Elk Lake


Frosty morning

I wake up at 5:30am and it’s cold. There is hoarfrost covering the grasses. I’m out of fuel and sent my warm layer to Cascade Locks. I jog the five miles to Elk Lake. During this early morning jog, a hiker named Camel passes me. He is very cold and looks really skinny. He tells me that his resupply box was lost in the mail and that he has been slowly poisoned by the food his friend Hot Legs has been sharing with him. Apparently, Hot Legs’ food is contaminated by laundry detergent that he double-bagged but packed in the same resupply box. The food tastes of chemicals, but they have nothing else to eat. The list of their symptoms is scary.

Elk Lake makes a delicious and hiker-sized breakfast! Camel and I sit at a big table that soon fills up with Vestibule and her pals, Johnny Cash, and Hot Legs. The wait staff pours us endless coffee.


Camel tells Vestibule about their contaminated food situation. Unfortunately, Elk Lake doesn’t have food for a resupply. A local, hearing the story, comes by with a grocery bag filled with “clean” food – pasta, bars, oatmeal, and jerky. Another man, hearing that I want to go to Bend offers me a ride half way there. Such kindnesses!

My ride drops me off by Mt. Bachelor. Hmmmmm, was this a good idea? Lots of cars pass. Should I make a sign? I wonder if I should think about worrying. I look down the road at a line of cars headed towards me and pick one. “That’s the one that will stop,” I say to myself.