When I went to put my tent away in the morning the bottom zipper would not close the zipper teeth. Now both zippers were broken. That meant I no longer had a safe haven from the mosquitoes in which to sleep.
I had been able to call Tony last night so I called him again. I told him I needed a new tent. Maybe Gossamer Gear could help me or maybe our friend Paul. I had planned to take it easy today, if possible, and not rush to Elk Lake. My shoes were en route to Elk Lake but would not be there for 3 or 4 days. But now I just needed to get there quick so that I could sleep somewhere with less bugs and hopefully phone reception so I could find out what would need to be done about my tent.
I had lolled around in bed and it was already 7AM. I hustled down the trail and walked at top speed all day in swarms of mosquitoes. I passed many beckoning lakes but could not stop. I ate things I could eat quickly or by shoving under my headnet. I finished off my chocolate covered espresso beans for a several hours burst of energy.
I met a southbound thru-hiker sitting by a nice creek swatting bugs with his bandana. He told me Thumbs UP was a section hiker who started in Ashland, not a thru-hiker. Moosa and Boone would be pleased to know this, that they were still number 2 and 3 in the pack. The southbounder also said I was only a couple miles from the turnoff to Elk Lake so I said good-bye and hit the gas.
The trail opened up again in a forest of broken, white trees like the one I had slept in last night. I could see South Sister, Broken Top and Mount Bachelor. It was beautiful. I found the turnoff to Elk Lake and marched down the road. Elk Lake Resort was a bustling place on this Friday afternoon. I stopped to wash up in the lake and then went up and ordered the biggest burger they had. It had cheese, bacon and a fried egg. A hear attack on a bun. I got a glass of the local brew on tap, too. I was so relieved to be here were it was safe that I stifled my tears.
After I ate the burger, I went inside where there was a couch. There was a man using a computer. He let me use it to check my mail. I updated my blog/trail journal with the message that follows this one chronologically. It had been 10 days since I had been able to update my trail journal. I wanted people to know I was persevering.
I called Tony to find out about my tent and he said that Gossamer Gear would overnight a loaner to me. I could send mine in and they would fix it. It should be at Elk Lake on Monday.
I thought how funny it was that you have to be careful what you wished for. Only last night I wished I could relax by a nice lake. Now I would be relaxing by a nice lake for 3 or 4 days at least. I did not mind, except for the gnawing feeling that I would really just like to get this hike over with as fast as possible. For now, though, it would be a time of rest and recovery.