We slept as long as we wanted – until about 8. We then packed our bags so we’d be more or less ready to go after resupplying. Kristians and I then decided to go and have breakfast at the small cafe – to our surprise they could make us a fully vegan burger and also add breakfast potatoes on the side. A nice berry smoothie was a cherry on top. We realized that the post office would only open at 12, so we had to wait because I had a package there…or so I thought.
So we got some more snacks from the store and just chilled out on the grass at the RV park with T-Bone, Jen and a hiker we had met there – Hey Bear. Time passed fast and soon I went to the post office – my package was not there. After checking the tracking I realized that I had sent the package to Castella instead and forgotten about it, so now it was a 100 miles behind – I’d need to bump it ahead now.
So we just sent out two postcards and then proceeded by getting an overview of the food we had left and buying what was available at the store (sometimes the vegan options in these small countryside stores can be limited). That done and the bags packed we just waited for the heat to receed. Soon enough Tomb Raider and Coconut arrived with a cool Jeep they had hitched on. We made a new plan – we’d chill out until five before hiking out. That way we’d start the hike as the temperature was cooling down – a good thing because we had a 1400m straight up climb ahead.
We snacked some more and just chatted around as two more hikers just got in – 2Meals and Sensei. They decided to join our plan and hike our together. Soon a Danish hiker called Stay Puffed arrived and then his friend, Birdshit, who is apparently one half of the Super Siblings. Time flied and at five o’clock precisely the seven of us hiked out: T-Bone, Sensei, Coyote (Kristias), Coconut, Tomb Raider, 2Meals and me. We said bye to Jen and Posie and finally set off.
As soon as we got on the trail it went straight uphill. Because I am the slowest I quickly fell behind whereas Kristians, with the heaviest pack of the whole group, lead the pack. But I enjoyed myself in the evening sun and put on a podcast to distract me from the hard terrain. After about 2,5 hours of steep uphill I finally caught up with everyone as they were loading up on water by a stream. Apparently I was 26 minutes slower than Kristians – I had taken a couple of stops and my calves had been cramping up a bit, too.
We now only had 6 miles to go and the trail soon flattened out. Kristians decided to hike this easier section with me and we made good time. We walked on the ridges and exposed hillsides and because we were now so high up we really had some great views of the setting sun. 2 hours later, jusf as it was about to get dark, we reached the tentsite.
T-Bone found a trekking pole that someone had left there – the handle had been destroyed but I decided to hike it out, I didn’t want to leave it as trash out there.
Everybody was pretty wrecked from the big climb and noone was really hungry as we had eaten enough in town. So we pretty much just put up our tents and went to sleep – the tents were rattling a bit in the strong wind but we had no problem falling asleep after such a day…
The whole bunch of us slept kind of long and we were the last ones to get out of camp at 8:20. And it was Coconut’s birthday! About 2 miles later we got to a water source and caught up with everyone besides Sensei and had a chat – it seemed like it was going to be a relaxed day. We planned to hike 25 miles to a small hut located right before the Oregon border. There were for sure some uphills on the way but all in all it didn’t look like the hardest of days.
After the spring the trail continued downhill for quite some time, following open hillsides – we could see lots of burned forests and also passed a group of firefighters who were going to check up on a spot fire they had put out just days before. After a roadcrossing the first big uphill started and as it was pretty exposed it was also hot, so I walked last – in my own pace. Once it started to flatten out I passed 2Meals, who had stopped to have his 2nd breakfast. I continued, however, and noticed that I was walking faster and was more in balance due to having 2 trekking poles – what a surprise, right?
The first four hours passed fast and I reached the water source at 10 miles. T-Bone, Kristians and Sensei were already there and soon after Coconut and Tomb Raider arrived – somehow I had passed them. 2Meals showed up right after and we all had a chill lunch in the shadow of some trees. We found out Coconut had been having ankle pain again so he and Tomb Raider only took a short break in order to not be too far behind.
The trail then continued down and up again, going through pine forests. We were finally getting close to the hut after a tough long day and thought that the end would be easy. Instead the trail started a steep ascent, lasting nearly all the way to a bridge prior to the hut. Somehow, however, the hiking poles made the uphill easier and we cruised through fast. Kristians, 2Meals, T-Bone, Sensei and me all took a break by the bridge to fill up our water for the evening and then hiked the last 0.5 uphill miles to the hut.
At the hut we met another hiker, an older guy from Bend called Cartographer. He also had a small dog called Susie X. He was doing a long section hike down to Death Valley in order to take his wife’s ashes there. Additionally we met a group of youngsters who were camping down by the meadow – troubled inner city kids who were participating in the Forest Service program for eliminating invasive species from the wilderness.
We saw that there was no room to camp by the hut so we found a small spot up by a dirt road and pitched our tents. 2Meals and T-Bone decided to cowboy camp. We then took our food and stoves and went to chill out by the hut – there were chairs for nearly all of us – back support is such a luxury on trail! While we were eating Coconut and Tomb Raider also finally arrived and we proceeded to sit there for quite some time – it was what Danes might call “hyggeligt”. Later on another hiker, called Radar, arrived and he decided to camp in the hut together with Cartographer.
And then it was time to rest up for the next day, which was going to be exciting for two reasons: we would cross the border into Oregon and get to the town of Ashland!