In Bend we had all slept horribly, as always happens in hotels on the trail. I think it has something to do with breaking our usual pattern in addition to all the excessive food binging and beer guzzling and things to do and watch until late into the night. And then we wake up early just because that’s just what we always do on trail and our brains don’t know that we’re in a quiet, dark room on a very comfortable bed and pillow.
So we went next door to Black Bear Diner and ate too much food. After that we went to Safeway and bought too much food to resupply our backpacks. We never learn.
The last important stop was to REI. Bushtit’s Sawyer Squeeze water filter had blown a gasket, and my ‘guaranteed for life’ Darn Tough socks had worn holes through in several places within two months.
Bushtit had her issue resolved, but REI would not replace my socks. REI’s return policy specifically says ‘with regular use’ in regards to products breaking down. Seeing my choice of clothes and scraggly long beard, the manager assumed me to be a long-distance hiker and told me that daily use while hiking all day long does not constitute regular use of the product and therefore I could not return them for breaking within two months.
A bit frustrating, but I understood. The manufacturer has the lifetime warranty with no questions asked, not REI. I was hoping for the convenience of returning to the store rather than mailing them away. Other independent gear stores have accepted the socks just fine and allowed other hikers to take a new pair off the shelves without issue while the store took care of the warranty, so I only expected REI would do the same, but I was wrong.
But no biggie! We got some hot coffee and packed up our hotel room before Molasses drove us back to the trail.
The first few miles were in a green tunnel of trees. Two grouse and a deer crossed our path, as well as a few curious day hikers!
Then the view opened up into a wide meadow and our jaws dropped at a stunningly beautiful view of the South Sister before us. We had a snack there to take in the view. Oregon is gorgeous, but we’re often locked in behind a bunch of trees trying to peak through for some views. This was a welcome change.
An old friend, Cuban B, walked up to us just as we were about to pitch our tent. We hadn’t seen him since Tehachapi! Well over a thousand miles ago! It was great to catch up with him. He’s doing bigger miles than us right now to catch up to some other friends. He planned to make a few more mes before nightfall and hiked on.
Bushtit fell asleep as darkness settled in, but I stayed up a while longer to watch some of the Perseid Meteor Shower. I got a fantastic look at a few, but it was difficult trying to stay up long. I fell asleep.
And then woke up not thirty minutes later to the sound of something big walking around and drinking water near our tent. I never saw what it was, but it was big and very quiet. It never bothered us and eventually walked away.