Night three in a hotel room… get me to woods stat! I want to go back to the real world.

I woke early again, and started packing up the yard sale. My gear was in piles all over the room, but purposeful piles I was telling myself. It was amazing it all fit back in my pack, but with five days of food it was all I could do to close the top…I guess I went big on food this week. 😃

I walked over to Charlie’s place and soon Emily had a latte in my hands, and Charlie was bringing out a German apple Dutch baby. Are you kidding! I am thrilled, spoiled, and grateful all at the same time.

We headed out; there were plans to meet Emily this afternoon when she would pick up Charlie from somewhere on our walk. We skirted the edge of the Eastern Oregon University Campus, (I grew up on college campuses, my Dad having worked at them my whole life…I find something nostalgic, exciting, and hopeful about a university campus) and walked to where Kent and Cilla were waiting for us on the road out of town.

What fun to have company on this road walk. The day buzzed by as we talked about various adventures we had all been on, fun facts about the area, and the most pertinent public land issues in the Blue Mountains. The stories were fueling our uphill trajectory high enough to get us into some snow. The rain the day before in La Grande had been snow up here. Just a dusting remained and glistened in the bright sun. Cold temps prevented the snow from melting however, and most of the way we played layer shuffle. Hat on, hat off, vest on, vest off.

Cilla and Kent veared off to walk a loop back to town while Charlie and I kept walking south.

The expanse of forest around us was stunning, and we walked into the cold, not cold, cold winds of the afternoon until Emily found us on a break, eating fruit in the sun.
We played switch-a-roo and Emily and their beautiful dog Suzie walked with us. Suzie reminded me of Jasper, our friend’s sweet black lab that Kirk and I used to take on adventures. Jasper is an old lady now and can’t quite frolick as she used to, but at 14 Suzie was leaping around in the frosty remnants of the day before. You can never be too old to play in the snow.

We finally said our goodbyes on the side of the road and I continued on. It was such a welcome change from my daily solo treks so have some company. I really do love hiking with people and I really do love spending time in nature alone as well. Today I got to do both!

The Intrepid Three had marked a water source that I would pass just as I wanted to find camp, but the water was gone. Ahhhhhh. I trudged up the hill looking higher and higher in the drainage for any puddles of the precious liquid, but nope, the cold and inch of snow on the ground had done a number on the little creek.

I set up the tent and started melting snow for my dinner water and coffee provision in the morning. I’d go without a hot breakfast and eat bars as I didn’t want to burn too much fuel. Turning snow into water…at least there was snow!

I’ve been expecting this cold since the beginning, its quite surprising it took until day 20 for me to get to wear all my down layers. Down booties! Huge down mittens! Finally!

I made dinner wearing my quilt as a cape, a fabulous technique if I do say so myself.

Crunchy mac and cheese? Hungry don’t care.