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PCT 2015 Day 114: Of Obsidian and Volcanoes

  • Start: 1,958.2
  • End: 1,987.3
  • Miles: 29.1
  • Camp: Just beyond Hwy 242/McKenzie Pass

A super interesting day today. It began in much the usual way, although later than usual and feeling cooler as a result of the forest shade. But at the first food break, we were approached by a man and his son who stopped to talk with us. Casey aka Chinaman thru hiked in 2004 and again in 2008 before getting stopped by snow. He said if we drag our heels in northern Oregon we should still miss the snow in Washington and the fires might have time to calm down, which both reassured me and simultaneously robbed me of any motivation to push the pace or the mileage.

Towards the end of the morning we entered the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. Obsidian shards lay everywhere, catching the sunlight and sparkling as far as the eye could see. From some directions black, from others a translucent grey. We lunched by Obsidian Falls, watching cool water plunge down a glassy black cliff. It was strange to be stomping over the glassy chunks which made up the trail for more than a mile.

The scenery changed again in the afternoon, this time to lava fields round the Three Sisters volcanoes. It was hard going, but I prefer these rocks to the grey shale type rocks; at least these stay reasonably still when I stand on them.

We took a rest by a spring where some Boy Scouts, a group of older women, and a father and daughter were discussing the trail and being tired at the end of the day. We kept quiet, still feeling good after hiking more miles today than all of them put together. Whilst it wasn’t a particularly big day for us, we are certainly getting the miles in.

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