Mile 1977 to 1992
We wake late, but dry which is a very nice change. I filter water from the way too warm to seem normal lake while Kevin tends to his feet. As we hike out I again notice footprints we have been following since early yesterday. There is a deer, a dog and a barefoot small person. I have no idea if they are related but I expect to turn the corner and see someone in rolled up blue jeans, a straw hat and a corncob pipe. At the lava fields the prints disappear. I fear the small person will perish in this rugged moonscape. I feel better when I think perhaps it is actually a juvenile Sasquatch from the known colony, in which case he is probably fine, but the deer and dog he’s hunting are done for.
To plan a massive trail like the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail requires a great deal of coordination and compromise. I imagine in the meeting someone said “Oregon has some really neat lava fields, we should route the trail near it so people can see it.” Then someone else said “In order to really appreciate the rugged beauty and texture we should route the trail through a small portion.” Then someone else said “Or we could twist and turn the trail through miles and miles and miles of lava until their shoes are completely destroyed, their feet bloodied, and they cry like little babies for mercy.” So why did that guy’s argument prevail?
Along the trail we meet a 78 year old section hiker who is really struggling. I ask if he is all right. When he describes his back pain I ask if he has Ibuprofen. He says “No but that could really help.” I call out to Kevin, who has a stash for his feet. I pour about 6 into the man’s hand, thinking it will last until he can get some more, and before I can turn around he pops all 6 into his mouth and swallows. I said “Did you just eat all 6 of those?” He smiled. I said “I really don’t want to be responsible for your kidney failure.” He just smiled again.
Because we are running a little under in planned daily mileage, we need a little boost in the food department. Every southbounder we meet raves about the Big Lake Youth Camp. It is a Seventh Day Adventists church camp that is very friendly to PCT hikers. They offer WiFi, power, showers, laundry and the same vegetarian meals they serve the youth campers. It is all offered for free though donations are appreciated. Tonight we are served a bean burrito bar with everything you can imagine including cheese, rice, fresh avocado, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, lettuce and salsa. Kevin and I are ready to join the church and move in.
I call Daniel and he tells me he and Cindy have just crossed into Washington, to start their new life. I tell him he needs to get out there and put out those Washington fires so we can make it to Canada.
After dinner we pitch our tents on the shore of Big Lake next to Ixnay. Tomorrow, if Kevin’s feet will allow, we hope to get in some bigger miles.