My foot was really hurting this morning so I laid in my sleeping bag for 30 minutes. Wrapped up my foot and went looking for the last Advil in my little bag-o-crap. Then I found the Aleve I had bought way back in Big Bear City. Woo hoo!
Got going and the pain meds kicked in. About an hour later I came around the corner and saw a guy headed south. The guy said “Well, hey, it is OTC!”. It was Jason (Hi Jason!). We talked a bit and his friends showed up soon after. Another hiker came up the trail headed north, it was B-Rad! I hadn’t seen him in nearly 1000 miles (Red’s Meadow). We all talked there for a bit. One of Jason’s friends was packing a cooler that was strapped to his pack. He said that everyone laughed at him until he gave them all a beer the previous night.
The BGLFTHWO (Big Giant Lava Field That is Hard to Walk On) started soon after. I got to McKenzie pass around 10:30am. My shin was feeling good so I knew I was just going to push it to Highway 20. When I was here in 1996 it was in the middle of a storm. I had hiked through a morning snowstorm and when I got to the highway I stuck out my thumb. Fortunately the first car stopped. Ended up spending three days in Sisters waiting out the storm.
Walked up to the lookout tower and then started making my way back. Since I was trying to meet Cora today I was thinking I really shouldn’t have taken the side trip, but then I saw the trash cans. At least I was able to dump all my trash out of my pack. Technically I was dumping my household trash since my pack is my house.
I could see the next wave of thunderstorm approaching me. It was going off near the sisters in a wave of thunder. The trail continued through the large lava field and ended up going through a bunch of burnt forest.
I took a break and B-Rad caught up to where I was. We ended up crossing mile 2000 together. We took the requisite photos (well, by my standards) and continued on.
“The middle sister is totally getting fucked right now”, B-Rad said. I thought about what he said, got my mind out of the gutter, then said “yeah, I hope nobody is stuck up around there”.
B-Rad turned off to Big Lake Youth Camp where he had a resupply box waiting for him. At the turnoff was a note to Spitfire from Dora the Explorer. It looks like they all must have skipped ahead since they were in Ashland a little over a week earlier.
I pushed on through the burnt forest. The storm ended up catching me. I was walking in a good downpour but didn’t really care because I knew in an hour I would be in the car with Cora headed to a nice weekend in Bend.
I crossed highway 20 (after getting rain soaked video of cars screaming down the wet road). Got to the parking lot and saw the familiar Subaru Forrester. I walked through the rain over to the driver’s side and there was Cora. As I was saying hello to her the rear passenger doors opened. Out popped Faucet and Sharkbite!
It turns out the Faucet and Sharkbite had been in Bend for a few days and had just gotten a ride back out. It had started to rain and Cora had found them in the outhouse with a couple other hikers. They were debating about hiking on vs. going back to Bend. Cora said that she could give them a ride to Bend and they said “well, our decision is made!”
I left a couple beers and cookies that Cora had made for B-Rad. (20 paces to the right of the trailhead junction at Highway 20)
It rained a bit as we drove into Bend. We listened to my Best Show on WFMU call that I made a few weeks back. Faucet said that when they were at Crater Lake someone had bought them beer who knew me but didn’t get the guy’s name.
We got to Bend and Faucet said that they could be dropped off at the Cheerleader’s Bar. I thought she was just being funny, but no…the bar was named “Cheerleaders”.
Cora and I went to the brewpub and met up with our friends Gabe, Linette, and their son Ethan. If you have been paying attention (and have a good memory) you will remember that Gabe is the son of Mike and Chris whom I met at Sonora Pass in California. We had a good time at dinner. They were talking about rock climbing. I joked about how their son Ethan was probably climbing 5.11 by now. Gabe said “no…but he can climb 5.8 without much problem” I was joking about the fact that Ethan could even Rock Climb.
We went to the Days Inn and checked into the motel. Luxury.
Cora pulled out all the hat tricks to make this the best town stop. She had some 70′s movies on her iPad we could watch. She made chocolate chip cookies just the way I like them (no damn nuts clogging up the cookie). Cheetos. 16oz PBRs for me (and 12oz cans for the hikers). She also brought my resupply boxes and a bunch of random crap I needed from home. She also brought my essential productivity food…chips and salsa. She knows all of my ins/outs/whathaveyous even when we are not together on a daily basis. I love her.