By trail standards, the hotel we selected to stay at while in Bend was over-the-top plush. It was a Residence Inn, which we chose for a variety of reasons.
The first reason was that there were few options available to us. This was a tourist season in Bend, so many hotels had no vacancies. Another reason for this hotel was its location. It was within walking distance of an REI, several restaurants, and a grocery store. It also had laundry facilities.
|Date||Wednesday, August 14, 2019|
We were finally swayed to stay here by the room itself. It was a suite with a sleeper sofa for me in one room, plus two queen beds in another room. Splitting the cost three ways kept the price reasonable.
If I were hiking on my own, it’s unlikely I would have stopped here, and even more unlikely I would have stayed for two nights. Today was the third zero I had taken in the last two weeks and I wouldn’t normally want to take them that frequently.
Still, our stay here provided a valuable opportunity to prepare for skipping ahead to hike the Sierra.
Had I been alone right now, I would be still focused on getting through Oregon. I would not have a fully-prepared hike plan for the Sierra handed to me, but that’s what happened today.
When Sunkist and Bluejay offered me the opportunity to join them, I knew I would be hiking with two experienced hikers. Along with Sunkist's earlier attempt to thru-hike the PCT, she previously hiked the John Muir Trail and other long-distance trails. Bluejay thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail last year. I was about to see their experience in action.
We went to the lobby, where they used the hotel's guest computer to work on a resupply plan. I made our travel plans for driving to Truckee, which included reserving a rental car.
Thanks to Sunkist's knowledge of the Sierra from her previous two hikes, she knew the best places to stop. She also knew what to expect of the terrain, and that helped to calculate our daily mileage.
Before long, Bluejay and Sunkist handed me a copy of the plan they created. It included not only the places where we should resupply, but Sunkist had provided helpful ideas of how to resupply.
For instance, she suggested we use a service called Sonora Pass Resupply. This would save us time because the food would be brought to the pass on the day we got there. That way we wouldn’t need to hitch into Kennedy Meadows North.
Bluejay and Sunkist placed an order online for food from Sonora Pass Resupply. I then arranged to have Kim ship a box of food to them, which would also be delivered when we arrived. The deadline for when an order would be accepted for our expected arrival date was approaching fast, so we needed to take care of this today.
Sunkist suggested shipping resupply boxes to Tuolumne Meadows and Independence because our food options there would be limited. Bluejay and Sunkist will shop for their food for these boxes in Ashland, then mail them ahead. Again, I will be able to have Kim send boxes there for my resupply.
Sunkist knew of a motel in Independence that would hold our boxes, plus would pick us up from the trail, so we made those reservations too.
She also knew the only way to send food to Muir Trail Ranch was cumbersome and expensive, but there was an alternative. At first, it seemed crazy to me.
Sunkist told us we could resupply there by taking food from hiker boxes. John Muir Trail hikers leave so much food behind, she said, there would be plenty of free food available. This seemed risky, but Bluejay and I decided to put our trust in Sunkist and agreed to do that.
With most of our plans for the Sierra now set, we turned our attention to more immediate needs. First, we walked to the REI store. which was only a few blocks away. I purchased a fuel canister, batteries for my headlamp, and replacement liner socks.
Sunkist and Bluejay looked at shoes there, but after failing to find what they wanted, we called for an Uber and went to a running shoe store.
I thought the shoes I bought in Portland were still working well but not perfectly. Hoping to improve the comfort, I bought a new pair of insoles.
Then after lunch at a Thai restaurant, I relaxed at the hotel while Sunkist and Bluejay ran a few more errands. I didn’t need to do any shopping because I was still carrying plenty of food from the box Kim sent to me at Big Lake Youth Camp.
For dinner, we walked to Immersion Brewing, another of Bend’s many excellent breweries.
Plenty of trail lies ahead for us to hike in Oregon. We have 235 miles to go before we skip ahead to the Sierra, which we’re expecting to do in about two weeks.
I’m excited about the coming days and happy to be hiking with Sunkist and Bluejay. We get along well, and importantly, we find plenty of reasons to laugh together. With Dave likely to join us soon, there are sure to be more laughs to come.
I had no idea when I began hiking with them that they would make the trail much easier to hike.