I’ve been rocking the socks with chaco look the past few days on any road walks. My feet are blistered enough that I just can’t bear to have them in my shoes, rubbing all those spots raw again and again. This happens to me on every start to a hike. I have soft feet…especially in this pandemic summer when I have been much more sedentary than most summers.
This hike ends tomorrow, just when the blisters are hardening up and preparing themselves for the next phase of hiking. Bringing my chacos gives my feet relief. So much relief. I will never hike without them. Long live sandal hiking!
The morning began with a chill road walk along the South Fork of the Burnt River. There were countless developed and primitive campsites along this stretch, and campers too!
I actually saw blue sky today, I seem to be walking away from the smoke…but it caught up to me mid-morning when strong whiffs of burning started to descend in the river canyon.
Walking next to flowing water all morning is blissful for the background noise and to know I could quench my thirst whenever I wanted to.
As I said, lots of car camping in this stretch, although I noticed with anger some campers having a morning fire. There were “no campfire” signs ALL OVER THE PLACE. Ignorance is not an excuse in extreme fire conditions. NOT COOL.
I continued on, and got water at Last Chance Creek before heading up Thirsty Gulch. Sometimes you have to take your cues where you can get them!
Thirsty Gulch was really an ATV trail (there are a lot of them in the area) before it turned into a giant game of tree gauntlet. Not easy hiking when I was climbing up and around the barriers. And I thought road walking all day would be easy?
So I want to give a shout out to my amazing partner Kirk. Kirk is my rock-solid support. I’m not doing this alone, he has my back. Through texts or InReach messages, I usually check in daily or every other day. He has my route info, and this time of year, is helping me keep an eye on fires in my vicinity. I am much more comfortable out here knowing he is looking out for me and has a general idea of where I am. It allows me to be focused on the hike, and I love that he understands why I like to do these types of adventures by myself. We have plenty of adventures together as well…but as I like to say: he is to rivers like I am to trails…and oh man! We have quite the long-distance river adventure in the hopper sometime soon.
Back to the trail…I thought I’d have an early day today, and just have a few miles remaining to cruise into Austin Junction in the morning, but 17 miles took me most of the day still. I guess my hiking style has changed some on this trip, I have been doing more moseying than charging, which takes longer. I take breaks whenever…I think it may be that I’m listening to my body more? I haven’t quite gone from couch to the trail…but my fitness (and feet) of my pandemic summer is certainly part of the equation.
I posted up late afternoon by Clear Creek…giving myself another blissful evening next to moving water, and reveled in washing off my body in the clean cold water.
I had a dehydrated curry meal and struck gold when I put some maple cinnamon brazil nuts in it (thank you Gather Nuts!). I’ve been doing some different things with my food and nutrition lately, and think I’ll write up a separate blog post about that soon, but I did partner with the new Bend company Gather Nuts on this trip, and I think I’ve discovered my dirtbag gourmet side…more about that later.