tiffany's pct journal

Oregon Section D: Highway 58 (Willamette Pass) to Highway 138 (Cascade Crest).

Days: 43 - 45.
Dates: August 15 - 17.
Trail mileage: 745.2 - 814.0.
Distance: 68.8 miles.

I got to Shelter Cove Resort around noon, about a mile off the trail, but one of the only places you can resupply between Big Lake Youth Camp and Crater Lake. You wouldn't guess it, but thru-hikers tend to be really lazy outside of the Big Goal, so bonus miles (a.k.a. non-trail miles) aren't our favorite. So that extra 2 miles round trip? Not my favorite.

When I got to Shelter Cove Resort, I realized that Oli had been there just a couple hours before I had, so I was a little sad our paths didn't cross. I went to the restaurant and there was only one thing I could order: fries. I mean, I won't say no to fries, but it's always exciting when there's an actual town meal I can order somewhere.

I left pretty soon after my stuff was mostly charged because I was ready to make it to Crater Lake. My partner was driving down to the California for a conference from Seattle, and we were going to be able to cross paths somewhere around there, so I was looking forward to seeing him again.

Immediately after Shelter Cove was a really obnoxious climb. The general flatness of Oregon was making me soft!

Sunsets were some of the best parts of the trail

I camped at a really cool single completely exposed campsite that had some epic views and a great sunset. By now, the moon was like a freaking street lamp, which was so bright it actually made it difficult to sleep.

super bright moon
Like a spotlight on my tent

The next day was almost completely dry, with a 25-mile stretch with no water on trail. There were two possible water sources, but one was a steep half-mile off the trail, and the other was a full mile off the trail. I decided to see if I could make those 25 miles without carrying any water, which basically meant doing a long day.

I was going to try to see if I could break 30 miles.

The beginning of the dry stretch was a water cache several miles into my day, and thank goodness for it, or the water carry would have been even longer. It's hard to properly express just how grateful us thru-hikers are for the trail angels who maintain the caches. Thank you, trail angels!

water cache
Seriously, I'd be so screwed without you amazing trail angels

The caches were right at a large campsite, so I decided to sit around and eat a proper freeze-dried meal for lunch in the shade since I could tell it was going to be a long day. For half an hour, I enjoyed my mushy beans and rice while moving from spot to spot to avoid the yellowjackets everywhere, and trying to keep my food bag being raided by some overly nosey squirrels.

It wasn't a flat day, but I knew there was a site 33 miles away from where I left that morning that was supposed to have some epic views and really nice campsites. I realized my body was getting stronger after Washington that day. I thought I wasn't getting all that much stronger because my mileage wasn't increasing so much in Washington, but when things started flattening out in Oregon, my daily mileage had clearly gone up.

moon in the day time
The moon was just as visible in the daytime too

I knew water would be an issue, so I carried as much water as I could (which wasn't that much, honestly, since I hadn't needed a big water capacity until this point), and I had a bunch of electrolyte tablets I decided to use in all of my water so I would retain it better. Unfortunately, I only had ones that were caffeinated.

Because I was focused completely on my miles for the day, I didn't take a single photo until I got to camp after lunch. But guess what, guys? I did it! I pulled off my longest day, my first 30-miler at 33 miles! I even made it in time to see the end of the sunset.

view from my tent
Finally setting up camp

When I got to camp, someone poked their head out of their tent, and it was Blue! It made me happy to see someone I recognized again. The fact that I kept running into him was fun, and I ended up finding a smaller trail family for a little while in him.

Of course, because I had been basically drinking coffee all day in the form of electrolyte water and was riding the adrenaline of the day, I wasn't able to fall asleep until 4:00 AM. Oops!

The next day, I hit the high point of both Washington and Oregon. I was surprised to learn the highest point in Oregon was higher up than in Washington given how hilly Washington was compared to Oregon's flatness.

highest point in Washington and Oregon
The highest point in Washington and Oregon

It was a ridiculously hot day, and I was absolutely shot after the previous day and getting almost no sleep. I hiked with Blue for a while later in the day, Even though I tend to be a solo hiker, the trail can feel lonely at times, and it was nice to have company once in a while.

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