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.