We were having such a good time in Ashland, that we decided to stay another day. How could we resist this crew?
The next day we took off and headed into a long stretch of Southern Oregon. Over the course of these eleven days, we saw it all. At times it felt like we would just put our hands out and say 'Alright Oregon, what else?". Every day was different, adventurous and left us guessing what else this state had in store.
The first days were hot and the climate was dry. Histo started hiking with us and was a wonderful addition. We did another 30 mile day and the terrain was flat and cruise-able, the way we expected Oregon to be. There was a good amount of water around and some of the forest was just totally awesome. As we made our way toward Crater Lake National Park, we had a day that was very smoky as a wild fire burned far West of the PCT and carried over to us.
We crossed mile 1800 just before entering Crater Lake National Park. We were so jazzed to enter the park and see the lake... we've just heard so many incredible things about it. And let me tell you...
... it delivered. If you've never seen Crater Lake, it's hard to put into words just how big and awesome it is. It fills your eyes with color and wonder and you just have to stare at it to take in it's magnitude.
While the scenery around the rim was incredible, we walked away from the lake into a long 20+ mile stretch without any water. We had to carry a lot with us and the terrain was hot and exposed. We were quite exhausted and working hard to remember just how lovely the morning around the Lake had been. Our day ended up with a major bonus as Blue Jay, who's fiancé Doc is hiking while she supports him with their vehicle, shuttled us into the Diamond Lake Resort for a huge pizza dinner and camping at a nice campground.
The next day (day 110) our big group got shuttled back to the trailhead and we all took off hiking on another long, waterless stretch. This was the first day of the entire trail where I hike totally by myself. Trav was full of energy and hiked with other dudes. They absolutely crushed miles. They're so dang fast. There were people around me all day to take breaks with but I was totally alone while hiking. And it was fantastic. I loved feeling small and alone in the big, beautiful forest. It was good thinking, reflecting and appreciating time. That night we made it to Six Horse Spring and camped with White Bear and Mufasa (brothers from Austin) and Cookie. We've been hiking around these three for quite some time and it was great to finally camp with them. They are all so full of life. Also camping with us were Chimp and Spork... to incredibly solid dudes that we've had the pleasure of hiking with for a while.
The next morning we left our campsite and after about an hour of hiking were met by wilderness fire fighters. There was a forest fire a mile or so ahead and they would be escorting the 8 of us through before closing down and rerouting that section of the PCT. Mark, our friendly fireman, walked us through actual burning forest... it was a totally WILD experience.
That evening we made it to the Shelter Cove Resort, enjoyed some cold drinks and got a good night sleep. The next morning we got organized, resupplied our food and prepared to leave Shelter Cove. Before taking off we got word that a sections of trail in front of us was closed due to fire as well. The trail had been rerouted onto a long road walk and there was still a lot of kinks being worked out. Conveniently, a friend of mine from college, Rachelle, who I studied abroad in Ireland with, works for the US Forest Service in the area and was able to give us a ride to the next section of open trail. It was great to see her and much appreciated!
It felt good to get walking the next day and it felt like, for the first time since we got to Oregon, that we had reached the Pacific North West. The lush, green, blooming landscape that we expected finally appeared and we were surrounded by the Three Sisters and other incredible volcanic formations. I was flipping out for the flowers and Trav was flipping out for the glaciated peaks.
Now THIS is the North West
You can't really see it here, but there is water just streaming out of the ground. Perfect, ice cold, spring water. Delish.
Our epic campsite below the Middle Sister. Tucked into the trees and out of the rain. Oh yeah! We got our first rain. Welcome to the PNW!
I wish this was a Scratch And Sniff blog, because the fragrance of these Lupine was incredible.
Our two days hiking through the Three Sisters Wilderness was some of our most favorite days of hiking so far. It comes pretty damn close to the Sierra and got us more and more excited about Norther Oregon and getting into Washington!
On Sunday (the 19th) we hit the big one. The 2000 mile mark. 2000 miles is no joke and it puts us at distance to Canada that I can actually wrap my head around for the first time.