A day that starts with fresh(ish) fruit and ends in town is always going to be a good one. We demolished the remaining fruit from the race yesterday along with breakfast, so that we wouldn’t have to carry the low-calorie weight. It meant a rather more satisfying breakfast than usual, and sitting on the banks of the lake by the campsites I was looking forward to a productive day. It didn’t turn out quite as I’d expected in the end but it was productive nonetheless.
Most of the day the trail rolled gently over the hills around several more picturesque lakes. Also several not-so-picturesque dried up ones. We had shade for most of the morning, and the hiking conditions were almost perfect. However the conditions were entirely perfect for mosquitoes. I said almost perfect for us…
We decided around three miles before Elk Lake that we would get out and try to hitch to town. Chug’s blisters and shins were causing enough problems to necessitate a new pair of shoes and I was pretty happy that it wouldn’t lose us more than half a day compared with the original plan. So off we went, arriving at the Elk Lake resort just as people were starting to head home from their weekend paddle boarding or camping or sailing.
We tried hitching by the road for a while but had no luck with the fast moving traffic. We decided to split: one at the roadside, one by the resort junction where cars would be slow but could be full of families (less likely to stop) and would have no room to pull in – they’d have to pick us up at the stop sign. However Lydia stopped before Chug even made it to the junction, having seen the bandana already. She lives in Sisters, but had to drive through Bend on the way home and was happy to take us. She had also been out camping for the weekend so had plenty of snacks which she offered us to keep us going on the way. Of course we took her up on that.
Lydia dropped us by the Grocery Outlet in Bend, and we found a motel nearby so we decided to stay. We also noticed a McDonalds close by and attempted to recreate our Cajon Pass experience, but it was one of the restaurants that has been done up in the McCafe style and was a bit too fancy for that authentic hikertrash ambience of SoCal. Still, a good way to top up the calories before chores tomorrow.
Miles: 19 + 1 mile side trail to Elk Lake Resort
Camping: Mile 1958, Elk Lake – Bend (not camping)