1974 – 1984
I didn’t sleep as hard as I’d thought I would. Turns out I like the sound of rain on a roof but not on a tent roof. In the morning, everything was wet. My gloves, my socks, everything. My lighter wouldn’t light my stove. My emergency matches had gotten damp. My fingers ached. That was the worst, my cold cold fingers. Taking down the tent and stuffing it in the sack was terrible. I would grit my teeth, do a cold thing as fast as I could, and then stick my hands down my pants to warm up my fingers. Many tears later, I was finally back on trail. I’m so glad I did the overnight when I did, so I only had to do that awful morning once.
I thought my fingers would never warm up inside my wet gloves. Eventually though, the walking warmed me up. I don’t know if I got dry. I think I just warmed up all the water near my body till it was less uncomfortable.
Two miles from the highway, the path tuned to lava rocks. The super bumpy kind that suck to walk on. My shoes felt as thin as moccasins. Did Native Americans walk on these sucky rocks? Did they make special shoes for lava rock walking? Maybe they were just smart and decided Hey these rocks suck, don’t walk there.
I met some day hikers and their dog. The dog was carrying a rock in his mouth and quivering with excitement. His people were unprepared for rugged wilderness. That last bit before the parking lot always seems so long. It reminded me of the approach to Donner Pass, that ankle-turner path down. That was when I was rushing down to meet my parents. Wouldn’t it be great if my parents were waiting for me at this highway? Whoops, that made me cry some more.
I didn’t have to wait long to catch a ride. I walked up the pavement to the observatory/castle and met someone driving down to Sisters. I am so grateful that hipster Oregon coffee dudes do not shy away from giving rides to random frozen hikers. The heater in that car was awesome!
Sisters, Oregon doesn’t do budget hotels. I ended up at Sisters Bunkhouse. (Which was totally meant to be, because my sister and I lived in a bunkhouse for many years. It had a sink but no bathroom. On cold nights, instead of running the 5 steps outside to the bathroom, we would squat at the back door. Eventually we killed all the grass, small sacrifice to stay warm.) This would be a perfect place to stay if you were coming to the Sisters Outdoor Quilting Show next July. Totally serious, it sounds dope.
The waiter was right about the carnitas.