PCT Day 133 – Thursday August 24
Irish Lake Mile 1928.1 to Elk Lake Junction Mile 1950.1
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 22 PCT Miles + 1 Mile Road Walking
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1481.2
Feet Ascended Today: 1863
Feet Descended Today: 2183
Current Elevation: 3632
Long day today. I was on a mission to get to Elk Lake junction so I could travel into Bend. I ended up hiking my highest number of miles in one day so far if you include the non-PCT trail miles that I hiked to the Elk Lake Trailhead.
I had initially planned to hike to McKenzie Pass and travel to Bend from there, however that’s not an option this year. The trail is closed between Elk Lake and McKenzie Pass due to a wildfire in the Three Sisters Wilderness. To make matters worse, another fire is closing a large section of the trail in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness just north of the fire in Three Sisters. Only 28 miles of trail is open between the two fires. It doesn’t make much sense to me to hitch around the first fire and hike 28 miles only to have to hitch around the second fire. So, I’ve decided to skip around both the fires at once for a total of approximately 100 miles. This section of trail is supposed to be really beautiful and I’m looking forward hiking them when the trail opens again.
I hiked like the wind and arrived at the Elk Lakes Trailhead around 6:00 pm. At the highway I stuck out my thumb and got a ride 5 minutes later. A woman was driving to Bend with a car packed to the hills with stuff – it looked like she was moving. I squeezed myself and my backpack into the passenger seat and away we went.
She dropped me off at the The Lot, which is a block filled with food trucks and a beer garden. I staggered past the food trucks, dirty and overwhelmed by the crowds of people. I hadn’t had much of a lunch as my fuel ran out in the middle of a failed attempt to make macaroni and cheese. I eventually ended up at a Mediterranean place and had a damn tasty gyro.
As I was finishing my gyro, my friend Jill arrived (Trail Name: Bright). I met Jill earlier this year at the ALDHA-West Ruck (you can read more about my adventures at the Ruck here). Jill whisked me away to her house, stopping at Trader Joe’s along the way to pick up some pie (YAY! PIE!). It was getting late when we arrived and I could barely keep my eyes open. I showered and fell asleep almost instantly.