July 13, 2016
Bushcamp (mile 1845.4) to Six Horse Spring Junction (mile 1869.6)
Our total miles: 1463.3
We both slept soundly despite being 0.1 mile from highway 138. It was a cold night. Laurie woke up at 5 am but was too cold to leave the warmth of her sleeping bag. She fell back asleep and around 6:30 Andy woke up and encouraged us both to start moving.
We were walking by 7:20 am. The air was chilly and best of all there were no mosquitoes!
We walked about a mile into the Mt Thielson Wilderness.
“Oh no, not another wilderness” remarked Laurie. Given our experiences the last 2 weeks, “wilderness” means no power tools and thus no chainsaws.
Basically, we anticipate more blow downs in wilderness areas because it requires more effort and expertise to cut the downed trees.
We were pleasantly surprised by clear trail. We gradually climbed, sneaking peaks of Diamond Lake through the trees.
At the junction we met 2 women who were on a day hike to Mt Thielson. We chatted for a while and they very generously gave us snacks. Once hearing that the summit was only 1-2 miles from the junction, we were tempted to join them. Andy, once again, was the voice of reason reminding her that we still had a long day ahead of us.
About 30 minutes later we were so happy with our decision. The trail disappeared into a field of snow. We followed footsteps, some of which led us to the next clear stretch of trail and some led us astray. We used GPS to reorient when needed but it was slow going and tiresome.
Eventually we hit Thielson Creek where we got water for the next 16 miles.
Those next 16 were more of the same – forest, mosquitoes and down trees blocking the trail.
We reached the high point in Oregon and Washington around lunch time. Surprisingly the high point was an open Meadow. We sat by a tree and enjoyed a brief lunch before the mosquitoes drove us back to the trail.
It was a hard afternoon.
Laurie’s right knee has been hurting since Crater Lake. As a result of an old soccer injury she doesn’t have any cartilage in the lateral compartment of her knee.
The 24 mile days and frequent stepping down and over slippery and unstable surfaces had taken its toll. Laurie had hoped a zero would make everything better, but it hadn’t.
Being in pain and worried about the long term consequences of continuing to hike weighed heavily on her mind and heart.
“I don’t want to stop, but I want to be able to walk when I am 35.”
Andy was not without pain either. His feet were hurting, particularly his left arch. Laurie, being a physical therapist, is knowledgeable about the body which is helpful but sometimes too much knowledge can be detrimental.
Laurie worries about shin splints and plantar fasciitis on a regular basis.
The mosquitoes were out in full force. Whenever we stopped to refill our Platypus bladders 50 or so mozzies would swarm and land.
Laurie was miserable.
She was bitten through her insect repellant shirt and scratched her way down the last few miles to camp.
We got to camp at 6:50 pm and immediately put on our rainpants and rain coats as additional armor.
Laurie crawled in the tent to make home and organize food for the next day while Andy walked 0.8 miles round trip to get water.
Today was hard. We are tired and moral is low. Hopefully a good nights rest will help our aching bodies and tomorrow will be a better day.
Tonight we are grateful for reliable springs and snacks from friendly day hikers.