So, if you’ve seen Instagram you know that we finally crossed the border into Oregon! We learned the hard and very long way that California is a very big state!
But before we get to Oregon, here’s a little more of Northern California. I last left you in the small town of Etna. From there, we hiked through the smoky haze of wildfires. We stopped to resupply in the very little town of Seiad Valley (in the lovely wanna-be state of Jefferson). It was a long hike into town (27 mile day) ending in a 7 mile road walk that is part of the actual trail.
It was such a long day because we didn’t make our planned mileage the day before. It was a very hot day and I started it out feeling sick. After a long morning rest, we only made 15 of the 20 planned miles. So by the time we got into Seiad we were pretty exhausted, but we managed to get some food for the next leg of the trip before the little general store closed, and shower and set up our tent in the local RV park beside it. It actually was kind of a fun day. Cooler than the day before, we had a couple nice opportunities to get wet in stream crossings, and an afternoon thunderstorm was just long enough to cool us off without leaving us soaked for the rest of the day.
We were a little nervous about all of the smoke we were seeing (and inhaling), especially while passing through many miles of last year’s devastating fire. But we learned when we got to town that the smoke was coming from fires hundreds of miles away. This same smoke would follow us up into Oregon and mix with the smoke of its wildfires as well, still very far from the trail. Not too fun to hike in. You know those days when the weather forecasters warn to stay indoors and limit outdoor activities? A little hard to follow when your job is to hike all day.
The smoke was just one of the factors that made me take my Oregon break a little early. The other was my feet and their amazing ability to outgrow my shoes. I finally realized in Etna that my feet have actually grown and this is the probable cause of most of my current foot pain. This was confirmed while trying on shoes here in Eugene. I am now an 8.5. This is common on the trail and I’ve read that some hikers’ feet never go back to their old size. (I wonder if there will be more shoe shopping in my post-trail future?)
After Seiad, and a very long climb out of town (about a 5000 foot elevation gain over 9 miles), it was only another few days to Ashland, a very cool town I’d always wanted to visit. We walked into Callahan’s Lodge to get our free hiker beers, then found a room in town.
We returned to the lodge the next afternoon to fully make use of our zero day in one of their very nice rooms (hiker rate), including a jacuzzi tub. Shouldn’t zero without one!
The next day, we parted ways: Jason continuing the path to Canada and I being picked up by my ever-so-kind Oregon family, where I’m spending the week, with my car and all my stuff in storage there, as this is where we’ll be when we finish the trail. It’s a weird feeling to be parted with your “stuff” for so long, and then be reunited. More on that later I’m sure.
I spent the last few days shoe shopping, sleeping, and lying in bed reading frivolous novels on my kindle unlimited, zombie-like. After 5 days I finally feel human again, and, are you ready for this? ready to hit the trail!
Yesterday I visited Jason at Crater Lake National Park, about two hours from Oakridge (the town I’m staying in). Seeing the other hikers and the beauty there made me miss it. I am developing quite the love-hate relationship for this trail.
He’s been hiking the good hike, but he is getting tired too. I admire his determination not to quit, even if I don’t share it.
In a few days I’ll pick him up at the trailhead at Willamette Pass, just a 40-minutes drive from Oakridge. He’ll take the next day off, then we’ll both head back out on the trail. We’ll have only about a week and a half left of Oregon, then it’s Hello Washington!
Well rested and read,
August 11, 2015 at 10:45 pm
I think, for what it is worth, that you are both doing the right thing. You are both hiking your own hike and you will have shared experiences and also some non-shared experiences to talk about for years to come. We’ve had some smoke in Sedona this summer, but it usually clears out by mid-day. I would not enjoy hiking through it like you are having to do. But, it comes with the adventure. Appreciate always reading your thoughts and observations and enjoying your pictures. Keep on doing what you are doing ….
Patty and I leave tomorrow (Wednesday the 12th) for our new adventure. We’ll send you some new contact information once we get settled with new phone numbers, possibly new emails, and our address.
August 11, 2015 at 11:15 pm
Thanks Chuck! Always appreciate your comments and best of luck on your new adventure!
August 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm
The pictures in this post are unbelievable!!
August 13, 2015 at 9:56 am
August 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm
so great all this back and forth with loving /hating. still you keep on keeping on(as they said in the 60’s , do they still say it now?) I continue to follow you and I can feel some of the trail through your writing. of course, I LOVE the pictures. I will try to drop you a line. I do love quotes and will look for some that fit well with your adventure. take care, love you.
August 26, 2015 at 7:44 pm
Thanks Aunt Tammy. Good to hear from you!