Hmmm... where to begin. Wifi and Cell service have been hard to come by lately. I want to just kind of put it out there in advanced that I'm doing my best to keep this up to date, but from here to the end I think my computer access and service are going to be much more limited - so sorry about that. Also, I'm still not even sure who is reading this - I started writing it thinking that my mom would be the only one reading it. I keep hearing that "everyone loves my blog" so feel free to comment on posts! I love hearing from people, and any support I can get in these last 700 miles is much appreciated.
I guess I'll go back to Ashland. Whitney and I stayed with a woman named Asha, who is an older woman, running her own business and juggling about a million things on her plate at a time, yet somehow had the time to adopt two hikers. She had recently moved so things were extra chaotic, and we slept outside in a gazebo, with a futon mattress on the ground. After arriving, we basically ate, showered, started laundry then passed out. The next day was busy walking around town and running errands - blah. More town stress. As we were out and about Whitney's phone decided to die, which as you can imagine is a bit tricky. We met up with Oilcan and Caveman for dinner, then polished off a large quantity of ice cream between the four of us. It was nice to be back with the guys. The four of us strolled around a nearby park then Whitney and I went back to Asha's house and crashed early again. The next day was filled with more errands, getting Whitney a new phone(for starters I forgot Radioshack existed, and the guy who was helping us thought we were hilarious? it was strange). I spent some time grocery shopping, mailing boxes to my future self, and re grouping at the library. As I've said in the past, towns are starting to give me anxiety. Luckily, we were back on trail that night - and I was in a mood. We had spent a full extra day in town, my pants and spandex shorts had been packed up and shipped to california with Asha's grandson, the boys were all driving my a little crazy, and it was still hot out some how.
Once I was back on trail, I put my headphones in immediately. I didn't want to talk to Whitney because I was in a mood and frustrated. I stopped to pee, and then figured I would eat dinner too. I was stopped for a bit, and figured he passed me. I hiked on to the junction we had talked about camping out and he was nowhere to be found. I continued on for another 1/2 mile or so and found him running back towards me. I had been following his very distinct foot prints so I knew he was ahead of me, but he was running down the trail at me. "I thought I lost you!" he explained how he hadn't seen my pack and figured I was ahead of him the whole time ( I have the same shoes as everyone else on the trail so following my tracks is impossible). Regardless, we set up camp and hit the hay. The next day was Whitney's birthday! 24 miles for 24 years of age. We hung out for a solid 3 hours or so (long enough to set up the hammock and nap) while we waited for the other guys who had hitched out that morning. They arrived late - close to 6ish, and we all continued on to camp. We had a mini birthday celebration, complete with cake, cards and candles. The next day was Trail Magic central. We had set out to do 34 miles, but that plan changed around lunch when we encountered some beers, and snacks in a shelter, followed by 3 guys who had hiked in 2014's "le Bistro". We followed the signs to a big tent and were treated to a cinnamon toast crunch appetizer, and french toast breakfast sandwich lunch. These guys had hiked before, they knew what hikers wanted and aside from requiring everyone to wear one article of crazy clothing - it was a dream come true. When oilcan and caveman showed up, we decided to cut our day short and enjoy the magic a bit. After two hours of hanging out, we continued on into the heat. The rest of the day was hot and on lava rocks which sucks on your feet and ankles. We camped in the woods, which felt like mosquito heaven. Whitney and I got up and out before the other guys and the whole day was filled with ninja moves to dodge down trees. I ended up in front and lunched mostly by myself - Dog Whisperer ( a very sweet girl we've been crossing paths with for a bit now) sat with me for a bit then we pressed on to the next water. This section had some longer streches without water which is always yucky. I chatted with some other hikers at the water source until the boys showed up then we continued on another few miles. Oilcan and Caveman were shot - and kept ending earlier than we had talked about which was really frustrating for me - so Whitney and I pressed on another 9 miles, setting ourself up for a mellow morning.
The next day was crater lake, which i had never been to. It was blue. The water was so crazy looking and you are just up so high from it. We spent a few hours at a visitor center below the rim, getting re stocked on food, water and eating burgers with other hikers. We headed up to the rim, walked a bit of the rim trail, then continued on to camp. We had only done 26 miles (I know only 26... who the heck am I?), but i was exhausted. Also, tourist spots are weird as a hiker, everyone around you is so clean and I honestly just felt lost and confused like a helpless puppy.
33 miles the next day. It was a long one but nothing too eventful. Mt Theilsen was our backdrop for most of the day, and we passed the highest point on trail in Oregon and Washington.... so it's all downhill from here right? I wish. By this point my feet were hurting, my shoes were shot and I should have gotten new ones at Crater Lake but they were in my next box. Also my skin is just chafing everywhere now. hips, ass, back, collar bone. We camped with loads of others near a spring (this clumping of people happens more and more as the water gets farther and farther apart. The next morning we took a 20 miles alternate to a resort called shelter cove. My new shoes were there and the morning started off slow sicne my feet we blistering again (due to shot shoes I think). As we stopped for a break a guy named really sorry informed us that the store closed at 6PM - and it was on. We started hiking quickly and taking short breaks. It felt like work, as my whole body ached, and baked under the hot sun. Those 20 miles were long and painful. I also bit the dust less than a mile from the end - my feet were quitting, my whole front half of my left foot had gone numb. I clipped a root and rolled down the trail a bit in a cloud of dust. My knee and hand were scraped but nothing major, just some shock tears. I felt like I was crawling into the resort on bloody stumps of feet - only to find out that they didn't have my package. Miscommunication between my parents meant no new shoes for this girl. Once again, I cried. I had just run all day,hustled and toughed out severe pain, all for nothing but a three dollar hot dog? Also the thought of another 40 miles in my shoes terrified me. My blisters were growing and from past experience I knew nothing good would come from that. A girl by the name of jet fighter actually did get new shoes and gave me her old ones. 2 sizes too big, partly ripped but better than my shot Altras. Magic.
I took them and slowly took care of little matinenece things as I sat on the parking lot asphalt with a handful of other hikers. We all took advantage of the Wifi and power outlets. The next morning Whitney and I headed out around 1030 - and meandered all day. The hiking was easy, shaded rolling hill forests with a shelter for lunch and a lovely lake for dinner. We got into camp early and enjoyed the views as the sun went down and giant moon came up over the lake. From there it was 29 miles into bend - which wasn't a bad day - again pretty flat. Oregon is so flat.
We got a ride into town pretty quickly from some magical people. They were in their twenties, and as we cruised into town they picked out brains about hiking. They ended up taking us out to dinner, letting us shower, sleep and do laundry, then dropping us back downtown in the morning. More town errands and catching up with some friends - new shoes and new insoles were a major game changer for me. We did some logistics planning and in the evening, explored some caves outside of town with Whitneys friend (who is also a crazy thru hiker). We spent the night relaxing at Austin's place then resupplied and hit the trail the next morning.
Other things that have been going through my head. 1950 miles in and my body is starting to really hate me. I feel like I've had chafe everywhere, blisters on every inch of my feet, my joints ache and I have hip pain that keeps me up at night. I love it all. The pain is so raw, but somehow I get up and repeat the same process every day. I might be losing my mind... Not sure. andddd some more photos!