HAMMERS LAST DAY ON TRAIL
PCT DAY 15: Monday July 10, 2017
Mile 1985.6 – Mile 1998.4 + 1.6 miles in/out Big Lake Youth Camp.
14.8 miles (23.7 km)
Waking up this morning felt like we were in some post-apocalyptic landscape. The sunrise was glowing red, illuminating a band of clouds on the horizon, with skeletons of burnt out trees standing starkly in the otherwise barren landscape. Mt Washington had a cloud crowning its top. We were camped on dark laval sand with a wall of laval rocks for shelter from the wind. It could not have been more different from yesterday.
We were packed and on our way by 5.30 passing two other hikers, Rocket Power and Flossie (Eric and Kevin) who had camped nearby. We first met them, and shared a campsite, at Mazama Village and have crossed paths since. Both are fine young men from Minnesota. They were almost packed and I knew they would catch us before too long. I was very relieved that there was no more laval rocks to hike through. While we were still hiking through burnt forest, the groundcover of spring flowers was absolutely stunning especially in the morning light.
We were on our way to Big Lake Youth Camp (7 miles away) to pick up a resupply package. With about 2 miles to go to the camp Eric and Kevin caught up. We hiked together and the miles rolled quickly in conversation. The trailside was lined with masses of beargrass. If I could, I would have taken a photo of each and every one of them. Such a beautiful sight which only got better as we took the side trail which leads to the camp. Masses of purple flowers (Lupins, I think) covered the ground. As the forest was burnt out, shafts of the early morning light were streaking through them. Such an arresting sight, we were brought to a stop to fully take in the view.
It was great to arrive at the camp with such a scenic introduction. We arrived just as breakfast was about to be served. The staff were so helpful and welcoming. Sadly we could not stay for breakfast as we had more miles to hike and meet up with Jim who was coming out to pick us up from Highway 20. We picked up our parcel and said goodby to Eric and Kevin.
On the way back to the PCT I stopped again and again to take photos of the amazing floral display. For the 6 miles to the highway, we hiked through forest with some mosquitos for company.
We made the highway by 11 and Jim arrived 10 minutes after. Always a pleasure to see Jim and this time was no different. Absolutely loved the cooler of drinks and the conversation as we drove to Bend for lunch. We had not had breakfast and lunch at Flat Bread in the Mill District of Bend was super nice. After lunch Jim gave us a ride to pick up a hire car for the next few days few days in Bend. So wonderful to spend more time with Jim whose generousity is humbling. We said our goodbyes to Jim, dissapointed that we did not get to hike with him this year. But he will be back to do more of the PCT later this season.
I will take a few days off with Hammer in Bend before he flies home and I get back on trail. We covered 283 miles together this trip and I have 660 miles to go, of which 146 are in Oregon. It is so good to finish hiking together on such a wonder filled day.