OR Days 22-23: 9/21-9/22/2016

Hiking out of the 3 Sisters Wilderness & A Zero Day in Sisters

“Good morning, North Sister!” from my campsite


PCT mileage marker: 1981.25; Miles hiked: 4; OR cumulative miles hiked:  264.5

Brrrrrrr!  A frosty good morning it most certainly was – for the first time I shook icy snow off my tent fly instead of water drops from the overnight condensation.  

What’s that white stuff again?


I had only 4 miles to Hwy 242 near McKenzie Pass, but needed to be there by 10am to be picked up by local trail angel Stella.  In my OCD mind, that means getting to the road by 9:30.  Plus, I had read there was a pit toilet and trash can at the Dee Wright Observatory, so I wanted some time for that, and the last mile or so was apparently over the lava rocks again – always slow going.  Needless to say, I was packed up and out of camp by 7:15a.  

South Mathieu Lake – my campsite was across the lake up the small hill


As expected, the first 3 miles were easy hiking, mostly downhill, and with some lovely early morning views.  Ahh, the 3 Sisters Wilderness, truly a gem here in central Oregon.  


Then the lava rocks began, and I promptly starting staring at my feet, placing each footfall carefully amidst the shifting basalt.  

The start to the lava flow area – easy enough footing here!

The trail wound back and forth through the lava, and once again I quickly lost all sense of where I was heading.  The road came almost as a surprise, hello there!  A quick tenth of a mile east brought me to Dee Wright Observatory, a building made out of the lava rocks, built up so visitors can get the scope of the vastness of the lava fields.  The area has a paved trail and my favorite, interpretative signs!  

After an incredibly scenic drive into Sisters, Stella was kind enough to stop by the PO so I could pick up my boxes before dropping me off at the hiker friendly Sisters Inn.  By 11am, I was in a plush hotel room, sorting through my smelly gear before jumping in the shower.  

After getting clean and gorging myself at the Subway across the street (it’s incredible how easily a foot long sub, Doritos, and a chocolate chip cookie went down) I literally climbed into the tall bed and “ahhhhhh…..” to be off my feet.  I had grand plans to get all my town chores done (laundry, shopping, etc) but rest quickly won out.  

After some trip restructuring (more on that tomorrow!!) all I felt compelled to do was chat with my folks and then go to the grocery store next door for ice cream and some resupply supplements.  

After sleeping in today (my zero day), I made a few phone calls and then ventured “downtown” to do laundry, go to the drugstore, eat lunch, and go to the outfitters.  I definitely got a few looks from tourists as I walked down the strip dressed oddly in my puffy jacket and rain pants, but at least it was cool today so I didn’t stick out completely like a sore thumb.  After laundry was done, I was off to find a good Mexican place and my other errands.  Food first of course!  

The pharmacy assistant had to break it to me that she couldn’t sell me Allegra D (requires a prescription in Oregon apparently) which is a bummer.  I’ll only be short a few pills before I get home, but I can already feel my nose stuffing up in sympathetic reaction.  

The outfitters was the next disappointment – they were closed unexpectedly.  Thankfully I don’t absolutely need a new fuel canister for my stove before getting to Olallie Lake, but it would’ve been peace of mind to purchase a small one.  I’m also hoping the old insoles, which were cut for a half size smaller shoe, works ok in the new shoes.  The cushiness of the heel area is already happiness for my abused feet.  

Walking down the main drag in Sisters


Tomorrow I venture once more into the unknown – but not alone! 

Gear minutiae:  I decided to keep the ripped up silk leggings to hike in, at least until I next encounter a garbage can on the trail.  Walking around in my rain pants today convinced me hiking in them during the cool morning hours is of course possible but might be annoying.  Otherwise, I spent some time cleaning up and airing out everything for the last 10 day section.  It’s really disgusting how much dirt comes off of my hands when I wash them after handling my gear – yes, I eat with those hands out in the backcountry! 

Health update:  blisters are healing, and legs and feet are feeling better from only walking about 2 miles today (and without a pack on!) doing town chores.  Cough is still hanging about unwanted, but seems to be a bit better, fingers crossed.  Lotion seems to be helping my poor dry peeling fingertips.  

Happy Autumnal Equinox to you all!  My favorite season begins.  

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