Thursday I rolled into town to do my wash then head out for a 2 night backpack trip in the 3 Sisters wilderness. Clean clothes and the wet ones drying on the line I headed out to Six Lakes TH. I have been knibbling on the eastern edge of the wilderness which is easy to get into because the boundary is almost on the paved Cascade Lakes Highway. I packed my pack up @ the TH. I wanted to go 2 nights for a longer stay and the packing up and setting up another camp. Going for 1 night meant that civilized comfort was just a hike away the next day. I chose the Mink Lakes Basin loop. I hiked 5 miles in to the PCT intersection. New routed wooden signs have been placed at some of the PCT intersections. At this junction I encountered 3 PCT thru hikers. No conversations, they just trudged on. Head down, gotta make miles. PCT is well worn and dusty. My boots irritated both little toes, darn.
I hiked to Corner Lake for the night. I found a used camp spot and spilled the contents of my pack and set up camp.
I bush bashed thru the woods till I found a log laying in the lake to allow me to reach deeper water for my water filter intake. I pumped my 2 water bladders full. Today I use my new Neo Air thermorest sleep pad. I put it in my old chair that was designed for a short pad, the new mattress is 72″ long. Lots of extra stuffing. Fits but the new one allows for the full length. The chair provides much appreciated lower back support to lean against. I sat on my big pillow. I put my MSR Whisperlite stove between my feet, food bags on the left and kitchen stuff on the right. My dinners are a glop of various dried foods with some meat mixed in. After can’t see I crawled into my tent and sat in my chair reading by headlight. Too much inflation raises my head to the tent ceiling. Sleeping on the ground means getting down on hands and knees to crawl into tent then working my way into my sleeping bag. I am using a Wiggys 20 degree bag which is too warm for these nights but that’s what I have. The mattress is full length and is 2.5″ thick. I laid down to comfort. I found when I breathed in and out the mattress seemed to rise and fall. I ignored the rocking and fell asleep. I wrestle getting comfortable in the bag. Tent floor is black as is the sleeping bag. I had left the screen door open. As I was working my sleeping bag around in the dark I felt an electric jolt to my right ankle. It was a bald faced hornet that blended in w/ the black. Lesson learned: keep the screen zipped shut.
Enjoyed the sleep. I fixed cowboy coffee and oatmeal then cleaned up my kitchen. I packed everything back in my pack leaving nothing but boot scuff marks. Today I walk north a ways to pick up a trail that will connect to the PCT then a few miles south on the PCT to Dumbbell Lake that Halfmile showed was a camp spot.
I checked my little toes before pulling on my socks. A blister is in the same place on both toes, same as previous break in hikes created. I pulled out first aid supplies to affect some kind of relieve. My moleskin lost some of its adhesive and the tape was hard to spool off. The blisters did not offer places to create a washer to protect the blisters. I worked on the boot lacing. In the end I garnered no relief. The boots are eating my toes and causing pain w/ each step.
I followed the little used trail and an unsigned intersection till I found the PCT. I use backcountry Navigator and downloaded the USGS maps for my hike. I also downloaded Halfmile’s map. His is a gps track of the actual trail which was accurate compared to the USGS map which created some navigation problems. I hiked south against the grain of thru hikers as I wanted to encounter some.
I found Dumbell Lake and a lesser used camp spot within sight of the trail. I watched hikers heading north w/ their heads down and completely missed seeing me. I counted over 15 hikers that day. Several hikers camped nearby but I stayed by myself. I filtered water. I walked around the lakes bush bashing. At one point i upset 3 yellow jackets that attacked me and stung me. I feared I stepped into a nest. I broke in panic, threw away my hiking poles, and squashed the 3 stingers. I contemplated jumping into the lake for escape. Not necessary. I cautiously stepped back into the brush to retrieve my poles then slithered away. No more stings. Typical fall time activity for the yellow jackets.
Another night of comfort. Broken clouds obscured almost full moon. At 3:00AM I woke up w/ a bladder that needed emptying. I crawled out avoiding leg cramping. I watched a big cloud move to block the moon. I fell back to sleep till I heard and felt rain hitting the tent. Good rain. I laid in bed watching rain roll off the tent. The sealed seams stayed dry which was a test. I stayed dry. I packed up what stuff I could. I ate a bagel. I put on my rain parka and stepped into the weather. Rain was abating but appeared to be threatening. I chose not to fix a hot breakfast while standing in the rain. I packed up my wet tent.I was underway by 7:30. I passed the camps of 2 hikers who were still a bed.
My feet really hurt. Today I hiked about a mile on the PCT till the trail junction back to the TH. Hobbled was the operative word. The boot fit bums me out as I wore them previously several times in an attempt to acclimate my feet to the boots and vice versa. Rain quit. As I headed east away from the Cascade Crest less rain had fallen. The PCT was nicely dampened but not muddy. Great traction. I made it to almost the TH when a string of 6 horse riders each pulling a pack horse approached. I stepped off the trail. Once back on the tread it was broken up and loose again from all the hooves. Back at the van I kicked off the boots to my feet’s relief.
I drove back to Bend and stopped @ SNAP for a shower.
REI has a happy feet program that allows a buyer a year to be happy w/ purchased foot wear. And I took them up on it. I exchanged my boots for a lesser burly Keen Durrand pair. More fabric construction and a big toe box.
At REI outside a hiker was hanging working on his pack. A thru hiker. He hitched into town to REI to buy a new pair of shoes. Seems most of the thru hikers are wearing trail runner shoes for lightness sacrificing comfort and durability. Flying slippers is what I called them back in’78 only w/ today’s technology they are superior to what I carried then.
I drove to SNAP which is on the west end of town. Sun was shining and a brisk breeze was blowing. I unpacked my pack. My plastic ground sheet had rain water and conifer needles all over. I spread it into the sun and wind and watched the water drops evaporate. I ended up pitching my tent on the nice manicured grass to dry.
10 Barrel beer and a deli take out from Newport Market then drove out to my camp spot.
My living space is in disarray as my back packing stuff is scattered about. Stuff is cleaned and dried ready for the next trip.
The probiotics I have eaten have quelled my stomach pain. Further down the track happiness has spread. No word from DRs about blood work or stool cultures.
I have been hiking in climax forests, old growth, never logged. Living hetero aged trees. Forest floor might have huckleberry bushes but no thick underbrush to bash thru. Living, dying, standing dead, and fallen dead trees abound. Tall. And not a stump to be seen. Nature as man has left alone.
So, you have this hot performing car and you are driving well above the speed limit. A cop pulls you over for breaking the law. You are being sited for lack of compliance to posted rule. The cop prolly isn’t concerned about how upset you might be. Your buzz got harshed. Rules keep us safe when followed. I feel the same way about horses being ridden on trails closed to horses. Only there are no trail cops.
Monday I have an ortho appointment to learn why my shoulder doesn’t work. I have a followup PT session on 9/8.
Weather forecast called for showers in the AM followed by clearing. Perhaps some rain wetting Maston trails for an afternoon ride on a fixed post. I did ride on Wed out there. I missed not dropping my seat.