Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to the PCT day 6 - no name Lake to Olallie Lake

August 19th
Day 6 Un-named Lake to Olallie Lake
Trail mile 2048 to 2053.5 5.5 miles 

no name lake in the morning mile 2048 PCT
 I woke up at about 5 but stayed in my sleeping bag until about 6:15.  I did not sleep very well.  I got cold in the night and my sleeping bag was covered with condensation.  There was still no sign of Aimless in the morning so I waited until 7:30 and I began my hike into Olallie.  I expected that Aimless would make it into Olallie a few hours after me. 

My soggy sleeping bag at 6:15am
The hike was pretty; it took me past many beautiful stone rimmed lakes.  The hike was also all downhill and I got it done before the heat of the day hit.  I stopped and made a geocache find at Upper Lake. 

Upper Lake

I carried my sleeping bag outside of my pack to try to dry it off.  A few thru-hikers passed me but none of them had seen Aimless. 

At 10:20 I arrived at the trail for Olallie Lake.  When I saw the sign I took a picture and shed a few tears of relief and then headed for the store.  I was not sure what way to turn when the trail met the road and I found another confused hiker with the same problem.  My GPS came to the rescue. 

When I arrived I was very tired and could not think very clearly.  The first thing I did was use the outhouse.  Then I stumbled into the store and looked around and then I stumbled back out without buying anything or picking up the box I had waiting.   I went outside and sat on a picnic table and used the outhouse a bunch and yogied some Imodium from a thru hiker.  I tried to dry out my sleeping bag.  I asked everyone who passed by if they had seen Aimless. 

Ollalie Lake Resort
Then I went back into the store and picked up my box and sorted through it.  The box was filled with wonderful yummy dehydrated dinners.  The box had been provided by Sonya Rodgers.   Thanks Sonya! After sorting through the box I went back into the store and bought a beer.  The beer nearly put me to sleep. 

Later I bought batteries, snickers, a cup of coffee and some hand sanitizers.  The store only had the red heet because it was all that they could get.  It would have to do.  I know that red heet will work, it just does not burn quite as hot and leaves some soot.

I decided that I would hang around all day and wait for Aimless to arrive and then we could find a campsite somewhere nearby where we would take our first zero day.  I asked everyone who passed through if they had seen her, but no one had seen her.   I ate one of the yummy meals from my box while I waited.

Finally at about 2:30 two men told me that they had seen Aimless and she had a bandage wrapped around her thigh.  What?  She had a sprained ankle, why would the bandage be around her thigh?  They said that she had hurt her leg on the snowfields and was last seen at Breitenbush camp, she said she could not make the hike and she was going to the road. 

What hike was it that she could not make?  Could she make it to Olallie and get out on the road there or was she getting out at Breitenbush?   Well now I had sort of an answer about her location but what exactly was going on was not clear.  I decided to stay at Olallie a bit longer and see if other hikers knew what was going on. 

Just a few of the yummy dinners in the box that Sonya left for me
I kept going from the store to the picnic table and back wondering what to do.  The store clerks were very friendly and helpful.  They said that the day use area becomes PCT  hiker overflow camping at 8 so if I waited until 9 to pitch my tent I could stay right there. 

Then Bookworm arrived, she had left camp later than me and she had hiked much slower.  She had no new information about Aimless but she offered to hike with me from Olallie to Timberline and she said that she would hike ten miles a day.  It was a nice offer, but that was too slow for me, I needed to do 14 miles a day to make my food last and I was desperate for a shower and my satellite messenger was broken, I needed to make better time than that.   I probably needed to get off the trail and sort out my satellite messenger, my intestinal troubles and more.

I kept asking hikers if they had see Aimless then a woman named Amy told me she had and that she was instructed to call Aimless' friend on her cell phone and have her come pick her up at Breitenbush Camp because she got injured  on the snow fields and could no longer hike.    There was no cell phone signal, so Amy would make the call about three miles up the trail and after her break at Olallie.

Oh no!  That road was really rough and Aimless friend had limited mobility.  I did not think that was a good idea.  But I told Amy to tell the friend that I was going to hike back to Briteinbush to join Aimless.  Well Amy did not know I had been hiking with Aimless so she asked who I was.  But even after learning that I was hiking with Aimless she still did not seem to want to talk to me.  Maybe I had said or done something wrong,  Amy seemed to be annoyed.  Amy could not be convinced that the road was bad, she was sure that the road conditions were overstated.

Alternately, if you have a tank or a 4-wheel drive truck, you can drive here a slightly different way. Rather than turning off at FR4220, you can drive southeast on 224/46 for 48 miles until you reach an extremely well-marked sign for Olallie Lake at the junction with FR4690. Turn left onto FR4690 for 8 miles, then left onto FR4220 for approximately 11 miles, passing Olallie, Monon and Horseshoe Lakes until you reach Breitenbush Lake. The 2 mile section of road between Horseshoe and Breitenbush Lakes is among the worst sections of road in Oregon, and is not recommended for passenger car drivers with any consideration whatsoever for their vehicle. Seriously, it's really that bad. Consider yourself warned

I went back into the store and got some clarification about the road, the store clerk or maybe the owner, said that the road from Ollalie to Breitenbush was really bad but the road to Breitenbush from the pavement was not as bad.  Okay so maybe Aimless friend could deal with the road.  I heard Amy mumble something about dealing with friends of friends of friends as she came out of the store. 

So I explained to Amy that I was hiking with Aimless, I had rode to the trail in her car and that my car was at her house so I was more that a friend of a friend of a friend.   This seemed to make Amy even more upset, she said in an uncheerful tone of voice “I’m just trying to help”  Then another hiker stepped up and thanked her for helping and then they both went and sat down.  What had just happened?  Why was I being treated like a stranger by the only person who had any real information on Aimless? 

Bookworm was off in her own little world, she came out of the store and told me that she had bought me my entire resupply for the next leg and she kept offering me olives. I was trying to figure out what to do, sure the olives tasted nice, but I was trying to figure out what to do, I was not terribly interested in olives. I wanted to discuss my options, but she kept interrupting me and offering me olives.

I had to get away from the psychosis  in front of the store, that was all that I knew for sure.    I decided that I needed to go back to Brietenbush.  Sure I could have just continued on up the trail but I was worried about Aimless and I had not been in contact with my family for 3 days thanks to my satellite messenger breaking and I really wanted to take a shower, oh and I needed an entire box of Imodium.  That was enough reason for me to bail. 

So I went in an asked the store clerks what was the shortest route back to Breitenbush camp and they showed me how the roads connected up.  I decided that rather than hiking 7 miles back to Breitenbush Lake that I would try to hitchhike.  I bought two snickers for the road and I began to head out.

I saw a couple reading the sign in the parking lot, they were not sure where they were going so I told them about Aimless and that I needed a ride up to Brietenbush Lake.  They said they were sorry but they could not help me.  So I thanked them and headed up to the road to try to hitch a ride.  According to my GPS the road was only 3.5 miles while the trail was 7 miles.  So if I could not hitch a ride I was going to walk up the road.   

The first car that came up the road was the same couple that I had just talked to.  They said that they would help me and they gave me a ride all the way back to Brietenbush Lake Camp where I met up with Aimless.  The road was the worst road I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of dirt roads.  In some places the road was  nothing but boulders sticking out 6-8 inches where there should have been dirt.  I really wish I had taken pictures of this road.  I felt guilty for convincing Brian to drive me up such a road.   Thank you Brian and SO for the ride!  I think I would have been waiting a very long time to hitch a ride up that road. 

Finally reunited with Aimless I was able to get the correct story.  It turned out that Aimless had hurt her leg, lost her pole and hit her face on a rock while crossing Russell Creek at 9:30 the day before.    After 20 mintues she gave up on looking for her pole and continued on.  Eric found her pole in the water and put it on the bank.  When Eric passed Aimless he told her that he had found her pole and put it on the near bank, so she went back for it.

Somehow she managed to limp all the way to Brietenbush Lake Camp before she stopped.  It took her  12 hours of hiking to get there.  She had injured her groin and she could not bend her knee so she had spent the night sleeping on the picnic table to avoid having to crawl in and out of her tent.  I’m not sure why I had been told that she was in “good spirits”, maybe she was, but she was injured too and no one seemed to notice?  
Brietenbush Lake

One of three shelters on the lake
I spent the night at the campground in the rain and wind with Aimless.  I found a king bolete right next to my tent.   Brian came by to check on us in the morning and he said he would take us out of there if Aimless' friend did not arrive by afternoon.  That day at about 1pm the friend came to pick us up.  I taken back to my car in Saint Helens Aimless bought me a chicken quesadilla at Taco Time one the way back to Saint Helens and then she gave me a cup of coffee at her house and I drove home from there, leaving sometime just before dark.  I could have stayed the night and showered and done my laundry, but I was eager to see my family.

King Bolete at Brietenbush Lake Camp

View from my campsite at Brietenbush Lake

My GPS sent me around and around in circles in Long view and it was very scary because it was dark and I was so tired and there were some strange intersections in Longview.  I turned off my GPS and just followed the signs and then I was able to find my way out of Longview.  Then there was road construction at my exit off of highway 101 I was boxed in by semi trucks and I caught myself maybe falling asleep while waiting for the construction to end.  I made it home at about 10:30 pm and my husband was waiting for me on the porch.  Patches did the happy dog dance when I walked in the door. 

The house was a total disaster, the worse I have ever returned to after a hike, but I went to bed and waited until morning to give my family grief about the state of the house.  In the morning I stepped on my bathroom scale and learned that I had lost ten pounds.

I called Delorme the next day and they are sending me a new Inreach device, no questions asked.  I hope the new one is more durable.

packing up to go back to Saint Helens

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