8.22.18. 10.9 miles.
I had such a good night of sleep last night. Nice change from the night before. No wind, and the ground was so soft, which does make a difference I think, even with an inflatable pad. I woke up naturally to the urge to go to the bathroom and was able to quickly dig a super great cat hole since the ground was so sandy. Ghost and Ice-T, the hikers I’d been leapfrogging all yesterday, were also moving around in their tents. It was nice to sleep in and take my time getting ready with the dawn light instead of with a headlamp.
The first few miles of the day were pretty much exclusively lava rock. It was kind of terrible, but at least it wasn’t hot, and it was slightly uphill, which is much better than hiking in loose rock downhill for sure. The views of Mt. Washington were also pretty cool, even through the smoke. After the lava fields, I was briefly in a nice forest before that turned into a burned forest with more lava rock/ loose rock, going downhill this time. There was another gradual uphill which was quite nice in alpine meadow/ forest, and then downhill all the way to Big Lake Youth Camp, which was 0.8 miles off trail.
BLYC is a Seventh-day Adventist Church/ Family Camp, and they are amazingly hiker friendly. With donations, they recently built a whole building just for PCT hikers. It has 2 full bathrooms, washer/dryer, and a kitchenette with free coffee, WiFi, tons of chairs and power outlets, and a package holding area. And they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s pretty amazing. And everything is donation-based, even the meals. It’s always so crazy going to places like this. I can’t believe these people like us so much.
When I got there, I immediately put my name on the shower & laundry list, sorted my resupply, and then socialized with hikers until it was my turn to take a shower. There were tons of hikers here, NOBO and SOBO, and section hikers. It’s always funny seeing so many people at these places but the trail generally seems so much emptier. I went to lunch while I waited for my turn to do laundry. They served vegetarian chili with corn bread and it was very yummy. It felt good to eat real food: veggies and legumes. After lunch, I plugged my electronics in, and finally got my laundry going. While that was going, I did some internet things, and then socialized with hikers outside, watching the new family camp arrive. Many of the families were very interested in us and our journeys.
After I got my regular clothes back on, I ran down to the store, got a coconut iced coffee (YUM), a soda, and an ice cream bar, and went back to the outside hiker hangout area and socialized some more. I then called the fam, and while I was on the phone, Excel and her Trail fam showed up! I was surprised, since I didn’t think I’d see them since they were going into Bend! I didn’t think they would stop here, but I guess they wanted to go into town via Santiam Pass, the second highway option to Bend, which is just a few miles after the camp, and some of them had run out of food, so they pushed to get here for dinner. It was so nice reuniting and briefly catching up with DHS, Jinx, and Twinkle Toes. They are all so lovely. Dinner was ready right after they arrived, and we had an amazing selection of pasta: Alfredo, pesto, and marinara choices, bread, broccoli, and a salad bar. I ate some more veggies and LOTS of pasta. It was delicious! After dinner we hung out for a bit, until I went to the coves nearby the camp to set up my tent with some other hikers. It was nice being right on the lake, and I had phone service! So I caught up on Bachelor in Paradise from the comforts of my tent and quilt.