Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 140, September 3, Oregon is for Fighting

Jude Lake

Longer days spent hiking are making motivation to write difficult to come by. Today was another in a series of tough days in Oregon. We woke up by 6 and hiked all day, but the terrain was total...ahem...garbage, for lack of a nicer word. All day - rocks, tallus, lava, etc. So frustrating to hike over terrain whose only goal is to ensure twisted ankles and low morale. Side note: I have NO IDEA how people hike 35-40 miles a day in Oregon over this terrain. Makes no sense to me whatsoever! Dr. Slosh was (yet again) so patient with me as I hiked slowly, lamented that slow pace, and occasionally just burst into tears of frustration, pain, etc. I had 8 blisters and a hot spot on my left foot alone at this point. Just another example of a section that was supposed to be easy and proved itself far more challenging, especially mentally, than expected. Trials on the trail are so much more challenging for me when they are unexpected.

Trail conditions aside, the scenery was pretty nice on this day, although most of the highly expected views of Mt. Jefferson were obscured by clouds - but I'd definitely like to come back when the weather is a little better. We also had a serious river crossing for the first time in a long while. And in other good news, Slosh has been so patient, which is major props to him because I have been fairly miserable and I wouldn't blame him for leaving me in the dust. We barely made it to camp before dark and only completed 24 miles, which was far less than we'd hoped, which is unbelievably frustrating. I didn't expect to battle blisters and foot pain 2000 miles into the journey. But I refuse to quit at this point, and know that at this point, there's nowhere to go but up! So looking forward to a weekend in Portland to hopefully heal my sad, sad feet.

Weather was iffy all day, and after a big climb, headed down toward Ollalie Lake. Made it to a nice campsite at Jude Lake just as dark settled in. Hoping for easier days to come!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Days 136-139, August 30-September 2; Beautiful 3 Sisters and the Cusack's in Corvallis

Lakeside Mile 1965 to Sisters/Corvallis; Day 0; Mile 2007 to Hillside Mile ?

Leaving the lakeside campsite and heading out towards and past the 3 Sisters, the hiking was absolutely beautiful. Definitely my favorite day in Oregon so far. We started the day with rolling slopes across a meadow that bypassed South and Middle Sisters as the trail stretched North. So beautiful, and such interesting scenery as we passed by all day. We entered the "Obsidian Limited Entry Wilderness" - ahhhhhhmazing! True to its name, we first spotted a few bits of the black glass rock & soon enough it was absolutely everywhere...ranging from small fragments glistening in the ground to enormous boulders of the slick rock glass. We stopped for a break at Obsidian Falls to have a snack and take it all in - bubbling spring above obsidian waterfall and all.

As during all of our best trail days, we adopted the zen approach, and I was able to stop thinking about and stressing over deadlines, and when we need to get to the next stop. We arrived at Wade Lake after crossing the best named pass of the trail to date - Opie Dildock Pass. Slosh and I agreed that whoever poor Opie was, he had a pretty unfortunate name...but that whenever we finally get a dog, it would make an awesome dog's name! Rocky and Trex decided to exit to Sisters at McKenzie instead of Santiam Pass, and I joined them. After a number of complicating factors, only TRex and I wound up in Sisters that night. We hit up the grocery store before it closed and collected the standard: ice cream, fresh fruit, and beer. Oh, the diet of a hiker!

The following day, Dr. Slosh's former roommate Chris picked us up and carted us back to Corvallis for a little time off trail with friends. The Cusack's earn the award for the best hosts ever! We had a lovely time - so lovely that we decided to stay an extra night! We drank good beer and cooked a FEAST of lamb kebabs, majadra, and roasted eggplant charmoulah...and of course homemade hummus and pita. We ate on the patio with Chris, LeAnn, and baby Ayla and had a wonderfully relaxing evening - it was perfection. Thank you Cusack's for yet another wonderful visit to Corvallis! Ayla is 2 now and such a joy to be around - so dang cute to boot. After she went to bed, Chris took Slosh and I out for an evening on the town - we took out the bikes and visited Corvallis' new brewery, where Slosh's former labmate, Becky, and her husband Foster met up with us.

We were supposed to head back to the trail on Sunday morning but it was doomed from the beginning. We went out to breakfast at Tommy's and had some fantastic, fatty food. We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and finally getting around to our trail chores. Chris made some delicious homemade pizza, and we called it a night. We got an early start Monday morning, and Chris hiked the first 6 miles with us (and Bodhi, their Golden Retriever came too!) We stopped for a picnic with great views of 3 Fingered Jack and ate lots of the leftover food from the weekend. Chris left us after lunch and we marched on. The day only got harder from there, and I had a few more meltdowns.