The boots were carnivorous

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.

Corner Lake
Corner Lake

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.

PCT in old growth
PCT in old growth

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.

Smokey and hot

I made Monday a rest day. I checked w/ Sunnyside to learn that my post was going out UPS to a QBP service center. Worst case it is a black hole. I installed the Thomson rigid post and avoided thinking of riding.

Tues. AM I received another therapeutic massage, this time by another guy using no elbows. He spent some time on my shoulder. He said that he believes the proper muscles are attached sufficiently. Perhaps I had been going for the gusto in my performing the exercises. I changed to work in a smaller range of motion which is really where the affected muscles need to work.

Tues afternoon I scored a DR appointment to understand what’s going on in my digestive system. Just waiting for results of fecal cultures. She told me to get back on probiotics. Tuesday was very smokey.

I lost my favorite spot for 2 nights to a white Sprinter. I slept at option 2.

Wed the forecast called for a window from the smoke and haze between 11 and 1:00. I made plans to hit Maston in that window.

I made a power point slide using 2 previous posted pics as an educational tool for horse riders.

Maston was clear and hot, in 80’s, and had the trails to myself. I missed the seat dropper several places because I had one. Riding high is foreign. Not a comfortable change riding a riding post keeping my body so high. 13 miles.

I stopped at Nature’s grocery for probiotics. I asked for help and received an education from a knowledgeable clerk on digestive flora. I have a protocol of strains. Perhaps gut problem is bacteria missing.

Tues night @1o Barrels a woman sat outside w/ a guitar in her hand and at her feet was a suspected PCT pack. Yes, she, 20yo, was hiking the PCT w/ her bf. I hefted her pack which had food for the next stretch to the gorge. Heavy. She said her core pack weighs about 25lbs; my 30lbs is acceptable. Great visiting w/ a thru hiker. Time came for her to leave to walk to meet her friends and she just hoisted the pack w/ little effort on to her back and walked away.

Ah, corn squeezings and medical marijuana makes for clumsy key strokes. I’ll sleep well later.

My back feels up to a backpack trip. Tomorrow I will review systems and if in accord I will head out for a 2 day backpack trip in the 3 Sisters Wilderness. Forecast calls for slight chance of showers. Will hike a few PCT miles on my loop.

I finished Go Set a Watchman.


Can’t keep it up

Whoa…. never said that. maybe I did. This time it applies to my KS Lev seat dropper post. And what an annoyance a failing dropper post is. Friday while riding Maston I noticed that after I actuated the lowering command and asked the post to return the saddle to end of range length it returned but upon continued sitting upon the saddle I noticed it wasn’t keeping up. Web Cyclery cleaned things up a bit and told me to go ride; however, if the post dropped on its own that a factory installed cartridge would be required. Hope springs eternal from a returning spring.   Did a big ride on Sat and I learned that my seat dropped after pedaling a few strokes. The cleaning fix, while perhaps being needed (ever seen my bike), did not cure the flacidness. My riding does not stimulate the dropper. I bailed on the ride to save my knees.

Friday I rode Maston again. Nobody to share trails with. Fun riding playing w/ bike and body to carve turns and climb over rocks. My shoulder tells me afterwards that all is not happy. The deal is the tendons are attached but the muscles that run between the tendons are not firing either because they have been asleep for so long or that there was never enough muscle to work with. The humerus rattles around like a BB in a beer can.

Sat I bought a shoulder brace with expectations that I could mechanically force the humerus into its socket thus reducing pain and damage. I need help to properly adjust the brace, my first use might have helped but my right arm pit was chaffed.

Sat afternoon I received a text from friend Randy from Spokane. He and wife Lisa were returning  home passing thru Bend. Randy taught me how to send my location to his phone and that Google maps would give him driving instructions. I gave him my Phils spot. He rolled in about 11:00PM. We stayed up for a short while talking before the heavy eyelids called us to our beds. In the morning Randy shared a sweet melon and I brewed him  a cup of cowboy coffee. I have known Randy for long years from back in Spokane, Lisa not so long but still a connection from what I used to be. Old friends  are special because we have such history, more than from a lengthy road visit making new friends. Old friends know historical events like a child being added to the family to my loosing my dog.

So, riding Maston is mostly flat but sand when the trails tread is broken up. My confidence is improving. Solution is power to the pedal. returned to Bend for a shower before my 10 Barrel social soiree.

Sat my plan was to return to China Hat and ride the big outer loop. I made the TH and pedaled away. Big 28 mile loop. Somewhere during the climb the post would drop on its own. OhOh. Lower seat height equals squashed knees. I could pedal a few strokes and feel my knees work towards my chest. I’d flick the lever and the post would jump to max length but then settle once my climbing weight was on the saddle. Bummer. I chose the short middle trail to return to my van and save my knees. I called Sunnyside Bikes, one of my go to shops, and learned that the post will need factory service. Bummer. Once ridden a dropper you never want to ride a fixed post again.

Today was a rest day which also prevented deep breathing of smoke filled air. I removed my dropper post and gave it to Sunnyside to send to factory. I installed my retained Thomson rigid post.

Professional time consumer I visited at a second hand bookstore downtown. We talked about The Cartel and places that lead the conversation. I moved on to Crows feet Commons in downtown. The Mariners were playing which pulled me to 10 Barrels to watch the game. Soccer and Little League baseball were televised. Place was crowded causing me to not ask for a station change.

At Crows feet I ran into the woman who interviewed me for the TV show. I learned that the new season starts the end of September for the likes of my interview. To me she has this wonderful opportunity to ask questions and learn stuff from whom she interviews. I asked for, and she accepted, an opportunity for me to interview her.

where I stay:

Tuck a way
Tuck a way

Behind the camera:


My lower back still has stiffness issues making standing up and walking a different position. Tomorrow I make another massage appointment to finish off what he started.

Again, just so amazing that there are no fires started by man and no lightning strikes. So dry. Yesterday after I finished my ride up on China Hat road a brisk breeze was blowing hardly any humidity air drying fuels out if there is more moisture to loose. Years ago a guy started a big fire in Spokane cty by dropping a red hot piece of metal from a welding torch onto dry grass. So many people here and so many opportunities for a  mistake. Be safe.

I discovered that La Pine on the average receives 81″ of snow and 21″ of rain. Quite a few cloudy days. I’m 4 properties away from the Deschutes NF. XC ski touring. Not planning on spending a winter.

Mountain bike wheels might over cumulative passings pack the dirt down to a hard surface that rolls so sweetly. Horses, cloven hoofs, and people break up the crust turning the tread into a sand beach. Why separate trails are needed and each user plays on their own trail.

rolled packed firm dirt
rolled packed firm dirt, and how much fun
Horse chop
Horse chop

Both pics are from Maston w/in less than 1/2 mile of each other. W/o separate trails and the adherence to same we riders would be wallowing in the sand instead of floating on top hard packed tread.

Finished The Cartel. Good riddance to such violence caused by market demand. Next is to finish …. Watchman.