Wednesday, August 29, 2012

20 Days of Oregon

Wow time has flown by and so has Oregon. I am sitting on the Oregon/Washington border next to the beautiful Columbia River, preparing myself to enter the last state on the Pacific Crest Trail. We are approaching the last three weeks of are trek north and should be finished with the trail around September 22nd. It's hitting me that there actually is an end to this voyage. We've dedicated so much time each and every day chipping away at this goal. This really has shown me what a person can accomplish if they dedicate whole-heartedly to something. 

So you might ask, "How was your first time in Oregon? Was it everything you expected it to be?" Everything and more. Oregon in a nutshell: Crater Lake, Sisters Wilderness, and Mt. Hood. If you have never been to these places, please put them on your to see list that I am sure is already dozens of lines long. Absolutely stunning!

Spud, Honey Bear and I walked into Mazama Village, the few stores just south of Crater Lake, on August 11th with enough time to fill our bellies and find a campsite with the rest of the Love Train. We hiked 36 miles to get to the restaurant before it closed at 8 pm which was our longest day on trail so far. It felt rewarding to make it there, yet I didn't realize how rewarding the view of Crater Lake would be the following morning. From Mazama Village you have to walk about five miles uphill to the rim of the lake and as we approached the rim, tears filled my eyes. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the lake was and the fact that I had just walked there to see it. For the first time I felt like I deserved to see such a breath-taking place. We had worked so hard and the reward was a view far more beautiful than I had imagined. We spent the afternoon hiking around the rim following the PCT for six miles as it hugged the edge of the lake. Deciding that watching the sunset and sunrise at Crater Lake was an experience we didn't want to miss, we set up camp on the edge of the rim and fell asleep to the Perseid meteor shower above.

Just as breath-taking as Crater Lake was the Sisters Wilderness. The Three Sisters, three volcanoes named the South, Middle and North, distracted me with their glaciers, lupin filled fields at their bases, and lava fields. At one point on the trail we were surrounded by miles of dried lava that were difficult to walk on. Being from the east coast, this was a new sight for me. The terrain varied drastically and excitingly through this wilderness.

From the Sisters Wilderness we were able to get views of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood from the distance. There was a haze in the air though as we made our way north. Wildfires had spread over thousands of acres west of Mt. Jefferson. Fortunately we missed all of the wildfires that are occurring in northern California and southern Oregon now but this fire had closed a twenty mile section of trail just north of us. When this happens though, the PCTA creates a detour around the fire for hikers which more often then not, requires you to walk on roads around the fire. I am extremely happy to be passed all of this and to be back on the trail.

Between the fire detour and Mt. Hood we had some visitors out on trail! Honey Bear's dad, Henry and younger brother, Chris ventured out into the backcountry with us to experience: True Life - I am a dirty PCT Hiker. It was so much fun playing games, watching Chris perform magic tricks (although it was a one time show), and sleeping in since we decided to slow down our pace. One morning I woke up from the sun hitting my tent, which rarely happens because we are up before or just as the sun rises, and heard Henry and Honey Bear talking near Timothy Lake where were camped. They were relaxing, enjoying some hot morning coffee and were enjoying catching up on life. It was absolutely beautiful watching Henry interact with his family. He is such a loving, supportive father to both of his children. We had a great time hiking with them and I would LOVE to see both of them thru hike in the future.

A day after we parted ways with Henry and Chris, we began salivating because we knew the Timberline Lodge buffet was just a measly 10 miles away. The Love Train cruised into the lodge at the base of Mt. Hood as the buffet opened at 7:30 in the morning. My breakfast included: a huge Belgium waffle with fixings, two strawberry pancakes, a huge helping of eggs, a croissant, coffee, grapes, pineapple, cheese, home fries and cherries. Of course two hours later after the buffet, we all went to the Blue Ox, another restaurant inside the lodge, and ordered pizza for lunch. I have no idea how my appetite is going to diminish when I am finished...

So here we are! Washington here we come! Canada is in sight but we have 500 miles of trail left to go. I cannot wait for the Goat Rocks Wilderness area in Washington and to set my eyes on Mt. Rainier.

Love to all,

By the way, I cannot be more thankful for all the love and support I have felt on this trip so far. I feel like I am apart of a loving and caring community on the trail but feel just as much love and support from my friends and family all over. Thank you again for all of your encouragement! 

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