Day 1-6 (June 18 – June 23)
Miles hiked: 82.2
Total mileage: 82.2
After encountering many challenges and difficulties that day like crossing raging fords, navigating through +10 feet of snow, in a forest with millions of trees, I finally make it to the Sawtooth Mountain trailhead. There is an information kiosk near a dirt road. And it has a pink ribbon tied to it, with a message. For me.
The message comes from the guy from the trail maintainance crew, who offered me a ride to Trout Lake. The message reads:
“Hi BOG babe (“HEAVY on the babe”), I wait for you on the next road (3.8 miles ahead, easy hike), I have beers for us in the car. Hugs.”
I think: ‘Hugs???” What is this guy thinking? I find this message really disturbing and it gives me the creeps. I don’t want to drink beers with him. What even is this?! This scares me more than all the snow up there.
I cross the dirt road to find the trail again on the other side. I see an arrow, drawn in the sand. And written below: BOG babe! Kisses!
Oh my God. This is creepy. This almost makes me turn around and backtrack through the snow again. But no! I’m not letting someone chasing me away.
But it doesn’t stop. Every other mile or so, a new message. “Hugs”. “Kisses”. Fuck this is really getting scary. I feel so uncomfortable right now. What is this guy thinking? A man actually, in his late 50’s. I’m checking my options. What do I have with me to defend myself, if I really have to? Iceaxe. Check. Trekking poles. Check. Pocket knife. Check. Spikes under my shoes. Check.
The road where he will be waiting for me comes closer and closer. My mind is racing. Shall I hide in the forest? Shall I walk back?
I will make him clear that I don’t appreciate these kind of messages. And I am so ready to do that. I’m speeding up my pace. Then I see the road. But when I arrive, I don’t see a car. I don’t see the guy. What I see is another information kiosk. With a note. For me. It reads:
Had to get back to Portland. Been waiting for you until 4 pm. Hugs, …
I check my watch. It’s 4.15pm.