Location- Mountain summit
Elevation- 6,450 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 8.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1954.8 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, breezy, 70s
Injuries- very stiff joints
Pain level- mild
Days without shower- 4
As you might expect, I slept in a bit. It was after 9 before I started moving, and almost 11 when I stiffly walked into Elk Lake after a little more than 4 miles, including the side trail. My feet were sore, but not as bad as I thought they would be after how much they hurt last night. The real pain was in my knees, my hip flexors, and my sciatic nerve. I could move well, but it was uncomfortable.
The resort at Elk Lake was very laid back, with the food at the restaurant being very pricey…but very good. My experience with buffalo wings in California had been depressing at best. California likes to bread their buffalo wings and soak them in whatever sauce until they’re good and soggy; wrong. I hadn’t ordered wings in Oregon yet, so when I saw “smoked wings” on the menu, I thought I’d give it the old taste test.
Elk Lake Resort’s smoked wings made my all time top 3 list. Dalton, MA is number 1, Fort Walton Beach, FL is number 2, and Elk Lake, OR is number 3. They were so good I ordered them twice.
Mason and Butters arrived in the late afternoon, then hitched into the town of Bend. I hiked out in the early evening, determined to get to the top of a long climb, so as not to have to do it tomorrow. It was dark by the time I arrived at the top of the climb, but the location as a campsite was one of the best on trail so far. The summit of the mountain opened up into a dirt clearing; rocks and a drop off on one side overlooking a gorgeous view; a dense semi circle of tall pines surrounding the rest of the clearing; a trillion, billion stars filling in the gaps.
It’s so clear that I can spot satellites streaking above the earth with ease. This night is replacing all other nights as far as the memorable beauty of the night’s sky goes.