gives me great relief. I still feel kind of out in the deep end, but at least I feel a little more normal. I resonate so deeply to what Dara says about their name being their gender. Dara uses their name more than a particular pronoun, and that feels really true for me too. And I clarify that I fall somewhere around non-binary trans genderfluid/agender. I can’t decide if I’m fluid or a gender or both. Still thinking. I feel like fluid has to fit in there, because lately I’ve noticed that sometimes “she” feels okay, and sometimes it doesn’t. And that in written form ALWAYS I want to be referred to as “they.” It feels like such a weird combo, but whatever.

.

I take a break because my feet are absolutely killing me. Are my feet always going to hurt? I notice I have a bad wear pattern going on my heels – both feet have blisters on the outside edges of my heels, which probably means I need to change my shoes again. I’m deeply irritated about this. Beyond that, the pads of my feet ache and ache and ache and never stop. I use my little ball on them and run it back and forth trying to soften the fascia.

.

After break my mind wanders and I think about a recent conversation with Jacklyn about what makes a good kiss. I’d been telling them about the most magical kiss I’d gotten last year, almost a year ago in September. She had pondered then what makes a good kiss, and I said “awareness”, which made them laugh. While I walked I thought again about that whole line of conversation. What does make a good kiss? I took this note so I could tell you all about what I was thinking:

“kissing the idea of someone vs the actuality of them, awareness, more lips than tongue but little bits of tongue, gentleness, softness, tenderness, knowledge that you are touching someone’s soul. Most enneagram 4 description of a good kiss ever.”

I can always tell when someone is kissing their fantasy of me rather than ME because they lose awareness of the present moment and kiss how they think their idea would like to be kissed rather than feeling the energy of the moment. Anyway, it was all a very very enneagram 4 line of thinking. On that note, if anyone would like to offer me a really good kiss, I’m quite in the mood for one. Lol.

.

Just after I pull myself out of this train of thought, I look off trail and see a bear not 25 feet from me, eating berries. A bear! This is my first time seeing wildlife that’s actually EXCITING. Lol. I’m more nervous than I thought I would be, because when I look at it, it looks back at me and doesn’t seem afraid. In fact it looks curious. I feel a thrill of fear and keep moving. I grin to myself though. I finally fucking saw big wildlife while hiking! This never happens!

.

I fly through the next downhill section just like I’d done earlier in the day. As always, the last 2 miles are the hardest. My feet won’t stop hurting despite taking an ibuprofen. Finally I throw on a song and sing to it to distract myself. “Ohhhhhh I wanna DANCE WITH SOMEBODYYYY” I belt out, and that gets me through the last half mile. When I get down, Marylou and Fab have heard me and are amused. “We heard you singing,” they say. I tell them I had to get through the last half mile somehow.

.

Tonight I’m camping at a gorgeous lake. I’d planned 27 miles just for this. I’d seen it on the map and it looked beautiful, so I decided I needed to camp there instead of doing the 25 miles I planned. I don’t regret it one bit when I arrive. I soak my aching feet in the water and clean them gently, they had been filthy. I watch the sunset, and then the almost-full moon rises over the water. The water softly catches its rays and sparkles in welcome. Peace drifts over my soul. I’m grateful to be here.

August 14, day 48

19 miles

.

I wake up naturally around 5:30 and see the sun rise over the lake. It’s glorious, and I’m still sleepy. So I roll over and sleep longer. I keep doing this. Maybe it’s just what my body wants to do. I finally leave camp around 7:30. Like usual.

.

I decide to continue following what my body wants, and my body wants to fly. So I do 10 miles in the next 3 hours and 10 minutes. I’m floored. Okay, cool, body. Glad we are doing what you like. I take a break in a cool little shelter. There aren’t many of these on the PCT, and this is a ski cabin. It’s old and witchy and has a loft and I love it.

.

It’s only 9 miles to Shelter Cove from here. I make quick work of it. As I get about a mile away, the blister or whatever’s happening on the right outer heel starts to hurt so bad I can barely concentrate. I slow way down and hobble. What is the deal with this thing? The only way I can move forward is to dissociate from it, so I do.

.

Finally I get to Shelter Cove. I order a hamburger and a side salad and eat it all. I run into Sonic, Gman, Fab, and Marylou. I tagged with them this section and I like their energy. But they hike out this afternoon so I probably won’t see them again until Crater Lake or Ashland, which is kind of a bummer.

.

I get lost in my phone, and the store closes early, so I have to wait on quarters to shower and do laundry until tomorrow. I’m frustrated with myself, but it’s fine. I’m not in a huge hurry. I’m going to have to stay here part of tomorrow anyway.


During my hike I am raising money for Indigenous Women Hike! Please donate to provide indigenous women access to travel to their own land. GoFundMe is here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s