Taking you back in time to August 2014, here’s a new post from the trail…
Craft beers, hipsters and its own trail (which is also a computer game, apparently); these are all the things I knew about Oregon a year ago. Fast forward to today and you can add a crater or two, some sisters and a cracking breakfast buffet at Timberline.
Oregon may one day be the state in which I choose to live and, although it’s my third favourite of those on the PCT, this excites me greatly. Perhaps I was just born to ride a fixy. What has got my excitement furnace a-burning? Find out in an all new QT on the PCT blog thingy…
Saying adios to Ashland was amargo dulce. We’d all developed some love for Haley, Elie’s fishy friend who jumps from cool job to cool job and holds her own as a strong woman in a predominantly man’s world. It’s always great to see friends of friends on the trail, that little anchor of home combined with the fresh conversation lifts the spirits and helps you to appreciate what you’re actually doing.
The good news was that we’d be heading in to Oregon, a fresh state with some highlights we’d only dreamed of when we left the border 3 and a half months previous (California is MASSIVE). It’s also great to get hiking just to stop life from hurting so much, there’s something about a trail stop that just brings out all the aches and pains, you hobble like an old man, wince when you stand up and hunch when resting. The trail brings back the bounce.
The first big target was Crater Lake, a place not unlike Guatemala with its violent volcanic past, a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom (plagiarised). I was ready to be underwhelmed by this spot after hearing so much about it. In that respect, it disappointed me as I was stunned by how awesome it was. It’s one of those places (of which the list is short), which just looks like a captivating photo or painting, with the added bonus of actually being stood in it.
Despite the excitement of a geographical wonder, the hike up to it broke Grace and we had to forestall the excitement. Her stomach cramping and her insides threatening to decorate every inch of the forest, FD fell behind. This gave Ladypants time to attract the local ladies in to asking us to fill out a survey, something we all love to do from time to time.
With FD’s face still not appearing over the hill, we launched a rescue mission to drag her and her pack to the rim of the crater. It was already sad that she was feeling ill, we didn’t want her to miss out on the fun of a survey as well. It was worse than we had thought and, while Grace ticked some boxes, we formulated a plan to camp at the lake.
In rode our white knight on her fiery steed. Rose, it seems, was not just there to ask us how we use social media to find out more about Crater Lake. Having some bunks spare in her house, she offered us somewhere to rest for the night, showers, laundry and a hot breakfast the next morning. By any other name she would still be as sweet (unless she was called a stinkweed).
Rose, you were our first spontaneous trail angel, appearing from nowhere to bring us help when we needed it. We thank you muchly for a night that we won’t forget.
As for FD, an hour in the bathroom relieved the pressure generated from just eating far too much that day, she was back to her old joyous self and able to enjoy the evening. We were concerned for a second, but should have known that she had the power in her gas works to make the world great again.
A casual morning followed, preventing Rose from carrying out her research and us from hiking on, it was awesome. The lackadaisical theme was continued throughout the day as the lake was enjoyed at every possible opportunity. With Grace’s guts intact, we were able to step up the pace over the following days and make our push for Portland.