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Joat - Oregon Desert Trail Journal - 2014

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Ken "joat" Taylor
City: Grass Valley
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: May 8, 2014
Direction: Eastbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, May 14th, 2014
Start: WB022
End: WB073, then hitched to Paisley
Trip Distance: 14.0
Hours Hiked: 18
Entry Lat: 42.747103
Entry Lng: -120.439829
Min Temp: 35
Max Temp: 85
Breaks: 8
People Met: 0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 394
Journal Visits: 6,998
Guestbook Views: 555
Guestbook Entrys: 2

Gear list

Oregon Desert Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

ad-hoc shade at WB037

Paisley and off the trail

Burma Rim was beautiful in the early morning. Lots of flowers and I spotted two different groups of wild horses in the distance. Mosquitoes began to swarm around me as soon as the sun started to rise. Whenever I stopped or slowed down they closed in for the attack.

Heard/saw my first rattler 1/2 mile past county reservoir 15 which still had plenty of muddy cow water. By this point the mosquitoes had been replaced by irritating little flys.

I arrived at WB037 (my last water cache before Paisley) at noon. I'd just finished the last of my good drinking water when I spotted the first of my three cached gallons. I still had the three extra/saftey quarts of buggy water I'd carried nearly 30 miles since WB003. I tried some of the treated bug water, and it tasted no worse than sand springs - just a slight aftertaste.

I set up the tent, taped my golite umbrella to trekking pole and tied my opened sleeping bag to top of tent, providing decent shelter from the heat of the day with a slight cross-breeze. The waist high sage providing the only other inadequate alternative. A reflective mylar space blanket would have been better than the sleeping bag, but I hadn't thought that far ahead.

I bathed and did laundry with the bug water, filled my 5qts for night hike to Paisley, and still have most of a half gallon of good drinking water to consume before I head back out later. My plan was to leave the third gallon on the trail for other hikers, but I can't locate it. There are fresh motorcycle tracks nearby... Per Tomato's suggestion, I probably should have written something on the jug: 'hiker water - free to use after June 1 2014' or something similar.

I get on the trail and double check distance (direct line) to Paisley, getting 25 miles and change. I toubleshoot my checklist and find that I'd missed placing a cache. I'm surprised to learn I have ~33 miles to next water instead of the 19 listed in my summary. During the caching process I omitted WB067 when I'd figured I'd be in good enough shape and have less food to carry. Somehow that edit didn't make it back into my summary though. I'm really thankful to learn this early in the hike as it is still manageable at this point. I decide not to eat anything with fat or stop or slow down. If I'm still up on the rim when the sun comes up 'it will be a bad thing'(tm). Even with trying hard to ration and avoiding eating, I go thru two quarts getting over the first couple of peaks on Diablo rim (!10mi) - probably due to remnant heat of the day and the fat I'm burning to power up the hills. Fortunately I manage the remainder of the night on only a pint with the cool humid air.

Up on the rim I find good Verizon cell coverage and give Deb a call, learning that a significant issue has come up and that she won't be able to meet me in Paisley tomorrow as planned. She says she'll handle the issue and for me to continue the hike. I stew over options the rest of the night and ultimately decide there's no way I could enjoy the rest of the hike knowing what she'd be dealing with back home.

Climbing the peaks and navigating the rim goes well with my high powered broad spectrum headlamp. I wouldn't want to attempt it with a low powered monochromatic led headlamp though.

I should mention that the rocks on this and previous section are everywhere. My knees, shins, and ankles have been getting a fantastic workout and what started out feeling like great exercise has now elevated to serious pain from two back-to-back days of abuse with very little rest. I started the latest section with one ibuprofen, then added another about an hour later, etc... By the time the sun comes up, I'm up to two every hour, trying for enough relief to keep plodding ahead at a steady pace. I also stretch frequently and stop and change socks every couple hours or so and massage my feet that are swelling and getting dark purple around my sore heals. Removing the green superfeet inserts helps to make room for my increasingly swollen feet.

At 42.917064,-120.526888 I pass a nice flat campsite surrounded by taller sage and at 42.913932,-120.523459 there is a great chair rock to sit on and take a load off my feet. There are a lot of potential campsites near 42.902389,-120.511409 that I also pass thru.

The Between Rim waterhole at WB061 has plenty of muddy cow water surrounded by dried playa that horses have been running circles in. It makes me think of kids doing doughnuts with motorcycles.

I make it down into pasture land filled with cows as the sun comes up. There's one idiot cow that keeps bellowing a sick sounding warning call and manages to get a large group of other cows to follow her - right in the direction I'm headed. I try to go around them, but my aching feet refuse to run and I can't circle around fast enough to steer them back to where they were. Instead, they dutifully lead me another mile or so to the gate with sicko bleating dire end of the world curses at me. There isn't any good grass here, so maybe that serves to emphasize her concerns. I quickly sneak thru the gate under her serenade, which eventually dies down with distance. I hope they are smart enough to find their way back up to the upper pasture where there is still good grazing.

I walk down the main gravel road towards Paisley until I've exited the hills. It's 9am and I'm down to two quarts of water when I hear a vehicle approaching from behind. I turn around and stick my thumb out without really thinking about it. My mind, groggy from lack of sleep has decided to test my poor track record at getting rides against finishing this section of the trail cleanly. The truck stops and I ask if I could get a ride into town. He says sure and pulls the varmint rifle over to make room as I clumsily crawl in.

I tell him about my experience with the misguided cows and he confirms they are his and that he will have to bring some boys back later to move them back up the pasture. He explains that they are just spooked by people. He also tells me in his calm and understated manner about the bear and two mountain lions they've had to kill so far this year. Apparently they find penned livestock easier prey than their more conventional diet. He drops me in the center of town and won't accept any gas money.

I've learned there are no taxies or shuttle services in the area, so pick up my resupply at the post office and borrow a pen to scratch "Bend" on the box flap. Outside, it's finally a decent hour, so I call Deb and tell her of my plan to come home via hitching to Bend, then rental car or plane to home. She says she'll figure out a way to come get me instead.

The sign on the door at Sage Rooms Hotel says to call for pricing/availability. The four aderondack chairs on the front porch are shaded and comfortable, with nearby creek adding to the relaxed environment. Dropping pack in one and my backside in the other, I make the call and leave requested info on answering machine. I must have just fallen asleep when my call is returned. The room was clean, large, with three different beds. It was great to get really clean and do laundry in the tub, then sleep til Deb called from Lakeview. We had a great dinner at the nearby restaurant and headed back to the hotel. We soon realized the hotel was full when loud guests on either side could be heard thru adjoining walls. I was tired enough that I still managed to sleep pretty well.

Entry 13 of 14
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