Ashland, OR Mile 1716

Only about 30 more miles before I walk in to California.  The hike from Bend to Ashland was a a nice section passing Diamond Peak, Summit Lake, Mt Thielsen, Crater Lake, Mt. McLoughlin,  and hundreds of northbound hikers.  The mosquitoes were ferocious north of Windigo Pass, but practically disappeared after Crater Lake.  South of Crater I was passing 75-100+ northbound hikers per day, a few of which I knew from last year on the AT.

The day before hiking into Ashland was an eventful one.  I hit my first official trail magic with a cooler full of cold soda, beer, and fruit in the Brown Mt. Shelter.  Shortly before that I got stung by a bee.  Shortly after that I had my first mountain lion encounter.  A couple miles south of Dead Indian Memorial Highway, I saw something ahead in the trail, which I first thought were two dogs. As I got closer I saw one crouching down and thought maybe they were coyotes.  When I was about 20' away, an adult mountain lion was standing in the trail looking at me.  They jumped off the trail into the brush and disappeared.  I didn't see them again, but did pick up a couple rocks in case they took an interest in me.  The sighting was at about 4:30 in the afternoon on a busy stretch of trail.  I suspect most PCT hikers are within earshot of mountain lions on a regular basis and never know it.


Elk Lake, OR Mile 1950

I'm enjoying a day off the trail in Bend with friends, Paul, Steph, Theo and Nora.  Nora (2) is taking a while to warm up to me.  Theo (5) is happy to play. I'm taking a day off the trail in Bend, OR.  The weather in Oregon has done a 180.  Washington was mostly 40-60 degrees F with lots of clouds and some rain.  Oregon has been 50-90+ with nothing but sun and long stretches with little shade through burn areas, above tree line and on lava rock.  My hiker tan is improving.

There is an abundance of food on the trail.  The Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood has an all you can eat buffet, which is widely touted as one of the best meals on the trail.  I ate so much it will likely be remembered as the worst experience of my trip.  The food was very good, but it will be my last buffet for a while.  The hiker boxes are treating me well, as northbounders are leaving lots of goodies.

Next stop is to visit friends, Ryan and Jess in Ashland.

Picture show:

Tunnel Falls on the Eagle Creek Alternate Trail.  The trail actually goes under the falls, which is probably why this is one of the most popular trails in the US and most PCT hikers take the alternate route.