Day: Friday, September 2nd
Miles: 1992.6 – 1998.4
Big Lake Youth Camp 1992.6 – OR Highway 20 at Santiam Pass 1998.4
It was a dry and comfy night in my dorm bed at Big Lake Youth Camp, and I arose to fresh laundry, a nice shower, and breakfast being served down in the food hall. Days in the wilderness are incredible, but simple pleasures are all the more wonderful when framed under a gloomy sky and persistent rain! After a few weeks in Oregon, we had been lucky in dodging the rain, and I still had only registered a few hours of rain since leaving Mexico 3.5 months ago so a good soaking is overdue. Hitting the trail with Outro and Breakaway for the short 6mile hike to Santiam Pass however, these thoughts did not console me very much, as it was truly miserable.
Many parts of the trail were simply a sloppy wet mess, whilst others were a flowing river. We eventually reached a burn zone close to the pass, which added exposure to the list of atmospheric reasons for why I was freezing to the bone today!
Finally reaching Santiam Pass, we were treated to some trail magic from Breakaways parents who had driven in from Corvallus, OR. They were going to give us a ride into Bend, where I would resupply and hopefully get some thermals in REI as well as enjoy some town time. Its been 2 weeks since I was in Ashland, despite all those trail-side resorts, I was happy to experience some civilization and hopefully allow this cold and wet spell to dissipate.
Breaking out of the rain soaked western side of the Cascades, we were greeted with sunshine and warm temperatures in the Oregon outback!
Arriving to Bend, we checked into a hotel downtown and quickly wandered down to the local mall, where a nice brewery and consignment store met most of our immediate demands in short order! At one point, a lady in an SUV stopped us in the street and asked if we were on the trail, before high-fiving us. Bearing in mind we are now 30 miles from the PCT, I thought that was a pretty funny moment.
After some food, we ventured down to REI, only to catch up with a huge gang of thru-hikers milling around inside and outside. It was quite a funny scene, and I think some passers-by were wondering why so many hobos were hanging around at REI!
I grabbed some new thermals and finally caught up to FlyBy, who by now was pretty spent from his day in town.
After the excitement of new gear and meeting lots of hikers, myself Breakaway, Outro and FlyBy headed to a local barbeque joint where Breakaways parents treated us to a big hearty dinner. We had a nice evening sharing stories and good food, before walking across town to the hotel through a pretty park and river crossing. Given it was well past hiker-midnight (about 8PM), we took in a quick stop at the Deschutes Brewery (my favorite) for a Black Butte porter on the way home. I was only to happy to get to bed however, so my hugely swelling feet could enjoy a chance to stretch out. Lots of water and TLC for these babies for the next while.