We got up at five as agreed with others the previous night – we’d have 27 miles of hiking ahead of us. That should leave us plenty of time to get to town at a normal time. As Kristians and I had eaten way too much the previous night we were not hungry and thus hiked out right after packing up. We had 0,7 miles to the Oregon border!
This short stretch was all uphill, surrounded by bright green bushes and trees. Suddenly we reached a bunch of old wooden signs, some of them rotten or broken, but this was it – the border. We took a video and the compulsory photos and then continued the next four miles uphill. It wasn’t too hard and the air was still cool. We had views of open valleys and Mt Shasta once again.
After 2 solid hours of hiking we reached a piped spring – this is where we decided to have our breakfast. We took it super relaxed and so all the other hikers passed us. We also met 5 older weekend hikers from the Netherlands, going South. The sun was getting very hot, however, so we needed to pack up and get going in order to avoid the heat stroke.
The scenery started to change a bit – there were green foresty areas intermittent to dry, deserty patches. The trail was surrounded by ferns, green and fluffy. We continued downhill, enjoying the open space and nice day. At a small stream we filled up water and met up with Sensei and T-Bone so we all decided to take a small break. We still had some more miles to the lunch spot, however.
The trail crossed multiple dirt roads and junctions and right after our break we’d head uphill for a decent distance. I wasn’t too excited for that but somehow I ended up hiking with T-Bone and our chatter made the hike a breeze – we crushed the uphill fast. After the terrain flattened out we traversed a wide hillside and had to go over a small hill. There, under the shade of some trees, we found trail magic! Two coolers full of sodas and root beer. We took a break to cool off and enjoy some phone signal for once.
We now had just 1,5 miles to our desired lunchspot so we pretty much just cruised downhill. We met a bunch of dayhikers just before reaching the stream. We found some trees that provided shade and proceeded to have a long relaxed lunchbreak. Coconut & Tomb Raider soon passed us and so did Stay Puffed together with the Super Siblings.
But now it was time to crush the last 11 miles of the day – some smaller uphills but mostly downhills. Sensei, T-Bone and Kristians quickly took off ahead of me and so I was left to enjoy the day alone. Luckily the trail remained in the forest for most of the way and so it wasn’t too hot. I paid careful attention to the signs and trail markers because I had already once before taken a wrong turn while hiking alone. But everything went smooth – the two trekking poles made me feel strong and fast so I was just flying.
Somewhere on the way I passed the sister from the Super Siblings crew and rushed on. At the last water source I caught up with Kristians who was surprised that I was only a minute behind! Sensei and T-Bone had hiked on just half a minute ago. So we had some cold water and then proceeded to hike the last 3 miles together.
The trail was now very steeply downhill and when we turned off the trail to get to the I5 highway it was pretty much bushwacking! We crossed the railroad and then had a short roadwalk to the junction. Here we caught up with everyone else but they got a ride pretty much instantly. The sun was now blazing hot and there was no shadow either. Luckily, however, we got a ride pretty fast and were in Ashland in no time. But our hostel was in the other side of town so we hitched once more – again, we got lucky pretty fast.
At the hostel we met everyone else and got an overview & check-in by the hostel owner, Jana. We all got a shower and were finally clean! T-Bone, Kristians, Sensei and I then went to a pizza place in order to stuff ourselves with junk food.
We spent the evening just lying on the couch, enjoying the wifi and chatting. Tomorrow we could sleep as long as we wanted…
We were separated into two different rooms at the hostel – three downstairs and three up. We all slept as long as we wanted, which was until about 9. Us two and T-Bone then needed to clean up the beds we’d had and move downstairs to the room where the others were. We decided to all stay for a total of three nights, thus taking two zero days.
Today was going to be a day of running all the errands but first things first – we needed to get breakfast. Us, Coconut and T-Bone decided to go to a bakery where we’d heard they have vegan stuff but it turned out to be closed for some reason. So we proceeded to go to a place I’d read about online – Greenleaf. Turned out they had a separate vegan menu and so we ordered the vegan quesadillas!
After getting properly stuffed we went straight to the gear store, which was just around the corner. We got some gas and Kristians planned to get new shoes. They were pretty much all out of Altras, though, and were going to get a new shipment the next day – so we’d just come by again. I, however, was investigating backpacks as I’d thought of getting a new one soon anyway. I’d never had an Osprey before and so I tried their new lightweight Levity on. It got me pretty stoked and so I just bought it!
Next up: getting back to the hostel, packing up all our laundry and then getting a taxi for the six of us (Sensei had already gone ahead but another hiker, Stay Puffed, came with us). We got to the laundromat, put the machine going and then checked out the Dollar Store and just waited until the stuff was washed & then dried it. We also met up with Sensei here.
We then walked about a mile in the intense heat to the Shop’n’Kart store – apparently the best resupply store on the whole trail with a huge selection of bars & also bulk items. We’d also heard that they sell vegan donuts straight from a bakery and we weren’t disappointed: many different glazes awaited us. We had to buy food for 8 days – the four following days plus 4 days worth of food that we were going to send as a resupply box to Mazama Village, which is right before Crater Lake. It took us pretty long because this store was just awesome and they had lots of vegan stuff, none of which was more exciting than dehydrated beans in bulk!
After finishing this shopping spree we ordered a taxi and awaited for it for half an hour, chilling with our bags in front of the store. Upon arrival at the restaurant we unpacked, sorted and packed into boxes all the food so that they’d be ready for sending first thing the next morning (the post office had closed at four).
Because Coconut had recently had a birthday and as we couldn’t properly celebrate it on trail, Tomb Raider had got him a cake and just as she was lighting up the candles he walked in on the surprise! Tomb Raider was super sad that the surprise was now ruined but Coconut was truly surprised and I think really enjoyed the chocolatr cake and us singing him the birthday song.
We spent the rest of the evening just chilling on the couch in the lobby, enjoying the wifi. We had a bunch of snacks even though we had planned to cook a proper meal – we had bought all the ingredients. So at about 22, which is when we finally got hungry, we started to cook. T-Bone, who we had planned to cook & eat with together, had already gone to bed. After our potatoes with sweet potatoes, salad and vegan patties were ready we had a properly fancy dinner, fulfilling to the brim. So we finally went to bed at around midnight – hoping we’d get some sleep as Sensei was already snoring like a machine.
We had a big breakfast at the hostel, comprising of blueberries, cereal, soy milk and potatoes with spinach and veggies. We then all headed to the post office, carrying our resupply boxes. This was the last errand we needed to run before we could truly enjoy a hiking-free day. The mailing process was fast and soon enough we headed to a small store to pick up some drinks and snacks for the next item in our plan: go and chill out in the park for as long as we wanted.
On the way to the Lithia Park we passed by the famous Shakespeare theatre of Ashland – built after the original Globe Theatre located in London, UK. At the park we found a nice spot under some big trees and truly enjoyed sitting on the grass for once. Sensei also had his camera with and as the weather was so good we decided to take a group photo and some photos of the two couples in our group.
After a couple of hours of relaxing at the park we of course got hungry again so us and T-Bone went to the pizza place again whereas the other three went to a Mexican place. After that we all went to the grocery store to get more food for dinner and breakfast but on the way I also discovered that they served soft vegan ice cream at the Raw Juice Bar so of course I had to get it. It was now super hot outside so when T-Bone and I exited the store after the shopping we were afraid that our ice cream (yes, I bought ice cream right after getting an ice cresm) would melt instantly so we had to go back inside while we waited for others.
Once back at the hostel we literally filled our evening with doing nothing. Well, ok, T-Bone and I solved some sudokus and I watched videos on Youtube but nothing really productive was done. And I guess that’s how a rest day should be – utterly useless.