Sunday, August 8, 2010

1000 Mile Countdown

Day 116-August 7th
Destination: Bend via McKenzie Pass
Miles: 24
Cumulative Miles: 1664.5

We were pretty beat after two consecutive long days, and so we decided to sleep in until 6:45am. It seems a bit of a joke that sleeping in still means that we're up before seven, but we'd be hard pressed to remember the last time we slept past seven (save for town days).

It was a stunning day from start to finish, perhaps one of the most beautiful we have experienced. In a couple short miles we reached a vast flat plain on volcanic scree and wildflowers at the base of South Sister. The mountain loomed to our right with its red cap hidden between large snowy glaciers.

Middle Sister hid just behind it, and was our company as we hiked northward into obsidian covered trail. Everywhere we looked small flecks of obsidian glinted reflections of the afternoon sun. We took lunch at Obsidian Falls, a small waterfall which cascaded over a hillside riddled with larger chunks of obsidian. Over the rock outcroppings we could see the craggy peaks of North Sister, the most technical of the three summits.

As we passed by North Sister, we dropped down into a small meadow filled with rich purple lupines. The purple meadow had highlights of rich magenta red Indian Paintbrushes, and another vibrant yellow flower. As we wound our way through the wildflowers we climbed around Yapoah Crater, which fed the lava flows we finished our day with.

For roughly ten miles we walked over and around vast fields of lava flow. The hillside was all but covered in endless mounds of lava rock. Our trek took us up a hillside where climbing was difficult because our feet would slide down a couple inches for every step we took. Despite our struggle to walk smoothly, the terrain was too beautiful to not enjoy our hiking.

Despite sleeping in, we still hit a highway (24 miles away) and got ourselves into town and a hotel before sunset...and inevitably big juicy burgers and hoppy beer shortly thereafter to celebrate the 1000 mile countdown. It's odd how we celebrate everything. 100 miles, 500 miles, 1000 miles, 1500 miles... 10%, 25%, 33%, 50%....suppose we do it as some sort of reward or motivation to encourage us along. If we didn't congratulate ourselves regularly, we might not feel like we were making any progress.

Our 1000 mile countdown reward consisted of a hotel, a big burger, and some fine Oregon Microbrews on tap.

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1 comment:

  1. WOW!!!Sounds good. On the last part of the hike. I'm sure it will provide as many exciting happening, sites and doing as the first 1600+ miles.

    Journey on with blessings of safety....

    August 9, 2010 3:57 PM