My legs are shot.
I woke up early again, but stayed in my sleeping bag until the sun hit me. Most of the day was on old dirt roads, dipping in and out of the swells of the Trout Creek Mountains. I saw with irony where I toiled up to climb into the mountains what seemed like a short distance away. And I can see the Steens. And they are snowy. I’m really not sure what kind of conditions I’ll find in the snow. We got fresh snow out here last week, but the weather has cleared since Friday, and should be clear and warm for the next week…so it could conslidate some, and be like the PCT snow I hiked in the Sierra Mountains 10 years ago, or it could be fresh and slidey like on the CDT in Colorado last year. Regardless I’ll have to wait and see. It will be a brutal climb from the Alvord Desert 4,500 feet below the crest of the mountain at 9,500. In 25 miles. It just all depends on the snow. At least I’ll have a soak at Alvord Hot Springs before I head up.
Lots to do before the Steens though, like climb into the Pueblo Mountains via what is supposed to be a really brushy slog. We’ll see if it’s any different going up than coming down. More climbing! But really, that’s what it’s all about. We are linking mountain ranges with some hot valley walking in between, but it’s vast out here. There are plenty of mountains out here. I’m looking into Nevada right now thinking I want to go hike in some of those mountains.
But back to the hike today. It was another pleasent morning, every water source was flowing or there, but I could have choosen better. I waited before a 10ish mile dry stretch to fill up at Chicken Spring, where my choice was beteen muddy tank water, or skuzzy moss/floaty water. I went with the floaty water and made the mistake of not prefiltering the first bit, immediately the flow was slower. I took off my zip tee and made a pre-filter for the water into my coffee cup. There were a lot of living things in that water!
I climbed higher in the Trout Creeks until there were patches of snow. My legs are just aching. I know they are being destroyed each day, and each day I ask a little more. I really do rememer what it’s like to charge up a mountain and not break a sweat, but you can’t get there without spending some time here, in the ache phase.
Ok, more walking, down to Trout Creek and some lovely aspen, around and through some more aspen, and I find myself at the start of the descent to No Name Spring, and the start of the next section which will take me by Denio, NV – a trail town that’s probably just a post office. Then, into the Peublos!