Seattle Backpacking - Day 8: Hoe River Valley (cont.)

June 24th, 2005

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The Hike Out

As the fourth and final day of this backpacking trip dawned, we were faced with one final obstacle. We were almost out of toilet paper. After our morning constitutions, Elaine allotted each of us with two sheets of TP for the hike out.

When I was carefully securing them in the zipped pocket of my rain jacket to ensure their preservation, I came across a gold mine. Not one, not two, but three unused tissues. I returned my two sheets of TP to Elaine and, since she was keeper of the TP, graciously allotted her one of the tissues. I blew my nose with the second and hoarded away the third knowing that one pee break in nine miles was sufficient.

At mile marker 2.7, we stopped by a small stream for a lunch of gorp and dried fruit. Elaine kicked off her boots and waded into the water before sinking to her knees.

"What are you doing?" we asked.

"Soaking my knees." The coldness of the water only allowed a brief soak, and standing up afterwards probably negated the effects, but she still persevered through two of these self-prescribed therapies.

While we sat on the bank, enjoying the fact we weren't walking, fresh clean hikers, at the start of their journeys, passed us. I felt a flush of embarrassment, worried that they would think we had only hiked 2.7 miles and needed a break. "We're on our way out," I called to them. They nodded politely and picked up their pace.

Back at the parking lot, I asked a couple, who were lounging on the grass, to take our picture with our packs. The man agreed, probably hoping that afterwards I would remove my smelly body from their vicinity. "Thanks," I said, "but, you'll have to come over to where we're standing, we're too tired to move."

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