By not setting my alarm last night, I had pretty much ruled out the option to hike another 35+ mile day to make it to the Flat Iron Rock trailhead by tonight. Yesterday I was driven to see what my limits were, what could I do in a day, and I was happy to have made the miles! If I was on the other side of the state, not within 30 minutes of home, I would have done what I needed to do and gotten up early, but I was close to Kirk and Bend, so sent him a message asking him to meet me at a road crossing about 25 miles ahead. 25 miles is still more than I’ve done the other days I’ve been out here.
I took my time getting going, and it was devine. I’ve been hiking my perfect kind of days out here. No alarm, coffee – unrushed. Maybe a bit of reading or blogging in the morning, then walking…stopping every 2 hours for a break, longer at lunch – with nap of course! In camp by 6ish (now that it gets dark at 7:30…Later in the summer is fine). Some dinner, chores, and reading before hiker midnight at about 8pm. At least that’s how I’ve been rolling lately.
I started walking in the pine forest…it was a calm morning and I saw no people at all. I was now in the Deschutes National Forest, and the route through here sticks to the roads. There were cows about, and that meant some water troughs still had water! I even came across a wildlife guzzler with water.
It was a fairly uneventful day, but at lunch I stopped in the shade of some trees only to have a swarm of bees descend on me. I packed up and moved on, only to have it happen again.
By mid afternoon I was climbing the southside of Pine Mountain. It was hot again, and so dusty I was covered in dirt, especially where I was sweating. Blah.
I made to the observatory where Mark, the manager there, had let me cache water a few weeks before. I retrieved my gallon, filled up water containers, strapped the empty bottle to my pack, and continued down the north side of the mountain.
The old road was steep to get back to the sea of sagebrush below, but finally I was down and within site of the road where Kirk would pick me up.
Just as I was sliding under the last fence and walking down to the road he pulls up! What great timing!
We then drove to the Flatiron rock trailhead and hung out for a few hours. He brought burritos, water and beer. What a man! I had skipped 13 miles of the trail to get here for my hike with the reporter in the morning, but it will be easy to come back and knock out these miles sometime soon. I’m section hiking anyway…works great!
One more day in this section.