Total Miles: 2017.4
It may have been a meager arrangement of sticks on the ground, but it was meaningful just the same. A humble spot on a trail full of highlights, it didn’t quite seem fitting of all that this point represented but it did make for a perfect place to reflect on all the miles that brought us here. 2000 miles. It feels much further than it sounds, and yet it all seems to have transpired in the proverbial blink of an eye. It’s an enticing paradox of long distance hiking–the memories are, at once, both very distant and very present.
Following the string of major peaks laid out before us since the Three Sisters, we entered the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness and climbed over the shoulder of Three Fingered Jack, its western face showing a summit ridge that looked like rotting teeth.
Its north face, however, looked altogether different. Sweeping up dramatically from talus slopes to sheer walls striped with bands of red rock, the various spires looked like the points of a crown.
As I’ve come to realize, no day in Oregon seems complete without a number of miles through former wildfire areas. By now, it feels like there have been as many miles through barren wastelands of forest recovery as not in this state. The signs of early plant life and the stark contrast of the dead trees against the sky is fascinating, but the sheer number of these areas, not to mention their immensity, is depressing.
Our day came to a close at a spot befitting a celebration for having crossed the 2000-mile mark: perched on the edge of a cliff, with an expansive view of Mt. Jefferson right before us. As I write this from my sleeping bag on a night that promises to bring another morning as frigid as today’s, the black silhouette of the mountain is the view out my front door.