Leaving Bend, feeling refreshed, I headed north out of Elk Lake towards my ultimate destination of Cascade Locks on the Columbia River.
I was truly impressed with this section of northern Oregon. In my estimation it was the most beautiful part of the state. I had no idea that Oregon had so many big mountains, some of which still held glaciers high on their mountainsides. Most, if not all, of the Cascade Range appears to have been formed by volcanic forces that pushed up mountains and ridges all of the way from Northern California to the Columbia River Gorge on Oregon’s northern border. Needless to say, there were numerous volcanoes, cinder cones and lava fields all along my route. One of the bigger lava fields I crossed was at least five miles wide.
Two days after leaving Bend, I stopped for breakfast and a little rest at the Big Lake Youth Camp. I had heard that it was a terrific place and was not disappointed. The Camp, which is run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, was exceptionally friendly to PCT hikers. In addition to a delicious breakfast they had a special PCT hiker cabin with free showers and laundry. The cabin was a clean modern building where hikers could chill, use free WiFi and charge electronic devices. After a couple hours at the Camp, I pushed on down the trail wanting to make another 15 miles before ending my day.
About six miles beyond the Camp I crossed a paved road and discovered another nice surprise. A trail angel had left a couple dozen cans of cola, three bags of oranges and lots of baked goods. Since the stash of goodies seemed to have been untouched, I suspect I was the first hiker to come across this bounty. What a terrific day I was having. I had a great breakfast to start the day and now trail magic.
Two more days of hiking and I arrived at Olallie Lake. Just off the trail near the shoreline was a small store that had all of the food items I needed to resupply for the next section.
The term food is a bit of a stretch. What I typically eat are energy bars, fig bars, tortillas, peanut butter, tuna, ramen noodles, chips and instant mashed potatoes. After consuming basically the same thing for 2,000 miles, it is difficult for me to get enthusiastic about eating more of these “delicacies.” But they have provided the calories needed to hike around 20 miles per day.
Once I got to Timberline Lodge, which is at the base of Mount Hood, I called my friend Omar who picked me up and took me back to his and Karie’s home for zero day (rest day). It was terrific to see them and their five dogs. After a little time, the dogs seemed to remember me and settle down.
Then it was back to the trail for the final 50 miles to Cascade Locks. As soon as I arrived at the River I headed straight to the Ale House for a celebratory beer for having hiked Oregon. Washington is all that is left!!!