Day 86, July 19
Start: diamond lake trail intersection, mile 1,851
End: Oregon skyline trail (OST) intersection, mile 1,882
Miles hiked: 31

I wake up in the middle of the night, still in a dream. Why is it dark? Am I laying down? It should be light and I should be hiking, as that’s where my dream left off. Where am I? I put my hand up and feel the bug netting. I’m so confused. Carrots next to me, I give her a nudge and wake her up.

“What’s going on, where am I?” I ask in a panic.
“I have no idea.” She responds.

It takes me a bit of time to come to my senses. I’ve never had that happen to me before, ever. I almost always wake up knowing where I’m at, what I’m doing and why. I must be very tired to be woken up from a dream so confused and panicked. It’s only 3am. I fall back asleep, still slightly confused. When I wake, I remember my little episode in the night, and wonder how that happened. Carrot says she always wakes up as has no idea where she is. I never have that though. We sleep in a different spot every night, yet I’m always aware of my surroundings. Again, I must be very, very tired. All these long days! I feel a bit foolish and embarrassed, yet I like it. It confirms that I’m really pushing myself, which is what I want. New experiences, right?

Everyone’s out late, myself included. It’s a good little climb up the slopes of mount Thielson. Sun shining horizontally through the forest, I catch my first glimpse of the peak up close. ‘I have to climb that’ is my first thought. Then I feel my feet. I can’t climb that. My feet are real tender. And from what I’ve read, it’s a class 4 climb. Without a helmet, I wouldn’t feel comfortable on it. But it’s so stunning, so sharp as it rises above the pine forest.

The views get better and better, and eventually I reach the intersection with the trail that leads to the summit. Woody and carrot are there, and a man has headed up to climb it.

“I want to so bad,” says woody as he gazes up at the summit, “but I would get to the scramble and shit my pants.”
“My feet hurt too bad.” I say between laughs.

I’ve been keeping a list of the mountains I want to climb some day. Maybe on a giant road trip where I just go from mountain to mountain having fun. Over 20 peaks in the sierras (most notably the palisades, basins banner and Ritter peaks), along with a snow climb of Shasta and Lassen, and now this, mount Thielson. And this mountain may top my list. It’s epic.

We head down the trail and reach Thielson creek. Running water!!! It’s been hard to come by in Oregon. Vast waterless stretches, and the few water sources haven’t been nice streams. Not a chance, Guthrie, JrSr and pockets are all there. It’s beautiful!

We all was off separately, carrot and I the last, and hike on through the forest. Soon we reach the Oregon/Washington pct high point. The moment we’ve all been waiting for! It’s actually in a pretty dull spot, and I reach it alone. It’s noteworthy enough for a stupid selfie though.

The rest of the day is a giant water carry through the forest, with only one stop at a spring far below the ridge we traverse. I take off my pack and run the .4 miles to some gross standstill water. It feels nice running, and not having a pack. It’s a steep trail, so gravity does all the work.

Carrot and I arrive at the OST trailhead around 9. Everyone went a few miles past. But it’s late, so we camp. I make ramen in the dark. It’s my first time using the stove since Ashland, and I’m thinking of dropping it soon. It weighs a bit, and takes up a lot of room. It’s been so warm I haven’t been craving hot meals. And we’ve been hiking late. Cooking takes time, and I just want instant gratification. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll bounce it ahead and see how that goes.

I also decided to get a new sleeping bag/quilt, the zpack 20 degree down bag. I’ve been using my home made quilt, and I’ve been way too hot. Plus, it’s 28 ounces, and the zpacks bag is only 16.5, and it packs much, much smaller. Carrot carries the 10 degree zpack bag, and I’ve used it a few times and loved it. I think the 20 will work well here, and on the at where I’ll have warm nights in august and September. When the nights get cold in October and November I’ll either swap out for my quilt again, or get a liner for the bag if it’s not warm enough. Either way, I’m excited about the lighter zpacks bag, which I’ll get at big lake youth camp in a few days!