Uber, Fire, Smoke, and Andy

Having a shower, sleeping and waking up in a real bed is indeed very nice!

We order an Uber Taxi and get a ride downtown Bend to have a coffee and meet up with Andy!

There he is!

Andy is back too! We give each other big hug and have a little welcome party.

My trailfamily is complete again! Who would have thought so a few weeks ago!

How very awesome!

But time is running out, I have some serious work to do…

Resupply for all of Washington:

Go to REI and buy an insane amount of freeze dried hiker food. Take another Uber Taxi to a super market and buy an insane amount of very sugary and calorie intense hiking food (I talk about 25 Snickers bars, 25 protein bars, 75 other sugary bars, 35 dinners, 35 days worth of salty snacky things to eat for lunch and so on).

I am so glad that Felix and I payed another visit (another taxi ride) to Trader Joe’s yesterday night already, so that I could get a third of the shopping done already.

In case you are wondering, Felix and Andy don’t have to go through the resupply hell, as they had prepared all their food previous to their hike already and get it shipped to them.

The trouble is, it is Saturday today, and the post office closes at three. So as REI opens at 10 am, I have 5 hours left to do all the shopping, various Uber rides, repacking the food into Ziplock bags, make 5 heaps, bring four heaps to the post office and to UPS. (Again, to make things more complicated, some parcels have to be sent by US mail only, some have to be sent by FedEx or UPS only.)

I order an Uber to first bring us to Andy’s place to pick up the backpack he left there and then bring us to the supermarket. The driver is Larry.

“Are you guys PCT hikers?”


“Cool, I actually just subscribed myself to the online Trailangel list yesterday. I want to do some trail-angeling for PCT hikers.”

“Wow, awesome Larry! That’s the perfect way to make lots of people happy”.

Larry: “in fact, you don’t need to pay the ride to the supermarket, I start trail-angeling right away!”

“Are you sure Larry? That’s awesome and super nice of you! Thanks so much man! “

“In fact, I figure you guys need a ride back to the trailhead tomorrow, I can drive you up there, just tell me what time you guys want to leave.”

“Oh wow, that’s too much! But yes! A ride would be perfect! We are happy to pay you for driving us up there, we know it is like a one hour drive!“

“Ah no guys, you don’t need to pay me. This will be a trail angel mission.”


We are all speechless and amazed at our luck and super grateful!

All I did was ordering an Uber Taxi, and 5 minutes later we sit in the car of an amazing trail angel!

We all can’t believe how lucky we are! It would have been hard to get back to the trailhead on a Sunday evening.

We want to start hiking late evening as it is so hot and as we will have to do more of this black Lava rock hiking/stumbling. Felix and I figured earlier that only evening and night hiking is acceptable for this terrain.

So problem solved!

Larry gives us his phone number and promises to pick us up tomorrow at 5pm.

So I go shopping, we carry all the bags to the hotel (the guys help me carrying!) I repack all that food, produce a tone of garbage, and order another Uber to bring me to the UPS store.

That’s done. I am free again.

I walk back to the hotel and have a nap and soon after go to sleep for real.

Felix does his usual research and finds the apparently “best breakfast place in town”. So we order yet another Uber taxi and get a ride there.

Oh yes. Breakfast is awesome and plentyfull here! Good job Felix!

We order another Uber and let us drive downtown where we hang out in an air conditioned tea shop and wait for Larry.

It is almost 5pm and there he comes! Our very own personal trail angel!

Larry drives us up all the way back to McKenzie pass.

“Larry, you are our trail angel hero! We are thrilled to have been your first thru hiker customers”.

God job, you made us very happy.

Alright! Let’s get going and hike over the lava rocks. We are all glad it is evening, rather than 2pm, when it seems the hottest.

Hiking in the evening is great, the light is just as good as in the morning!
In fact, the light we get tonight is epic!

It gets dark and we camp in this burned forest. A bit creepy but somehow cool at the same time.

So we have heard about the fire ahead of us, and Felix and I have seen the smoke when we camped at the Three Sister Wonderland in the snow three night ago. The sky was really smoky.

In Bend, Felix figured out a few possible strategies how we can get around the PCT fire closure.

But as always on the PCT: “just get there and see.”

We hike to Minto Pass and there it is.

Alright, we are going to hitch hike around the fire to Olallie Lake.

It is going to be complicated. We have to get our way around Mount Jefferson (that’s where the fire is). This means several junctions and different roads.

We position ourselves at the road.

The cars race by fast. No one stops. We cheer each other up by assuring:

“I am sure we get a ride within the next 35 minutes”.

There! A car is slowing down! Yeay!
We throw our packs onto the open back loader thing (and hope the packs will not fall off during the ride.)

The ride is about one hour. The guy is apparently in the hemp business he tells us. Alright. Interesting. He makes a special detour for us and drops us off in Detroit (no, not that Detroit you are thinking of, this is Tiny Detroit in Oregon).

“Thanks so much man!”

It is so hot down here in Little Detroit, we need to go into an air conditioned restaurant to cool of.

Alright, it might get a bit more difficult from now on, as the road to Olallie Lake is much smaller and even turns into a dirt road for the last 10 miles.

We stick our thumbs out again and a guy with a Pickup picks us up (perhaps this is why these cars are called Pickups!)

Not much space in the front so Andy and I position ourselves outdoor on the back, as I have done before.

The guy starts driving.

“Oh bloody bloody hell!”

He drives fucking fast!

“Oh man! Are you crazy man? You have two people hanging there outside on your pickup, sitting on the floor, no seat, let alone seat belts, and you are racing your bloody car?!“

Nope. I don’t like this at all.

Hitchhiking had been such great fun so far, but this is not.

Bloody hell I am scared. He probably has to jump hard on his breaks soon and Andy and I will fly through the air.
I really hope I am going to survive this ride.

“Are we there yet?”

“Are we there yet?“

The guy finally stops and let’s us out. He does not go all the way to Olallie lake (THANK GOD!) so we try to hitch further from here.

But I first need to get my senses together again and cry a little.

That was a shitty ride. But thanks man anyway, you helped us knocking off 10 miles.

Well anyway, we are all glad to have made it that far. But the road here is super quiet. Hardly any cars. Everyone passes. Nobody stops. One guy even flips us a bird.


We decide that we try to get a ride until 7pm, otherwise we set up camp.

So it gets 7 pm. We set up camp.

In the morning we get up at our usual 6 am schedule and get back to the road and start walking.

The only cars which pass by are fire fighters and it is apparently against their protocol to pick up miserable stranded PCT hikers. (The fire fighters are rather sexy though!)

So we walk. Roadwalking. Not nice! It hurts the legs and feet.

We start singing songs together (I love it when we are doing this.) Ring of fire by Johnny Cash seems appropriate.

After almost five miles on this road, Andy and I are hurting and tired and want to sit down and have a rest.
We sit down and get our food bags out to have a nibble. A car comes by and Andy jumps onto his sore feet and sticks his thumb out.

“Hell yes! The car (a minivan) stops!”

The guy is driving to Olallie Lake and gives us a ride!

And now it gets interesting! The driver turns out to be a former PCT thru hiker who did the whole thing back in 1979!
This guy must be one of the first guys who ever tru hiked the PCT!

What a cool ride!

“Thank you Scott!!”


The fire is behind us, we are back on the good old PCT. The air is smoky though.

A thick layer of smoke.

We hike towards Mt Hood (epic view) and the famous Timberline Lodge. Everything seems to be muted by the smoke up here though.

The Timberline Lodge is super famous amongst tru hikers.

They do an “all you can eat” breakfast buffet.

Do I need to say more?

With a rather Uber full tummy we splurge ourselves and buy a ride with the cable car up Mt Hood. Well, not quite up there, just a bit up.


I have a look around and am stunned to see how thick this smoke layer is. We can in fact hardly see the landscape around us.


Andy says that we might see this kind of smoky air for a long time now. Perhaps all the way to Canada, as they have their own fires there at the moment.

Well. We will have to hike and find out!

I keep you guys posted!

9 replies
  1. Bill Brobston says:

    Heidi, let me know if you, Felix, and Andy need anything when you get to Cascade Locks. We just came off the PCT section hiking. Lousy conditions right now! We live in Portland, a 5 minute walk from REI. Bill and Barbara. PS: the market in Stevenson Washington, across the Columbia is better than in Cascade Locks. Bill and Barbara (I’m the old guy who admired the pictures on your blog a few weeks ago). Have a great hike. We just came out of Goat Rocks, pretty spectacular!

  2. quapawpers says:

    OK, Heidi. Have you ever eaten a PayDay bar? They’re a bunch of peanuts glued together with some chewy sweet stuff. You might like them as an alternative to Snickers though Snickers do taste good. Big Question: What is the comparable candy bar in Switzerland to the Snickers bar, or do you consider the Snickers Bar to be sui generis?

    • Heidi says:

      Hi there Dale! Hmmm, to tell you the truth, I have by now munched myself through so many bars, that I don’t even remember what they all were called… So – haha – I have no idea whether I had a PayDay bar or not…. But I will make sure to look out for those! And I guess the Swiss equivalent would perhaps be “Toblerone”! :D

  3. Parker Gates says:

    Hey Heidi, it’s Parker (from the Mittaghorn)! I loved catching up with your journey. I’m on my way up to Gimmelwald next week for some time in the Alps and down on Lake Como! Guess I won’t see you this year….maybe next! Have an amazing time in the PNW!

    • Heidi says:

      Hi there Parker!! So great to hear from you!! :) That’s awesome! Yes! I guess I will be out in the wild for a little longer! Enjoy Gimmelwald!

  4. Cheryl says:

    Ok Heidi. Could you guys look any happier? Lol m so glad your family is back together. Good luck! On to Canada!

  5. Tanja Fischer says:

    Hi Heidi!
    Oh, it’s about time I’m getting in touch with you. I am always so looking forward to reading your posts, I always have to read them right away, no matter where I am at the moment. I love the beautiful photographs. I admire you for your courage and wish you all the best for your onward journey. I hope to meet up with you in December in Basel ;-).
    Big hug and greetings from Ireland, Tanja

    • Heidi says:

      Hi Tanja!! Awesome to hear from you my friend!! :) Thanks so much for reading my blog! And posing this very nice comment! Yes! I can’t wait to see you in December!! Big hug! Heidi


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