From the journal that I don’t keep:
“Turned over in my sleep at 430 in the morning, noticing how my throat burned from the smoke we had been walking through for the last 4-5 days. I heard a rustle in the brush around our tent, so I flashed my headlamp in that direction trying to scare away yet another deer looking for some salty clothes to chew on (several deer had tried the same thing all night). At that moment a piercing high pitched scream that lasted 10 seconds or so really woke me up- a coyote? The deer I had been trying to scare away now actually got scared and left. Becky sat up straight and corrected my optimistic thinking- it wasn’t a pack if coyotes, but actually a cougar, the largest feline in America. It’s truly a chilling sound – I’ve heard it described best as sounding like a high pitched woman’s scream, one that goes on seemingly for minutes. Needless to say, we couldn’t quite get back to sleep that morning, so we just packed up, and started the nine mile walk in to Ashland at five in the morning (about 1 hour earlier than usual).”
Sometimes I wish I kept a journal, but honestly it’s quite a bit of effort to write anything after walking a marathon or more over mountains, day after day.
Anyways, we’re in OREGON!!!
We crossed the border on Wednesday, after spending 98 days on California. We love you Cali, but I think we need some space. Oregon is maybe the biggest milestone we have hit yet, bigger than halfway. From what we hear, OR is the beginning of some fantastic hiking, part of a great stretch that doesn’t end until Canada. Northern California is fantastic, but there are several stretches of hiking that are just flat out hot humid and, well, not flat. Tons of poison oak and deep humid valleys are some of my worse memories from that section of trail.
Since we left Etna, a town halfway between Shasta and here (Ashland), we’ve been encompassed in a thick veil of smoke from the record setting wildfires that OR has been having this summer. We actually haven’t been able to catch a view in 120 miles , and don’t expect to for another 100 miles, until Crater Lake or even further north. The smoke is even worse down here in the Ashland area, where it settles in the valleys- people are wearing masks to protect their lungs and outdoor events are being cancelled almost across the board, though the severity of the smoke does differ day to day. Fortunately none of the trail has closed yet in OR due to fire, but it is more and more a worry of ours that we will miss some of the trail due to fire.
The hiking has been relatively easy compared to some sections of trail- except for the climb out of Seiad valley, where we climbed 7500+ feet in a day. With the easy hiking, we managed to push 100 miles in about 3 days, and 220 in about eight, averaging 27 miles a day, including going in to town to resupply. In California, were we’re hiking through Klamath/Trinity national forests, and the Trinity Alps, a gorgeous section of trail reminiscent of the eastern Sierra.
Coming up is Crater Lake, as well as myriad Oregon resorts on trail, which should make good lunch stops. Our next town stop is Bend, then Cascade Locks on the OR/WA border, and from there on there are no more towns until we’re done. 7 more resupply points. We are 950 miles from Canada, and can start to taste the end. It’s bittersweet.
I accidentally uploaded the pictures in the reverse order, so I recommend viewing from bottom to top.
Thanks to Dave and Lily for visiting us in Shasta! We had such a good time with you!
Thanks to Thomy for being our gracious host here in Ashland!
Disclaimer- typed on an iPhone so please excuse any typos
From the journal that I don’t keep: