August 21, 2017.
As I’m coming down from the bedroom at my uncle’s house, my attention is on my aunt in the kitchen below. My foot misses a step, and I tumble head over heels to the bottom of their wooden staircase. After a minute at the bottom, I make an assessment. Nothing’s broken – not my laptop, none of my bones. My ankle hurts, and I know I hit my head. I’m shaking, like I always do after a faceplant. Continue reading
Miles hiked: 24.5
Total trip mileage: 406.9
In the wee hours of the morning, I peek out of our tiny tent window and see the departing backs of Monique, Bert and Todd. How do they manage to get up and out so early and so silently? (I later learn they eat their oatmeal cold). We get ourselves going as quietly as possible. During the night, another hiker has set his bivvy up in a tiny spot nearby. This is a record number of people in a single campsite for us. Continue reading
Miles hiked: 24.8
Total Trip Mileage: 360.7
We wake up early today, eager to get on the trail and get to Timberline Lodge. A bed tonight! Dinner in a restaurant!
The green tunnel continues as we hike past Timothy Lake. We see the “designated” camping sites, and are glad we didn’t try to make it this far last night. At one point when crossing a road, we go under this lovely sign, which is a perfect photo-opp: Continue reading
Miles hiked: 27.5
Total Trip Mileage: 335.9
Somewhere in the pre-dawn darkness, the woman from New Zealand, the guy from Belgium and their US companion vanish into the mist. We never heard a thing. We get up as usual around 5:30. Okay, I lie, Marc gets up at 5:30 and brings me my tea …
Miles hiked: 22.0
Total trip miles: 308.4
Dawn comes and the fog is swirling around our tent. Miniature raindrops — morsels of the mist— still patter intermittently on our tent. We want to get to Ollalie Lake today, and it’s 22 miles, so we haul ourselves up and get going.
Miles hiked: 22.5
Total trip miles: 286.4
While we’re drinking coffee this morning, I watch the weather forecast on TV. The heat will be returning later in the week, but for today, there is a chance of showers! The weatherlady in Bend is psyched about this, because it’s been a long, dry spell. I watch the radar loop and see a big, bright blob headed right over the mountains. Oh well. It was inevitable, wasn’t it? Behind the blob things look okay, though. Not to worry.
August 6 & 7
Miles hiked: 0
Total Trip Miles: 263.9
Sleeping in a bed, my head on a pillow.
A shower in the morning.
A cup of coffee (or two!) with milk in it.
Long chats in the garden, with nowhere to go.
Watching the Olympics on TV.
Eating wonderful food in restaurants.
Reconnecting with family and sharing memories of my dad.
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: 21.9
Total trip mileage: 226.1
Marc wakes up, as usual, to the beeping of his watch at 5:30, gets up, makes coffee and tea and starts the oatmeal, brings me tea in the tent. Maybe this is why I like thru-hiking so much: I get to sleep in and someone else is in charge of the food.
This morning we hike by lots more lakes, through lots more forest. We’ve decided to take a detour to Elk Lake, perhaps to call Jim, maybe to eat at the restaurant, maybe buy a few snacks. We’re getting to that “hungry” stage where the ginormous bag of cashews, almonds and pistachios in the resupply box starts to disappear way too quickly.