5-24: First day of noodle legs. Also the PCT

5-24: First day of noodle legs. Also the PCT

5-24 End point – Redmond OR

This was not a good morning.

I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t drink enough water, or eat enough snacks, or I was just having an off day. But my morning was painful and sluggish.

I managed to make it out of camp by 830… but considering I’d been up since 7 that’s no big feat.

Since McKenzie pass was closed due to it still being full of snow, I had to take Santiam alternate route. It’s a longer way to get to Sisters, 49 miles in total and slightly more gradual but man it was long. The interesting thing was that for me, the approach was the part that sucked the most. It was anything difficult or even long, my legs just were not happy. I did talk to some construction workers who said there were a couple other TransAm riders heading east a day or so ahead of me somewhere. Exciting! Also exciting were the old lava fields I passed! Miles of black volcanic rock!

The last 6 miles up to the pass were the actual real climb. The shoulder was narrow and there were lots of trucks, plus the wind decided to make an appearance, blowing right into my face. But I managed to do the 6 miles to the pass in about an hour and small change.

Once up there though…. Beautiful. I stopped to take a picture with the Pacific Crest Trail crossing sign, and marveled at the fact that there was still snow on the ground and the surrounding peaks. Then, it was time to descend.

I’m not sure which I hate worse – climbing with traffic or descending with traffic. Climbing usually gives you two lanes (one for passing, one for trucks) which means at least most of the vehicles can give you a little space. Descending… one lane and a shoulder that usually has more gravel than I care for. Plus you’re relying on tiny brake pads and skinny wheels. I know none of this is reassuring right?

I think I may have bruised the space between my fingers and thumb today on this descent. The first mile I was lucky and managed to get in with a parade of cars limited by a downshifted tractor trailer. But then the wind started coming crosswise. I pulled off into a viewpoint lot for a moment to collect myself. I was about halfway down the steep section. I waited for a long break in the traffic and started again. I rode in the lane, windbreak flapping despite being zipped. I made it to the more gentle decline and finally got to relish the descent. Thank goodness.

I’m not sure what this will mean for the Rockies though…

I made it into Sisters and stopped at the library to steal some wifi and maybe pickup a new used paperback. No such luck on the book, but the wifi let me try and find a place to stay in Redmond, about 20 miles away. A warm shower person said no, but Buckeye texted me a name and number of a friend of his in town I could stay with.

Buckeye (my friend from the Appalachian Trail I stayed with in Portland) has become my Oregonian Wizard. He notated maps for me, pointing out places of interest, gave me a place to stay and a ride to Astoria, and he keeps on giving! It’s amazing.

The ride to Redmond really made it clear how the terrain had changed. Scrub brush and stunted trees that look like they’d kill for a drop of water. Dusty and dry, it looks more like Texas than the lush wet Oregon I’ve been used to.

Also somehow I managed to sun burn only one part of one leg. The world is a weird place.Total miles – 70.5

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