I got up with the sun or just before it, and the wind and rain (or condensation dripping from trees, which is functionally the same thing) were still getting busy. I packed up some of my things in it, but then put on my packa, put my water bag and air mat and electronics bag in its big pocket, and went down to the lodge again.
There was a sort of small stage outside one side entrance well under the eaves of the lodge, so my plan was to roll up the mat there where it could stay 90% dry. But instead of doing that right away, I laid all my stuff out on the stage and went into the lodge.
It turned out the side entrance opened on a hallway mainly intended for employee use, lined with employee offices and utility rooms.
Further into the lodge, I found the main lobby. After exploring it a bit, I talked to the clerk, who directed me upstairs to the restaurant where free coffee was offered. This was the space I had been in the previous night.
But once I saw how empty the restaurant was (at 7am on a nasty day), I decided to try to get some real breakfast. I had no reservation and I looked as gross as a hiker always looks–worse, maybe, given the amount of mud I’d encountered two days prior–but they could seat me right away.
I had an enormous three course breakfast featuring salad, meats, potatoes, and a pastry. It ran me 60 dollars. I hoped it would give me the motivation I would need to get me through a miserable day’s hike.
Then I spent some time in the hotel bathroom. Money isn’t the only cost of an enormous breakfast. Plus, the clerk said it was the best place to fill my water bag.
Finally, I went back out to pack up my air mat, then up the hill to pack up my tent. Finally, once again totally soaked, I could start my hike.
It was only another ten miles and most of it was downhill, but it was cold and foggy and there weren’t many views to be had. Also, there were still plenty of deadfalls to be avoided.
After I crossed the road at Barlow Pass, I started seeing more day hikers. More and more in spite of the weather. It gave me hope of getting a ride from any of this number who would return to the trailhead parking lot.
So when I got to the trailhead, I crossed the rode and stood in front of a semi parked on the shoulder where anyone leaving the lot and going my way could pull right off beside me.
No luck. This was probably the longest wait for a hitch I’ve had to date. Despite being bundled up and in rain gear, the cold fog soaked through and my temperature continously dropped. I danced in place to try to stay warm, but another hour there would have put me in hypothermia territory. And it’s not like there was no traffic. There were dozens of cars per minute. It’s just that no one there wanted to help me get somewhere warm and dry.
Until a hero comes along! Another unicorn, in fact. 21-year-old single female Shea and her pupper Stevie. They were headed to Bend for a day of rock climbing with a friend and was willing to take me with. This was nearly a two hour trip, and she let me run the heat aimed directly at me the whole way.
The beauty of the desert plateau we drove into was incredible, as was the river at Warm Springs State Park we stopped near for a dog walk break.
Along the way, I reserved a couple of nights at a motel and Bend called Rainbow Motel that was incredibly cheap and well-situated relative to the places I needed to go. As soon as she dropped me there and I got my room key, I cranked the heater in the room up to 11 and left it there.
And then I took off my wet clothes, took a hot shower, changed into my long johns, ordered a pizza from Domino’s for delivery, and spent the rest of the evening in bed just enjoying being warm and dry.
Total distance: 10 miles