OREGON - Aug 23 - August 27
Oregon started with a bang. A day after hitting the CA/OR border, we rolled into the amazing little town of Ashland. This small town (seemingly large for our standards) is home to the best breakfast I've had on trail, at Morning Glory, and a year round Shakespeare festival. Ashland is rounded out by a smattering of amazing restaurants and breweries too, it seems like something for everyone and a great place to take a zero! This is definitely a place I'll visit again after the trail.
As some of you know, I hiked the AT last year and concluded the trip with hiking partners Neemor and Adios. It turns out Neemor is also hiking the PCT this year but is walking Southbound. We'd been texting back and forth and knew roughly we each other was but the lack of cell service made it impossible to know exactly the epic high-five would occur.
A funny sidenote; when I thought I was getting close, I made it a habit to start asking SoBo's (Southbounders) if they knew of him. I ran into one gentleman, typical thru-hiker complete with beard, buff, and one earphone in (you know, so you can hear a bear sauntering up to the beat of your favorite tune). I hesitate to ask because no one I'd met had heard of him but last minute thought what the heck. Of course replied he hadn't met Neemor but just as I was about to walk away he yelled "hold up a sec". It turns out he was actually on the phone with his wife back home, she had overheard our brief conversation and followed Neemor on Instagram. After a few silent moments, where I can only assume his wife checked Neemor's Instagram account, the hiker replied that Neemor was only a few miles behind him.
Sure enough, less than an hour later, I saw that familiar face walking towards me in the trail, a heartwarming reunion indeed.
After entering the Park, the next stop for most thru-hikers is Mazama Village, a Campground, general store and restaurant a couple miles from The Crater itself. I'd been pulling some big miles days, 30ish, since Ashland and was completely out of food coming into the Village (which is actually a really good feeling because it means your planning was spot on) but it was definitly time to eat again. So I hope you can imagine my smile when walking out of the General Store with two packages!
The first was my normal resupply box, sent by my parents but inside had a special surprise from the Goldberg Family!!!
Thank you Goldberg Family! The granola bars had extra protein powder, which has been key in muscle recovery the further I get down trail. The recent high milage days had also left my muscles more sore than normal but I've noticed with the added protein in the bars I wasn't nearly as sore I I normally was the morning after eating them :) A true staple for thru-hikers!
Pam also included a recent essay she'd written about her cycling trip to Europe! It's an inspiring and encouraging read, especially empowering for women! Check it out at her blog: youcallitchaosicallitlife.wordpress.com
The Feed Me Package from Ken and Karen!
Last year, while hiking in Shenandoah National Park on the AT, I met Ken and Karen. We flip-flopped back and forth a few times and they became familiar faces on the trail, treating me to a night at a hostel and sent out this care package!
Thank You so very much for the package at Crater Lake! It absolutely warmed my heart that you remembered I love Pro Bars- so needless to say everything you sent was consumed rapidly!!
And the cookies, they were phenomenal!!! I shared a few and hoarded the rest in my food bag to eat later on trail :) Something to look forward to at the end of the day!
The card was so kind of you as well. You're words of encouragement were just want I needed at that time. I'd had a rough few days, but that rapidly changed when the ranger handed me the boxes.
I woke up the next morning feeling great after all the amazing food from the night before and headed for Crater Lake. Hands down, this is one of the coolest natural wonders I've ever see in person. I think what surprised me most was the color of the water. It was one of the bluest bluest I've ever seen.
Taking my eyes of the beauty of the Lake was hard but finally it was time to move on. The next milestone was reaching the highest elevation we'd reach in Oregon and Washington, for the rest for the hike.
It's all down hill from here,