Day 259 – Umatilla National Forest, OR to Weston, OR – 28 miles – Down The Hill For A Beer

I got up right around sunrise which was at 6am. When you're out in the cold you don't tend to sleep in. I got up, packed up, and began walking without breakfast. My water was frozen from the cold night to give you an idea on the temperature. Aside from waking up a few times it wasn't too rough.

About an hour, maybe two, into my walking, I found a Oregon License plate. I was getting worried I'd have to wait until I came back down through Oregon to get one.

I got to a little community called Tollgate around 10am. It wasn't a town, just a bunch of houses around a little lake. As I went to get a picture of it I started talking to the security guard there. It's a private community but a well travelled public road goes through it, hence the security guard.

We talked for a bit, he let me use his computer so I could send out some messages to the person I'd be couchsurfing with the next night. I lost phone service within a mile of leaving Elgin, the day before. I also refilled my water and used the restroom. We chatted for a bit and he told me about winter camping/backpacking up there. He pulled his stuff in a toboggan which I thought was interesting. It allowed him to carry a lot more stuff really easily. Apparently it's not uncommon in Ontario. If it's a cold winter, I basically hibernate for it, so I wouldn't know anything about that.

Not long after Tollgate I reached the point where it was the end of the uphill and the downhill began. That made it much easier going. A few hours later and I was mostly out of the snow, then after that I was into a more desert area. I also could see out to Walla Walla, where I'd be staying the next night.

I kept contemplating whether I'd making it to Weston that night, but I managed it. Not too long before sunset I might add. I spent basically the entire day except for maybe one hour 's worth of food breaks, walking. It was a long day.

I got into the small town and found a church. I was going to get some food at a cafe in town, but it closed like 15 minutes before I got there. So that was disappointing. I went back up the little hill to the church and set up my gear for the night. As I was doing that I heard voices from the house next to me speaking. Including the word "chug" being chanted as well as the words "lets all take a shot". I happen to have a knack for language and was able to expertly infer that my neighbours for the night were drinking the liquid known as alcohol. I'm a regular Sherlock Holmes, without a home. So After I was set up I went over there and asked if they minded if I had a beer with them, and they were very welcoming. That's one of the best things about my trip is that I can walk up to almost anyone and tell them about my trip and they'll welcome me, It'll be a true shame when this trip is over and I can't do that anymore.

Anyway, there was McKenzie, Darius, Jordan, Allison, and (I think) Britney. We had a nice time. Unfortunately Jordan was really inebriated and when it was time to go he really didn't want to leave. There was quite a bit of trouble (which I'll gloss over), that took probably an hour before things settled down.

In the end it was just me, Darius and McKenzie who are engaged. They said it was fine for me to sleep on their couch. It was yet another time when I set up my gear and then had a place indoors to stay. So around midnight, after a long day, I slept.

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