19.9 miles (Miles 1987.5 – 2007.4)
Small lake at mile 1987.5 – Santiam Pass
I woke up to the patter of rain on my tent fly. I’ve been pretty lucky with rain so far – I haven’t had to deal with it too much. I lay there and came up with a plan to get going as dry as possible, which I figured was good practice for Washington. I still have hopes that it will be dry and sunny the rest of the way, but I have to get myself mentally ready just in case. I have a hard time with the combination of wet and cold even two days in a row. Anyway, my plan went well. I made a cold breakfast in the comfort of my dry tent and warm sleeping bag, dressed, got as much stuffed into my pack as I could, got out and packed up the tent last. I draped the wet rainfly on the outside to keep it from soaking all of my gear and hiked.
I startled two does and a tiny, spotted fawn, but I stopped still to watch them, so they only made a couple of bouncing lopes before going back to their woodsy grazing. Later we saw elk through the trees as they crashed away. That was a cool sighting!
Before I knew it I was out of the forest and entered more lava rock scrambling. I am entirely fascinated by this stuff – there were acres upon hilly acres of rough, pourous rock as far as the eye can see. I let my imagination go and envisioned that I was hiking on top of a giant field of dormant violence. What was underneath all this hardened rock? Do any animals live in this stuff? What hill blew up and created all of this? Hiking on this terrain is really quite difficult, but I enjoyed it – it reminded me a little bit of some light scrambling in the Sierras, and I love the rock-hopping.
Back into the woods and an old burm area, a cloud came down and through the trees. I actually watched it until it got really close and finally stopped to put on my rain gear. This kept happening through the day. I probably changed five times. Finally about a mile and a half from the road where we were meeting Aloha, it started to sprinkle and I decided not to put on my full rain gear. In a half an hour I was totally drenched. The good news was that we were heading to town.
Oh! We crossed paths with Bink (Scott Williamson) today on his hike south. He held the PCT speed record until less than a month ago. He’s back at it, and seeing him on the trail was really a highlight of my day! He’s a super-nice and totally humble guy – he’s out to hike mostly because it’s the best way to get away, but there’s still that record… and beating it would be a bonus… so even though he’s out to hike crazy-awesome-mileage days, he stopped and chatted with us for quite a while! Go, Bink, go!
Finally, in the pouring rain, along the busy road, Tears and I tossed our soggy gear into the pickle jar and jumped in behind them. We were shortly whisked away to Bend, Oregon. We were looking so forward to this visit! We planned a zero day and everything! Besides that, it had been six days without a shower. I could not wait for that – especially after being weighted down from rain.
We are staying with Condor and housemates Tidi and Wayne. Tidi and Wayne hiked the Appalachian Trail, and Condor hiked the PCT in 2011 – so we’re amongst a great, friendly group of people. Condor is also the creator/artist behind my favorite PCT video. It really inspired me and kept me motivated as I planned and obsessed all things PCT. Check it out! And a ginormous thank-you goes out to Tidi, Wayne and Condor for the amazing hospitality!
Pizza, doughnuts, beers, and meeting up with several other hikers at Crux Brewery was a great start to some time off. Tomorrow we have lots of hiker chores and hopefully some relaxin’ time, too.
Tonight I love how it feels to shave my armpits after a week on the trail.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!