I feel very fortunate to have such wonderful friends in my life. I have known Keely since college, and she has been a stable constant in my life. She is always game for something new, and is happy to travel down from Portland to fill up my bucket. This hiking day was no different. Everyone, find a friend like Keely.

Keely came down on a Friday night after work so we could get a head start the next morning. We all know I am a morning person, and Keely isn’t as much, so it speaks volumes that she will get up early for me. I will happily pack our food and drive, if that means we can leave early. We set out for Matthieu Lakes, driving up towards Sisters through Highway 242. We had difficulty finding the trailhead, thinking we had passed it so we were driving back and forth until we realized we needed to practice patience and go just a bit further before turning around. We probably lost 30 minutes from this, and those 30 minutes would have made a difference towards the end of our hike. But, lesson learned, and everything still turned out great in the end.

The hike started out by walking amongst burnt trees from a forest fire, but still beautiful in a strange way. We saw new growth in the midst of death, which is humbling and quite a magnificent sight of hope. There were some bugs, but this time I was prepared and brought bug spray, and they didn’t bother us much after we used it. This hike was unique in the sense that I felt we walked through so many different terrains, even though we didn’t, not really. We had burnt trees, ponds with a little foliage, heavily forested areas, lava beds, an alpine lake feel with the two lakes at the end, and mountain views. There was so much to see on this hike and it was a pleasure doing it with Keely, her puppy Penny, and Lexi. This was the beginning of hiking with our favorite pups. At the last lake we had lunch, enjoyed the monarch butterflies, birds, and views. On our way back down we ran into other hikers who informed us there was another way up and down, which we will try someday because it did sound appealing (just have to find it).

In the last mile or so, we ran out of water and it did become rather warm for the dogs. Keely had to carry her dog out (she is a pretty tiny dog). I’ve learned now to carry much more water than I did in the beginning of my hiking days, and to always make sure the dogs are covered. I always brought plenty of water, just not on the trail. I think I underestimated the temperature that day, which I have learned from now. I’d never felt I was in any real trouble, but I did feel bad about the dogs not having what they needed.

This was a very fulfilling hike. It was the longest hike mile wise I had done so far, as I was gearing up for my goal hike of the year. I tried to keep my goals practical and attainable, because after all, I needed to be able to complete what I sought out to do.

From Eugene, Matthieu Lakes Trailhead is about two hour away coming up Highway 242. The link below is the correct trailhead, it is shared with other trail systems. It is clearly marked and easy to find the trail you will need.

Thank you for reading about my hiking beginnings, it means the world to me.

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