I’m cold in the night for the first time in quite a while. I snuggle down into my sleeping bag as much as I can and cinch it up around my ears. I wake up at whatever hour the nobos start to pack up, but I doze until 8, by which point they’re long gone.
I leave the meadow and pass through some forest, then look down onto a big open valley through which the trail winds, green trees and hills on one side and lava rock glinting in the sun on the other. There are lovely views of South Sister, and little peaks of Middle Sister still visible as well. Ahead of me, Mount Bachelor.
I follow the trail back into the woods and climb up and down. Sometimes I hallucinate manmade object amidst the trees: a dead white log in the distance looks like a silver car, parked incongruously next to the trail. A burned-out stump looks like a black coat hung up on a coat rack. Another log looks like a roll of paper towels abandoned by a camper.
The nobos told me there were mosquitos south of here, so this morning I preemptively put on my bugnet pants. So far so not-necessary, but I do get some compliments on my style from other hikers. After a pair asks me if my pants mean there are bugs north, I take them off to get a little extra breeze directly on my legs; it’s warm, though maybe a little cooler than it’s been.
Not too much later, I put them back on. I’m entering a stretch of trail littered with lakes and little ponds — prime mosquito territory. They’re here, buzzing around my ears, but in numbers not nearly as overwhelming as in Washington.
I choose a lake a little over 20 miles from last night’s meadow to camp at. I’ve seen a million nobos today (slight exaggeration), but no one’s camped here. I eat two dinners — I have one to spare, and maybe hiker hunger has finally really kicked in. My food bag is getting pretty light — I hope I have enough to last me two more days.
I realize when I’m falling asleep after dinner that it’s my first night camping totally alone since before Olallie Lake. My second-to-last night on trail.