Day 97: Walking 2000 miles and more… (NERO)

Day: Saturday, September 3rd 2016
Miles: 1998.4 – 2005.4
Santiam Pass 1998.4 – Remote Site 2005.4
It was a pleasant and relaxing morning today in Bend. My swelled feet thankfully felt enormously improved this morning. I’m guessing it was the intense cold, damp and generally the abuse they’ve received over the past few days that led to them timing out last night and swelling like a balloon. Outro, Breakaway and myself had a really nice breakfast in the hotel before going our separate ways. I met my friend Chad for lunch, followed by purchasing a new rain jacket (seems like I’ll need it), and then aimed to Safeway to meet our ride back to the trail with Breakaways parents. It was good to catch up with Chad, who introduced me to Bend 2 years ago. Its a really pleasant town and it was fun to meet my Oregon buddy back where my love of the state began.

Laying out my resupply through to Timberline

It was a nice drive back to the trail, and we got to see Sisters close-up thanks to the holiday traffic. I had completely forgotten that it was Labor Day weekend, and that’s why Bend was full of weekenders. The sun was shining as I gazed back to Mt.Washington to the South from the Santiam Pass trail head. Breakaways parents ran trail magic for a while as we were heading out, and a bunch of hikers were enjoying the hospitality when we departed!
Just a short few miles later, and we hit a huge milestone, the 2000mile mark on the PCT! Myself, FlyBy, Breakaway and Outro all celebrated for a while, and took some time out to revel in the moment with a can of really bad beer. Sometimes the moment is worth wallowing in!
After the excitement passed, we resumed our trek northwards. I stopped to admire the Black Butte and a rainbow in the distance, before ascending to a beautiful ridge just below the peak of Three Fingered Jack, another gnarled peak in the style of Mt.Thielsen and Mt.Washington. The western side, bathed in a wet sunset, with clear views and a chilly breeze.
Wandering through yet another burn area, bathed in a pink evening light, I couldn’t help but be surprised by the amount of burns we’ve passed through in Oregon. I largely presumed this would be a feature of hiking in California, but it appears the damaging burns are a regular occurrence this north also.
As the sun set, myself and FlyBy arrived at camp a little north of Three Fingered Jack, with Outro, Breakaway, Engineer and Upgrade already settling in for the night. Once the sun had set, an intensely cold wind and chill factor set in around us, with little evening chat to be shared as a result. I was enjoying my new thermals that I purchased in Bend for sure. Just in time for a cold spell. The weather was now playing with us, after rain, sun, heat and now dropping temperatures, the forecast predicted a heavy freeze tonight for the first time since I hit the trail. Oh how quickly things have changed!

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