Day 115: Into Washington

Memories from August 13

This morning I arranged resupply through Washington, bought six days of food at the small grocery store in town, managed to fit it all into my backpack which is only 36 liters (the most common pack on the trail is 58 and its rare to see one less than 48). After buying the largest soft serve ice cream cone I’ve ever seen (it was probably a foot tall and they hand you 24oz cup to put it in but it overflows that), I headed out across the Bridge of the Gods and into Washington.

I promise that I’ll try not to post any more selfies.

Something about being in the last state on the trail and in my home state was overwhelming and I almost teared up several times in the first mile.

The heat due to the low elevation and infrequency of breeze put an end to emotional indulgence as did the hard, uneven surface of the trail in places which was a surprising change from Oregon. I’d previously removed my packs hip belt because I rarely carried been four days of food so my shoulders quickly wearied under the weight of six. However, I only have to average about 20 miles a day to make it to Canada by September 7, when I have a room booked in the Manning Park Resort, 8 miles north of the border. Since today is only a half day, I took frequent breaks, especially in cooler spots with cold water.

Eventually, the trail which has been generally been trying to escape the low elevation where it crosses the Columbia, broke out of the trees which had been hiding the surrounding terrain.

For me, Oregon was about big miles and physical accomplishment. I want to Washington to be a relaxed and introspective time. So instead of going to 3.77 more miles to where I’d intended to end the day in a small campsite, according to my trail notes by a jeep road, I just stopped, dropped, and rolled into my sleeping bag to enjoy the fire of a setting sun.

Fruit Cup came by and noted my change of pace. He’s still going to be doing big miles to finish things off which will be impressive as Washington has much more elevation change than Oregon. As he was putting in his ear buds to continue on for the night we traded real names as a sort of farewell, though he shouted over his shoulder, “but my real name is Fruit Cup” as he walked away. Trail names may be a light hearted but I’ve always know him as Fruit Cup and it made me think about how many people associate everything they know about me with the name Dairy Queen.

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