Days 72-73 – bend to dumBbell laKe
June 20-21 | SOBO Miles 669.4-705.9
We woke up in Bend to a delicious breakfast of coffee, cheesy scrambled eggs, and toast with strawberry jam courtesy of Molly and John. Molly, on her way to work, then delivered us to (where else but) the Grocery Outlet, where we loaded up on WAY too much food.
Jared, a friend of Store Brand’s scooped us up in his pickup after our shopping spree. Our tour guide of Bend took us to the post office, mountain supply store, Deschutes Brewery, Humm Kombucha bar, and to his favorite lunch spot in town. What a dude! He showed us the summit of Pilot Butte before shuttling us back to the trailhead, and a good time was had by all.
That is, until we got back on trail. The second Jared pulled off, it started to rain. We frantically swapped our puffy jackets for raincoats and were on our way, hoping for clear skies to close out the afternoon.
Nope. 5 miles in, around 6PM, the dark sky opened up and let us have a fierce blizzard/intermittent hail and freezing rain storm, the wind whipping wildly as we walked along a rocky ridge. At one point I took shelter behind a large pine tree to wait for the guys and re-warm my hands in my armpits so I could feel them again.
Wet and cold, we tromped across some easy snowfields until I was completely frozen and called uncle. We set up camp and got to work on our massive food bags, dry and sheltered from the storm outside.
The air was still heavy the next morning when we rolled out. Back we were on the lava fields, but this time we navigated them through snow. We alternated between snow-orienteering on the one hand and trying to skillfully scale up and down steep escarpments of jagged lava rock on the other. A very effective way to wake up!
We passed Obsidian Falls and a few pretty lakes, and before we knew it, we were out of the snow, looking out towards the peaks of Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and Broken Top. Trashcan almost made me cry laughing when he joked about how the bachelor must love being next to three sisters and a topless mountain.
That night we decided to go full send and try for our first 30 mile day. We convened for a Golden Hour dinner before parting ways to slam out the last 5 miles, myself staying behind 5 minutes to call a friend. Well, as I started chatting I clearly got distracted because somehow I took a wrong turn off the PCT that resulted in an extra 1.4 miles of walking through dusk. This being the summer solstice and all (which incidentally is also “international hike naked day”), I luckily had the max possible amount of hours in the day to complete my mission. Of course as it got darker I got clumsier, tripping over a root and giving myself a nice big gash in the knee before all was said and done.
No matter, as I beasted my way through the remaining miles in record time. The sunset was spectacular and by some miracle I got what might have been my fifth wind of the day. I caught the guys at our beautiful lakeside camp spot around 9:30, in just enough time to throw up my tent before last light. It was a cool and windless night. I left with my tent fly door open so I could get all the fresh air, ate one or two protein bars, and passed out. A very happy solstice. And before you ask, no, there weren’t any nude hiker encounters.