August 27th, 2021
Have wanted to do this route for a few years now and was finally able to make it happen. It was a perfect day to cover the distance with cool morning temps and fortunately no smoke in the area. Shout-out to my friend Elizabeth who drove me up from Portland! Fairly uneventful first few miles with the Sandy River crossing being easy (log and boulder combo to cross) when it can be tricky. A new friend Nate (trail running community is awesome!) met me a mile or 2 after the river crossing and ran/hiked with me up from Muddy Fork and down to Lolo where his car and my one aid station was located. Thank you Nate! After a 15 minute break at Lolo I headed out for the remaining miles solo. At approximately mile 23-28 there was substantial blowdown. I saw Becky's prior trip report about it being "soul sucking" that's about right. :) Around Indian Springs the views were stunning - felt so fortunate to be out there! Arrived at Wahtum and filtered water and shortly after that made a wrong turn and added a bit of time - figured it out within a few minutes. Back on track I was headed towards the Benson Plateau and as I was coming down off that hit a low point. Found a nice open spot with sun and sat down and ate and then just laid down in the dirt. :) Felt better and got going again for the final 7ish miles. Darkness came with about 4 miles to go and as I was getting close to the end I'm fairly certain I saw a cougar. Had my truck parked in Cascade Locks so after about an hour of chill time I drove back to Portland. An incredible route! Huge thanks to my Coach David Roche - couldn't have done it without his support and guidance!