Miles hiked: 20.5
Total trip miles: 263.9
We wake up bright and early and head back over to the PCT from our awesome campsite at North Matthieu Lake. Soon we’re walking on lava, winding in and out of ancient flows, making our way to the road and MacKenzie Pass. We’ve gotten an early start because the forecast is for a hot day. Yesterday we saw a very sunburned southbounder, who said hiking over the lava flow in the heat had been unbearable. From MacKenzie Pass I figure we have about 5 miles of lava walking to do, and early morning is the best time to do it.
We can see both Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson in the distance to the north, and the Sisters to the South. We make our careful way across the eerie, desolate landscape, trying to not twist our ankles on the rocky trail.
Miles hiked: 17.3
Total trip miles: 243.4
Today is going to be an easy day! It’s less than 40 miles to Santiam Pass, and only about 20 to the Lava Camp campground at MacKenzie Pass, where I think we’ll camp tonight. We start off bright and early, hiking through one gorgeous flower-studded meadow after another, watching the South Sister slip by us on the right and the middle Sister come into view.
Miles hiked: 26.6
Total trip miles: 63.8
We get an early start today to try and beat the heat. We hiked almost 24 miles yesterday! Woo hoo! The trail started out looking like this — in fact, a lot of the PCT in Oregon looks like this: nice, soft trail; tall, tall trees, dappled sun and shadow.
People complain of the “green tunnel” in Oregon—the miles upon miles of lodgepole pines or spruce. But I find that I love their cool depths. You can physically feel the dip in temperature that occurs when you pass from sun to shade. I love the way the trees whisper to you with their branches, advertising a cooling breeze a few seconds before it arrives. I love the tall silence of these forests. I have the distinct feeling that I am walking in the shelter of a single, great, benevolent being.