Felix and I didn’t want to hike yesterday. We were planning on taking on 17 miles between two highways, each coming home to Sisters. Instead, we sat at a coffee shop and did nothing. But tomorrow, we promised yesterday, we were going to hike.
Tomorrow became today, and hike we must. The weather was awful. Felix said it was her worst day on trail. I thought back, through the legions of hellishly hot days and terrorizingly cold ones, and found another worse day.
It was the last of the hail, a month and a half or so ago. I couldn’t put on my down layer for fear it would get soaked, and I couldn’t unclench my hands from around my trekking poles. I was half frozen, knowing that I would be sleeping in the freezing rain again that night.
Today was terrible, but not that bad. I wasn’t shivering uncontrollably. I had (some) control over my fingers. My feet were only mildly frosty.
I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t crying (surprisingly), and that is a win.
The problem today started when we got to the rock fields. The lava rock made for a vast expanse of mist and open air, which was filled with bursts of rain and huge gusts of icy wind. I started laughing each time I was hit with another — it was just too ridiculous!
It was four hellish miles of that stuff and then, unceremoniously, we were dumped out on the road. There was no one about, and I became worried we would never get a ride. A truck or two passed. We huddled right up on top of each other, trying to get warmth from bodies pressed tight.
“The first car will stop,” Felix said.
The man was sweet, out hunting for mushrooms, and picked us up because we were so pathetic looking. We reminded ourselves to try that again in the future.
When we got back to the campground, I ran to the shower. It was magnificently hot, gloriously long, and I felt completely new when I stepped out.
Our trials weren’t over, however. A much more serious problem came upon us when we sat down to eat at a local bar. “World Famous Fish and Chips,” their sign said. I ordered it, excited for my world to be rocked. The other two ordered spaghetti and meatballs and I was jealous.
That was until our food arrived.
One bite of my halibut turned me off fish forever. The wet, slimy, mealiness of the fish solidified into a paste in my mouth. I was horrified. The crinkle fries were an insult to restaurants and fries and potatoes worldwide. I excused myself to the bathroom, feeling ill.
When I returned, I was offered a bite of meatball. I popped it in my mouth, believing that meatballs are too easy to mess up. It was squishy and disintegrated quickly. It tasted of old sauce and freezer. I could barely choke it down.
I am not a food snob, not even close. My diet for this trail would horrify even the most junk food prone eater. I am happy with almost any meal at any diner, no matter how mean and dirty.
This place, however, was a nightmare. The service, the food, the feel all came together to create the worst dining experience of my life.
Thank you Gallery Restaurant and Bar. You are the star of my trip, so hilariously bad that you will undoubtedly become the punchline of joke after joke after joke. You take the prize!