Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Day 113: The mental challenge

Date: August 20, 2017
Miles: 27.1 miles (43.6km), from mile 1,725.6 to mile 1,752.8.
Health: Tired, both mentally and physically.

We wake up early and get back on the trail. Sam speeds ahead as I stay a little back – I’m always super slow in the morning. Judging by the heat this early in the morning it’s going to be another hot day.

After a few miles, I reach a trailhead with a few cars and what every hiker wants to see early in the morning: a toilet. I drop my pack and take advantage of the pit toilets. Sitting on a toilet beats digging holes in the woods any day.

Morning views.

What I didn’t take into consideration was that the closed pit toilet heats up really quick in the morning sun. I soon have to rush out to get fresh air as the inside of the toilet turns into an oven with the scent of poop. I sign the trail register at the trailhead, shoulder my pack and start walking again. Feeling little lighter after the quick “pit stop”.

Better than digging holes in the woods.

Trailhead and register.

The scenery doesn’t look anything like I thought Oregon would look like. Instead of green, everything looks burned yellow. I feel like I’m back in the desert hills again.

The trail goes in and out of forests, climbs small sunburned hills, and dips back into a forest. The monotonous scenery is made worse by the ever-present smoke that blocks the visibility further than few hills ahead and I’m having a hard time staying motivated.

Smoke and sun burned hills.

Around midday, I find a small lake with a dam and decide to take a lunch break in the shade of some trees next to a stream. Sam soon arrives there as well, I must have passed him at some point. We eat lunch and talk with the few fellow hikers who stop to get water from the small stream coming from the dam.

The dam with the lake behind it.

Lunch break.

After lunch, we get back on the trail and I fall behind again. Not feeling like talking I just walk while listening to some music. Before leaving for the trail I thought I synced a massive amount of music to my iPhone. For some reason only a few artists actually synced and I’m getting tired of listening to the same songs over and over and over again. One of the only artists whose entire collection did sync is Iron Maiden and this means every third song I listen to is theirs. I generally listen around 10 to 14 hours of music per day so that’s a lot of Iron Maiden.

Back in the forest.

The only bright spot of the day is seeing a message from Cannonball and Storyteller on one of the trail registers. While I was supposed to be only a few miles behind them, spending an extra night and day in Tahoe meant I’m now at least two days behind them. Sadly, as we’re all doing around the same mileage each day, that means they’re too far ahead for me to catch up by hiking.

Message from Cannonball and Storyteller.

More forests.

Rest of the day consists of walking in a green forest. While this means fewer sights, it’s a bit cooler in the shade of the trees. I make good mileage on the soft trail and catch up to Sam late in the day. We decide to stop for a camp a bit earlier as there’s a good spot in the shade of some trees and there’s a water source close by. This way we also get to go to sleep a bit earlier today.

To our surprise, there are already many people sleeping in their tents this early. They must be super early risers as I don’t think we’ve ever gone to sleep this early in the evening. We try to be super careful not to make any sound and quietly go to sleep. The ground is nice and soft, it’s going to be a comfortable night.