Saturday, September 15, 2012


Every once in awhile, life has a way of passing out little surprises.  This week, one of those surprises surfaced. While returning from a grouse hunting trip on the west side of the Cascades, my husband and I decided to take the McKenzie Highway scenic route, which we both had never been over before.  At the top of the pass and located 15 miles west of Sisters at the 5,325' elevation marker in the Willamette National Forest, stands the Dee Wright Observatory.  Here we made a pit stop and took in the beautiful views.  

While making the trek up to the observatory from the truck, I stopped to take a few pictures along the way while my husband continued to follow the stairs to the top.  After a few minutes, I continued up to the top as well.  Now one thing you should know about my husband, is his natural knack for being able to talk to just about anyone.  Most of which seem to be colorful characters.  When I reached the top, he was quick to inform me that we were going to give "that gal" a ride to Bend as he pointed toward "that gal".  After being informed of the news, I asked him of course who she was.  He said that she was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and had just been forced to evacuate by the Forest Service due to the fire.  Another thing you should also know about my husband, is that he will do just about anything to make sure someone gets what they need...this sometimes includes strangers.  After introducing ourselves and talking for several minutes, I walked her down toward the truck. 

When we arrived at the truck, we offered her what we had in our cooler.  A fresh peach, carrots from mom and dad's garden, fresh cantaloupe, and fresh blackberries that we had just picked an hour ago.  I don't think I have ever seen anyone so appreciative of fresh food!

On the drive to Bend, Ron and I of course asked her a million questions about her journey.  I will always be thankful for that inspirational day and life's little surprises.

Mia.  A 61 year old woman that is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from the border of Mexico to the Cascade Locks in Washington....alone.  Yes, alone!  She has been on the trail since April and expects to finish this month.  Just 20 miles shy of the 2000 mile marker on the PCT, Mia was evacuated by the Forest Service due to the Pole Creek Fire at the base of North Sister.  She opted to take a few days off and enjoy what Bend had to offer.  With that, we introduced her to several of the good things in our area.  Thanks for the visit Mia and safe travels to you on the completion of your journey!

Beyond the miles of lava fields is the northwest side of North Sister.  
The Pole Creek Fire is burning on the east side.

Staircase to the observatory

The entire observatory is made from lava rock.

The happy, jovial Mia!
What an inspiration!

Treated Mia to the infamous "D & D" bloody mary.   
Her favorite drink after she gets off the trail.

For those that dare to tread.

Mia loved the local Bend beer!

We invited Mia over for some fresh tuna tacos on the firepit.
"No one saves us but ourselves. 
No one can and no one may. 
We ourselves must walk the path."

To follow Mia, here is the link to her blog on her PCT journey.


  1. That was an inspiring story! So nice of you and your hubby to invite someone you didn't know for a ride, and then showing her around town (and our local beer culture).
    Happy trails, Mia!

  2. Love it! You two are amazing. What an awesome story!