My section hike for 2016 is officially over
When I woke up this morning, my first thought was – “gosh, I hope the sting site is better”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t – at least, not enough to be worry free. Time to get thee to the doctor! The staff at the nearby Urgent Care center were incredibly friendly and gawked in amazed dismay at my leg. However, no infection yet, and a script for prednisone to help reduce the inflammation was given. I hustled back to the hotel and quickly prioritized tasks – because I wasn’t going to be lying around all day as probably the doc meant when she said to put cold compresses on as much as possible.
Cold wet snow at the high elevations was the message from Hemlock – as the forecast for the next few days called for worsening conditions, she made the wise decision to turn around. Time to get thee to the car rental agency and drive out to the trailhead before hypothermia could set in!
I love that Enterprise will pick you up locally – so easy when you’re on foot! In the “intermediate SUV” vehicle (that one lane gravel twisty gravel road now covered in slick precipitation was at the forefront of my mind), I quickly found a nearby pharmacy to get my script filled. A super quick trip to the grocery later for food for the 5-6 hr round trip drive ahead and I was on my way through rain and sleet at Santiam Pass (where the PCT crosses).
Mid way, I was relieved to get an updated message from Hemlock that she’d gotten a ride out to the 2 lane paved forest service road. I found her easily at the intersection, umbrella and poncho making a stark contrast to the rainy autumn conditions. That last road had barely any traffic, I’m glad she didn’t have to wait too long for my arrival.
The trip back to Bend flew by in comparison, Hemlock and I chatting and considering options. The sun even peaked out at the low elevations, though the mountains continued to be blanketed with dark ominous clouds. Newly fallen snow was visible on South Sister and Mt Bachelor. I’m glad we’re both inside tonight!
Oh, the glories of having a semi-suite room. The fridge, microwave, and 2 electric burners came to good use after another trip to the grocery store. My doctor’s orders are to let the sting site/blister be warm, clean, and dry, and to monitor closely for infection. So, backpacking in these conditions is pretty much out. 362 total miles for the month of September is pretty good – I’ll take it!
I have a nice 65 mile section here in Oregon to finish up, next year perhaps – plus, there’s no way I’d want to finish at Olallie Lake and do that drive for a 3rd time, so I guess I’ll just have to re-hike some miles and go back to Timberline Lodge! I really wouldn’t mind finishing the entire PCT there :).
Day hiking, on the other hand, for the next few days until my flight home…..decisions, decisions! Just a different sort of touristy adventure these last few days here in central Oregon.
To the folks I summited Mt Katahdin with 3 years ago today to complete my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail – I was thinking of you today, and remembering the glorious autumn weather we had!