PCT Day 117: Zero in Bend

August 13, 2022

0 miles

The day begins when I wake up at 7:30 and find myself with a surprising amount of energy. Jumbo is still sleeping and Tribute is taking a bath, and after I make coffee, I slip outside and call my mom before the day gets away from me. It’s nice to talk with her and my dad for a decent amount of time without feeling like I have to rush.

After that, I return to the room, where a relaxed Tribute and freshly showered Jumbo accost me to see how my hair turned out. It’s really weird and underwhelming. There are splotches of blue at the top, but the rest is sort of a steely gray color. It’s… not my favorite. But I’m not really sure what else Jumbo could have done. We followed all the directions and shook the crap out of that mixing bottle. Ah, well. We tried. Jumbo says we should give it another go tonight, maybe with a similar but different color.

Breakfast is a McGriddle feast at McDonald’s, then Tribute splits to check out the last Blockbuster on the planet while I go to the post office to mail some things home and Jumbo stays at Mickey D’s to make some calls to friends and family. At the post office I run into Ishay, magically, of course. He’s heading out today. The big buzz among hikers now is how people are getting around the Lionshead closure. It’s not an easy hitch, and while Wiggs agreed to take us, he didn’t realize we were trying to leave tomorrow, Sunday, instead of Monday, and he made some plans that he can’t change because some people had to request off work. We’ve yet to figure out how we’re going to manage that, but it sounds like Ishay has a connection to a local who’s going to be taking him and a few other hikers to Olallie Lake.

My next stop is the infamous last Blockbuster in the world. It is exactly what I hoped for. It’s arranged just like all movie rental places used to be, with racks organized by genre all around the store. It even smells like I remember. There’s an exhibit with old Blockbuster memorabilia, movie props donated by various actors, and articles about the store. I snag a few small knickknacks on my way out.

Next up is Big Story Books, a delightfully well-stocked little store. Then, because I see it on the map and I’m looking for a place to write, I go down the street to Bend Books and Coffee, which is also listed as Agia Sofia coffee. The latter strikes me as random until I get there and realize that the room in the back covered in what looks like Orthodox Christian icons is, in fact, a sanctuary for an Orthodox congregation. In the bookstore-slash-coffee-shop portion of the store, I order an iced tea and sit down to write.

But first, I have to put out a few feelers for rides tomorrow. There’s a reader of this blog, Hailey (heeyyyy!), who lives im Oregon and offered to help if we needed anything. Thinking it’s a long shot, I ask if she can drive us around the closure and to Olallie Lake tomorrow. To my surprise and delight, she says that she can! It feels good to know how we’re going to manage the next section.

I meet back up with Jumbo and Tribute at the hotel, then we get an Uber downtown, grab a quick lunch and drink at Worthy Brewing (you gotta get all the breweries in when you’re in Bend, you know), and then make our way to the entrance point where we’ll be getting on the Deschutes River for our two hour float. Liz and Tikka are there, too, and we all get our little orange octagonal tubes and plop ourselves in the pleasantly cool, shallow, slow-flowing river.

It’s absolute bliss for two hours. We move slowly, past houses and bikes and even a concert venue where a band seems to be doing a sound check. Tribute bought me a little bottle of Jim Beam, and he and Jumbo have some Fireball. It’s extremely relaxed. The five of us hold onto each other’s tubes, creating a flotilla that meanders lazily downstream. There’s a short section with rapids, which is very exciting, if a bit wet, and then not long after, we reach the beach where we get out. I have to lie in the grass for a good minute before I’m any kind of semblance of dry. Then Liz, Tikka, and I walk to meet Jumbo and Tribute at the Ale Apothecary. The beers are very interesting and very pungent, and I’m very sorted with my tiny taster glass.

Liz and Tikka bid us farewell after that. They’re flipping all the way up to Cascade Locks instead of trying to get to Olallie. It’s been good to hang with them! The boys and I make one final stop for the night: Spork. It’s a sort of Korean fusion place. I get a rice bowl with pork and a juniper mandarin cider, both of which are out of this world. The flavors are so unique.

We get an Uber back to the hotel, and since Jumbo and Tribute had encouraged me to get another box of dye so we can try again, I run to the Safeway, and, not finding more blue, go for a sort of vibrant purple. But when I get back, Jumbo is in the bath, and I start in on other tasks: packing up my food, taking the old polish off my nails, washing my pot and spoon. I lay down on the bed to wait for my nails to dry while Jumbo works on his tasks, and I wake up with a start at 11 asking if we’re still going to do it. Jumbo looks stressed out, saying he was ready to do it half an hour ago but I was asleep.

I’m so annoyed at myself and at him, by proxy, even though he didn’t do anything. I wouldn’t have wasted time and money going to Safeway if I didn’t think it would get done tonight. But once again, I fell into the trap of thinking that things wouldn’t take as long as they do. It’s so incredibly annoying to me that I can never do everything I want to on a zero day. No matter how much we try to get done right when we get to town, there’s always so much shit that piles up. Jumbo halfheartedly offers to do it now, but he’s already in bed, and I can tell he just wants to sleep. I look up Safeway’s return policy and decide to try to take the dye back in the morning, even though I threw away the receipt as soon as I got it like every thru-hiker does.

I decide to take a bath like Jumbo and Tribute have already done. I need to relax, and if my ugly-ass blue-gray hair isn’t going to get fixed, I might as well get something out of the evening. I run the tap hot and pour in some lavender and honey bath salts. It’s relaxing, but I made the water almost too hot to enjoy, and I fidget until I finally get out and take a cold shower.

In Cascade Locks and Portland, I’m not going to set any crazy goals or tasks for myself. I’m going to have my writing done by then and I’m going to chill. There. I have made up my mind. Now I’m going to calm down and stop complaining and go to bed.

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