One of my best friends texted me her aunt’s phone number, knowing Journey Man and I were planning on stopping by Bend in Oregon. Thinking it would be nice to grab a drink or a meal, I reached out. She responded, “Do you need a pick up or anything? We love being trail angels. Do you wanna sleep at our house?” I replied, “…Can I say yes to both!?”
The next day, Kathy picked us up from a trail head at Santiam Pass. We got to know each other on the long ride back to Bend; I had only met Kathy once before at my friend’s wedding celebration.
It turned out that Kathy moved out of Bend city proper a couple years ago, but she took us downtown to collect our packages from the post office. When we arrived at her beautiful home, we were welcomed by her husband Peter and their dog Jade. They showed us our room and we took turns showering while Kathy prepared dinner. We dined on their back patio—a delicious quiche, refreshing salad, ice cold beer and fruit tart. I enjoyed the conversation, which ranged from rocks to motivations for hiking. I slept so soundly that night, my stomach full of delicious food and my soul full from wonderful company.
The next morning, Kathy prepared breakfast sandwiches, coffee and the most delicious protein-fruit smoothie I have ever tasted. Journey Man and I originally thought we were going to spend our second town night in downtown Bend, but Kathy and Peter made us feel so welcome and comfortable that we took them up on their offer to stay a second night. That day, Kathy offered to let us borrow her canoe to float down the river, and she generously lent us her car so that we could run all our town errands! I couldn’t believe it.
Our second morning at Kathy’s, she treated us to her homemade rosemary bread. I think Journey Man and I scarfed down two slices each, and an egg and cheese sandwich. We packed our bags and hit the road with Kathy, making a stop in Sisters for lunch. When we reached the trailhead, we sat and drank a beer with her. It was hard to start walking again; our Bend zero was certainly one for the books.
The conversations came so easily. It was hard to believe we had really just met! I find it had to believe how kind strangers can be and how quickly they can become friends.