To The Coast…

After a lengthy discussion of logistics and many beers, we determined it was easiest to get from Bend to the Oregon coast, via our friends in Portland. The fire closures leave us missing trail and the smoky haze, scenery. It feels easier to hike a straight path, less segmented, another season. And for some reason, all we could rent car wise was a twelve person transit van. We had fun with it.


Big thanks to the Streu's for picking us up in Portland and hosting us for several days! We took a nice trip to Wachella Falls, did a little bit of bouldering, and looked for views through the smoky haze covering the city and gorge. At this point we decided the most fun we could having finishing out the backpacking season was on the coast.


So we headed to Astoria, close to Fort Stevens State Park, and spent a day doing touristy things and stocking up on some hiker foods.

Fort George had some good beer – we've been to several breweries in the past week and this stood out. Best food we had in town as well!

And now we start southwards on the Oregon Coast Trail. Maybe we'll complete the it this summer, maybe not, but the contrast between the PCT thru hike and this is welcomed – clouds, cool weather, no fires or snow! For now we walk the beach, the cliffs, and explore the towns in between.

8/2/17 – Mile 1981.2, Bend, OR

"Stuck" in Bend, Oregon! The Whitewater fire in the Jefferson Wilderness has closed the PCT in front of us – there was a road walk alternate, but as the fire spread, that was closed too. We got through the Crater Lake area just in time, two fires have closed the trail down there now as well. So we find ourselves waiting in Bend, then heading up to Portland to stay with some friends until we can get back on trail in northern Oregon. Fires, fires, everywhere. Meanwhile, we've completed a thru hike of the Bend Ale Trail…

And as for the past week…

7/28/17 – Man, a real bed felt great. Slept for a solid 8 hours, then we got some breakfast. This place had some damn good omelettes and loaded hash browns! Our ride back to the trail wasn't available until 2pm, so we relaxed and chatted with some friends on the lakeshore. Got to the trail shortly after 2 and started hiking. After awhile we arrived at Thielsen Creek which was still mostly covered with snow. Found a hole in the snow, checked the area around to make sure the snow wouldn't collapse, dipped my water bladder in …and it slipped right out of my hand and down the snow covered river. It was gone, along with 2.5L of water capacity for me. Thankfully Sara's capacity can cover us both for the next day or so until Shelter Cove, which has a store and presumably a Gatorade bottle or something. Walked a few miles further and ran into some friends we have been seeing on and off all week. Camped with them on a beautiful overlook at mile 1859.3.

7/29/17 – Oregon Skyline Trail, mile 10.4.

7/30/17 – Super dusty all day today. The trail is all dust clouds and skeeters. After about 11 miles we stopped at Shelter Cove Resort, grabbed our resupply and admired another beautiful lake view. Hike up past the Rosary Lakes then a little further. Camped at Bobby Lake, mile 1915.1.

7/31/17 – Started with a climb and mosquito swatting, but rewarded with mostly flat terrain for the rest of the day. So many lakes in this section! Passed by one at least every couple miles. Walked 27 or so miles and camped above Cliff Lake at mile 1941.7.

8/1/17 – Another 27 mile day. Beautiful views throughout the Three Sisters Wilderness. Tons of mosquitos, but not as bad as we've dealt with in Michigan or people have made it seem. Found an epic camp spot on a hill, just off the trail before the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. Mile 1969.

8/2/17 – Felt like a long 11 miles to Highway 242, but we made it by mid morning. After waiting just about an hour, a former thru hiker, triple crowner in fact, picked us up in his Tacoma. He knew just what we needed – took us all around town for food and beer, helped us find a place to stay. Started the "Bend Ale Trail" thru hike, already got Crux and Deschutes checked off. Relaxing tonight and figuring out what's going on with all the wildfires fires in the area tomorrow.

7/27/17 – Mile 1845.3, Diamond Lake Lodge, OR

A little late on this post due to weak cell signal or functional wifi anywhere this week. Also, sorry, photo captions are not working in iOS WordPress app at the moment. Or I can't figure them out. Feel free to imagine some captions…

7/19/17 – Finished up with our resupply tasks today, then ventured down to Caldera Brewing. Great food and about 45 beers on tap. They are also home to the largest bottle collection in Oregon. It's great to be in a "big" (read: college) town for the first time since San Francisco. And usually I am not a city person, but all the time in the woods is clearly having its effect. Enjoyed some beer and then decided to take another day off to check out the downtown Ashland area.

7/20/17 – Felt great sleeping in again! And nice knowing our town chores are complete, for most of Oregon. After a lazy morning in the hotel, we walked downtown and wandered about for a few hours. Explored the hipster shops and hippy watched for a bit. When that got exhausting we bussed back to the hotel, and continued resting our muscles. From here, it's a several day push to Bend, OR with not much in between but some lodges where our resupply packages are.

7/21/17 – Slept in a little but we were both ready to hit the trail this morning. We had to wait for a taxi unfortunately, but got to the trail before noon. Hiked just about 15 miles in and camped at mile 1729.6 near Pilot Bluff. Brought a couple 10 Barrel brews with us, totally worth the weight and pack out!

7/22/17 – Easy day of hiking, did about 9 miles before our first break then another 7. Water a little more scare now, so we camped by it at mile 1752.8. There does however seem to be an abundance of on trail beer here in Oregon.

7/23/17 – Back into the swing of things for the most part, pulled an easy 20+ mile day. We picked up our package from Fish Lake Resort early afternoon and the lake was just too inviting not to spend the night. Enjoyed the rest of the evening by the lake – we've been craving another lake to relax by. Stayed in a rustic cabin a little ways off trail of mile 1770.9.

7/24/17 – Slow start to the day, but worth it to chat with some nice folks we met. Hiked the two miles back up to the PCT then onwards north another twentyish miles. Longer stretches up here without water, must be why they call it the "desert." I always assumed it was more like eastern Oregon. By 6:30 or we found a nice campsite on a saddle, flat spots, views, and even cell service. Set up the tent and cooked dinner just in time for a thunderstorm to roll in. Mile 1791.

7/25/17 – Solid 29 mile day today! Started out with a couple mosquito filled segments but by lunch they had died down. Long dry stretch today, trusted a week old water report update on a seasonal stream which tuned out to be dry. Thankfully we just had another three miles to go to the next one. Heard lots of thunder the last several miles, but the weather held out for us. Camped as soon as we found a flat spot near the water, at mile 1820.2. We are both excited to be just a few miles from Crater Lake itself and to walk the rim tomorrow!

7/26/17 – Woke up to some rain around 2 am, it lasted until about 9 am so we slept in and waited it out. The PCT bypasses Crater Lake itself, so we headed up the rim walk alternate route – it's actually about five miles shorter! But did involve a nice morning climb up to the rim. Found our way to the cafe and waited out the rest of the clouds sipping on coffee (they offer unlimited refills!). As the sun broke through, we started leisurely hiking the rest of the west side of the rim. It was hard to leave the lake, but we eventually descended a bit and rejoined the PCT, where we camped at mile 1838.3.

7/27/17 – Easy 7 mile walk to Highway 138 today, the north end of Crater Lake NP. We barely had cell service, but got through to Diamond Lake Lodge and the friendly maintenance guy came out to pick us up at the trailhead shortly after. Didn't make it in time for breakfast so we got our resupply box and mowed down on some hiker food, showered, and dried out the tent. By then the patio bar/grill had opened so we went down to the lake and had a burger and beer. Bought some ice cream, more beer and after chatting with some other folks, retreated to our room to indulge and relax.

7/18/17 – Mile 1716.2, Ashland, OR

7/12/17 – Celebrated a little too much yesterday…we attempted to get back on the trail, but didn't make it past a shady tree in the city park.  Back to the hotel, another night, and on the trail tomorrow.  Our decision might have been influenced by the fact that Etna Brewing Co. wasn't open the previous day, but was today!  Tried a beer each with dinner and got a great, long nights sleep.

7/13/17 – Feeling nice and refreshed this morning.  As we were leaving a couple from Traverse City, in the room next to us, offered us a ride to the trailhead.  Fueled by a good nights sleep and some coffee, we walked 18 miles in the afternoon before camping on a saddle at mile 1615.1.


7/14/17 - 32 miles today!  A personal record for both of us.  Not planned, but there was a lot of downhill involved.  After cruising all day and hitting our goal of 20+, we stopped for dinner around 5.  Afterwards, every campsite we passed was taken, so we pushed on to Grider Creek Campground.  Made it there around 9 with a little daylight to spare, ate a ton of food, and washed up in the creek.  Mile 1647.0.

7/15/17 – Slept in a little then walked the remaining 6 miles into Seiad Valley.  Had a wonderful breakfast at the cafe and hung out with some other hikers for awhile.  Eventually we took on the brutal 4800ft uphill hike out of town.  It was exhausting.  Eventually we leveled out and descended a bit to Kangaroo Spring where we camped.  Mile 1663.3.

7/16/17 – Much easier day today, though still a couple long feeling climbs.  Lots of beautiful views today and significantly cooler temps than we've been having!  Camped earlier today after ~23 miles near a dirt road at mile 1686.4.  My NeoAir (sleeping pad) finally got a hole – I've been expecting this day to come for years.  Thankfully I was able to find it and the repair kit is holding… for now.

7/17/17 – Made it to Oregon! Still quite a few miles left in California to do, but feels good none the less. A couple easy climbs and long afternoon breaks later we were most of the way to Callahan's Lodge, where we plan to hitch into Ashland. Excited as always for a big old breakfast and coffee in the morning! Camped near mile 1710.

7/18/17 – Woke up a bit earlier today, got down to Callahan's and got a ride into town. Met a friendly goat along the way that had escaped its enclosure. New record today – checked into our hiker friendly hotel by 9:30. Grabbed some food and a bus into downtown to get our packages, exchange socks, and quickly got distracted by breweries. Looking forward to checking out more of Ashland tomorrow after spending the evening prepping our Oregon resupply.

Started the post with beer, might as well end with some…

7/11/17 – Mile 1597.2, Etna, CA

7/6/17 – Met a former PCT hiker at the bar last night, always nice when people know and understand what we’re up to!  Slept in a bit this morning and eventually made our way out of the hotel.  Relaxed in the park behind the health food store for a bit sipping on one of our favorite town luxuries, coffee.  Went back to Black Bear Diner again (hiker friendly and affordable, well portioned food!).  Afterwards we got a ride back to the trail from a trail angel, Tony.  We met him yesterday outside the post office, but today he was dressed different – he’s a Highway Patrol officer!  Thought we were about to get cited for loitering and instead got a ride to the trailhead in the back of a cop car.  Strangest hitch so far for sure…  Made quick work of the next ~10 miles and setup camp near Disappearing Creek at mile 1508.6.

Tons of waterfalls this section.

7/7/17 – One of the most scenic days on trail yet.  Endless mountains, waterfalls, spires, and forests.  Twenty six miles today, 6800+ ft gain, most of it at the start of the day.  Saw a ton of deer today, on trail, in our campsite… After a final push in the late afternoon we made it to the Deadfall Lakes and camped.  Mile 1534.3.

Sara cooking dinner; watching the fish.
Deadfall Lakes
A deer came up to our tent to visit here.

7/8/17 – Easier day of hiking today terrain wise.  Still tons of epic views, we hear they get even better in the Trinity Alps Wilderness coming up… Hiked in 6-7 mile pushes today with breaks in between to air out the feet – can’t wait to get our trail runners back in Etna!  After about 24 miles we camped at Scott Mountain Campground, mile 1557.8.

There were some surprisingly flat parts, surrounded by boulder fields and ridge walking.
Scott Mountain Campground. Had a few sites, but mostly a free for all.
 

7/9/17 – Another day of hiking.  Views of the Trinity Alps Wilderness occasionally stolen by Shasta.  A slightly shorter day today as we are ahead of schedule!  More food than the last segment, but starting to have coffee and omlettes on my mind.  I’m not sure why, but for me breakfast foods and coffee drive my hunger a little more than even burgers and beer.  Hiked up and down a few more times then camped on a saddle at mile 1578.6.

7/10/17 – Short day today, but quite a bit of elevation gain and loss.  About 10 miles into the day, we started seeing the smoky haze of a forest fire near Etna.  Neither of us have any experience with forest fires, so it was a bit surreal, especially as we started smelling it too.  As the wind picked up and the trail headed northeast, the smoke dissipated.  The next several miles flew by and we ended up arriving at Sawyer Bar Road, our hitch point into Etna.  Had a nice dinner with great views and a ton of people watching – Etna Summit is a busy place!  Lots of noisy high schoolers gettin’ drunk… Camped by the parking area at mile 1597.2.


7/11/17 – Today Sara and I celebrate not only one thousand (techinically a little more) miles of PCT completed together, but also two years together!  Easy hitch into town with a friendly county worker and a great breakfast at Bobs Ranch House.  The Hotel Etna was super accommodating and let us into our room before noon!  Super hiker friendly, let us do laundry there as well.  After a brief stop to the post office and a trip to the grocery store, we’ve settled into a great day off!