This last weekend I packed up my bag for two nights and headed into the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. I was amped. It was a blue-bird day, with temperatures in the high sixties. I headed up the trail, whose path cut through barren, grey stalks creaking in the wind: remnants of a past forest fire. Despite the seemingly dead forest, there was ample beauty to be found.Morning turned to afternoon as I passed a dozen lakes, some that provided a moment’s rest. I’ve started a new book and I gladly took the opportunity on these easy mile days to flip from chapter to chapter.
The second day I woke early, making a pot of coffee in my Snowpeak titanium french press. I need to figure out a alternate system so that I’m not carrying a french press and cooking pot. (I just started drinking coffee and this is a new luxury!) Although they are both ultralight, it’s unnecessary. Boiling mac n’ cheese in the french press would prove tricky, however, as it’s a wee bit too small. Perhaps I can customize a lid and press for the cooking pot? Hmmm. I need to consult the www and my friend Shera’s boyfriend Kirk on that one. (FYI, Shera just completed the CDT and has earned her Triple Crown in doing so! Read more here.) As I pondered the efficiencies of cookware, I gazed across the lake I’d camped beside.Ducks, ten to a line, paddled across the surface of Marion lake, an enticing body of water for its size and that morning, solace.
A few miles later, and practicing a bit of spontaneity, my route turned east toward South Cinder Peak. I hadn’t looked at my map thoroughly, as had I done so, I would’ve realized there was a steep 1,000-foot climb. Great training indeed, and the views at the top were superb.
I reunited with the PCT after, heading south toward Three Finger Jack. My destination: Canyon Creek Meadows. Again, spontaneity led me to something awesome. In fact, this was stellar. The trail withered as it gained elevation and soon I was scrambling up a steep slope. Lateral moraines sat the beneath the massive flank of Three Finger Jack, one of the many volcanoes in the area, and one that tops out at 7,844 feet. A glacial lake that was the color of milky coffee sat in it’s bowl. And at the saddle: a sweeping vista of immeasurable beauty. All to myself.
All in all, a great weekend spent training and planning for a year-long hike. Calendar Triple Crown, here I come!