Oregon! A few spectacular days of entering Oregon we had our first cold encounter with a local. As we flew down the path, feeling great on the slight decline we thought we should use our energy and keep going. At 8:45pm we reached a large building that I thought was some sort of resort. As we stood on the pavement trying to follow the PCT signs, a man came down. I asked where we were and he firmly told me that we were on HIS property. That the past mile and the next 8 miles north were all his private- no camping. So he sent us back up the mountain into the dark. We looked again to see if we had missed the private property signals but the here were none. It was a good reminder that we should be even more appreciative for all the positive interactions we have.
We love the Oregon landscape, many golden fields with contrasting dark green trees. The weather is much milder than the NorCal heat, and we are shaded by the green forests. We do hike on and off in the smoke coming up from the fires in California. That takes a toll some days, leaving us feeling symptoms of a cold.
The day before getting to Crater National Park we encountered a difficult water situation. We had planned on filling up at ponds we thought were right off-trail. Level had no water over night so I gave him some of mine. In the morning I had 1 liter which would end up being our only water for 10 miles. We went searching for water at that point, off the trail and nearly getting lost and giving up. As I was turning back, Level shouted he found it! We happily filtered the brown scum water and drank it.
Later that day we got to Crater Lake National Park. The dehydration hit me quite hard and I just sat drank water while resting. The PCT doesn’t follow the CRater Lake trail but it does meet up with it down the trail. So that night we took the scenic route, overlooking the smoke filled lake.
In the morning we awoke to great, clear views of the lake as the sun came up.
While we were at the busy Crater Lake National Park. So many families and spectators stared at us as we sprawled out on the grass packing our food bags. It’s about 50/50 of people who know we are hiking the PCT and the other half think we are homeless and don’t like to make eye contact. It’s an interesting feeling and it has lead to some pretty interesting discussions about the blurred lines of thru-hiking vs. homelessness. We encounter so many kind souls that specifically want to help thru-hikers. They tell us to make signs that we are PCT hikers to distinguish ourselves from the homeless while in towns. In one town, I was offered a $5 bill as the man thought I was homeless. I politely declined trying to explain that it’s a life choice and I am hiking on a trail.
We did our first 30 mile day this past week. It didn’t feel bad until trying to get up the next morning and continuing with 28 mile days for the few next days.
We have been able to stop at resorts along the way, usually only a mile or two off trail. It breaks up the trail quite nicely, and allowance us to carry less food.
We have learned it’s always important to carry out a fun item to eat or drink. THis time, coca-cola!
After continuous long miles for a week, we awoke with little motivation as our bodies felt weak. The plan was to hike two more 25 mile days to put us close to the youth camp where they host hikers. As the day dragged on we battled thoughts of walking the mile and a half side trail to a resort to binge on hot burgers or pizza, but for a while we stayed strong. As the trail junction to the resort neared, we saw and chatted with some fellow hikers going south. They mentioned how Bend was a must see with great breweries and a lazy man river. We were sold and made that right at the junction towards the resort and road. We decided to stick our thumb out and try for a hitch to Bend rather than go to the resort. When we got there it was almost an immediate hitch from a family of 3. In our spontaneous new plan we had nothing figured out. Where would we stay that wouldn’t break out bank account? Even the hostel was $45/each. The family offered us to camp in their yard, RIGHT downtown! They opened their home; laundry, showers, bikes, and tubes. Without hesitation they took us in and gave us the perfect trail vacation.