PCT: Shelter Cove to Santiam Pass
As I write this we have actually completed Oregon (!) but due to lack of good wifi or reception, the posts are a bit behind. Enjoy this first chunk of catching up! Central Oregon was characterized by a lot of smoke and a lot of lava rock and a lot of deer friends.
Day 106: Shelter Cove to Charleton Lake, 19.90 miles
Nik enjoyed the the gigantic rice crispy that he packed out courtesy of my mom.
Day 107: Charleton Lake to Dumbbell Lake, 22.37 miles
Day 108: Dumbbell Lake to Pond, 20.49 miles
The morning gave us pretty meadows to hike through on the way to Elk Lake where we would make a detour off trail for some real food lunch. My feet were still pretty sore from our new shoes. The newly rigid soles are really beating my feet up.
I took a nice break at a lake that had weekend backpackers camping early, making me jealous since I still had many miles to hike before setting up camp.
Shortly after my break I started to feel weird and sure enough my blood sugar had taken a sudden, steep downturn. I tried to eat some gummies and continue hiking like usual but I only began feeling worse. I ended up eating all of my day’s sugary snacks and then had to sit down and dig out more gummies from deep in my pack. This was a bad low that really depleted my low snacks and left me feeling gross but once my blood sugar started coming up I had to get myself together and continue on before it got too late.
Smoke continuously increased, obscuring what would have been some amazing views in the three sisters wilderness.
At one point I thought I had lost my mind because I saw a horse’s head in the trees. It turned out that a couple of people were camping there with their horses and had secured them to a sort of clothes line in the woods for the night!
A day would not be complete without deer friends!
Day 109: Pond to McKenzie Pass, 20.80 miles
We were treated to beautiful flower fields in the morning. Sometimes it feels like we’re walking through manicured gardens.
For about a quarter mile, the trail was covered in obsidian shards!
We had a nice big climb and it was in endless lava fields. It felt like we were hiking through Mordor.
We ran into a PCT hiker from last year who had come back to do this section since it had been closed for fires last year. He’s from Sisters and even he didn’t realize these expansive lava fields were out here!
We ended the day with…more lava rock! These last couple of miles were loose rocks that threatened to twist your ankle, or at least bruise your foot pads, with every step. I finally hobbled into camp never wanting to see lava rock again.
Day 110: McKenzie Pass to Santiam Pass, 17ish miles
We hustled to get to Big Lake Youth Camp in time for lunch and to pick up a resupply box. Unfortunately, they don’t serve lunch on Saturdays so we hustled for nothing but…
Once we reached Santiam Pass, we instantly scored a hitch into Sisters. Nik had a leaky pad that wasn’t holding the patch and a bug bite had swelled his ankle grotesquely so we decided on an unplanned zero in Sisters (which I’ll never be mad about). My trail name is “sister” after all!
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