What a miserable night. It was cold, and I got all twisted up inside my sleeping bag. My shoulders kept falling asleep and I had to keep turning. I was wearing all of my layers and my giant puffy, and was stuffed into the sleeping bag like a sausage. In the middle of the night I woke up and realized that I was getting sick. By morning, it was for sure, I’ve got a nasty head cold, probably from all of this hiking in the rain.
And the rain won’t stop. There isn’t even a hint of the blue sky that was promised. It seems that the clouds are locked in over this mountain. I bet it is sunny and warm everywhere else…
We woke up this morning to snow! It seems the weather is not quite done spitting and sputtering yet. But we are not done yet either. We repacked our gear, waited a bit until noon, and then set off up the trail.
It is exactly as I remember it. I have such vivid memories of the last time we were here. The burnt-out forest, the marshy swaps, then the steep climb up to the Matthieu Lakes. I remember every curve of the trail. The rain won’t stop.
The highway is open! We had a nice two-day stay at the cabins, and are now packed and ready to go. The bus batteries are recharged and the water tank is full. Our batteries are recharged too. 🙂
I’m pretty sure we were the first ones to drive down the highway once it opened, but it didn’t take long before we started seeing cars and people. It’s kind of amazing how outdoorsy Bend people are, even in the rain.
We made it to the trailhead by 10 am. It’s still rainy, but the ground is made up of this porous volcanic red sand, so there is little chance the bus will get stuck in the mud. We settled in, packed up a lunch, and then headed out for our day hike through the lava field.
The lava field looks like an alien landscape – miles and miles of jagged, ankle-busting lava rock punctuated by stretches of white snow for as far as the eye can see. It is treeless except for one or two tenacious pines trying desperately to stay alive. In the rain and fog, it is eerie and mysterious, truly like stepping out of a rocket ship onto an alien planet.
Taking advantage of the nice weather, we took a six-mile hike up the long arm of Three Fingered Jack. Not too shabby for a guy with a migraine and a girl with a sore ankle. The landscape was scattered with the remains of burnt-out trees from an old forest fire. I kept saying “It’s so pretty!” Objectively, it was probably more just “visually interesting”, but that kind of landscape strikes my eyes as pretty in its own quiet, haunting sort of way.
The clouds were constantly moving, but I got some mostly unobscured shots of Mt. Washington. The Sisters and Broken Top peeked through a bit, but the peaks weren’t visible in the clouds. Eventually, we turned back when it got snowy. There’s still a lot of snow in these mountains.