Oregon… I heard many things about the state before I got there. Flat state, Crater Lake NP, Cascades, 0% sale tax and its legal to smoke grass (if you know me well you know that I’m not smoking 😉 Beside having the chance to see more of California while hiking 1700miles I also looked forward to hike in Oregon and Washington, but first to Oregon.
After a long, rough and hot stretch in Northern California, I was planning to take a break at the first town in Oregon which is Ashland. Close to the pct is a great and hiker friendly hotel which treated us very well: all you can eat pasta for dinner, Endless pancakes, camping on grass and a soft robe after showering were definitely worth the 60$ and the time I spent there. For the next days I decided to go to Ashland, also because I needed to resupply and send a few packages ahead with healthier food then what I bought before I started the trail.
(It definitely saves a lot of time and energy if you prepare all boxes and having somebody to send it to you but you’ll definitely getting enough of some food or in my case just want to eat less sugar and more healthier food/snacks)
Morning Glory (MG), who I’ve been hiking with a bit in the beginning and going to hike with all of Oregon, got to town the day after and I took another zero and headed out with her the day after. Two days off the trail are definitely enough and I wanted to hike again.
We both left Ashland after an amazing breakfast at a place called “after her” and we even had some leftovers which we decided to save for dinner. A hiker at the campsite was first really surprised as we packed out the asian take away boxed and got really jealous as h realised whats inside 🙂
Knowing about the upcoming PCT Day festival at Cascade Locks, we hiked three 30 mile days and I was really of Morning Glory to keep up with me 🙂 Most of the timed I was ahead of her but I never had really wait for her. As we passed Fish Lake Resort she got a text from our dear friend Aunt Petunia that he is at the resort with Zombie dusk and Ladybug, who are also really good friends.
We had to leave due our schedule after breakfast and headed right into an obstacle trail of blow downs (fallen trees). Another fellow hiker, Proton, even created a poem which perfectly describes the section and our feelings Click here
Another reason why I stayed longer in Ashland was because of a fire near Crater Lake, one of the big highlights in Oregon. South bounders were telling us that they soon reopen the trail and as we got to the base of the Crater we heard it reopened. I was really happy and the next day, MG and I took the shuttle bus to get up to Rim of the Crater. As we got up I was stunned…
For me, it was like walking the first time along the rim of the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t kept my eyes of the Crater and almost walked into a group of people. We stopped almost every mile, just being amazed by the views, even it was the same every time. At the end of the day we hiked only the Rim trail which reconnects with the Pacific Crest Trail after 12miles. My shortest day so far and I couldn’t kept my mind of what the trail has provided me so far. On one hand those untouched, wild and breathtaking views and places, on the other unforgettable moments with people on and off the trail. It has been 8 months since I left home, traveled around the world and as I have written in my post (click here) I felt just happy.
Another great place I won’t forget is Bend and why I went there is also a great example for how something bad turns into something good. Due maybe a prior injury I got problems with my foot after I accidentally twisted my ankle twice and limped to Shelter Cove, a big campground at Odell lake. I asked people if they were driving to Bend and found a couple who’s daughter could give me a ride. Somebody else drove me over where they were camping. It turned out that she and her friend planned to hang out for a day in Bend and I had really a fun time checking out a couple brewery. With 22 breweries, Bend has a lot for its small size. I stayed a night with a families friend of the girl since everything was super expensive. For the next day I got a room since I knew a couple friends where coming in town and picked up also a rental car. I booked the smallest car but since they had any left the employee gave me an upgrade to a mini van!!! I felt very american 😀
I drove to the trail to leave some trail magic and picked up Morning Glory and Frost. With 4 more hikers we were 7 in a two beds room (luckily I got the upgrade to the van 🙂
The rest of the day I drove everybody to REI (where we picked up hiker nr. 8 in the room), a couple breweries and grocery shopping. MG called me funnily a “Soccer Mum” but I prefer “Soccer Dad”.
The next day, everybody except MG, Frost and me went back to trail and Digger, Aunt Petunia and Zomiedusk joined our party in town. Since we haven’t booked anything, MG got in contact with a couple, Lian and her husband Aloha (who hiked the PCT last year) and they hosted us for one night. Luckily, Aloha is a chef and made us an awesome breakfast and drove us back to the trail as well!
Three days in Bend, three complete different days with different people and so much fun! Thank to everyone sharing this memory which I’ll never forgot since I changed my trail name from EarlyBird to SoccerDad!
100 miles to Cascade Locks, the state line of Oregon and Washington and we were on track for the Pacific Crest Trail Days, a festival with outdoor vendors, the PCTA, lot of hikers and more! Digger, Frost, MG and me hiked mostly together and we made it to another food highlight on the trail: Breakfast buffet at Timerline Lodge!
Happily fed, we went back on trail and had a last big natural wonder on the trail: a tunnel waterfall! I saw some videos before but you have to see it in real to fully enjoy its beauty.
I was ahead of the others as I got the trail head in Cascade Locks and I knew my friend Moon Song, who sadly had to leave the trail due an injury was there as well. Due the festival, many hikers planned to be there the weekend and others hitched forward or back to attend and meet everybody. Some families were there as well and MG parents came to visit. After getting all my packages (3 in total), I got a texted from her that there is place at the cabin and I could stay with them instead of camping with about 200 hikers and I was really happy about that since I did not wanted to around big party crowds…
Note: I thought about to write about a sensitive topic but just gonna keep it short: The drug “problem” on the trail. There is a big controversy in Germany about Marijuana but in the west coast it is already more socially accepted. I knew that, since I also studied abroad in CA but I was still shocked how many, in what quantity and even the reason hikers are smoking or drinking alcohol. I expected that it’s going to be a bit “wild” at the campground and I was kinda right. Hikers who did not joined the party had trouble finding a quiet place. It is of course everyones choice if and in what quantities they drink and smoke but just because its legal it does not mean its good for you. I used to drink a lot pre and during my college time, so much that even friends were concerned and I did not wanted to listen to them but as you get older you might get a bit wiser and I am sure it was sometimes to much.
PCT Days is also a opportunity for non-hikers to get informations about the trail or just to meet up with dirty hikers who have a lot of stories to tell. It is a great opportunity to learn a lot about what it means to hike the trail since we everybody is only one state and 500miles away from the finish line 🙂
Frost, MG, and Digger left on Sunday but I decided to stay a bit longer since a had some personal reason to stay a bit longer. On Tuesday morning I got back to Cascade Locks and walked over the Bridge of the Gods to cross the Columbia River which separates Oregon and Washington. Thinking back, it seems there are as many great memories like California but it was such a shorter time. It was my first time in Oregon and it blew my mind. The landscape was breathtaking but the people in this state made it so much more an unforgettable time. Thank you!