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…

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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.