If there was a Brothers, Oregon I wonder if it would be as nice as Sisters, Oregon. Would Twins, Oregon be cool but kind of eerie? Stepsiblings, Oregon is distant. Halfsister, Oregon is spoiled. Babysitter, Oregon lets you stay up LATE.
Pete and I booked it out of Portland Friday afternoon to get to Sisters to go backpacking. We had loaded packs and dusty boots. All along the trail we saw families strolling in for a lake day. Bend families. Bendies. You know when something is a total treat for you but commonplace for someone else? It was that.
We slept in the car Friday night near the trailhead. We’ve been wanting to do this since we got this beast (Toyota 4Runner). It’s excessive for getting groceries but we’re always like, well we can sleep in it and haul the raft and stuff, so that’s cool. Finally we slept in it. Turns out we’re a bit too tall. I think we’ll keep doing it, because it wasn’t awful, it was just a little crunched.
Part of why I was excited to sleep in the car is because I love waking up early. Well. I love when I wake up AWAKE and it’s early. I’m bad at doing it but I love when it happens. And I wake up to light so I was hoping, sleeping in a big box of windows, that the gorgeous alpine morning sun would awaken me and I would rise and be perfect and zen and photosynthesize and commune with animals and stuff. But actually it woke me up for a second, I snapped this photo, and then I went back to sleep forever.
Parts of the trail were on the PCT, so you see these PCT thruhikers and you just feel like a complete butthead. I’m not sure how worthwhile I feel the PCT is. I believe in hiking and backpacking and wilderness, duh. But I think extended travel of any kind dulls your appreciation for it. I met this German guy in Belize who was nearing the end of a year of world traveling. We were snorkeling and he told me: I don’t want to know your name. I can’t hold anybody’s name. I don’t care. It’s too much. I imagine the PCT version of that to be: I don’t care about you, sunset! Shut up, mountain! You’re just a mountain! You’re not special.
I think for PCT folks it’s probably largely about challenge and accomplishment. Which is fine. Just not my jam. Anyway, philosophies aside, seeing these guys (they were all dudes) solo hiking thousands of miles, all geared up, bearded, slender, practically running down the trail. Gotta make miles! It’s a trip. Made Pete and I think about the PCT-ers we saw on our San Diego backpacking trip in March. Where are those folks, I wonder?
There are two lakes - North Matthieu Lake and South Matthieu Lake. Both are chill a.f. We camped by the lower one since it was larger and more swimmable. It’s that kind of PNW scene - turquoise water lake with pine trees around the edge. So pretty it hurts my heart. We claimed a spot, ate lunch by the lake, and then went exploring. A possible title for my future memoir could be: I WORE THE WRONG SHOES. On our adventure I wore the wrong shoes. I had to stop every fifteen minutes or so to wiggle all the rocks out of my chacos. Because we hiked up the lava flow because Pete wanted to see about this crater that he read about. He also pointed out all of the mountains but was WRONG so I no longer listen to him about which mountains are which. Thing about me is I do not care what the mountain’s name is. There’s a mountain in the area called Three-Fingered Jack so I just call every mountain however many fingered jack I feel like.
Oh my GOD lakes like this. I cannot get enough of lakes like this. Swimming around in it stirs up all the mud on the bottom and makes it cloudy so you have to step lightly if you care about such things as photogenic water. I made up a song that goes no no no, cuidado. Here I am performing it:
The reason I know so much about mud stirring is because it takes me F O R E V E R to get in water. Forever. I think we were hanging by the lake for about three and a half hours and I didn’t swim until the very end. It’s pathetic. I WANT to be in the water. On the Salmon River Trip a few years ago I was standing ankle-deep in the river looking at it while people were off playing volleyball or something and Joel stood with me and said, You want to swim so badly, don’t you. I want to swim so badly I just need 4 hours or so.
Pete’s the opposite of me in a lot of ways and this is a big one. Close your eyes for one second and that guy’s swimming. Water could be 0 degrees and he’s swimming.
And then we were done! This lady at the trailhead said, welcome back. And I felt bad for her because we were gone 1 day and walked like 7 miles. Maybe she thought we were real adventurers? Sorry, lady. We’ve got jobs!
I wanted iced coffee so we stopped in Sisters to get some. I also scored the BEST HAT. We went to Sisters Coffee Co which I recommend. The kid/guy at the register totally tripped over my name. Could you repeat that? I was like, Britt. Blank stare. Short for Brittany? B - R - I - T - T. He made me feel special, like my name is so unusual he couldn’t even guess at how to write it on the side of a coffee cup. Is everyone stoned all the time?
Then we set out to explore the Metolius River. We’ve both heard good things and wanted to see it. As soon as we got near I melted. It’s perfect. It has my favorite kind of trees. My favorite color dirt. My favorite vibe. AND the water is SO BLUE. So blue. The rapids look like toothpaste. Metolius River, I love you forever!
It’s a f*ing cold and swift river. Pete swam, of course. I stood ankle deep and splashed my face, or as I call it, “swimming.” It was a really good weekend.