Day 89: A Magical Oregon Welcome

July 15, 2017

Total daily miles: 25.0 miles

Total PCT miles: 1298.8

Start: Alex Hole Spring (mile 1680.8)

End: mile 1705.7

Total elevation gain/loss: 4601.4/4524.6 ft

We’ve finally made it out of California and are officially in our second state of the PCT! Took long enough… Oregon welcomed us with open arms and while I may not yet have found the magical easy miles that I was looking forward to, we did find some magic.

It was only about eight miles to the border, so we set that as our first meeting spot of the day. We passed through some beautiful meadows on the way — it was as if California was trying to show off one last time before we left.

About a mile before the border, we would be passing an old cabin that was described in Guthooks as “rotting” and cautioned “don’t bother trying to go inside.” As I approached the location, I could hear the sounds of electric tools. I looked up from the trail and could make out a work party up at the cabin with shade tents for trail magic! I headed up and ran into Scoops and Joe Dirt already up there enjoying a waffle. It was delicious! And they kept bringing out more food — homemade cookies, chips, hot dogs! It was amazing and everyone was so nice! Apparently, one of the workers was the grandson of the original owners of the cabin and they were fixing it up so that it could be used by hikers as a shelter. We reluctantly tore ourselves away from the food, shade, and kind company. It was time to finally hike to Oregon!!

The border was located up a switchback in the middle of the trees. I paged through the log book to see who had come before us and when they passed through. With people skipping the Sierra to various spots, these log books end up being the best way to piece together who is in front of us and by how much. After the obligatory photos, we were on our way again!

We can do it!

So true…

A few miles into Oregon I ran into a trail crew that was out clearing the trail for a race that would be occurring the next weekend. I could see fresh sawdust along the trail from the blowdowns that they were tackling. Yay!

Soon, I hit a large snow patch. As I was looking at Guthooks to see where the trail went, I ran into Joe Dirt. We decided to just hike over the top of the snow since we thought that the trail continued on for awhile under the snow. After a few minutes of cross country hiking along the ridge line, I decided that I should probably wait for Michael since we try not to separate when navigation is required (even though neither of us could download our Oregon maps).  

The snow patch I hiked above for awhile.

I waited, backtracked some more, waited some more. Then I heard Michael’s voice talking to someone way down the mountain below me. I called out to him to see where he was — on the trail he responded… Apparently that large patch of snow only covered a small bit of trail and then the trail continued snow-free below the snow patch. I backtracked and then crossed the snow to the trail. The patch was steep and sort of nerve wracking, more of a stairway than a path. Normally I would have anchored in with my whippet to lower myself down, but now I jut had my poles. I made it down just as the trail crew was trying to figure out their strategy for digging a path through the snow. The next snow patch we hit a few minutes later already had a path shoveled through it. No navigation required! I’m starting to like Oregon 😉

Built-in stairs!

The rest of the day was a combination of great ridge walks and lush meadows. A lovely day. It was impressive to see how many people were out preparing for the race next weekend (and a few were out running the course). As if we hadn’t had enough magic for the day, we even came across a cooler this afternoon near a dirt road filled with cold sodas! Divine!

We stopped for the day in an open area along a dirt road near the Grouse Gap Shelter. We considered actually walking down to the shelter, but that was an extra quarter mile and we decided that the area near the road was nice enough. It would be hard to beat the view we (still!) had of Mt. Shasta.  

As we were eating dinner with Joe Dirt, a bunch of cows walked up and just stared at us. Sort of menacing in my opinion. We yelled and tried to get them to go away, but they only came closer. Finally Joe Dirt was able to get rid of them by walking toward them and hitting his hiking poles together above his head. They backed off. A few minutes later and they were back. Joe Dirt chased them off again and so far they’ve stayed away. They have bells on them, so I’m hoping they don’t come back tonight and wake us up (or trample us!).

It’s a relatively short hike in the morning and then we’re in Ashland! I’m looking forward to some tasty food, a shower, and especially a real bed. It’s been forever!

Current ailments:

Elizabeth: sore feet — I swapped back to my normal insoles, but my feet are just squished. I think I’ll try to buy a pair of Altras while in Ashland since I don’t want to deal with this for another 500 miles.

Michael: sore left big toe. 

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