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.

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Northwest Roadtrip Spring 2015

In April of 2015 I had been working as an IT Field Engineer doing all sorts of high stress system/network troubleshooting.  After the third Saturday in a row of on call night work, I could see this work/life imbalance was just going to continue.  Around that same time I visited an old coworker at the paddle shop I used to work at, she asked what I’d been up to.  The conversation went something like this:

 “Work.”

“That’s it? No trips or anything interesting?”

“Yup.”

Followed immediately by me thinking about how I hadn’t had a vacation in two years.  And noticing just how boring it is if all you have to talk about is work.  So I put in my two weeks notice, the company ended up getting me to work another four weeks to finish up projects and then I’d do something.  I’d never been further west than the Ozarks in Arkansas so I decided to drive around the lower 48 for a while.

My goals for this adventure were:

  • Sleep in the truck when possible to save money
  • Visit friends and family
  • Make it to Colorado, Oregon, and Washington
  • Not return home for at least a month

The Route

I had a rough idea to drive out to Colorado as fast as I could, stay with a friend there, then make my way over to the Pacific Northwest to stay with another friend.  From there I’d take a northern route back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to end the trip.  While I didn’t end up recording my exact route, I did stick pretty close to my plan.  Below are most of the places I stopped on the trip, with friends places removed for privacy.

Gas was cheap that summer and my Ram 1500 has a V8 gasser in it, so the fuel economy was relatively low, but for the truck I was satisfied.  It was especially fun driving manual in the mountains.  I tracked the gas in a Google Sheet for no particular reason.

Photos

Favorite photo from the trip:

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Wreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon.

Other photos from the trip, grouped by location:

Garden of the Gods

Colorado

 Lucky Peak State Park

Ecola State Park

Crater Lake National Park

Smith Rock State Park

Fort Stevens State Park

Misc. Oregon/Washington

Hoh Rainforest

Cape Flattery

Olympic National Park

Glacier National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Tetons

Black Hills National Forest

Mount Rushmore

Badlands National Park

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And finally back home to Lake Superior.