Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 8-Olympic National Park

It was so nice to sleep in my tent last night, and the sound of the river made it that more relaxing. I woke up around 7:20 and laid there for a bit before deciding to catch up on the blog. We don't have service here, but at least I can write it all out for when we do. It's nice to know we don't have to drive today anywhere long distance since we will be staying within the wilderness today, and tomorrow to explore and hike. Not having a time restraint leaves me blogging in my tent until 9:00 before getting up to see if Anna is up, and for some breakfast. She was still in her tent, though the rainfly was now off and she was reading inside in her sleeping bag. I headed for the bathroom and when I returned she was still in her tent reading; glad we both had the same idea for how this morning was going to go. We took our time before deciding to make breakfast; I made a combination oatmeal of peaches and cream and a raisin spice I had left over with vanilla carnation breakfast and slices of half of a banana. It was a delicious start to the day, I looked over after Anna had finished hers and saw her eating Smartfood next. We defiantly took our time this morning which was a change for once; and a good one at that. Around 10:45 we decided to go for a hike; we looked at the map briefly and picked out a loop hike which started across the river from our campsite. We grabbed our packs and walked over. I put my new compression socks and gators on for this hike since the last hike we did my left shin started to hurt, and pine needles and dirt got all in my socks; seems I was back to my thru hiker self. It felt good, and we crossed a bridge to what seemed like a cave. We walked in a few feet and realized that was it; I tried to take a photo and clearly got my pasty vampire self before changing some settings around and getting a more presentable photo; must have been sun shining on me is all I have to say. We continued on and the trail was gorgeous; green, maintained well, and a nice afternoon stroll. Later, we approached a gravel road which we decided to see if there were any other trails; and there was, the Copper Creek trail so we decided to see where it went. It wasn't on the map we had so we began to just walk. The trail followed a series of small waterfalls to our left and it was pretty, then the trail started gaining in elevation; more and more until we were on straight up switchbacks up the mountain. I was wishing I had my trekking poles just to gain some momentum up the hill. With every breath I was looking for more air but there was a lack there of. I felt out of shape, and straight exhausted. Was Anna feeling the same? She carried on ahead of me and said it was hard work for her too but seemed she was doing just fine. With every switchback I thought, there's got to be a place to stop ahead; I'll have to stop even if she wants to continue, but their never was. What kind of trail were we on? Surely the AT wasn't this bad, or were we that out of shape? After at least a mile of straight up hill we stopped at a log for a snack. Did she want to go all the way? We don't even know how far we have left to go. We both made half a bagel with cheese and sucked down some water. She kept saying how she would love to go back to camp and lay in her sleeping bag and take a nap; I thought she was joking as I chuckled. After a few gestures, I finally realized she was serious and was relieved since I thought she was wanting to push on. Seems she thought the exact same thing about me; at least we were on the same page about hiking back down after our snack. Red faced and the sweat now beginning to chill my body; we headed back down the mountain. We maintained a constant jog down the mountain and hadn't seen a single person since we started until just before the trailhead when we ran passed three men and both parties said hi to one another as I almost tripped on a rock but kept my composure. We joked about telling them it was only a mile and a half to the top when in reality we had no clue. In no time we were back at the trailhead of this horrible never ending stair master trail. We were now back on the lovely maintained flat loop trail back to our campsite. Many times throughout our way up the thought crossed my mind, "and we thought we were going to hike the John Muir Trail." As I expressed to Anna if we were in a movie right now; the commentary would be, "and they thought they were going to hike the JMT." We both agreed it is a different mind set, thru hiking, and day hiking. We arrived back at our site sweaty and exhausted. Anna headed in her tent to read, and I walked to the riverbed to sit and blog. I made a recliner out of rocks and sat to catch up on writing. The sun had finally poked its way out and it was a gorgeous day. A few times I looked up from writing just to enjoy the beauty of the day and the river. I finished up until today, and decided I needed a break and was pretty hungry. I had lasagna on my mind so when I came up to express my thoughts to Anna she felt the same about beef stroganoff. We sat and made a mid day lunch enjoying every bit of it. We were still unaware of what tonight meant for us and if we were going to try to find a different spot to camp, we walked up to the ranger station to see what they recommended but no one was around. We decided to head down to the sandy part of the river to feel the water, Anna wanted to go swimming but it was cold! I said I could easily see myself grabbing my zlite and towel and laying down on the beach if she wanted to swim; we walked back up towards our camp and noticed a ranger up at the station. We walked up there instead to ask her opinion. She was finishing up with another gentleman so we stood and overheard a few details, the conversation took its time to wrap up; but finally it was our turn. I expressed our concern to the young ranger lady and the man stood standing nearby as though he was part of the conversation. We expressed how we wanted to spend another night in the wilderness, and would be heading toward Astoria tomorrow what did she recommend? We stood and talked with her for a good 15 minutes or so about our option, the man standing with us as well. Finally our conversation dwindled down and we thanked her for the information and walked away. The man still stood up there, poor woman; probably been trying to escape his presence for awhile now. We decided to stay another night, leave in the morning, and hit up a bridge she recommended with a great view, then camp at a place she advised was beautiful just a half hour or so East of Portland which was in the direction of Astoria. We gathered our "beach" items and headed for the riverbank. Anna stuck her feet in and realized it was far too cold to go swimming, probably a fair decision since it was probably only at most high 60's out. She laid out on her towel and read Twilight on her phone newly downloaded; and I laid out and eventually fell in and out of sleep. It was a nice nap I had on the slant of the sand, I turned on my side and my face was being warmed  by the sun; there was nothing I rather be doing right now. We much needed a chill day and despite our tedious hike, this fit the criteria. After an hour or so, I woke up and asked Anna if a chapter would be ending soon since it was around 4:30 and if we wanted to get in that other loop hike we might as well do it before it gets any cooler. She looked at me with her, I just want to crawl in my tent look and I gave her a few minutes before she asked if I was ready. We got back into our hiking mode and she decided to leave her pack behind, me still taking mine; incase the new pack wasn't seasoned enough earlier it sure will be by the end of this trip. We walked over to the trailhead and saw a warning sign of Cougars in the area, at least we weren't hiking alone as the sign advised us against. It was a great loop trail so far, wide and flat, our kind of hike these days. Shortly in I started talking with a Southern accent as I do from time to time and Anna contributed. We saw a sign for a side trail of a large cedar tree so we took the detour, talking nonsense in Southern accents along the way passed time nicely until we saw a woman ahead of us on the trail, not wanting to scare her off too badly we kept our comments to ourself. We spotted the rather large fallen tree and decided to climb up it, now everything we said was in a Southern accent. We continued back to the main loop trail and never saw that woman again, maybe she turned around when she heard us? Our commentary turned into a conversation between two middle aged hicks made from our imagination. Sometimes the words just flowed so easily out of my mouth I couldn't help but laugh at the punchline. We walked beside the river and took photos in between me telling about my 7 wives and why I divorced each of them, well at this point I had only told the story of why I divorced one of them; because she was one of them hippy dippy Vegan types and she was trying to get me to drink one of them green smoothies every morning, what she didn't know was I was giving them to the dog every morning and eating three Twinkies instead. (Like I said, our conversations and stories got pretty elaborate.) It was a fun pastime and we even tried out Southern women for a bit, but there is something more fun about a stereotypical middle aged hick man. We came to another trail junction and decided to take a bridge loop trail which brought us to a gorgeous suspended bridge with the gentleman from earlier at the ranger station and what appeared to be his wife. We waited for them to cross the bridge before talking of my 12 kids and the fact that one of my daughters brought home a guy the other day and I took out the 30/30 to make sure he knew who was boss. We no longer carried a normal conversation between us, it was solely improv in character and it was amusing. We thought we were lost for awhile so we just kept on walking towards where we thought we should be headed and I told how another one of my wives were divorced; bacon is a staple in my life and you just can't eat chicken without it wrapped in bacon; my third white tried to feed me plain chicken, "so I divorced her." We finally saw a sign for the ranger station and we hoped it was the one by our camp. Time passes quickly deep in our skits of entertainment and before we knew it we were back at the campground. We decided to start a fire with the wood that the previous campers had left under the table and when Anna headed for the bathroom I grabbed a Redds and began to build an upside down fire. I had learned this a few months ago, and it works flawless. Build the fire the way you would normally; with all of the wood in the fire, starting with the largest logs on the bottom log cabin style up until you have smaller kindling and paper on the top. This way, the smaller stuff forms coals which then lights the stuff underneath it letting each bigger set of coals fall through to the bottom. Not having to constantly feed the fire is always a good thing and this allows for that. Never did our personas die down, our neighboring campers probably thought we were crazy as I told the story of how my wife never told me that the venison chili was hot and a burned my mouth, that I divorced her. Surely our humor would just escalate with the second Redds which we referred to as Budweisers as does any country folk these days. I had Chili Mac for dinner since I couldn't really think of anything I really wanted after all this talk of bacon, chicken, steak, and venison chili. Next stop in town we have to get some more kielbasa, or chicken or something real to cook over the fire. We wiped ourselves down with wipes since there are no showers here, got ready for bed, and Anna headed in her tent to read for the night; I sat out by the fire while it died down to finish writing today's blogpost. It's refreshing to think I am actually caught up on writing the blog, now just need service to share it! It is 9:34 and I am in my tent, ready for bed; goodnight everyone!

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