August 19, 2015
Elk Lake Resort – Bend (1958.4) to Large pond past Hinton Creek (1972.3)
13.9 PCT miles today, 1 non-PCT mile today
2016.6 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,079 ft, – 1,296 ft
Today’s nero in Bend turned out to be just what we needed. We spent the morning quietly sipping coffee and getting some work done, did a little last-minute indulging with an episode of Seinfeld, packed up, and got on the trail by 1pm. Our hike was enjoyable and we completed 15 miles with energy to spare. We felt nothing like we did after our time off in Ashland, and this evening we are feeling the positive results of such a successful zero-nero. We are clean, well-fed, stress-free, and rested…a rare and valuable state of being at this point in our hike.
Troy had to work this morning, but we had the pleasure of Erika’s company and we all three enjoyed a nice peaceful morning together. Pickles ran and got us all bagel sandwiches from down the street, and throughout the morning he never let the french press run dry, so we all got more than our fair share of caffeine. By 10am we were all free of chores, so we sat down for an episode of Seinfeld before carefully packing up our bags, tying on our new shoes, and loading up Erika’s car for the trip back to the trailhead.
After saying goodbyes, Pickles and I headed back toward the PCT, and Erika drove down the road for her own day hike. It is hard to express in words all of our gratitude toward Erika and Troy for all of their help, support, and friendship over the last couple days. We felt right at home with them, and if they ever got annoyed by our many requests, they never let it show. We can’t wait to see them again in Tahoe, and are hoping that they seriously consider a hike on the John Muir Trail next summer. They’re kindred spirits and just a lot of fun to be around. They make great hosts.
At the start of our hike my feet had their complaints as usual, but they seemed to get a little better throughout the afternoon, and instilled in me a little hope for the days to come. As I mentioned, the hiking felt oddly easy and our packs even seemed light, so the miles just kind of melted away and we were able to actually enjoy the beautiful views of South Sister and the fast-flowing, cold snow-melt streams that we hadn’t seen in such a long time. We took a quick afternoon stop for lunch before continuing on our way for a few more hours.
Our campsite tonight is stunning. We are on a great flat patch of dirt in the middle of a colorful meadow, with South Sister standing boldly to our south, a crystal clear pond to our north, a silty rushing creek a few hundred yards off, and not a soul in sight. We are welcoming the peace and quiet after a couple days in the “city”, and even though our time in Bend was some of our best off-trail time yet, we feel truly grateful to be spending the night in this marvelous place in our favorite little tent on a trail that has become our home.