Day 106: Pushing things too far… (ZERO)

Day: Monday, 12th September 2016
Miles: ZERO Day
The human body is a highly tuned and efficient machine, one that works well under gradual increases and decreases in activity. I know this. I have been really lucky on the trail in that I have been largely injury free other than predictable aches and pains or pressure points. Yesterday however I decided to throw good judgement to the trash, and after a full week of relatively low mileage days (around 15 miles per day with some rest days), suddenly increased to a 35 mile day with a large incline and descent. What could I ever have expected other than a painful reminder that my body doesn’t like these days, and will rise up in revolt if I do it! Today was a painful day. I woke up to a large blister on one foot (something I have not seen since the desert) along with an aching knee. I surmised that a days recuperation and TLC, stretches, coupled with the relaxing household I was ensconced in, was just the ticket to get me back on track.
The morning started with some Chantarelle cooking 101 with Walt. Little did I know that wild mushrooms are a big deal in this part of Washington.

Chantarelle mushroom adventures

I spent a good deal of the day wandering about with Sally the Malamute, what a beautiful dog. We checked out the local deer, the interesting water well they had built (as the son of a plumber I like these kinds of things) and generally caught up on all aspects of living in rural Washington in the shadow of Mt.St.Helens. Lots of great stories were shared and it was a thoroughly interesting day.


Sallys demeanor just about sums up my day…

After Mary-Jane returned from work, we pondered on what to do for the evening. I had mentioned Trout Lake to Walt and Mary-Jane as many hikers said it was well worth visiting, but my resupply did not include it as a stop. They said, well lets go there now for a look! So we hopped into the car with the dog and drove over to Trout Lake via the Columbia River Gorge highway. It was a beautiful drive on a warm and sunny September day. There was kite-surfers and lots of activity on the river. Rising up towards Trout Lake we passed the iconic kayaking river, the Little White Salmon. Arriving to town, we enjoyed a Huckleberry lemonade in the popular cafe. Trout Lake was a friendly little place and had incredible views of Mt.Adams. It was certainly a little smaller than I expected, so it was good to see it today, but I’m not sure I’ll go out of my way to hitch in when I get back on the trail. We did not venture to the Buddhist monastery just out of town, but apparently that’s an interesting little spot and another friendly place for thru-hikers to pass a day.


Checking out some kayakers on the White Salmon


Mt.Adams near Trout Lake, WA


Maybe I need a Malamute

Driving back to Stabler via the forest road route, we crossed the PCT not once but twice. Part of me wondered whether any of the crew behind me may have passed me out by now. A zero day is glorious but the nagging feeling you’re missing out on miles or losing your crew is a tacit risk of taking one. I can catch up tomorrow. As we passed the Experimental Forest, Walt filled me on on a lot of the history of this area as a major National Forest research and nursery area, sadly all a thing of the past given cuts in the past 20 years.

I settled into my comfy bed after a great day exploring this unique area of rural Washington. It was a nice little break, and after some good exercises and rest, I was looking forward to getting back to business tomorrow!

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