August 18, 2017
Mile 1947.69 – Bend (1947.69-1950.1)
Woke up this morning stoked to have only an hour of hiking before our hitch into town. The morning was cool again, and I really enjoyed the short hike through the fall-like weather. We got into a burn section just before the closure and got another view of the Sisters. It was really beautiful, and I could tell the rest of the wilderness area was probably really incredible, so it’s a shame that we won’t be getting to see it.
We reached the side trail to Elk Lake Resort, which is where the fire closure on the PCT began. We headed down the side trail and ended up on the road, where we saw two small children heading up the road towards us. One was walking and one was on a bike. It was kind of strange since it seemed like the middle of nowhere, early in the morning, and they were alone. They came up to us and asked us where the PCT was, and we showed them, and then a couple minutes later the one kid rode back up to us on his bike and told us that if we went just past the sign for Elk Lake Resort we’d find a sign leading us to trail magic. Their family was set up in the campground there, waiting for a couple of hikers they had hosted. They gave us some fresh fruit and muffins, which was a wonderful little breakfast before we started attempting to hitch into Bend.
Back out on the highway, our hitchhiking prospects weren’t looking too good. There weren’t many cars, and no one seemed interested in picking us up. It took over an hour, but finally someone pulled over to give us a ride. He wasn’t going all the way to Bend, but he got us a bit closer, which was super helpful. He dropped us off at the side of the road and we didn’t have to wait long before someone else pulled over to drive us the rest of the way. He drove us right into town and dropped us off at our motel, which was amazing.
The room wasn’t ready yet, so we headed over to McDonald’s to get something to eat and use WiFi for several consecutive hours while we waited. Once we were able to get into the room, we set about having our first shower in 9 days and doing our laundry for the first time in 2 weeks. I honestly didn’t even feel like I was that dirty, but it felt sooo nice to be clean. I got to have a nice chat with my parents, and then we headed to a local brewery for dinner called Crux Fermentation Project.
The place was sooo cool. It was inside an old factory building and they had a huge lawn with food trucks and live music and people just hanging out. We got a tasting flight of beer and some falafel sandwiches and everything was really good. It was a really fun evening to kick off our long-awaited zero in Bend. After we were done eating and drinking, we walked back to the motel to collapse into bed, excited to sleep in the next morning.