Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 126 - Sisters (Santiam Pass) to Milk Creek

OK, I'm finally back on trail. Even though the mess yesterday cost me some time, I'll still get to Cascade Locks on the 20th.
I got a ride up to the trail this morning with Blanche. She picked up two hikers from the Best Western as well, and they turned out to be Fire Cracker & Tidy Camper. They were heading up to McKenzie Pass, to do what I did two days ago - hike up to Sentiam, and hitch back down to town.
On the way up, Blanche told us she is going to southbound Oregon next week, all the way from Cascade Locks to Ashland. What's more impressive is that she never backpacked on her life, and she is 70. I hope she will enjoy the trail.
She just picked a trail name - "Takoda". It's the name of her nephew's restaurant, and she bakes the desserts there. It means "friend to all", in some native American dialect, if I got it right.
I finally started hiking at 8:30. Not a bad time to start, when leaving town. After about 20 minutes, I heard someone say "hello". I did a full 360 and couldn't see anybody around me. I looked again, and saw a hiker standing by his tent, maybe 20 feet to my right. I don't know how I missed him. Strange.
It was a southbounder from Denmark, called Smiles. He wasn't smiling much, because his camera want working. Probably because of the recent rains. He was going to get into Bend and buy a new camera. I hire he found one to his liking.
A bit further, I passed two section hikers while climbing a short climb. At the top I stopped for a snack break at a beautiful vista, and they joined me after a short while. Robert "Down Hill" and Chris "Buck Snort" were both from Tehachapi. They were a few days from finishing the Oregon section, after they have already finished California. Only Washington remains.
The trail had some good views on snowy mountains, and even crossed the first snow patch since getting into Donner Pass, about 900 miles ago. That was exciting.
I made several snack breaks along the way, usually near a water source. But I didn't get any water all through the day. The 3 liters I started with were enough for my entire hike.
I finally reached Milk Creek just after 18:00. I saw two small tent sites just before crossing the creek, but I checked a bit further down the trail, looking for some better place. I couldn't find any, so I got back to the site I saw.
Just before making dinner, I heard some voices from the creek. I headed down there and saw three section hikers. I told them there is some room next to me, but they were going on anyway. They came here to climb up the mountain above the creek, and not hike along the pct. They had some serious climbing gear.
A bit later 4 northbounders passed me. I never met them before, but one of them was called Whistles. I told them that the campsite right next to me is one option, or they might camp at a flat spot next to the stream itself. Going back to the stream later, I saw two of them stayed there. I guess the other two went on further.
Smiles being bummed about his broken camera
Down Hill and Buck Snort
Mt Jefferson