I ditched my camera for the next two legs, so all photos are from my phone. Woohoo! 6.7 less ounces to carry.
Good-bye Crater Lake. Your circle of beauty snuck up on me as quietly and as deeply as your breathtakingly blue waters. Walking your rim was special; one foot traversed the moon while the other, wrapped in gravity, held firmly to the earth. And there you lay, untouchable, yet somehow, we leave, touched.
Mt. Thielssen from the front. Not the prettiest climb I've ever done in 90 degree weather with full on sun.
But what a gorgeous surprise on the back side. My cousin and I couldn't believe how much beauty was hidden from view. Mt. Thielssen, a mountain I'd never even heard of before this trip, reminded me that beauty sometimes requires a great deal of effort to find. You know this beauty. The kind that makes you bleed or cry or crawl. The kind, that once found, you promise you'll never let it go because of its rarity, its wholeness, its way of making you feel wonderful and whole and rare right along with it.
Doug, or "Unsung" as Jenny and I call him, is our Unsung Hero of the trail. He is 67 years old, has had four hip replacements, and is out here doing the Oregon section with his daughter, Desi. They are celebrating getting healthy and losing over 200 pounds between the two of them. Doug and Desi are a delight to hike with and they inspire me and make me feel good every time I see them. Sadly, we said good-bye to them yesterday at Shelter Cove (they were continuing on to Elk Lake and we were taking a zero day at Shelter), but luckily for me, Desi lives in the greater Portland area, so I don't think it was a forever good-bye.
This was real magic too! About two tenths of a mile before this magic, Jenny and I were sitting on a log talking about hot dogs and beer. Five minutes later, in the middle of nowhere, we had exactly that in our hands. Thanks Big Dave!
The hiker hang out and resupply scene at Shelter Cove Resort. Lots of laughs and good will, but bring your nose plugs. We stink!
I got lucky for breakfast this morning. Shelter Cove doesn't serve anything besides pizza and hot dogs, but today, I happened to walk into the tiny general store just as the morning employee was about to try a recipe her coffeemaker repairman suggested- Espresso Eggs. He told her to put two eggs, salt and pepper, and some salsa into a coffee cup. Mix well and place the cup under the steamer portion of the coffee machine. Steam until cooked, and voila- espresso eggs. She showed her recently steamed eggs to me be asked how they looked. After two weeks of oatmeal and breakfast bars, I thought pretty darn delicious. "Try it," I suggested. She made a face and said, "No way. You try it." Unable to pass up fresh eggs, even eggs cooked with a coffee machine, I took the fork. "Absolutely perfect," I proclaimed after the first bite. "Take them," she said. "They're yours."
Sometimes, I'm learning, you don't even have to be on the trail to find the magic.
I guess that's about it. Life is still pretty simple. The other day, my cousin and I watched ants for five minutes fascinated with their movement and persistence in tunneling a new home before we realized what we were doing and laughed at ourselves and what we now find entertaining. Every day we crave three things: shade, a breeze, and cold water. Once in awhile, we get all three, but usually feel pretty lucky if we hit at least one. And except for a few blisters, I feel good. So tomorrow, we hike on. Elk Lake is out there somewhere.
Reprinted with the permission of Lisa Goyne