Circles in the Cascades – Day 2: 16 miles

Photo by Cindy

I woke several times in the night…wouldn’t you know it, my sleeping pad had a leak. The cold ground was sharp enough to rouse me from the depth of the long miles the day before.

But! The stars were stunning and bright. I gazed at the Milky Way and the incredible infinity of the sky above. I tried to put more air into the sleeping pad but I slowly sank to the earth again and again. Drat.

When I finally had enough of the air games, I retrieved my food from the ursack and made coffee in the dark. By the time Cindy rustled herself awake at daybreak I was onto my second cup of hot drink and was reading the latest issue of Harper’s.

Ok, let’s hike! We were in the shadow of Middle Sister for hours this morning, but the air was still relatively warm, no frost yet. The colors were pure fall with carpets of maroon and gold as far as the eye could see. It was the best kind of hiking. I marveled over the difference from the Appalachian Trail…you almost can’t even compare the two trails, they are so different in character and style that it’s not really fair to sit them side by side. I do love the easy-breezy rock-free smooth trail, but my body wasn’t used to striding out…I kept falling behind Cindy and wondered if the steep rocky trail from this summer had caused me to shorten my gate…it was nearly impossible to take long smooth steps this summer….even on the flat bog bridges I had to hike a bit timid so my feet wouldn’t slide out from me on the wet wood (that happened anyway a few times).

When the sun finally hit, we were snacking by obsidian falls and about to enter the lava flow portion of the loop. Somehow a few trees were still able to do their thing, and grew precipitously from the volcanic rock. The air was clear enough to see up to Mt Hood, and we stopped often to take it all in.

My old friend
I had to wear my PCT socks for the occasion.

We were both feeling the miles in the early afternoon…even though I had hiked almost all day through the summer, the month at home and back at a desk had taken its toll, and my legs felt heavier with each mile.

Then back to the burn as we closed the loop on the weekend.

Finally I saw the glint of car through the burned out trees…cars! I do love seeing my vehicle intact at a trailhead, cause, you know, things can happen.

We hugged out our goodbyes and parted ways….Cindy had a long drive home, and I had a date with a tub of lavender scented epson salts.

What a fabulous weekend 🥰.

Photo by Cindy

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