PCT DAY 116: Mile 1963- Mile 1986

Sunday August 7, 2016: 23 Miles  (36.8km)

It got quite cold overnight and was a bit chilly to get out of a warm sleeping bag. Once packed and on the trail, the scenery was stunning with volcanic peaks seemingly in all directions and solidified  lava flows cascading down the nearby hills.

Shortly after we began hiking a New Zealand girl, Heaps joined us and we walked and chatted with her for about an hour. She travels light and moves quick so we made good time while hiking with her. We also came across a Forestry Ranger, who is actually a returned serviceman and a gentle soul. He loved being outdoors and he told us that  the Ranger job saved him.  Unfortunately he is on  a short term contract.  I hope he gets a renewal. 
We crossed the obsidian section of the trail where the rocks were glass like and reflected the sun, so that it looked like thousands of Christmas lights on the hill.

Today was also a day of great trail magic with Karen and Bob who set up at a trailhead. There were hotdogs, beer, grapes, Oreo biscuits and corn chips. Their son is doing the PCT this year and they thought they would come out and feed the hungry hikers. Karen was a retired teacher and Bob was a passionate marathon runner. There was Trail Angel competing with a a father and son who were also set up nearby evenly coming over to  also providing trail magic to join in. I managed to eat 3 hotdogs and 2 beers. It was memorable trail magic not only for the food but also for the delightful company. Another beer and it would have been hard to leave. It also turns out that the father and son team are brother-in-law and nephew to Shane Gould, one of Australia’s greatest Olympic swimmers.

Back on the trail and we ran into Tina who was out taking pictures in the lava fields. She had recently read Wild and was extremely enthusiastic to meet some real hikers. Section B and I felt a bit like rock stars with Tina’s exuberance.
We crossed Highway 242 and found a cache of water and a six pack of Chain Breaker IPA which had been left for thirsty hikers. With Tina’s accolades fresh in our mind we thought a beer with dinner would be nice and so carried a beer each to our campsite.

The going got tough through the lava field with plenty of uneven surfaces. We had to keep a close eye to the ground watching every step to avoid twisting an ankle. It was hard and slow going. Late evening we stumbled across a large flat campsite with a bowl shape providing protection from the increasing wind. The clouds were also looked somewhat menacing, they looked like they may hold some rain.

This leaves Section B about 6 miles to get to Big Lake Youth Camp in the morning and me 12 miles to Santiam Pass at Highway 20. I am going off trail for a day or so to see Corky. I have enjoyed hiking with Section B and the conversation and miles seemed to have flown by quickly.

I am really looking forward to being with Corky and seeing how she is going. Phone reception has been intermittent at best through this section of Oregon.


I’ve heard from Hammer today. He will be at Santiam Pass tomorrow. It feels like eternity since he headed out on his own. Or maybe time just slows down when  you’re waiting for bones to knit.