August 7, 2017, OST Mile 4.3: Surprise Meetup

At Oldenburg Lake, OST Mile 4.3

Didn’t sleep well last night. I think it’s apnea, which I’m more prone to as the elevation increases. It should shake itself out if I sleep on my side. And I got a couple of hours before I got up at 6. Nevertheless, it was *really* hard to get going, and to beat back despair. I had to make myself go south, instead of retreating north.

I’ve given up caring whether I make it in or out of camp in decent time. Not this year. So it was 8:30 before I hit the trail. I put on my favorite “start the day” playlist, and headed out.

I stopped for lunch at Whitefish Horse Camp, OST Mile 10.2. There were picnic tables and outhouses. I spent a bit of time organizing gear, and a bit more time enjoying a leisurely lunch.

The afternoon run to Oldenburg Lake involved a couple of jogs on different trails. Naturally, I took a wrong turn, and added a quarter mile before I realized what I was doing. One of the ways you can keep track of the trail is to follow the tracks of popular trail runners. So I was following tread that looked just like Altra Lone Peaks, until I figured out that it was the track of a mountain bike! About face, forward march. It was slightly maddening, and pretty amusing.

Another wonderful goof was thinking that this section ended at 1835. Wrong! All day I’d been tormenting myself with “how will I have enough food?” and when I finally looked at my map tonight I realized that the section ends at 1845. Ten miles fewer! I was thinking I’d need to end today at Windigo Pass (1876, an additional 4.3 miles). But there was no way I could physically get there.

So Oldenburg was my destination. I was the only one there when I arrived, and I promptly began such yummy camp chores as rinsing out my socks.

I heard another hiker, and I looked up to see a young Chinese woman, wearing a complete mosquito netting suit. I looked at her, and said, “You’re Optimistic Turtle!” She gave me a puzzled look, and I said, “I recognize the bug pants.”

I told her I’d been following her on the class page, because she had the best trail name ever. She was as nice as she seemed online. She got her name because she always sets goals, but doesn’t quite make it that far. I understand that!

Anyway, she said she’d be getting up early, and I said I’d be sleeping in a bit longer. Her response? “Of course! You’re on vacation. I’m on a mission.” That was the best thing I’d heard in quite awhile.

Tomorrow’s plan is to rejoin the PCT at Windigo Pass 1876, where there is ostensibly a 30 gallon cache. From there, I’ll head up the hill in the direction of Six Horse Spring.

I didn’t put the rain fly up tonight. I’m lying in my tent, looking up at the stars, and a few wispy clouds. Lodgepole pines are all around. Life is good.

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