Miles today: 17.3

Trail miles sum: 1301.4

Trail location: 2000.9

Elevation: 4805

Spinning on the turntable: Talking Heads: Stop making sense

Oh lava, how I dislike you. Even your mother, mother lava, dislikes you.

I had hopes of making it to the youth camp for a free breakfast by 8AM, but the lava had other ideas. My pace slowed to a crawl.

This is a section of the trail that I’m enduring, but not enjoying, at all. Head down, eyes glued on the trail, each and every step chosen deliberately with care.

I was pondering my intense lava dislike and I think that it comes down to this; on other trail types I can pretend to be a younger, quicker, more agile hiker. Longer hiking days boost my miles so that I’m still clocking similar distances as younger hikers. In lava, I just move s-l-o-w-l-y. Worried about breaking bones, twisting an ankle, accepting the reality that I’m just a bit more fragile than the younger hikers. I step with utmost caution. I place my hiking poles with care. Step, tap, tap. Step, tap, tap. I adopt an older persons poise, three points of contact with the ground at all times. It rapidly wears me down.

I hurt, all over, when I hike on lava. It roughly effaces both my body and spirit. If I could easily skip it, I would do so.

Today I had the Big Lake youth camp to look forward to in Sisters Oregon. Free showers, WiFi, food, laundry.

I’ve often wondered while hiking where the faith based organizations are hiding. There’s so much goodness from random trail angels, yet silence from the bigger faith based organizations.

I think some thru hikers definitely fall into the bucket of those that need help; tired, dirty, hungry, lacking shelter, clothing, money. Yet, no faith based organizations are out here. It’s just so very odd to me. I’d never given it a single moment of thought before spending time on this hike. No judgement, just an observation.

Perhaps individual trail angels more often better demonstrate the qualities of faith than a hard core organized religion trying to proselytize hungry hikers.

So today was a stop at my first faith based organization, the (Seventh Day Adventist) Big Lake Youth Center. They know how to take care of hikers! I highly recommended this stop!

A seriously organized hiker package holding area, organized by arrival date.

I couldn’t help myself, I took a shower. It was the middle of the day, I had no clean clothes, and I still had a long way to go, but I took a shower anyway. Glorious. Free clean towels!

Lunch (also free) was a gigantic burrito. Oh so good. An apple juice machine to boot. I seriously drank way too much of the sugary goodness.

I took advantage of the WiFi and relaxed in the hiker hut. Some SOBO’s were discussing hiking at night to avoid the heat and I was mildly amused. This weather is warm, mid-80’s, but “hot” is where they’re heading in California. I left a cash donation and hit the trail.

I suspect they have a bit of snow here in the winter based on the height of the sign!

I had a hiker quiz me on my exact hiking plans for the afternoon. I was puzzled until I realized they wanted something (food) from the van. Sorry (judgement) but if you just left a killer trail haven with free food and water and you now need food and water just a few miles later…well…you’re a dumbass.

I kept the miles low today and will hit a big hill first thing tomorrow morning.

Noelle and I hit the roadmaps and hiking trail maps several times a week to plan our strategy. When to meet, where to meet, etc. The trail itself and the roads themselves really set the timetables. We’re just dancing to the beat of the music they play. Some days I like the music and other days I don’t.