All aboard the pain train.

Toto, Grizz, and I woke up at 530 and were on trail by 6. I was tired and achy. The last week and a half we started uping our milage..20, 30, 34,30,26,4,rest,17, 27..and now we just had 1.67 miles to get to Timberline Lodge for the most anticipated breakfast buffet in all of our lives. The thought of food woke me up quickly. The crisp morning air felt refreshing. The sunrise sending hues of pink over Mt. Hood reminded me why I was out here. 


After stuffing my face with the fanciest, most amazing breakfast I might have ever had, I hiked on. The lodge was just a 3 hour stop; an on trail food bonus and package pick up, not a rest day. I make daily mileage goals or time goals. That day, I told my self 24 miles past the lodge or walk until 830, whichever comes first. Usually I hit my goals. It’s never easy though. I got to 21 miles at 7pm and my body refused to move on. Up until this point I’d experienced horribly painful and swollen feet, some pestery blisters, tightness in my calves and glutes,and knots in my my shoulder. But that day was every single muscle in my legs telling me to stop. Fatigue. All of Washington caught up to me in one afternoon. How was I going to hike the next day, and the next and the next feeling like this? 

I set up camp and crashed. Next morning I was on trail at 6 am and some how made it 30 miles to Olallie Resort for a cold soda, chips, and an ice cream. It wasn’t easy. Oregon isn’t easy, despite what all those northbounders are telling us. Maybe it’s the mileage I’m doing isn’t easy, no matter where you are. The next day, 27 miles. I felt nauseous when I finally made it to camp. Then I woke up again the next day to another rejuvenating sunrise to put in 19 miles before making it to Sisters. That was my rest day.

Pain. Its mental. My body isn’t broken. I’m being very careful not to injure myself. I know what overuse injury feels like and I don’t feel that. Its hard to decide in the afternoon if pushing on 2, 5, or even 10 more miles will bring me to my breaking point, the point where I wont be able to wake up tomorrow and do it again, or if it’s just in my head. So far it’s just been in my head. I keep thinking it will get easier. My body will adapt, I tell myself. My feet will get stronger and not feel bruised. My muscles are just going through some growing pains. After talking to some northbounders who are now 2000 miles into their hike,I realize that is not going to be the case. One mentioned how tender her feet were at this point. Doesn’t that go away? Nope. Another got up from a picnic table and mentioned how stiff she was. Surely that passes, right? No. This is going to be difficult all the way to Mexico. 

I knew that this would be difficult. That’s why I’m out here. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. 

As a side note, I’m not pushing the miles for no reason and I’m still taking plenty of time to enjoy the views, jump in lakes, and soak in trail life.There are lots of reasons why I am trying to do more miles each day. The main reason is because I’m determined to walk to Mexico and in order to do that with a smaller chance of early snow fall in the sierras, I have to get to the sierras by mid September latest. Another reason is because I’ve made some amazing friends and really enjoy hiking in their general proximity. Oh and the last reason..I’m just crazy.

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2 thoughts on “All aboard the pain train.

  1. Tara – you ARE crazy and I love, admire and respect you so much. You are strong, independent, and fearless…keeping you in my prayers sweetie…you are just like your mother!!!!😘🌞 Mary Ann

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