The first thing I did this morning was pick up a care package from the park office that some friends sent me. It was so nice to read their notes and eat the goodies. Thanks, Jersey girls!

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I had some other interesting trail magic this morning. My tent takes ten stakes, but I’ve only had nine for a while. As I was breaking down this morning, I found someone had put a stake in my tenth guy line, and it matches my other stakes. Thanks, angel!

I’m trying to limit my miles for this first section out, even if my foot feels fine. I’m not generally good at easing back into things after an injury, preferring to just go full tilt, but I am going to do it right this time: slow walking, lots of long breaks, and mileage under twenty miles a day. It’s easier to do lower mileage when traveling with a group since you have people to hang out with and waste time. My group is still in Oregon. I do have books downloaded to help me take long breaks though, and staying in my tent for a while in the morning will help.

I left Cascade Locks around 10:00 and crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Washington. The new state doesn’t feel quite as momentous as crossing into Oregon since I skipped about four hundred miles. I will be back to finish Oregon later, and I have a few friends thinking about doing it in October also so I may have company.

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The trail in Washington started out fairly level and soft, on dirt and pine needles, my favorite type of trail. It didn’t rain today but the humidity was very high and it just smelled damp. I love the smell of wet leaves and pine needles though as it reminds me of autumn. This really is “The Evergreen State,” with lots of pines, ferns, and moss covered rocks and trees, and poison oak. Can’t escape it.

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I had taken two ibuprofen before leaving town, just to get ahead of any pain. I am no longer limping and my foot felt fine. Even when the trail turned to small rocks for most of the day, I slowed down and was careful with my foot placement and I was good. I didn’t feel the need to take more ibuprofen until way after the first dose had worn off. Doses of two ibuprofen at intervals of more than six hours is way better than what I was taking when my foot first started hurting: three or four pills every four hours, and still limping in pain.

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The sun occasionally made brief appearances throughout the day, but it mostly was cloudy. I did start seeing bigger patches of blue sky as I got towards camp. I joined a few other hikers at a dirt road for the night.

When I was stopped for lunch earlier, I got to see a large branch falling out of the top of a tree right onto the trail about thirty feet away. It was a good reminder to always look up when taking a break or setting up camp, and make sure there are no dead trees or branches, which are called widow makers for a reason.

I did 18.3 miles today. It was hard to watch all the other hikers leaving town blow past me, but I stayed strong and kept to my low mileage goal.