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.

PCT Day 88 – Lava Camp Lake

PCT Day 88 – Lava Camp Lake

19.7 miles, near 1982.6

• Packing up camp grumpy because it rained on and off all night, and there’s 2 small puddles in the tent. I had a pair of socks in the corner that got soaked, the other puddle was next to my head close to my camera. Nothing was touching the tent walls, so I’m not sure what caused the leak.

• I packed my camera away because of the intermittent rain. I snapped a few photos with my phone until it cleared up in the afternoon. We only had a few views of the Sisters, otherwise obscured by fog.

• We stopped for lunch at obsidian falls. The whole area is scattered with obsidian, a glassy black rock.

• A couple hours later, I turned the corner and saw the crew down below some snow, waiting at a creek. Bradley yelled up, “send it, brother!” so I held my camera tight and glissaded down the 50 ft hill. Just a quickie, but a fun “sled ride”. I’m sure we missed a lot of this in the Sierra.

• I definitely need new insoles. My arches are barking more and more everyday. We’re hiking on some lava rock today which doesn’t help.

• Made it to camp a couple hours before sunset, at a 1 pit toilet campground. We have the walk-in site all to ourselves with a picnic table, so luxurious!

• Yardsale was sitting and chatting with our campsite neighbors when I arrived, then wandered back to us an hour later. They kept her drink fresh and she got a little drunk. She brought back 2 shooters filled with wine for us to share.

• There were 2 kids play fighting across the pond, red shirt vs blue shirt. We narrated the play by play as they threw spin kicks and karate moves. We are easily entertained out here.

• We passed 1000 miles hiked today, 37.73% done with the entire PCT 🎉

PCT Day 87 – Mesa Creek

PCT Day 87 – Mesa Creek

10.3 miles, near 1962.9

• We piggybacked on some hikers campsite. It was full of little stumps, which I tripped over about a thousand times just trying to take my tent down.

• Yardsale developed shin splints, so we’re taking today pretty easy. We played some double headed dragon magic in front of the lake and waited for lunch.

• We finished our leftover beers at lunch, which made everyone want to nap, not much motivation to get back on trail.

• It was a 2 mile side trip to get back on the PCT. We enjoyed our last cell service until we got out of range.

• Back on the trail, a break in the trees revealed views of Mt Bachelor and Broken Top. South Sister was hidden in the clouds. Tiny little mosquitoes attacked us as soon as we stopped to take in the view.

• The forest gave way to some big open valley hiking on the western edge of the Sisters, with more wind and less bugs.

• My feet hurt, mostly the arches and ankles. I think it’s time for an insole replacement.

• We made camp in a big rocky meadow with some of the coldest water flowing from the mountaintop. We cooked dinner 50 yards from our tents, out in the open hoping for some breeze to keep the mosquitoes away. It’s been cloudy all day, but only light sprinkles of rain around 830 as we got ready to go to bed.

PCT Day 86 – Elk Lake Resort

PCT Day 86 – Elk Lake Resort

17.3 miles, near 1952.6

• The trail today is pretty unremarkable, more green tunnel, but with lots of tiny lakes and ponds, very charming.

• We made it to another lake resort, this time it’s Elk Lake, just in time for dinner. We ordered a pitcher of cider and bought a 6 pack.

• We met a couple of guys named Frodo, Smokey, and Guinea. They found a guitar in the corner and started playing a Bob Dylan tune. They switched the lyrics to something like this, “Baby would you pitch my tent? Baby, would you pitch my tent? Because I’d do any thing in this god almighty world, if you’d just pitch my tent”. We went around the circle, switching out “pitch my tent” for whatever, like “filter my water” or “rub my feet” or some other backpacking specific phrase. It was a good time, but we got pretty loud and the bar shut us down.

• I accidentally dropped my 1L smart water bottle in the pit toilet, because I tucked it in the chest of my zipped up rain jacket, and it clearly did not stay. I should be ok with two 1.5L and a 0.75L.

• There are no mosquitoes here, which is most remarkable. I guess they drop some kind of larvicide at these lakes, which kills the mosquitoes before they hatch for the summer. Maybe they should consider this for the entire PCT section of Oregon?

PCT Day 85 – Stormy Lake

PCT Day 85 – Stormy Lake

20.9 miles, near 1935.3

• Woke up to pee at 2am, which was an ordeal. Tiptoeing around sleeping hikers, climbing down the ladder, finding my shoes, opening the creaky door, finding the “pee tree”. There’s literally a tree a few paces away from the cabin with a sign saying “pee tree” with the drawing of a guy taking a whiz.

• Didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night, too many people rolling around on their sleeping pads, which are notoriously loud.

• Our new friend “Boomerang” was up first and out of there ASAP. He’s the first guy we’ve met so far who has thru hiked the entire trail unbroken, through the sierras and everything without skipping, very impressive. He only started a few days before us back in April, so… safe to say he hasn’t taken as many zeroes as us 😆

• Another friend we met at shelter cove named “Sunshine” was downstairs packing stuff up. She accidentally smashed her hand through a pane of glass, trying to swat a mosquito. She cut her wrist and blood started dripping everywhere. We got some pressure on the wound and wrapped her hand up with a bandage. Hope the mosquitoes aren’t too bad for the crew staying in the cabin tonight 😅

• Pretty cruise-y day on the trail, not too much up or down. Stopped at a lake for lunch, mosquitoes not too bad. I have extra dinners because Carie isn’t here to split it with, so I’m eating mashed potatoes for lunch. I wanted to go for a swim, but chickened out when the sun went away.

• A guy walked up to us at lunch and said he was doing some trail magic just around the corner and we should stop by. We talked for a while, he’s the dad of “Ducky”, his son is hiking the CDT this year. Ducky did the PCT last year, but ducky’s friend was going to pass through the area today, so ducky’s dad wanted to be there to see him. Yardsale has a coworker friend hiking the CDT this year too and was swapping stories with ducky’s dad. Turns out Ducky is her coworker and they were talking about the same person the whole time. Small world.

• Walked through some more burn areas, but mostly forest. The mosquitoes were rabid at camp again, made a fire but couldn’t enjoy it. It’s even pretty breezy and getting colder and they won’t quit. Finished some chores and put the fire out, then ate dinner in the tent.