July 25, 2016, Mile 1960: Friends and a Magical Place

At North Mesa Creek, mile 1960

After a lazy morning with Hallie, over coffee(!), we said goodbye. Her goal was to reach Cascade Locks, 2144, in a few short days, to meet her parents. I fully expected to see redshift as she raced past me on the trail.

In more mundane news, my tent body zipper is rapidly reaching the end of its life. I had this problem last year, but figured a good bath would solve the problem.  Four nights in, I realized my hopes were in vain, and my bug mesh was fairly useless. Which is fine, except when you’re in central Oregon in July. Sigh. Pass the picaridin.

Today’s hike began with a hearty uphill. It’s interesting: the uphills here aren’t as steep as some of them at home, but they just seem tougher. No idea why that is. But tomorrow’s schedule is 17 miles and 3000+ foot gain, which is more than double today’s gain.

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At the summit, I met a group of about a dozen folks, who do small sections every year. They invited me to join them for lunch, and I probably sat around for 45 minutes, having a great time and great conversation.

The next stop was Sisters Mirror Lake, where I was able to get water. I met some of the same group, who had come down for water and a quick swim.

After I left Sisters Mirror Lake, I had one of those magical “blammo! in your face!” moments. Suddenly, I was on Wickiup Plain, which is just mile after mile of trail, all along the face of South Sister. At the very edge you can see old lava flows. Today it was sunny and windy, which was a perfect temperature. And there was *nobody* else in site, for miles in all direction. What a privilege. It will be one of the favorite moments of my hike, I’m sure.

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I’m now at North Fork Mesa Creek, 1960, just me, a lovely creek, and my busted zipper. Early morning tomorrow, to get some climbing out of the way before the heat.

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