PCT Day 93 – Olallie Lake

PCT Day 93 – Olallie Lake

12.9 miles, near 2046.1

• Tough uphill climb right away in the morning, but we had an insanely beautiful view of Mt Jefferson for the duration. Lots of mosquitoes on top, but one of my favorite lookouts the entire trip, Mt Jefferson to the south and Mt Hood to the north.

• A long descent through some snow then forest to a road crossing where I met a Swedish couple about to hike where I just came from. They were parents of a PCT hiker daughter, she had already come through and was currently in Washington, but told her parents to come here and do some hiking. We talked for a while then I continued north.

• Pushed hard to make it to Olallie Lake resort by midday. A guy was setup providing trail magic at camp, he made us pancakes. I guess he just still had breakfast stuff out? More hikers came through and he switched to making burgers. The little store sold cans of beer, buy 5 get your 6th free.

• Took a little nap, then setup to make some dinner. “Beerback” arrived with his Subaru, ready to cook us some weenies. He quit the trail just shortly after we saw him near crater lake, now he’s driving around to cool mountain biking spots.

• We spent the rest of the night around the fire, playing singalong with the guitar.

PCT Day 92 – Whitewater Creek

PCT Day 92 – Whitewater Creek

22.3 miles, near 2033.2

• Had some really great views of Mt Jefferson up close this morning. We are curving clockwise around it for the next 30 miles.

• Met our guitar friends Frodo, Smokey, and Guinea pig again this morning. They were camping below us at the lake edge last night. We started hiking with them.

• We hiked a good 12 miles before stopping for lunch around 1pm at a beautiful alpine lake. A bunch of us went for a dip after eating, water surprisingly not too cold, and pretty deep near the middle, I couldn’t touch bottom.

• It was hotter today, although not a lot of time under the sun. We hiked through forest, on ridges, in burn areas, and pushed lots of elevation change.

• We crossed Milk Creek with a thick snow bridge remaining. It kinda looked like an avalanche came through and then a mud slide after, because the snow bridge was covered in thick dirt and debris.

• An hour later we crossed another creek, fed by the Russell and Jefferson Park glaciers. This one was raging, with very few crossing options. I had the driest shoes on the other side, but it involved some sketchy rock hopping that nobody else tried.

• The mozzies are bad at camp, forcing us to eat in the tent again.

PCT Day 91 – Wasco Lake

PCT Day 91 – Wasco Lake

10.1 miles, near 2010.9

• Woke up and walked over to the breakfast room. They had really good coffee, better than the coffee shop yesterday, IMHO. They also had “voodoo” style donuts, like a long john with a strip of bacon on top, or a butterfinger donut with crushed candy bar on top. Pretty decadent and doughy.

• We packed up and checked out on time at 11am. We didn’t really have any plans for the day, just killing time until we could get a ride back to the trailhead from yardsale’s friend around 4pm. We started walking towards downtown and happened to pass a gear shop advertising darn tough socks. I just washed both my hole-y socks yesterday, so they are clean and ready for a lifetime warranty trade in. I picked up 2 new pairs, then we walked to the park by the river downtown.

• We hung out in the shade for an hour, watching the ducks dive for food, sticking their butts straight in the air, looking like derps.

• A fellow hiker walked past while we were lounging, she mentioned a good pizza place for lunch. We walked that way and decided to split a 20” mushroom pizza between the 4 of us. We thought about packing out a slice each for later, but they didn’t last. We also thought about not drinking beer, because we had plenty this weekend, but ended up getting a pint anyways. Too tempting to pass up right before we head back to the wilderness for 5 days.

• Yardsale’s friend picked us up at the restaurant in her Honda Fit. We managed to stuff all 4 packs in the trunk. Boys in the back while the girls caught up with each other. I tried nodding off but didn’t have a good position to nap. Took us 45 min to make it up the mountain. We gave our driver the bottle of wine from yesterday that we never opened, along with some bonus pizza slices we were given at the pizza place.

• It’s a good 10 miles before we hit water, so the plan was to hike until dark and we would probably make it. I packed 2 liters on top the full food resupply, making it a very heavy load.

• We passed a group of hikers, kind of a mix of young kids and older couples. One lady said “hey y’all” as she passed, it looked like Dixie to me, she’s a backpacking YouTuber, on the PCT this year completing some fire closures sections from 2017. I don’t know if this was one of the sections, or why she’d be going SoBo, I’ll have to check her channel.

• We made it to the pond we were aiming for around sunset, but there were no tent spots. A bunch of people already camped out, we got water and hiked forward. Fortunately, we only had to go another quarter mile before finding a spot to stop for the night.

PCT Day 90 – Bend Zero

PCT Day 90 – Bend Zero

• Relaxing Zero planned for today. Packed our stuff up and ubered to a coffee shop. Checked out some gear stores. I bought a new water filter and new insoles, although they didn’t carry the exact insoles I need. Hoping what I got will work ok.

• Bradley got a baseball cap, it’s the Colorado “C” with a fish. He didn’t know it represented Colorado, but got comments from people like he must be from Colorado because of the hat 😆

• I walked to a FedEx office to ship some stuff to Carie in Ashland, waited in line for 15 minutes while the couple ahead of me shipped 4 boxes, apparently a painstaking process with the slowest rep.

• We ate lunch at the deschutes brewery downtown. We had a sassy young waitress, but she brought us a couple sample glasses of beer. What is it with our crew getting picked on at restaurants?

• We walked to a laundromat, which happened to be attached to a bar. I accidentally moved the clothes from the washer to another different branded washer, so we washed our clothes twice before they got to the dryer. Give me a break, it was happy hour.

• We played pool while waiting, then walked next door for dinner at another brewery. There was a coin vending machine in the men’s bathroom at the bar, providing important things like pictures of topless pinups for $1.00. We dared Bradley to order a beer at the brewery with his wallet open and the picture showing. The bartender didn’t notice, but the couple sitting there did.

• We went back to the hotel room to sleep, but not before stopping at the grocery store for Klondike bars and wine. The fridge in the room didn’t have a freezer.

PCT Day 89 – Bend

PCT Day 89 – Bend

12.5 miles, near 1995.1

• Started hiking right away on lava rock, winding our way to hwy 242 and north towards Mt Washington. If I knew any better, I would have followed the paved road out of camp and along 242 until I could hook back up with the PCT, instead of lava rocking for 45 minutes. Pretty much do anything to avoid walking on lava rocks.

• I took a quick side trail to “Little Belknap” for near 360 views of the lava field and surrounding mountains. It was only a 30 min detour, but it meant everyone passed me and I didn’t see them until lunch at Big Lake.

• We were hoping to hitch a ride into Bend from one of Yardsale’s friends at the Big Lake Youth Camp before the camp closed down for the weekend. It was a little unclear when we needed to be around for that to happen, so I didn’t take any breaks and ate clif bars on the fly.

• I wandered into the youth camp around 1pm, found the PCT area to drop my stuff, then walked to the mess hall. The good people at camp provide free meals to hikers in their “all veggie” kitchen, we were treated to veggie hotdogs and macaroni salad. They set out cream cheese on the condiment table, I roughly slathered it on one of my dawgs.

• The friend we were hoping to hitch into town with needed to stay and clean the rest of the afternoon, so we got our stuff and started walking down the road. A father and his 2 boys stopped and gave us a hitch in the back of his pickup truck, at least until hwy 20 at Santiam Pass, which saved us a good 5 miles. The little boys would turn around and make faces at us, throwing some dabs. We dabbed back.

• Hwy 20 at Santiam Pass is the main route between Bend in the east and Eugene/Corvallis/Salem in the west, so there’s lot of traffic, but all very fast moving. Fortunately we have a gal in our group and hitches come a little easier that way. We didn’t wait more than a minute before a guy pulled over with his Subaru. There was flat plywood and a ton of stuff in the back, but we squished 3 hikers and 2 packs in back, 2 packs strapped on the roof, and me riding shotgun. The guy was older and has been living in Sisters for decades, working in environmental science, so he and Bradley had careers in common.

• It was about 25 miles to the town of Sisters, where we got dumped and needed to find another 25 mile ride to Bend. Yardsale stuck her thumb for a good 15 before another Subaru stopped for us, this time a younger man in a cleaner car, a recent transplant from Portland, so he and Yardsale had Portland and outdoor climbing in common.

• The scene is pretty absurd, our gal getting the hitch while 3 beardy boys come lurking out of the shade to pile in this strangers car.

• We made it to Bend and walked to a brewery, dropping our stuff on the patio while they finished opening up. A guy and his friends walked by on the sidewalk and yelled out “hey hiker trash!”, a common way to describe PCTers in town. His name was “hot wing” and hiked the trail in 2012. We had a beer then walked around the corner to the cidery for a free pint, another common PCT hiker town perk from cool breweries.

• A bachelorette party stopped in while we were hanging out, one of the girls started chatting us up about backpacking. She was really keen to impress and convince us she was a backpacker. I got her phone and had her follow all of us on Instagram.

• We crossed the street for dinner at a pod of food trucks. Very aloof beer truck bartender. I had a delicious cheeseburger. Yardsale insisted we needed 2 baskets of fries before ubering to her friends house, where we stayed the night.

• We sat in the living room and talked, playing with their 3 dogs. I took a shower and passed out on my sleeping pad in the living room.