The last three days have unquestionably been the three longest days in a row of this entire trail. All three have been in the 24–25 mile range — much longer than we’d ever normally do up until we hit Northern California, and even longer than the 23 miles per day we’ve been trying to do since then. As you might imagine, three such days in a row is a whole new level of exhaustion above and beyond even just one such day, which is all we’d ever done before. I write this weary in body and in mind both.
It might not seem like an extra mile or two would make a huge difference; in fact, I think my instinctive reaction would be to assume that you could barely feel the difference between 23 and 25 miles. I’m not even so sure I can give a good reason why it doesn’t work that way, but I can guarantee you that it absolutely does not. That extra 45–60 minutes of hiking in a day makes a huge difference, both mentally and physically. By the time we get to our goal, we’re ready to completely collapse and not move another step.
The reason for our speed, however, is a really good one: tomorrow, we’re meeting my parents at Crater Lake, for a wonderful encounter with civilization and the chance to see the lake with them. It’s a beautiful place to be; I’ve only been once before, and the weather was so inhospitable that it barely counts, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it again. It’s only about fifteen miles from where we are now…which, after days like these, seems positively close. I’m really looking forward to being there!