The wind and the rain lash my tent all night; my earplugs only marginally help, and several times I’m shocked back into consciousness by a particularly loud flap of the rain fly. When my 5:30 alarm goes off, it’s dark and wet, so I sleep until 6, and on waking my stomach sings the song of its people until I placate it with mac and cheese and coffee. It’s a little weirded out by the combination, but accepts the offering, and I manage to get up and out by 7:30.
I’d considered doing a 35 today, in an attempt to break my own longest day record – a number of folks do 40 or even a double marathon in this particularly down-graded section – but now I’m unsure about it, given my late departure. Maybe if I skip the Ollalie Lake store? I resolve to do what it takes, but then I see Mozart and Todd – they were only camped about a mile ahead of me, out of the wind. Womp womp. They’re going to stop at Ollalie, of course, and in the face of potential conversation, my resolve is duly tested.
On my arrival, I see on Guthook that there’s a register and resolve to stop after all, if only to see who’s ahead. I pass an Outward Bound group on my way in, see Sterling and Todd and Mozart before they all take off. I sign and scan the register – Yoda is a few hours ahead – before I get distracted by soda and a vacationer with questions. I meet a woman southbounding Oregon solo – rad – before getting back on trail.
I catch half of the Outward Bound group at a beauteous little flowing(!) stream that runs across the trail; they’re apparently a group of would-be thruhikers, practicing for the real thing. Also rad. Homework, seeing me take my headphones out of my ears, asks me if I even podcast bro; of course. Do I listen to Sounds of the Trail? At a blog-reader’s suggestion1, I listened to The Elephant on the Trail, their episode talking about the kerfuffle that happened when a hiker of color tried to start a hiker of color Facebook page; given that I’m brown and the blog deals with hiking and brownness, I liked the episode a lot. Homework’s a correspondent for the show, and asks to interview me; SURE WHY NOT. I try not to trip over my tongue too much, try to be brief but also make sure I’m saying what I mean to say. Only after do I realize I should have recorded the conversation too – the better to clarify, my dear – but oh well2.
Up the trail, service! I check the weather; rain tonight and tomorrow. Ugh. It’s already so grey it’s hard to move; I work a little, call my mom to say I’m still alive, text Spesh to say I feel kind of dead. I move it on along though, eventually catch up to the rest of the group of Outward Bounders, cheer them on before passing them.
It starts to sprinkle, so I bury my puffy in my trash compactor bag; the Bounders pass me, stay ahead of me until they turn off to go camp at Pinhead Saddle. My left shin has started to whine, and so it’s lots and lots of breaks downhill to Warm Springs River, where I’m thinking about camping.
Just before the river, I have to climb and walk a freshly fallen tree; at the river, there are dead trees galore – not an exciting prospect in the mild wind of the evening. Since the spring ahead is supposed to have camping but be less than nice, I grab water and head up the last three-tenths to the spring.
The spring is actually extra nice – the water’s good, if seeping, and Zippee and Sleepy Andy are there, set up and eating. It’s early still, so I have time to be choosy about my spot; I’m less than happy about the one I choose until I lay down on my tyvek to check for stabby things – such duff. many soft. wow. We huddle next to Zippee’s tent while I eat, and we talk until it starts to sprinkle on us.
I go for a tinkle, spot a pair of eyes about three feet off the ground, just staring at me. I yell and clap to scare it off, and while it takes off, spooked, I’m pretty spooked myself while I pee, darting my headlamp this way and that just in case.
As I edge back to my tent, I wonder what it was – maybe too small to be a mountain lion, definitely too small to be bear – a lynx, maybe? It was silent enough as it took off. I’m creeped out by the outside noises until I realize it’s just the others snoring softly, and between them and the gentle rain I manage to drift off to sleep.
Start: 2034.2 • End: 2062.5 • Day: 28.3
Notable Accomplishments: Morning coffee • Impromptu on-trail interview • Found Zippee and Sleepy Andy
 Hi George!
 I’m actually pretty alright with the way this turned out. I can tell I’m choosing my words very carefully – I do not need/am not at all interested in getting shat on, particularly on the internet, for saying already-“unpopular” things in an uncouth manner – and as such I say probably less than I should have said, but on the whole, it’s definitely not bad. That whole episode is pretty nice.