I don’t sleep well. I crave an actual bed so much on trail, but the city is loud and it’s hard to sleep. I pack my car, I make the bed. This home base in Portland has been a place I return to a lot in the past few months. My old roommates and friends have been evicted, they’re out on the fifteenth. I’m probably never going to stay in this house again.
Today I get a ride to the trail in my own car from Vanessa who lives in New York, who I never get to see. We hike together for a few miles and then she has to turn around to make a lunch date and I am hit with a loneliness so profound I could cry. I don’t want my time with my friend to end, and I don’t want to stop hiking and turn back with her either. It’s confusing being a person sometimes.
I hike the infamous climb out of the Columbia Gorge and I am certainly not fast, but I am steady. I start at 712 feet elevation, and climb up to 4,110. I stop to eat a muffin. I stop to drink some water. I feel every feeling ever, in rapid succession. Carrot is on the Olympic peninsula. I am hiking Oregon. My stomach is spasming, sending wave after wave of nausea. I miss her so much. I know time apart does us good. I wonder if I’m fucking up, I haven’t really cultivated a trail family and beyond Bogwitch, I don’t feel connected to anyone. It’s fine not to connect but is it fine to feel so alone? I think maybe I don’t want to hike Oregon after all. I don’t know what I’d do instead.
The climb ends and I fly. I figure if I want to make it to camp, the camp where a small group of friends has promised to meet me, I’m going to have to hike hard. It’s five PM. I have six miles to go. I decide I’ll try to get there by seven.
It rains and mists, but it’s low key enough to ignore. I walk through the Eagle Creek burn and there are scads of wildflower and fern amongst the charred husks.
A mile away from camp, I see Alley in the distance. Alley offers me a beer and my stomach clenches. I decline and we walk the last little bit chatting about feelings and evictions and tacos and camp. Meredith and Bogwitch are waiting. We’re going to grill corn over open flame.
I’m so happy I could cry.
📍 This section of the Pacific Crest Trail is on unceded Chinook land.