Great Western Loop: Day 145 - 147: Bend to Shelter Cove
Day 145: Santiam Pass (18miles)
I had stayed in the downtown area of Bend, close to the bus terminal. I knew that there would be a free bus to Sister's in the late afternoon, but I decided to walk some 3-4miles to the outskirts of the city and try to hitch those 20miles to save some time. Unfortunately the highway to Sister's passed a prison and so I continued walking a little bit further, to increase my chances of getting a ride. After hundred of cars had passed me, one finally stopped. The driver was actually planning to go to Redmond, but decides to make a detour for me to Sister's after just a little bit of smalltalk. I can't remember his name, but we got along quite well and when we arrived in Sister's, he gave me an amulet to protect me from energy waves.
In 2018 Sister's was one of my favorite stops, but this time I just grabbed a small lunch, refilled my water bottles and than headed out to get yet another hitch to Santiam Pass, where the trail would continue.
After all those hitches I was finally back on trail and started hiking in the early afternoon. Here I immediately had to use my buff to cover mouth and nose when a helicopter landed right next to trail and highway.
The scenery was very different to what I had seen in the previous weeks in Washington.
The land was mostly dry and required me to carry more water and to make actual detours, to refill my water bottles in small, but reliable ponds.
The vast fields of huckleberries and blueberries were gone and the forest here consisted mostly of pine trees and allowed more views and camping opportunities. The overall colors changed from a solid green to more brownish colors.
(View on North and South Sister)
In the late afternoon I got close to McKenzie Pass, which had been reopened from a fire closure, just a few days ago. This marked the beginning of a vast lava rock field that most hikers hate. Lava rocks are very sharp and difficult to hike on and cause many injuries due to twisted ankles.
Day 146: Diversity (34miles)
Day 146 started with epic sunshine and blue skies. My spirits were high, even though I had to hike across another lava rock section.
The day allowed for great views of Mt. Washington and offered quite a variety of lakes, forests and open meadows.
(Views on Mt. Washington: center, 2nd summit from left to right, Mt. Jefferson, 4th summit from left to right, Mt. Hood, only visible when you zoom in next to Mt. Jefferson)
(Hiking on the moon?)
(Water comes right out of the mountain here, beautiful spring with pristine water)
(Open and very dry meadow)
Throughout the day I ended up leapfrogging with Crisco. He was actually the only so far, that walked slightly faster than me, but took longer breaks in between, where I usually caught up again.
We met several times at some of the few reliable water sources and ended up talking politics. Later on, he pushed on to Odell lake, where some friends would pick him up the next day.
Day 147: Smoked! (39miles)
My goal for today was getting close to the Shelter Cove Resort at Odell Lake, however i decided not to push all the way there, as the opening times were stated from 9-5 on the internet.
Yet again, the day started really nice and was dominated by countless lakes and ponds, that served as great water sources.
I met several families and day hikers, but no more PCT northbound hikers.
In the early afternoon the situation once again changed. The wind had turned and huge clouds of smoke from California rolled in. It immediately got harder to breathe and my eyes started to burn. I covered mouth and nose once again and hope for changing wind directions.
(The sky oftentimes doesn't look as bad as it really was on these pictures, because the smartphone automatically makes the sky look more clear and blue)
The situation had improved in the evening and I decided to camp at the Upper Rosary Lakes campsite, just 6miles from Shelter Cove.