It was so much warmer during the night, but still below freezing. I made some OvaEasy eggs that Charlie had given me for breakfast; our conversations while hiking together had invariably turned to food, and these dehydrated eggs were one of his go-to on the trail. He had even included some butter and salt and pepper. So thoughtful! And they actually tasted like eggs!
I hiked down out of the mountains and expected the day to get warmer as I dropped, but instead it got colder. When my fingers stopped working I finally put on more layers; I had been willing the air to warm up, and it wasn’t working.
I started passing mining claims. This area was at the heart of the Oregon gold rush, and folks and companies are still digging up the rivers and mountains looking for the stuff. An entire stretch of the Powder River that runs in the valley below the Elkhorns has been dredged and the piles of tailings are visible in the river bank from on high. There is a massive gold dredge in town that is now a historical landmark and state park, but it was closed when I walked through town. No bonus history lesson for me today.
I had plans at this last resupply stop to rendezvous with Jim and Rhonda Kennedy, Jared’s parents! They had some land nearby and had invited me to stay with them a night, and I happily accepted. I made it to town before our appointed meeting time and went about trying to find lunch. Two of the restaurants were closed, but the cafe in town was open, so I proceeded to order some tacos which I enjoyed on the porch. Then I ordered more. Eight tacos later I was scrolling on my phone when Jim and Rhonda pulled up.
I was whisked away to their piece of heaven overlooking the Middle Fork of the John Day River. I had a fabulous time getting to know them as they plied me with delicacies like crab dip, guacamole, salmon, roasted veggies….I can go on. In a move very unlike me, I ate too much dinner to be able to eat my dessert. I was so ashamed and offered to eat the sweets for breakfast the next morning.
I am tucked up in a bed so warm and soft they might have to drag me out of here tomorrow.