Going Wherever It Leads

An adventure and hiking blog

PCT Revisited: Providing Some Magic to Hungry Hikers in Oregon

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Charlton Lake, Oregon

Charlton Lake, Oregon, first thing in the morning, before a beautiful trail run, then quick swim –ah, camping life

This past weekend Not-a-Bear and I donned our trail names once again and headed to the PCT –this time as trail angels, and weekend car campers, at Charlton Lake in the Willamette National Forest, near Bend, Oregon. The lake and campsites that surround it are on a lovely stretch of trail surrounded by tall pines and dotted with crystal clear lakes. We passed through the area last year at this time (about a week later), and figured there would probably be a good-sized pack of this year’s PCT thru hikers to feed.

We were right! We lost count, but we probably saw around 40 hikers in the two days were we there. We grilled up 60 hamburgers, 32 hot dogs, and 2 veggie burgers, and doled out 48 cans of soda (grape, strawberry, and cream soda were the hits, and favorites of mine on the trail), 72 beers, 2 bags of applies, 4 giant bags of potato chips, sour patch kids, a bag of baby carrots, and lots of baked goods –basically everything we craved as hikers. We didn’t bring any food back with us and ran out earlier than we’d expected.

We had a blast! For those of you unfamiliar with trail magic, it is when strangers give unexpected food to hikers. This could be in the form of a cooler by a trail head filled with cold soda, or cooking up an actual

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fun time feeding new friends

meal. It is something you don’t expect on the trail, but is always appreciated, and often the pick-me-up you need at just the right time. Our highest compliments of the weekend were from hikers who told us they were having a really bad day until they saw our signs on the trail for burgers and beers, and then things picked up. I remember feeling the same.

finally got to break out the hammock we got as a wedding gift, thought I'd have more time to relax in it, but we were quite busy with our guests!

finally got to break out the hammock we got as a wedding gift, thought I’d have more time to relax in it, but we were quite busy with our guests!

We really enjoyed chatting with this year’s hikers and learning about how different the trail is compared to last year. For one thing, they got a lot of snow in the Sierras and had some miserable sounding stories involving miles of snowfields, ice axes, and micro-spikes. I am glad that wasn’t us last year! 2015 was an exceptionally low snow year, followed by a pretty high one this year. This led to more water in sections that were very dry for us, but also an increase in mosquitoes. We had a small smokey campfire burning all weekend to keep them down, but when you left that circle you certainly felt them, and many hikers came in with bug netting covering their faces. The bugs were long gone last year at this time.

For us it was nostalgic to be hanging with hikers again (I didn’t even mind the smell!), and fun to live vicariously for the weekend. For me especially it was really nice to feel like I fit in, something I struggled with most of my own hike last year. I finally felt like I earned my trail cred. It felt good to be able to give advice to this year’s hikers, share our stories, and listen to theirs.

Deschutes River, near Bend

Deschutes River, near Bend

It was a great group of hikers, and just a perfect weekend, topped by heading into Bend on Sunday for the night. Since we ran out of food on Saturday, we left a little earlier than planned and had time to check out some of the sights around Newberry National Volcanic Monument, like Lava River Cave, a cave created by a hollowed out lava tube, and some rapids on the Deschutes River. Then we spent the afternoon and evening exploring McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School, a Catholic School beautifully and creatively restored to a hotel, complete with a soaking pool, several bars and restaurants, and even hidden rooms filled with very cool art work.

one of many really cool pieces of art at Old St. Francis School Hotel, Bend

one of many really cool pieces of art at Old St. Francis School Hotel, Bend

Now we are home, back to the real world, but it was a great mini-vacation.

Over-and-out,

Comet

P.S. If you’d like to see some of the things I’ve been up to check out The Passion Project, especially the profile of potter, Amy Hepner, a thru-hiker we met on-trail last year. Subscribe to read about another creative thru hiker I met in the next installment.

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sunset, Charlton Lake

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moon’s reflection

 

 

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Author: Catie (Comet)

Adventuring at: www.goingwhereveritleads.com Being passionate at: www.passionproject.net

One thought on “PCT Revisited: Providing Some Magic to Hungry Hikers in Oregon

  1. Hi Catie! I was just thinking about you as I went off to my first day back to school….and I have a post from you about your trail experiences. Lauren and I were talking about you just this summer and how she doesn’t know how you did the PCT (and survived!). She and her boyfriend backpacked in Glacier National Park and did 50 miles in 5 days (and that was hard enough).  What a great gift to give back to give all the thru-hikers–a hot meal!!! I am guessing you are enjoying life in Walla Walla, and following your passion. I hope this email finds you happy and fulfilled…. I am hoping for a positive school year. My goal is to leave the stress of the job at work so it doesn’t interfere with my personal life (it will become my passion!) Pam From: Going Wherever It Leads To: dsibeck@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, August 15, 2016 8:30 PM Subject: [New post] PCT Revisited: Providing Some Magic to Hungry Hikers in Oregon #yiv0931189401 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0931189401 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0931189401 a.yiv0931189401primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0931189401 a.yiv0931189401primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0931189401 a.yiv0931189401primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0931189401 a.yiv0931189401primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0931189401 WordPress.com | Catie posted: “This past weekend Not-a-Bear and I donned our trail names once again and headed to the PCT –this time as trail angels, and weekend car campers, at Charlton Lake in the Willamette National Forest, near Bend, Oregon. The lake and campsites that surroun” | |

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