Hike 65 – Barlow Pass to the Pacific Crest Trail

About a year ago my new doctor changed up some of my routines and I stopped getting migraines. I still get headaches, but they don’t knock me down like they used to. My regularly scheduled acupuncture does a good job of keeping my headaches manageable. That was until this last Saturday. On Saturday I was sitting in a computer lab at Reynolds High School getting very important Oregon Battle of the Books moderator training. I could NOT see out of right eye. There was just a checkerboard of weirdness over there. Sometimes when I get occipital migraines, the actual migraine never manifests. However, that is like 2% of the time. I still had hours of OBOB moderating to do, so I was more than a little worried as I covered up my eye and tried to see the powerpoint presentation that described my very stressful role for the next few hours.

I talked to my friend Lisa, who was brilliantly running OBOB, and she said I could leave after the first round of play. Whew! Crisis averted. About halfway through the first battle (there are three), the pain kicked in. I had some of my favorite people as my assistants, so we made it through.

I was relieved when I left the school, but I probably shouldn’t have driven. It is very hard to see when your head hurts that much. I drove to my sister’s house, because we had planned to hike anyway, and like I’ve mentioned before, it’s the only cure I know for migraines. She fed me and made sure I was comfortable and then we headed up to Barlow. We considered trying a new spot, but we had never actually hiked the real trail, so we just stuck with what we knew.

The parking lot was pretty empty, since rain was in the forecast. We walked over to the trail and put our snowshoes on. A couple was coming up the hill. The snow was icy and super packed. The beginning of the trail has a lot of downhill and I didn’t have my poles set correctly, so it was slow going and dangerous.

We hiked for several hours. I have no idea where we went, and I didn’t care because my migraine was gone and I was even hiking in the bright light with no sunglasses. Fresh air and sweat, it cures what ails ya! Again, in the snow it’s hard to tell. We lost the trail twice and were looking desperately for the blue diamond markings. We found them. My sense of direction is pretty rock-solid, so I wasn’t worried. We did 3 miles up, according to Jessie’s phone and then it got cloudy and dark, so we decided to head back. As soon as we turned around, it started to pour. It did not stop raining the rest of the hike.

On the way down we were quick, until we hit the trail turn-off where we had to go uphill. We slowed to a crawl. We had gone too far and had no power left. We both fell. My sister fell on her snowshoes and then accidentally sledded down a small hill we were trying to negotiate. It was hilarious. My fall was tripping and then stepping on my own shoes. It took me a really long time to get up and it required my sister’s help. Injuries make falling really scary for me.

But eventually we made it back to the trailhead, Sid, our trusty steed, calling to us from a distance. We were so tired. It was a glorious day!


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