Pacific Crest Trail

Big Lake Youth Camp and the town of Sisters

Day 104

Today’s first agenda item was getting to Big Lake Youth Camp, a Seventh Day Evangelical camp that also offered services to PCT hikers including three meals a day. Of course it was next to a lake called Big Lake. Quite an uninspired name for the latter. He he.

We wanted to get to the camp in time for the breakfast. I overestimated how long it would take to get going by half an hour so I took a break shortly before the camp. Irish came by and we went for breakfast, which was a really nice buffet. At the camp there was a whole building dedicated to hikers with showers and laundry. I took a shower and did laundry, but needed to redo the laundry as it came out dirty. Time flew by so I decided to hang around for lunch, which was make-your-own-sandwich and nice. All of the food was vegetarian due to their religion. All us hikers, which I guess would be around a dozen talked for a while over the food, which was nice.

It seemed like the ordinary visitors to the camp were having a great time signing songs, saying prayers, riding bikes and doing water sports. Irish said it was definitely a place that he would have liked to go to as a child. I had expected a lot of religious symbolism, but did not see any. No paintings. No crosses. Not that it would have bothered me. I just found the absence peculiar.

Shortly after the lunch break I finally hiked out. It was quite warm and I started sweating during the two hours that I had to travel to hitch into Sisters. Still, two hours of sweat in the clothes are better than ten days. On the way I looked to the side at one point and, oh, there was the two thousand mile marker. Neat! I walked on after snapping a picture.

I had barely gotten to the road that I planned to hitch from and not even put out my thumb yet before a car pull over. I therefore didn’t think that they had pulled over for me, but a woman got out and waved me hither. It was Connie and Mitch (I hope I remembered their names correctly), who had lived in Sisters, moved to Portland, but were right now moving to Bend. The latter move was because they didn’t need to be in Portland any more for their jobs and their kids had moved from home and thus Bend with its proximity to the outdoors was attractive. The best thing about Oregon was all the outdoors and public lands according to them. They said a lot of people and in particular retirees were moving from California to Oregon as it was cheaper though not cheap per see. There was over fifty millions living in California but only five in Oregon, they said. They were about to go on vacation near Wallowa Lake, which I had heard about from a song by singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens about a sea monster in said lake, but I didn’t know it was in Oregon. Cool! It was in the middle of nowhere, but they liked the remoteness and were excited about seeing how it had changed in the ten years since they had last been there. They said they had been considering to hike the Pacific Crest Trail once. Later I thought that I should have given them my words of wisdom, which would be something along the lines of: 1. Don’t bring too much or the weight will get to you. 2. Test that your gear (e.g. shoes) works well beforehand. 3. Start slowly and train ahead so you reduce the chance of getting overuse injuries.

It was only a short trip to Sisters, fifteen miles as far as I remember, and we soon got there. I thanked them for their help and wished them well. I went to the supermarket for a resupply, but not before making a quick stop at the big M. Don’t resupply on an empty stomach, or you will buy too much food! Got shopping done and went back to the hotel, which was surprisingly nice. That day surely went quickly!

This days miles: 1991-2001

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