Day 15 – 9 miles (274.5 miles total)

Shall we just round up to 275 miles?

Third section hike of the ODT done! I have about 68 miles left to have completed the entire trail…the Steens section I skipped due to hamburger feet in June, and the 13 miles I skipped yesterday. So close!

I didn’t sleep well last night. It was one of those times where I pleaded with my brain to turn off so I could sleep, but it kept chewing on thoughts half the night.

I woke with the first glow along the horizon as has become custom on this hike. I watched the day arrive while I drank coffee and read hilarious and depressing comments on last night’s presidential debate on my phone.

About 9am Heidi and Gena arrived at the trailhead with Ferris who would be hiking with me today. Heidi helped to shuttle a car to the end so the 3 of us could easily return to town after our 9 mile hike. I was happy to have Gena, ONDA’s Central Oregon conservation staff member, hike with me today to share her expertise about the Badlands with our guest reporter, Ferris. The Badlands are a wilderness area 15 miles east of Bend that ONDA successfully protected in 2009. Ancient Juniper trees and 80,000 Lava flows make this area unique and the perfect start (or end) to the Oregon Desert Trail experience.

Ferris is a science writer working on a story for Travel Oregon due out next spring. This was his first trip to Central Oregon, so we had a good time regaling him with tales of our incredible landscape and the conservation values of our work.

The day was warm…well into the 80’s, and we took periodic rests in spots of shade. The miles passed quickly despite the deep sand and interesting lava formations we kept stopping to explore.

I first hiked this 9 miles with ODT thru-hiker Tomato in 2014, then again a few weeks ago on my first group hike. Why not do it again? It’s such a great place to spend a few hours…and so close to town.

When we made to to the Tumulous Trailhead I had to the the request photo…even though I’m not quite done hiking all the ODT miles, this sign felt pretty good to reach!

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