Day 111 mile 2015.1 – 2040.4

Elevation: ascent 4,492 ft, descent 5,012 ft

As we rose from the tent this morning we were greeted by about 6 deer who were all scouring the campsite for “salt”. It’s gotten pretty comical out here as the deer creep from one tree to another waiting for hikers to relieve themselves in the woods.

The sunrise made for some great pictures as we left Rock Pile Lake. Our morning was spent ascending a little as we were heading into Jefferson National Forest. The hiking this morning was through some pretty forests and the trail was lined with wildflowers once again.

Right before we got to the view of Mt Jefferson we ran across a hiker heading southbound. As we approached him, he declared “I know you guys!”. Turns out this hiker Greg is a former colleague of P’s (who provide us with trail magic at Humbolt Pass) and he recognized us from our blog. Seriously, what are the odds that we would run into him while out on the trail, especially since he was only on the PCT for a very short segment. Being recognized out here by people we have never met is pretty cool. Right before going into Bend we were recognized by a SOBO hiker, Safari, which I had forgotten to mention. After chatting with Greg a little we continued our hike until we got to a corner and had our first up close glimpse of Mt Jefferson. Both Double Down and I were reminded of Mt Shasta when we saw it. Just stunning!!!

We stopped for breakfast at a smaller pond but had great views of Mt Jefferson. We even saw Terminator and Dallas who had stopped there for breakfast as well.

Breakfast spot

After breakfast we continued to have views of Mt Jefferson, as well as views to the west over dense forests that were only broken up by lakes and ponds. We did traverse and area where there was an apparent avalanche in the past.

Then it happened again! We found ourselves in a very large burn area. I was told by Greg earlier today that this burn goes all the way back to 2003 and really devastated this area of forest. There definitely was a lot of fire weed in the area. It is also when we stopped for a quick snack and to refill our water. There was a fairly large toad who I don’t think enjoyed us using his water source.

Not having much shade we decided to push on hoping we could find a shady spot for lunch. We reached Milk Creek which is a creek fed by glacier melt from up on Mt Jefferson. This crossing was fairly easy. It was Russel Creek which provided us a little more excitement. Reports had said there were logs you could cross on, but when we arrived those logs were under water. So we got to cross right at the trail, meaning wet feet. Terminator and Dallas were there and we all crossed at the same time. With the glacier melt and dirty water we really had to use our poles to inspect the bottom and determine where to step. After crossing Double Down and I had to clean out our shoes from all of the silt in the water.

Milk Creek
Link, Double Down, Dallas, Terminator after stream crossing

After our exciting river crossing we continued up hill which is normally a bit slower for us, but today it became even slower as we both were stopping frequently to grab ripe blackberries just off the trail. Wow, these things might be small compared to store bought ones but the flavor was so much better.

We had hiked about 15 miles by 1:30 and only had 10 to go. However, those last 10 took almost as long as the 15. The trail got really steep and rocky making it hard to walk with tripping every other step. We did find ourselves hiking almost all the way around Mt Jefferson and could really see the glaciers better on the north side.

We crossed over into Hood Wilderness and got our first view of Mt Hood way off in the distance. We also found a few snow patches we had to cross. Crazy to think that it’s mid August and we are running into snow again!!

Mt Hood way in the distance

We reached camp around 6:45 and were joined by Terminator and Dallas. It was fun getting to know them better. We even found out that this will be Terminator’s Triple Crown if he finishes the PCT. This means he will have completed all three long hikes in the USA, the Appalachian Trail (AT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Quite the accomplishment!

A little side note. About a week back while hiking through Sisters Wilderness I had a sharp pain in my shin while hiking down a relatively mundane section. Well it turned into shin splints basically. I used the time in Bend to rehab and treat myself. The symptoms seemed to improve but came back once out on the trail again. I know what I would tell me if I was a patient. “You need to rest it and not hike 22-25 miles a day, and you really shouldn’t be trying to hike 650 miles on it.” Well they always say physical therapists are the worst patients! I am trying to treat myself, so I can continue to hike, which includes taping, massage and anti-inflammatory. We will see how it goes. I don’t plan on letting this stop me from getting to Canada (the stubbornness in me 🤣), but I also don’t want to cause a serious injury either. I will keep you abreast of how it is going over the next few weeks.

Thanks for following along! Link