PCT Day 89 – Bend

12.5 miles, near 1995.1

• Started hiking right away on lava rock, winding our way to hwy 242 and north towards Mt Washington. If I knew any better, I would have followed the paved road out of camp and along 242 until I could hook back up with the PCT, instead of lava rocking for 45 minutes. Pretty much do anything to avoid walking on lava rocks.

• I took a quick side trail to “Little Belknap” for near 360 views of the lava field and surrounding mountains. It was only a 30 min detour, but it meant everyone passed me and I didn’t see them until lunch at Big Lake.

• We were hoping to hitch a ride into Bend from one of Yardsale’s friends at the Big Lake Youth Camp before the camp closed down for the weekend. It was a little unclear when we needed to be around for that to happen, so I didn’t take any breaks and ate clif bars on the fly.

• I wandered into the youth camp around 1pm, found the PCT area to drop my stuff, then walked to the mess hall. The good people at camp provide free meals to hikers in their “all veggie” kitchen, we were treated to veggie hotdogs and macaroni salad. They set out cream cheese on the condiment table, I roughly slathered it on one of my dawgs.

• The friend we were hoping to hitch into town with needed to stay and clean the rest of the afternoon, so we got our stuff and started walking down the road. A father and his 2 boys stopped and gave us a hitch in the back of his pickup truck, at least until hwy 20 at Santiam Pass, which saved us a good 5 miles. The little boys would turn around and make faces at us, throwing some dabs. We dabbed back.

• Hwy 20 at Santiam Pass is the main route between Bend in the east and Eugene/Corvallis/Salem in the west, so there’s lot of traffic, but all very fast moving. Fortunately we have a gal in our group and hitches come a little easier that way. We didn’t wait more than a minute before a guy pulled over with his Subaru. There was flat plywood and a ton of stuff in the back, but we squished 3 hikers and 2 packs in back, 2 packs strapped on the roof, and me riding shotgun. The guy was older and has been living in Sisters for decades, working in environmental science, so he and Bradley had careers in common.

• It was about 25 miles to the town of Sisters, where we got dumped and needed to find another 25 mile ride to Bend. Yardsale stuck her thumb for a good 15 before another Subaru stopped for us, this time a younger man in a cleaner car, a recent transplant from Portland, so he and Yardsale had Portland and outdoor climbing in common.

• The scene is pretty absurd, our gal getting the hitch while 3 beardy boys come lurking out of the shade to pile in this strangers car.

• We made it to Bend and walked to a brewery, dropping our stuff on the patio while they finished opening up. A guy and his friends walked by on the sidewalk and yelled out “hey hiker trash!”, a common way to describe PCTers in town. His name was “hot wing” and hiked the trail in 2012. We had a beer then walked around the corner to the cidery for a free pint, another common PCT hiker town perk from cool breweries.

• A bachelorette party stopped in while we were hanging out, one of the girls started chatting us up about backpacking. She was really keen to impress and convince us she was a backpacker. I got her phone and had her follow all of us on Instagram.

• We crossed the street for dinner at a pod of food trucks. Very aloof beer truck bartender. I had a delicious cheeseburger. Yardsale insisted we needed 2 baskets of fries before ubering to her friends house, where we stayed the night.

• We sat in the living room and talked, playing with their 3 dogs. I took a shower and passed out on my sleeping pad in the living room.

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