Rick & Dash’s Excellent Adventure – Thursday, August 8th

These posts are created by our sponsored PCT-hikers, and contain their stories and adventures, straight from the trail.

Into the land of plenty

After the fateful event in Ashland I decided to spend an extra day off and see what the doctors were going to say about Dash. In typical doctor fashion they gave him a “we will know more in a few weeks” which was a hard one to know what to do from my side. After some deliberation I decided my best plan would be to push on, in hopes of things sorting themselves out as I walked. After getting a ride back to the trail from my hiking partner in a sling and no hiking gear I felt pretty strange. Some sort of combo of sadness – no longer having a hiking partner, who put in a whole hell of a lot of work to walk across one state – and joy that I was fortunate enough to be healthy and on the trail. About half way through my first day, back at a little spring near Pilot Rock I ran into a fellow thru-hiker who was a friend of Dash’s and was present during the tree incident. After chatting a bit we determined that we would both likely be camping at Hyatt lake. I proceeded to nap the next two hours away as he hiked on. Once at Hyatt lake we both had a long discussion on what we had going on after the trail and decided that with no jobs and no real responsibilities there was no reason to be rushing  into Canada. With this new attitude we set out the next day and made an effort to take lots of breaks. After being accustomed  to hiking around 30 miles a day we found ourselves nearing a cabin after only doing 21 miles. This warm cabin had well water and a very nice table out side, and I was even 21 miles closer to Canada. I also had plenty of time to make dinner, clean up, read and watch a curious family of deer check us out, with two little fawns stumbling and hopping around.

I’m a born and raised Oregonian and quite proud of that fact and I was excited to get to know my home state even better. Oregon in no way disappointed me, between the familiar mountain peaks all around, the abundance of lakes, ripe huckleberries, and wild strawberries and a surprising absence (mostly) of mosquitos, given all the lakes. Some of the highlights included a hidden camping spot on the rim of Crater Lake, which was one of the best sunsets and sunrises of the trail, and a spontaneous beers and burgers with an Oregon family who invited us to their camp spot. The Three Sisters wilderness and Mount Jefferson wilderness were some of the prettiest places on the trail so far, between flower covered meadows and jagged volcanic peaks I was in a familiar sort of paradise. Oregon has a very good reputation, as far as the PCT goes, as a place where you could actually gain weight because of the flat terrain and opportunities for supplemental food. There are many lake resorts on or within a few miles of the trail where you can get beer, burgers and ice cream (the holy trinity) and we took advantage of a few. In the ten days from Ashland I think two days was the longest time between beers, so although we spend 99% of our time outside we still manage to live very comfortably.

As I had been hiking at a new relaxed pace (which turned out to be a surprising 27 mile/day average) with a fellow U of O graduate, we both decided that a Eugene trip was most necessary. He also had a friend who had some land and did some farming on the Mackenzie River near Vida, so we decided this would be a great way to transition into the big city. At this farm I was greeted with everything I would ever need or want – some nice and chill home owners, excellent home brewed mead, fresh fruit and veggies and wonderful company. It is very nice for me to see people dealing with all the trappings of real life, still having as good and relaxed a time as I feel I do out on the trail. It makes me excited for what ever the next step has in store. As for now I’m getting some much needed family time with my sister in Eugene and getting my new healthy food system all set up. Next week will be my last week hiking through Oregon where I will hopefully see a friend at Timberline, hike the scenic Eagle Creek alternative trail and see my family in Cascade Locks.

-Rick

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