Cowboying in front of a view of Mt. Bachelor (PCT mi 1963.9), walked 26? miles today
Was all ready to walk out at 7:15 this morning when Simon and G-Bird (last seen in Sierra City, day 68) strolled in, seven miles into a planned 40-mile day that I have no doubt they ended up achieving. This is not typical Simon behavior--by his own admission, his two favorite things to do while hiking are sitting down and smoking cigarettes--so I can only surmise that he's got a rather extreme case of pink-blazing (G-Bird is a nice girl from Sweden). I stayed around them for the next ten miles, took a break with them but they were off long before I wanted to get up and I never saw either again. It was more gentle Oregon forest all morning, with a small lake here and a small lake there to break up the green routine.
Somewhere in the middle of my second 10-mile block, I ran into Spit Walker. He wasn't even fighting a skin infection this time, so this signals progress in our relationship (see day 88 for explanation). He had a good story, actually a miserable story, about his attempt at illegal camping on the Crater Lake Rim--he was woken up at 1am by a ranger who had found him with a heat sensor (a heat sensor!), who then proceeded to search his pack, confiscate all his weed, and write him a $500 citation for possession on federal lands. And here I figured all the no-camping-on-the-Rim stuff was just empty threats. He and I carried on for a bit down to the turnoff for the Elk Lake Resort, which is something over a mile off trail. We made it down around 4:15, not really knowing what to expect because Yogi's guide has some mixed reviews on the place, with prices and small portion sizes being the chief complaints. The prices were indeed high--$14 for a burger--but mine was some delicious mango teriyaki thing and I was pretty happy with it. I asked for a refill on my root beer after the meal and our very friendly waitress, Jonah, offered to throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream for free. So Elk Lake gets Scrub and Spit Walker's stamp of approval at least.
Called home and then got back to the PCT proper around 7. Got a few more miles in, all uphill, caught up with old Otter at the top of the climb and pretty soon we both came upon this great aerie of a camp spot, with a look at Mt. Bachelor to the east and the Sisters if you kind of poke your head around the corner north of that. Tomorrow is supposed to be extra spectacular ... I may or may not go to town, depending on when I reach McKenzie Pass. Possible night hiking of the exposed lava flows between McKenzie and Santiam Passes if I'm there at the right time with the right amount of gas left in the tank.