I took the morning off.
I had found a little slice of paradise at the Refuge, and wasn’t in a hurry to go hiking quite yet. My night by the rushing creek was very peaceful, and when I woke in the middle of the night to go pee, i stared at the sky for a good long while. More stars than I had seen…probably ever. And the Milky Way glowed bright in the sky.
When nature called early, as it usually does, I went to the privy, and then over to the hotsprings for an early soak. Again I had it all to myself, and could feel the heat soaking into my bones. I went back to my camp, popped my latest round of blisters (I wanted to wait until after my soak so I would have any open wounds in the water) and then went back to sleep for a few hours. Bilss!
It was almost 9 when I woke up the second time, and heard Joan and Mark moving around, so I went over and returned their cup I had used for wine the night before. I also gave them an ODT sticker I had with me, my only real way of saying thanks at this point. Joan immediately offered me a muffin, some figs and a few gronola bars. They were headed out for a day of wildlife viewing, and i hope to see them in Bend sometime soon.
I returned to my tarp, made coffee, ate the muffin and the rest of the berries they gave me last night, and started to read my book. I had picked up “Child of the Steens Mountain” (a signed copy!) by Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker in the Frenchglen Mercantile. It was slim, and I wanted something to read about the area I’m hiking through. It’s a sweet tale of growing up in a shepherding family in the 20s and 30s near Fields and the Steens.
I lay about in the shade for the next few hours willing my blisters to dry out and toughen up before hiking out in the afternoon.
I love hiking in the refuge. Because is hasn’t been grazed or burned (at least in a while…) the plant and animal variety were incredible. It seemed lush, and there was very little cheat grass or invasive weeds.
I had a break at an old homestead, and thought I could easily live here. With a spring a mountain, and a meadow what more could you want?
I kept walking, Guano Creek was lovely and lined with aspen trees. The air smelled the sweet aspen smell and reminded me of Colorado.
I came to a stand of pines. Ponderosa I think. It was the first I had seen these trees! This was the site of camp Warner, I believe an old military camp. I need to read up on the spot. While I was there a white Fish and Wildlife pickup pulled up. I met Dave who works for Oregon F & W, he works out of Hines and was checking on fish in Guano Creek. We had a nice chat, then I sat down for a late lunch. Tomatoes, a kiwi, and figs, compliments of Joan! That’s all I really want to eat out here: fruits and veg, but that’s the hardest thing to find. There has been little to no produce in any on the towns/stores I’ve visited.
I walked a few more miles, noted a discrepancy between what’s on the ground and on the map…a minor change to make back in the office. I’ve been making lots of notes of things I want to add to the trail resources, for example today I passed 4 outhouses! All with toilet paper! It’s the white gold and can make a world of difference to know it’s there if you are in need.
I pulled up for the night in some trees at the base of a ridge. When the wind blows the mosquitos arn’t bad, but I may have to put up my netting tonight.
Nice way to learn the area and maintain mind and body.. it isn’t always about speed.
Hope you were able to hold off those mosquitoes.
Always enjoy your posts, but this one was special – felt like I was there. So many phrases I could relate to (e.g. When the wind blows the mosquitos arn’t bad). Thanks again for sharing. Sure you don’t want me to send your some special coffee flavoring?
Thanks Pete! It’s great to hear that these posts are hitting home! I’m done with this section now, but I would take some of your delicious Kalua on.my next trip!