August 19: Mile 2,043 today, Timberline Lodge tomorrow...
Paul was here yesterday, a little north of Mt Jefferson:
Spoke to him Sunday, he sounds great…making outstanding time. So many stories he shared from the last week or two…got some summer rain, saw a lightning strike blow up a tree start a fire, hitched a ride from an Army vet just back from Afghanistan, took a side trip to Bend where some strangers bought him dinner at McDonalds…even pulled off a side trip to visit Camp Pioneer, the stunning Boy Scout camp near Mt Jefferson where Paul once worked as counselor for a summer when he was 16.
I spent last week on vacation at Drakesbad in Lassen NP - knowing that Paul and Sam passed through just 4 weeks ago made it so interesting. We ran into a couple that remembered them, and we chatted up some other PCTers who were passing through. Another thing I learned is that I don’t think I’ll be hiking with him. I was surprised to be struggling through some of the hikes that I usually crushed. Not good for me.
Tomorrow the plan is to pick up Paul at Barlow Pass (just south of Mt Hood, along Hwy 35) sometime in the afternoon or evening. He has requested smoked ribs, potato salad, and one of moms’ berry cobblers. And other items. I am preparing for the food onslaught. Also, I don’t think Michelle is ready to see Paul’s hair and beard. He is truly a sight: a mash-up between the Geico caveman character and a guy in a canoe in a beer ad. There is a movie coming out soon based on the PCT, called “Wild”…that title would surely describe Paul’s hirsute appearance.
Looks like he may stay at home through Friday night, we’ll pile in a car and return to the trail Saturday. 50 miles of hiking, then crossing into the Columbia River - mile 2,155 at Cascade Locks - into Washington, the third and final state, on Monday, August 25th. Haven’t worked it out yet, but hope to help him slack pack somewhere/sometime over those days to help him out.
Sam just told me he’s been thinking about being back on the trail…but then he looks at all the food in our fridge…and he says that stops the thinking…ha!