Had a nice cool morning walk without too much moon rock, but it was through a very large burn area. My friend, Pat, from Jacksonville, took off work early to come all the way out to Santiam pass to pick me up and we had a nice lunch at a brewery in Sisters, then he took me back to his place and we had dinner with his girlfriend. It’s been a very good day.
This morning was not as cold as yesterday, despite being at a higher elevation. I slept in a little, but still managed to get out at 6:30. There was some more lava rock to walk, but my spirits were higher and my feet a little more refreshed. I saw only four hikers all morning, and about eighty percent of the forest was burn area. The few areas that were not burned just pointed out how fantastic the forest used to be here. Fire ruins an area for decades.
I was eager to get a cell signal to be able to text Pat and let him know my ETA at Santiam pass. I had told him yesterday that I thought it would be around 2 PM. But the morning was going so smoothly that it looked like it would be closer to noon. All of the cell towers were to the east, but the trail was on the west side of the mountains so all morning I had bupkiss for signal. Finally, about three or four miles from the pass, I was able to get a signal and text him that I thought it would be closer to 1 PM. I knew it would be a while before I could get something to eat, so I wanted to have an extra hour to cook lunch.
Lunch took about 45 minutes and allowed my feet some time to recover from the lava. Ramen noodles and dried fruit taste pretty good when you are hungry. I was running low on water and it was starting to get warm, but I still had enough to last the rest of the day so I skipped loading up at the lake just before the highway.
I got to the highway just before 1 PM and it was a very busy highway. There was no shoulder for cars to stop to pick you up. Another hiker arrived just after I did and found a sign someone had left for hitchhiking. That’s Boy Scout you see in the picture hitching into Sisters. It took him close to an hour to get a ride, but he did get one.
I noticed there was a trailhead turnoff just down the road and the trail intersected with he trailhead just 0.2 miles ahead. I texted Pat to let him know that was a good place to park and that’s where I would be. Pat showed up just after two and he had not changed a bit. I recognized him immediately.
He took me to Sisters and we stopped at the local brewery for a bite to eat. I had a calzone and a flight of beer and it was great. Sisters itself was a bit touristy, so I’m glad I didn’t end up staying there.
Pat took me back to his place and showed me around. It was amazing to see the trees change from ponderosa to juniper in just a very short distance. I got to meet his girlfriend,.Kelly,.and their dog, Mable. Mable is just nine months old and full of energy. She’s a really cool dog and incredibly smart for such a young puppy.
Kelly had made dinner of chicken pot pie which was fantastic. We had a couple of beers and talked about the old days around the neighborhood and of the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Pat had completed the AT in 1984 and gave me alot of pointers back in 1989 when I first hiked the trail. He had hiked the PCT a few years later, but when he got to Bend, he bought a mountain bike and rode to San Francisco. I had always thought that he was going south to north, but he was going north to south. So collectively, the two of us together had hiked the PCT already. Too bad I can’t just stop now. Nah, I’m ready to finish this thing. I’m just a mile and a half from 2000 miles, and then it’s just another 650 to Canada. Yep, I’m ready to finish this thing.