Day 109, 18 miles
Mount Washington Wilderness Willamette National Forest
I could have skipped this stretch. Who’s going to know anyway? Me. I’ve made it this far. Every legal mile. When I say I hiked from Mexico to Canada, I want to know it and own it.
Paul suggested he drop me off at Hwy 242, Mackenzie Pass, and pick me up at the next Hwy, 20, at Santiam Pass. I could slack pack. No need to carry big pack with tent, food, sleeping bag and extra clothes. Day pack it, with only water and snacks. Brilliant.
We checked out Dee Wright Observatory, the lookout castle made of lava. It has peekaboo holes in the walls that look directly at, and name, all the surrounding peaks. Very cool.
Hiking the lava rock is hot and tricky. The rocks are loose and it’s easy to roll around on your ankles. To me it feels like I’m hiking on crunchy, gigantic grape nuts cereal. Another burn area. The trees are bleached white. The charred, black bark weathered off.
The volcanic activity in this area is evident. There are sharp, rocky peaks shaped more recently by glaciers, and rounded hills that are millions of years old.
Paul picked me up at the end. Quite civilized is this slack packing.