BEND, Ore. - Two Bend men who decided to go for a run and climb up the Middle Sister Sunday morning almost became trapped by a fast-growing wildfire that broke out near where they had parked, and saw at least one car burning at the trailhead as they fled.
Bend marathon runner Ian Sharman said he and friend Rod Bien had gone to the Pole Creek Trailhead and parked for a run Sunday morning, climbing Middle Sister.
After a trip up and down with stunning views, they spotted the fire that "looked like the eruption of a volcano over North Sister."
They ran back toward their car, noting the parking lot looked very close to the fire -- and indeed, it was.
"The rough road back out was completely filled with smoke, but we decided to see if it was passable (not a smart idea)," he wrote.
"After a few feet, we saw a car on fire, quickly reversed and went up a dirt track that our map showed was a dead end," Sharman said.
Soon, they decided their "best bet would be to park the car as far from the fire as possible, then hike out or get rescued," Sharman said, "hoping the car wouldn't be burnt to a crisp."
"There were maybe 20 other cars in that parking lot, and I'm sure they're all burnt-out husks now," he said. "Fifteen minutes later and ours would have been as well."
Sharman said they took "a sketchy dirt road going parallel to the fire," but it took two hours and several calls to emergency services to get around the fire and out of the area.
"But it was the most beautiful and fun run I've ever been on, topped off with more drama than necessary," Sharman said, adding, "Think I'll have a beer now."
He also noted they had brought supplies, extra clothes, and let folks know where they were going and for how long.
Read his full story on his blog.