Daily mileage: 22
Big miles, what are those? Apparently they aren't part of my vocabulary anymore. It certainly doesn't help when you get lost, and I didn't even have any snow to blame. Just my own lack of attention to the trail. But let's start back at the beginning.
I had set up a ride with the amazing Theresa (the locals of Sisters were amazing) at 7:30. So no slow lazy morning for me. Staying up late watching the Olympics probably wasn't one of my better choices but it had been fun. But curtains and temperature control made 6:30 arrive far to soon. Scrambling around eating watermelon and completely forgetting my yogurt and banana was another brilliant move. Didn't I want to start my day off with a cliff bar and not fresh wholesome goodness? Guess not.
Right as I got dropped off at the trailhead two hikers walked up. So instead of hiking I sat with Norm and his girlfriend for ages just stalling and enjoying trail gossip. Then it was off to hike on lava, basically a giant field of pumice for 2-3 miles. Slow going for sure.
After that there was a glorious 1/2 mile or so of pretty nice trail. Then it became a giant burn, shortly followed by a giant burn with lava/pumice trail. Okay so a bit more slow going. Plus a lovely old sign saying trail closed from fire damage. My ride had told me the fire was in 2005 and I knew nothing about trail closures so ignoring that one...
As the trail started to climb the burn started to get a little greener, full of ferns for awhile which was nice and different.
At some point the burn area finally ended and actual forest appeared. Very pretty wildflower filled forest I might add. Of course I took no pictures of the actual pretty forest, I was to busy stumbling on the trail that had become sand. I'm just not winning with the easy trail today. And then with absolutely zero fanfare I passed the 2000 mile mark. No fancy signs, or rocks to take photos with. Just me doing a happy dance, 2000 miles!
As the trail entered a burn yet again I decided to head off trail to Big Lake Youth Camp. It's almost 17 miles of dryness after that with only a seasonal pond 4 miles in. Running water sounded nicer than possible pond scum so down I went. Holy teenagers batman, that place was swarming. It's been awhile since I felt that self conscious in a bathroom. I was clearly not in the trendy clothes and the surreptitious side glances were hilarious. Not to mention my eye still looks ridiculous (but is being medicated, go antibiotics). I found out caveman had left about 2 hours before which was fun, filled up my water bottles and started to head out. Got sidetracked by 2 hikers I had met the day before and somehow killed 2 hours debating if I wanted to stay for dinner. Finally decided I'd rather hike and thought I would cleverly take the forest service road back to the trail. Fail, I walked right past the trail and added at least 2 miles of fire road walking. Frustrating for sure. Then it was flat and full of old ATV trails for a bit, then back into a, wait for it, yup a burn! With lots more sandy sections. Sweet trail magic at Santiam Pass and back to climbing through burned forest I went.
Climbing pretty slow. My feet aren't too sure about my new shoes and I am carrying a lot more water than I need (a habit I just never have been able to break) so when 8:15 rolled around I started to look for campsites. Snow patches and mosquitoes for a bit then a little flat spot with a view. I think yes. So hopefully I can actually drag my butt a little farther tomorrow and someday actually make it to Timberline.
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