It was a town day so we started hiking an hour before daylight to get there as early as possible. It was supposed to be raining and windy all day but it started so nicely. It was very cloudy and all the clouds blew away by mid morning.

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We stopped into Big Lake Youth Camp for water since we were on a long dry stretch. The camp is closed for the season but they keep a small building for hikers to hang out in, with couches, hiker boxes, and even wifi. It’s incredibly generous and trusting of them.

Lava rock started today, miles of it. They are very rough and hard on your feet. Clouds started moving back in and it started getting windy while I was on the lava rocks too.

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The wind was so strong once I was out on the open field that I felt like a pinball. With the lava rocks rolling my feet one way and the wind buffeting me the other way, I couldn’t walk even close to a straight line. I was never so happy as I was to see trees ahead and get back on gentler trail. Rain had been threatening for a while but only started lightly just as we got to the road.

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We did 21.8 miles to McKenzie Pass and walked a small distance up the road to the Dee Wright Observatory, which is basically a castle made out of lava rock. There we got a ride very easily with a family heading back down the mountain.

We stopped in Sisters for ice cream at Sno Cap, an old fashioned ice cream and burger place. I got a giant salted caramel milkshake. Then we came across a dog looking very scared in the road. He was excited to hop into the car with us when we stopped. He’d broken his rope and had no tags, but he looked like a farm dog and we were at the end of a long farm driveway so we drove up it and found the other end of his rope. No one was home but we tied him back up, then ran into the owner back at the street and told her what had happened. Then we saw a rainbow and some old farm equipment sitting in a field that locals call “the dinosaurs.” It was a very adventurous day according to the second grader in the car.

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They dropped us off at a motel in Bend, where I was so happy to start laundry and showers. Switchfoot finished his hike here so he got to decide the celebration for the night: pizza and champagne and tv in the room. Can you tell we’re tired? We watched a crazy French film called Zazie dans le Metro.