Celebration of Life 2017


Our annual outing to honor the wishes of Big Jeff.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

This, like our standard Celebration, was a multi-day adventure. So to start, I drove down and picked up Michael and John, and we headed east toward Bend, OR. But instead of going the fast way through Burns, we went the northerly route through John Day.

Fields Peak

Along the way, we diverted to climb Fields Peak. It's about 20 miles off the highway, but most of that drive is on pavement. After the pavement ends, the road can be a little rough, so high-clearance is recommended to get to the McClellan Trailhead.

Wow- even a sign. But no potty.


The map showed a trail, but it's really an ATV track.


After some time in the woods, but without enough shade to make it cool, it was nice to get views and a breeze-- it was hot!


Lots of wide blue yonder on top.

That's the John Day river valley below.



And then it was off to Bend to visit Jeff and Patty. Maybe too many beers. But good times, for sure.


Three Fingered Jack

We got sort of a late start the next morning, and when we got to the trailhead, it was already getting hot.

This is on the PCT, or Pacific Crest Trail. I had done the hike up to the foot of the climb many years ago ('81?) and remembered the trailhead in a different location. Approach
I also remembered lots of trees and shade. Not so much today. Approach
Three Fingered Jack is a nasty-looking thing with a reputation to match. But it's one of the few significant Oregon volcanoes that I have not done. Top of the list! Approach

It's about a 4 or 4.5 mile grind to get to the base of the peak. From there, you take the scar (or one of the several similar scars) up the pumice hillside on the right, then work your way up the right shoulder and ridge.

It was super hot, and I wasn't feeling well. John and Michael waited patiently for me in the building heat.


We were on track, looking for a feature dubbed "The Crawl". The name made us look for a place where you had to crawl, which we couldn't find. But we did follow the somewhat-obvious path of previous feet. This loose area sits above a huge drop.

I was feeling worse as time went along, so it's a bit of a surprise that the guys let me lead for a bit. I was looking for some way to protect the climb and finding nada. I asked John if he wanted to take a crack at it, and lucky for me he declined. So down we went. And looking back, it was a good thing we turned around because by the time we got back to the car I was seeing spots. I finally started feeling better after immersing myself in the creek at Victoria's house in Sisters, where we crashed for the night.

The next morning was much cooler, so I was hoping for a better day on Olallie Butte, which sits just north of Mt. Jefferson. The instructions said something about parking just past the power lines.... Approach

There used to be a lookout on top of this peak, so there is an excellent trail the entire way. And bonus: it's mostly in the shade.

This trail also crosses the PCT. Then it enters the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

Near the top, however, there are only stunted little trees. That's Mt. Jefferson in the distance. Approach
Remnants of the old lookout. Approach




Looking the other way, you could see Mt. Hood about 40 miles distant.

We got off the peak and drove north, descending the Clackamas River. Then around the east side of Portland and on to Brian's house in Washington.


The next morning we left a little late from Brian's and headed for Olympic National Park. First, we stopped for provisions. Then came the park people-- we had applied for permits a couple months prior, but had to stop at the Ranger Station to get the actual paper. And of course, when we arrived they were at lunch for an hour, so we had to wait.

When we finally had everything ready and loaded onto our backs with 9 miles to walk, it was 3pm. And 90°. And rainforest humidity. Yuk.


The Hoh rain forest was gorgeous. And we made good time. But when we woke in the morning, I was suffering from a bad night and the heat. Fearing that I might feel the same in a couple days when I woke up 20 miles from the trailhead, I decided that I should turn back.

I really regretted turning around, but that night and the next day I continued to suffer, so it was sadly the right decision.

Meanwhile, the guys had an absolutely fabulous time without me.


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