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.

For now I'm enjoying a somewhat extended break off the trail with Ryan, Jess, Shasta, and Willow in Ashland with lots of tasty nutritious food, an overwhelming selection of beer, and various outings.  Here is the picture show:

Bike ride to soccer with Steph, Nora, Paul, and Theo.  Had a great visit to Bend.  

Summit Lake and Diamond Peak.  The mosquitoes were horrible through this section, but they gave me a break along the shore so I could jump in for a swim.  Probably the best swimming lake I've encountered yet.
Diamond Peak and Odell Lake from the ridge trail going up to Cowhorn Mountain.  This section is often skipped to get to Shelter Cover on Odell Lake via the Oregon Skyline Trail.  I'm not sure what the OST is like, but after Diamond Peak, Summit Lake, and this view I was sure I made the right decision staying on the PCT.
Mt. Thielsen sticking up behind the trees.
Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake as I approach Crater Lake National Park.
Hiking up the north rim of Crater Lake you don't see a whole lot and there is no sign of what lies on the other side.  As I hiked up I was imagining what it must have been like for the first humans to discover the lake.  Walking up an otherwise normal and undramatic looking slope, and then at the top, seeing...
Park visitors everywhere taking pictures!  I got to the north rim about 7PM and the trail around the lake was still closed due to a wildfire.  These two 20 year old guys, from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and another guy from Thailand, gave me a ride about half way to the south rim.  They weren't going all the way around, but left me with a couple bottles of water and a cold 20 piece chicken McNugget.
About 8:30 I gave up on getting a hitch to Mazama Village and camped off the side of the road with nice view of the Klamath Lakes basin. I was very happy to have that bag of McDonald's.  In the morning I had breakfast at the overlook pictured above.  Christian, from Germany, picked me up shortly after and gave me a ride the rest of the way. 
One advantage of hitting the herd of northbound hikers is an overflow of food in the hiker boxes.  I spent about $15 on groceries in all of OR.  All of the food pictured above was free and delicious.
Since I didn't get to hike the rim trail I decided to hitch back on the road and hike up Mt. Scott, the highest point in Crater Lake National Park, for some impressive views.
Approaching Mt. McLoughlin, the big peak of southern OR.

Looking south into CA on a hot day.  Mt Shasta is the peak on the horizon center left with the clouds around it.

Mt Ashland and the city of Ashland.

I arrived in time for a rafting trip down the Rogue River with Jess and her friends from work, Heather, Terry, Corey, Casey and family. A nice activity for a hot day and I discovered how fun inflatable kayaks are. 

Then we made a trip to Bandon, on the OR coast, where the temperature is 65 instead of 95, with Ryan's friends from work, Ryan, Risa, Magnolia, and Birget for some camping, eating, and drinking.

A sunset hike up to Grizzly Peak.

Willow and Shasta came too.

Me and Ryan up on Mt. McLoughlin. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping by Dan, fun times as always! Be safe out there and have fun. Willow and Shasta already miss their uncle Dan.