Thursday, July 26, 2018 – 7.70 miles
The ride back to the PCT at 7:00 AM didn’t happen today. I should have predicted that it wouldn’t, since one of the unofficial (as of yet) laws of motion is that you can never get anywhere if the action relies on someone else getting up at 6:00 AM, but I was surprised by how late the other hikers slept in. Are you really thru-hikers…?
Crispy and Pancakes were busy later in the morning, so we ended up not getting to the trail until early afternoon. Someone had left high-effort trail magic at Santiam Trailhead, homemade chocolate cake and watermelon cut into cubes.
From the trailhead, the hike was a steady ~500 m/1600 ft climb through a burn area. I passed a hiker! She was an older woman with a large heavy-looking pack, but the 60+ crowd regularly leaves me in the dust, so it counts. Not that hiking is a race or anything, because then I would be losing horribly 24/7.
The reward for getting through the burn area was fantastic views of Three-Fingered Jack and the surrounding area.
Canyon Creek was a tempting sight in the valley below the trail (icy water, ahhhhh) and with the beautiful scenery as well, I started feeling keen to camp there. I reached a side trail that led steeply downhill in that general direction, not on the map but clearly defined until the forest. After walking along it for a few minutes, I became suspicious that it was one of those ‘initially great, then bushwhacking nightmare’ trails when I noticed the absence of footprints. Either way, in the spirit of being a good daughter who doesn’t keep her mother up at night, I decided not to take the zero-traffic trail without telling anyone where I was going, and continued along the PCT instead.
I ended up camping in a clearing with a view of Mt. Jefferson. The white trees looked beautiful in the pink glow of the sunset.