Navigating the Oregon Closures

Day 40
Miles: 10 (out of Timberline Lodge)

Mousetrap, B-, Meghan and I figured out, by talking to NOBOs, that the roads to Ollalie Lake were open. We decided we’re going to hike right up to the closure and then my friend, Sherry, will pick us up to go into Bend. All the plans were set so off we went!

The four of us only were separated for a few miles and we regrouped at about 8 miles. We had originally thought our only water was 14 miles out, but upon looking at Guthook closer we decided we’d stay at a campsite near the trail at 10 miles out. We could walk into Frog Lake Campground and get water for dinner. While we were discussing this, a squirrel fell out of the tree above us, bounced on the ground and ran back up the tree as we were showered with pine needles. It was incredible! All of us were confused and Megan cannot stop laughing as it almost landed on her.

When we arrived we set up our tents, unfortunately we were right by a highway so it was a bit loud. It was strange how foreign road noises felt to me.

We walked over to the campground to pick up water and some trail magic was waiting for us. Two guys had finished eating dinner and they offered us their last two cheesy hot dogs. Wow did they taste delicious. We talked to them a little bit about what we are doing and how awesome it was to eat a warm hot dog.

The four of us began making dinner and no sooner did I turn my stove on, did it die out. I should have checked before leaving Timberline! Luckily, B- was carrying two! He said I could use it until I was able to get one. So, I offered to carry one but he refused.

There were lots of laughs and stories shared throughout our meal. But as the sun went down, we all eventually climbed into our tents. The traffic now made me think of home as I quickly fell asleep.

Day 40
Miles: 8

We all woke up and and were slow moving, slowly packing our stuff up, eating breakfast together and stretching. Since I’ve been bouncing around in different groups I’ve gotten to experience how people treat hiking differently. I find it very interesting. Some people wake up with the sun, rush to pack up their stuff and are on the trail before 30 minutes have passed. Others take their time, cook breakfast and make coffee. It’s all wonderful and I’m glad to see that everyone does what they want to do with no judgement from others.

We all hit the trail at about 8:30 am only to run into some NOBOs who had gotten off trail and are just hiking with other friends having fun. They gave us peanut butter crackers, which brought the biggest smile to my face. They said they know thru-hikers don’t deny food.

Mousetrap stopped about a mile out from Timothy Lake, where we decided we were going to swim and eat lunch. I arrived next and my first thought was “let’s go I wanna swim!!” But I sat down with my feet above me and drank water. It was a nice break and I told myself before I was not going to plan my breaks out to the mile. So I sat.

We arrived at Timothy Lake and swam! What a beautiful lake! As we were eating I get a call from Sherry, my moms friend from Bend who was so wonderful in saying she’d pick us up. She spoke to the Ranger and they said that the roads to Olallie Lake Resort are closed as well as the resort. But there are NOBOs coming towards us saying both are open and that’s how they got here.

Well, we didn’t want to make it any more difficult for Sherry, so we decided to ask for the ride out from Timothy Lake. Unfortunately we were still missing a lot of trail. But we understood this is what happens with closures.

The rest of the day we hung out, went to small crater lake, ate food, and relaxed. It was really a nice change of pace to hang out at the campsite. Throughout Washington I felt it had been wake up, hike all day with minimal breaks, eat and then sleep. I really enjoyed relaxing and keeping my feet elevated.

Mousetrap went through some of my stuff and I really could end up sending a lot more weight home. He looked at my nail clipper and laughed. Yes I know it’s huge and heavy but I like it! Oh well, out it went.

Since he went through my stuff, it was my turn to go through his. I found two darts! They didn’t have a tip, but had weights on the ends of them. I asked him if he’d used them at all and he said no, and then reluctantly put them in the send home pile.

We camped at our lunch spot because we only had about 3 miles to the parking lot to be picked up tomorrow.

Day 41
Miles: 3

For some reason, upon waking up all of us had to poop. Off we went to dig our cat holes and we ate our breakfasts when we returned.

The four of us hiked to Oak Fork Campground where Sherry was picking us up. We weren’t waiting for very long but Mousetrap and B- created this game called second dart. I think the darts came out because we went through his bag yesterday.

Second Dart: You need two darts without tips, they have some weight to them. Two people stand across from each other about 50 yards away. The first dart is lobbed at the person to try to hit them. With the second dart, the person who is getting thrown at, must close their eyes. They are wearing sunglasses for “eye protection”. The whole thing has been very entertaining to watch.

When we arrived in Bend, Meghan met up with her friend Lexi to run errands while Mousetrap, B- and I collected our send home gear and tried to understand what food we needed for this next section. Mousetrap only sent home one dart so he could still play second dart. I, again, decided to send home my raincoat. We’ll see if I regret this decision a second time.

We went to the post office and sent home our stuff and then went grocery shopping. We also bought ice cream to eat after dinner tonight.

In terms of hiking: our initial plan was to start at Pamala Lake and hike south to Shelter Cove Resort from there. This would be about a 6 day food carry. But new fires have developed and the PCTA assumes that the section between Santiam Pass and McKenzie Pass will be closed soon. That’s another 20 miles. So our new plan consists of getting dropped off at Santiam Pass tomorrow morning and hiking those 20 miles tomorrow before it closes. Of course we’re still bringing 6 days of food. We already bought it, we can just eat more now.

After we finished our chores, Sherry dropped us off in the Old Mill District so we could go on our float trip on the Deschutes river. We brought beer and fried chicken. We were definitely a sight for sore eyes. Mousetrap stayed in his sun hoodie and long pants, B- was in his long sleeve, and I had on my tree sap shorts and sports bra.

After a long hard couple days of relaxing, we ordered pizza and watched the olympics. It was a wonderfully relaxing evening and sleeping in a comfortable bed really put me in a deep sleep.

Day 42
Miles: 9

This morning continued to be very relaxing. We ate ice cream, leftover pizza, eggs and toast for breakfast. We relaxed and talked until we began to get antsy. It had been a while since we weighed our backpacks and ourselves. My pack is sitting at 16 lbs with everything in it but food and water. My 6 day food supply is also 16 lbs. So with food I’m caring about a 32 lb pack, before water. I honestly thought this wasn’t bad at this point in the game. Especially compared to what I started with.

In terms of cutting pack weight, and if I had researched more into tents, I would have loved to come across and purchase a one trekking pole tent instead of the X-Mid 1P that uses two. I mean come on, I have one hand, I don’t need a second pole. Although I do love the tent. The footprint is a little large having two vestibules, but it’s holding up so nicely. On top of that I don’t need a 70L bag or a size medium, I’m definitely a small. My thinking before was “I can make it work, I’m coming out of college I don’t need the best things.” I overlooked how necessary it is that something fits properly. I’m learning so much out here and I think it’s good that I know what I will change for next time! And hopefully my mistakes will push someone else to make the right decision the first time.

Update: I found a used backpack on EBay that is a Hyperlight Southwest 2400, so 45L that is a size small!! I’m going to clean up and sell my big one when I get home. This one that fires is already feeling so much better on me.

We packed up, made the mandatory stop to the last Blockbuster, and got on trail. Santiam Pass to McKenzie is super closed, but sure why the PCTA is still saying it’s open. There was a Ranger sitting at the trail head making sure nobody goes north. So now we have missed 100 miles in total. We have decided that we’re all going to come back as a group and do it in the future.

Entering McKenzie Pass there was some volcanic rock walk. It was hard on my feet but it was so cool to see how much of it there was. I’m bummed I missed the transition from forest to volcano. But I’ll be back.

Upon entering the three sisters wilderness, there was thundering and lightning (did you catch I sent my raincoat home yesterday). It only ended up being a very slight drizzle. But oh the irony.

I’m behind the boys a little and I sit down to take a break for a second and someone just appears next to me! It’s Grace!! I haven’t seen her since I was leaving Mazama. She said she was booking it because she saw a girl and was excited to see another one! She asked who I was hiking with and when I said Mousetrap and B- she was so excited to see them again!!

We got to our camping spot and set up our tents. We sat together and cooked. Grace informed us she really has only been eating Mac and Cheese and hasn’t really been pooping. So there was the discussion about calling her Cheese Plug. She quickly vetoed that name, but we all had a great laugh.

Day 43
Miles: 24

It has been such a great day. Seeing the three sisters up close has been magical. I’m still confused where the middle sister is. I could see the three when entering from McKenzie Pass, but right next to them I was having a hard time figuring out which is which.

There was obsidian everywhere when walking through Three Sisters Wilderness. The ground was beautiful as the sun hit the obsidian and it sparkled.

I received my first trail message delivered by Pizza Brick from The Pharmasist and Mountain House. They told me to hurry up so I can hike and play Pokémon with them. I remember them telling me they were going to get Gameboys in Portland and play the early games on them.

I was the last to arrive at Reese Lake (listed as a pond in Guthook) and the others had already gone swimming. But of course I went in – the water felt great!

After hanging out at the lake I hiked with Grace into Elk Creek Lodge. When we got to the trailhead we saw a dog and went to say hello. The two owners of the dog gave us Starbucks instant vanilla lattes. It was so kind and we were so excited to drink our treat tomorrow morning.

At Elk Creek Lodge we ordered dinner and beer. I had chili and clam chowder. Mousetrap ordered a burger and then two kids meal grilled cheeses, and the mac and cheese. So we also had to help him finish that. I was so full after this stop.

We waddled out to an open space to camp – we couldn’t make it 2 miles. I felt like I was going to throw up from eating too much. But after laying down I felt so much better.

Day 44
Miles: 22

Today was another wonderful day. The trees are beautiful. I woke up still full from the night before. Grace and I made our vanilla lattes and shared them with Mousetrap and B-. We began hiking as a group and the hike immediately started with laughter. This is how it should be – fun.

We took many morning stops and went swimming in Horseshoe Lake. It was muddy but the water was perfect. After our swim, Grace and I listened to my favorite podcast to listen to right now – This Podcast Will Kill You. We listened to the Giardia episode because what better way to spend this time other than learning about the common backpacker parasite. It was interesting that a significant number of people who get Giardia are asymptomatic. So those that don’t filter their water and say they haven’t gotten sick definitely could have had the parasite.

The four of us separated throughout the rest of the day but we kept sending messages to each other via the NOBOs. Some really thought it was funny, but we learned later other messages were never delivered. We figured it was a win if the four of us and the NOBO were all laughing. The best was when Grace and I asked a NOBO to tell B- and Mousetrap to get a job. I learned later that he walked up to them with a huge grin on his face.

I also had my fill of huckleberries today. I really can’t stop. They’re so good!!

About 5 miles from the campsite we decided on we all met up and collected water and ate more food. We’ve been seeing each other off and on but this was a good spot to sit and relax. We all casually walked the last few miles into camp together, stopping to chat with some NOBOs along the way.

For whatever reason, I was in charge of picking the campsite so I picked the sites a bit off trail right on Irish Lake as opposed to down the trail. It’s a beautiful site with lots of room and easy Lake access. We set up our tents and began cooking dinner. I made my favorite ramen with freeze dried veggies, soy sauce, coconut oil, olive oil, and the newest edition – peanut butter! It was delicious and I’ll be making it again. I also ate other snacks like tuna, summer sausage, dried cranberries, biscoff cookie butter on a tortilla, and cheese.

These last few days have been so wonderful and I’m excited to go into Shelter Cove Resort tomorrow. I think it’ll be a lot of fun. It’s also a good change of pace to feel excited to go in instead of just feeling like I need it because I’ve usually been so dead tired. It’s a refreshing feeling and I’m happy to run with it.

Day 45
Miles: 25

As I started heading out and I was learning about the origin of zombies. It has to do with voodoo in Hedi and the poison in puffer fish! I caught up with B- and we started chatting about it. All four of us were around each other for most of the day. And all day was really pleasant hiking. We took a few much needed breaks throughout the heat of the day.

We realized we weren’t going to make it in time to get food and beer so when I found that I had service I messaged The Pharmacist, Wahoo and Cyborg if they’d grab beer and pizza for us. The store was closing at 6pm and the food at 7pm.

I took not getting there on time as a challenge. I wanted to see if I could order beer and have more waiting for my buddies. So I was FLYING down the mountain! I ended up running into Free For All going NOBO to make up some miles. I didn’t even recognize him going NOBO. I convinced him to join me for pizza and beer at shelter cove. He turned around then we were both booking it.

We made it in time and we both ordered burgers. I’m glad I did because the pizza was fairly small for the four of us.

After consuming food and setting up our tents in the camping section (there were SO many tents). We joined the rest of the hikers on the doc to listen to music and chat. Some stayed late, some went to bed early. I have enjoyed making new friends even if I won’t ever see them again.

Day 46
Miles: 0

Today was an accidental zero. I showered and did laundry in the morning after eating delicious pancakes. Unfortunately, I missed my shirt and some wonderful NOBOs let me put it in with their laundry because there was only one machine working. The rest of the day consisted of drinking beer and making friends.

At the end of the night, someone was cooking hot dogs for us hikers and two NOBOs played music for everyone. One had a lightweight guitar and the other a flat drum. The weather was perfect and there weren’t any mosquitoes. I’m glad we took the zero today.

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