Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wilamette Pass to Rainy Rainy Sisters

There's a lot to cover here, but let's start with Willamette Pass.

Shortly after leaving, we ran into Pintsize, another southbounder.
Bushwack, who told us he was the last, and therefore we told you we
had met them all, was wrong. Sorry.

The clouds were ominous, so our goal was to find a ski hut that was in
one of our books. Around 6:30 the thunder and lightening began and we
were officially rained on... big time. A little after 8 we still
hadn't found the shelter, so we set up camp. We were pretty wet but
were happy to crawl into a nice dry tent. The thunderstorms continued
throughout the night, which didn't make for the most restful of
evenings.

At 5:45 am there was a flash of lightening and at the same time
thunder, very very loud thunder - Steve thinks it was less than half a
mile from us, so we figured that was as good of a wake up call as we
were going to get. Earlier, Steve had mentioned he wanted to do a 30
on this day, so we set out with that as our goal.

Luckily the rain cleared up and the sun poked through, so we had a
fairly dry day of hiking. However, when there isn't rain, you can
count on mosquitos, and they were out in force. We couldn't stop
without having them swarm our head - which I guess in the end was a
good thing since we had 30 miles to hike.

We stopped for a few small snack breaks in the morning and then a
quick lunch/dry out our stuff/get water break. At about 4:30 the
thunder and lightening returned and by 5:30 we were being rained on
again. Around 7:30 we pulled into Cliff Lake and claimed victory to
the only person there - a section hiker named Steve.

At Cliff Lake there is what one might call a "shelter" of sorts. It's
not safe for camping in anymore, and we thought it much more resembled
a manger. As if we knew what Martha was thinking, we took a picture of
Steve portraying Jesus returning to his birthplace. We figured this
was much more believable than Steve as baby Jesus.

As you may remember, we didn't get our last food supply, so the
LandShark was kinda hungry. The next day, feeling victorious from our
30 miler, and because we are now halfway through Oregon, we decided to
reward ourselves with one of the three things thru-hikers care about -
FOOD! Steve had found that just one mile off trail was the Elk Lake
Resort, so we headed there for lunch. We ordered two cheeseburgers and
french fries, and when we were done, Steve ordered another hamburger
with fries. After this we topped it off with two scoops of ice cream.
I'm going to have to start washing dishes to help subsidize our food
bill! We also got to watch more women's volleyball as they beat Italy
to advance to the semi-finals. USA! USA!

We got back to the trail and hiked 24 miles total to end at a small
lake with lots of campsites and a few other campers... and this is
where it gets ugly.

Shortly after getting in our tent, the rains starts. No thunder and
lightening, just steady rain. At some point in the night we realize
the condensation is making our sleeping bags wet, so we put Steve's
poncho over them to try to keep them dry. When we wake up in the
morning, there are puddles at both ends of the tent, everything is wet
and there is no end in sight for the rain - the whole sky is grey. We
both think, thank God we're going into Sisters today.

It takes a while to pack up since all of our stuff is wet, and when we
finally get going, we are already cold and wet, with little use of our
hands. The terrain is nothing exciting, and while we imagine this is
one if the prettier sections of Oregon, with views of the Three
Sisters mountains, we can't see a thing because of the clouds. We do
climb up a steep mountain at one point and the wind whips us and blows
us up the switchbacks. I think the rain may have turned to hail as
well. Basically, it sucked. It was cold, wet and miserable. It was one
of the few times I considered using our friend Chris' advice and
taking up the web site JaneHatesSteve.com.

At 3 pm we got to the road and tried to call our friend John who was
picking us up and letting us stay with him in Sisters, but no service.
Just when I thought we were going to have to try to hitch (who wants
to pick up two wet hikers?!), who should pull up but John! He
anticipated we might be there. We were very relieved to climb into the
warm car and head away from the rainy mountains, although it took us
quite a while to defrost our hands.

This evening we had a lovely dinner with John and Mandy, and then they
were kind enough to take us to our favorite store, REI, where we
purchased a new water filter, better gloves (aka waterproof), and got
Steve new hiking poles. Yes, again - this last pair broke as well. In
case you're not keeping track, this is number four.

Tonight we sleep in a real bed for the first night in 12 nights... yay!

8 comments:

Erik said...

Wow. That's quite a bit of an ordeal! You'll hopefully dry out in Sisters and be ready for the challenges that await! Just remember, it was just about a year ago now that you did the trial run in Tahoe ... isn't it amazing how much more it takes to challenge you now?!? Good work.

carlo said...

is there maybe a more durable brand of hiking poles that would have been a better choice? 4 is a lot of pairs of hiking poles... also, your rei dividend is going to be awesome this year

Anonymous said...

It all sounded pretty ugly!! Glad you were able to get into Sisters for a dry night. Indiana Red

david b said...

Tanya and I were just talking about you guys missing the Olympics. At least you got to see some volleyball. Those games have been amazing.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lived in the Northwest TOO LONG;I can guarantee you that moss will be growing on parts of your body before you are out of Oregon!Mike Moore

camcook said...

bet ya would have liked that lovely tent i hauled to oregon and back...

also you must share what nice things you said to center for american progress lady, if only for my own selfish need to hear nice things about myself from time to time/every moment of my life.

Jenn/Momma said...

Yay for Mandy & John (and Travis and Luke)! I'm so glad you guys have angels in Oregon. :)

Miss you both and think of you often. Can't wait to tell Chris that you're ready to get that URL - we can buy it now and you can just pay us back.

Tanya said...

Wow...what crazy stories! I'm so glad you guys made it through it all! Caterpiller...just remember all the WONDERFUL things you've experienced since April...I think all the good things out weigh the bad...right? If not...just remember you wouldn't have wanted LandShark to experience any of this on his own...PLUS you fit into Erin's jeans!!!