July 11, 2016
I woke up at sunrise and made myself breakfast in bed. Time to try out these Korean Bibimbap packages I brought for quick meals and a different taste to the typical freeze dried backpacking food. As I am laying in my bag eating some semi rehydrated rice, I found it getting harder to breathe. The rice was not sliding down my throat but rather clumping and expanding as it continued to rehydrate. Holy Crap! I was choking on a large lump of rice. I jump out of my tent and downed a liter of water in a moment of panic…Holy Crap! That was scary. I have never choked before and that was not fun. You realize quite quickly how vulnerable you are when you’re in the woods by yourself. No one to ask for help if you run into a problem. The last thing I want is to be found laying on the trail next to a half-eaten bag of bibimbap.
I take a few moments to collect my thoughts and restore my heartrate. I also realize my eyes are feeling all itchy. They started to feel a little itchy yesterday when I was driving up to the trailhead. We had dinner Saturday night where I ate a half dozen raw oysters…I am wondering if I am having an allergic reaction? I have never had a problem with seafood before, I am not sure if seafood allergies even cause eye irritation, but I can’t think of another culprit for making me have a reaction.
I get underway and start climbing over the next ridge and down to the next gap. That’s how this section is going flow…saddles to ridges, saddles to ridges…
Only a couple miles in I reach an exposed section of the ridge with a great view to the north. Mt Theilsen, Diamond Peak and way off on the horizon sits the top of the South Sister…A vantage of next year’s adventure…
I took a little longer than usual break, ate a few snacks and tried to relax a bit. I had fatigue in my legs today. Yesterday felt really good, today was opposite. What a difference a day can make. After 2 hours in, I had only traveled 3 miles.
The rest of the day didn’t improve much. My eyes continued to itch with the warmer weather. The dripping sweat was not helping.
I passed a guy mid-morning who was finishing out his thru hike from 2014. He was completing Scott Summit to Ashland this year because he had to skip this section 2 years ago from the fires that closed the trail. He was excited to finish, I can only imagine what that might feel like sometime in the next 10 years.
By noon, I am at the Oregon / California border, and ready for lunch. The border wasn’t the best lunch location so I carried on to the next water stop. I passed a mom with her young kids who had spent the weekend a mile down the trail, her pack looked heavy but they were almost back to their car.
I passed by an old cabin at Donomore Meadow and found a nice lunch spot down near the creek crossing. I filled up on foil packed SPAM on a tortilla with mayo and mustard. Nothing eventful about this lunch.
The rest of the day trudged on, only passing one more thru hiker in the late afternoon. The trail is traveling west along a ridge… so many little ups and downs. I found a campsite near Scraggy Peak, set up camp had some dinner and went to bed…fatigued.
1 thru hiker, 1 thru finishing his last section, 4 weekend campers.