Tenting at Lost Lake CG (left PCT at mi 2007.6), walked 19.8 miles today
Checked out of the hotel around 8:30 feeling spotlessly clean after a second shower, then moseyed to the nearby McDonald's for breakfast. After several Egg McMuffins I was sated and I made a move to start hitching back to the trail ... After about 15 minutes, Scappoosers (Scappoosians? Scappoosites?) Denise and her friend picked me up and went 15 miles out of their way to drop me off at the PCT. Unbeknownst to anyone, me included, I was actually being dropped off about 2 trail miles before McKenzie Pass, where I had intended to start from, so I got a little extra exercise in today.
Was in a hurry most of the time to get to Santiam Pass, 18 miles past McKenzie, to meet Owen at 5 for our grill-fest--not in too much of a hurry, however, to take pictures of the unearthly black lava-flow landscape that the trail impossibly was carved out of for the first few miles. Ran into a couple of very old faces from 1200 miles ago, two guys named Butters and Rocks, as well as Banana Ripper and Songbird (only 650 miles since last sighting) and a young whippersnapper named Sagi. Sagi and I walked and talked for most of the last 8 miles or so talking about his love for farming and how he's going to start a smallholding when he moves out to Bellingham from Tennessee in the next year. Passed the 2000 mile mark as I was walking with him, and there was much rejoicing ... Yayy.
Owen drove up in the Silver Beast within 2 minutes of my arrival at the Santiam trailhead and we drove not very far down the highway to this campground, which isn't one of the developed ones so it's not swarming with redneck families on a Friday night. He and his girlfriend Colleen had already set up the grill with a massive steak roasting on it, and this is a man who does not fuck around when it comes to grilling, so when it was done after an hour or so it was perfection and I would bet, conservatively, that I ate a pound of it in both straight-up and sandwich form. Brats were subsequently put on the grill and when those were done I also had one, and there will be more for breakfast. We hung out for a while catching up, they imbibing their real beer, I my root beer. Observations on the inferiority of the Northwest to the Midwest were made and enthusiastically assented to by all parties. Around 10 it was time for bed and sweet baby Jesus is my new sleeping pad comfortable compared to my old one. Tomorrow I'm trying to get back to the trail early-ish and still get in 25 miles or so, fueled by leftover bratwurst and a good night's rest.