Saturday, September 5, 2015


Hi Everybody, long time no type :)

Since I last wrote, we have finished Oregon, sort of.  I am sitting at a hotel computer in Cascade Locks drinking a cuppa coffee generally enjoying not being on trail for the day.

We left Ashland with high hopes and big fears about the fire burning in Crater Lake National Park. We made it to the highway to a popular stopover for hikers at fishlake (like, how many "fish lakes" are there in the world!) and word was that the trail was finally closed.  That was our last highway before the park, so we spent a few hours hemming and hawing about having Grant's sister pick us up.  In the end we decided to push on.  Sure enough, the trail was closed as well as the North Entrance Road to the Park.  We then spent hours working out our own detour to the East Side of Crater Lake on roads through the neighboring national forest, with input from a few other brave souls.  It looked pretty solid except for a 30-mile waterless stretch. Even with that, multiple calls to the National Forest office yielded no clear answer as to whether the one water source, a river, was actually running or not. It added about 25 miles, i.e. an extra day, plus all that water to carry, and added lot of fear of water sources being, and fear of what 50 miles of road walking would do to my knees, feet, and joints. I cried a lot, fought with grant a bunch, drank a lot of beer, but in the end decided against the detour. We got a ride from a trail angel around the fire detour, therefore ending what I was calling my "thru-hike".  It was the first time we missed a section of trail, 27 miles, and was devastating, though not as devastating as the people, some very close, who were actually being effected by the fires, and the fire fighters who died in Washington fighting the fires.  We are just walking, after all, so what does it all mean anyways?

Half the trail up in Washington was also closed due to devastating wildfires, and that aided my resolve to skip that section, as the prospects of finishing the hike at all were pretty bleak.

Mt Thielson was a nice break from the monotony of the forest walking of Southern Oregon, then we hit Bend, spending three days with Grant's sister.  That flew by.  We walked around the Sisters, through gorgeous lava fields and obsidian flows.  Amazing. All this then turned to rain.  Great for the fires, but bad for us, because we had made it to the West side of the mountains, i.e. the rainy side of the mountains, and all the Pacific Northwest people know, it doesn't just rain, it rains, and rains, and rains, all day long, all night long, for days. Well...we don't have the gear for that.  One day we only hiked 8 miles, crossed an extremely dangerous stream, and had to quit hiking.  It was awful.  We put the tent up, shivering out of our wet clothing, and spent 6 hours trying to warm up.  Hot water bottles in the sleeping bag, hot meals, etc...By the time we ate dinner, we were warm, but it continued to rain, and it was too late to hike any more. Putting on wet clothing the next day was awful, but we bolstered by the fact that we were able to look up a forecast an know it would be sunny that day.

Now a full day behind meeting my mom and neighbor in Cascade Locks, my neighbor had to cancel coming down to Cascade Locks. However we were able to text her with some new gear requests, and she up and decided to meet us in Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood with all our new gear she bought us.  It was awesome!!! Pack covers, new rain jacket for Grant, RAIN PANTS!!!! GLOVES!!!!!  SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Good thing too, because the next day it rained on and off all day, but we were finally warm.  THANKS DIANA!!!!

So that brings us to Cascade Locks.  Mom made it, we are taking a zero against our neighbor's good advice :)  Several friends have abandoned their thru-hike attempt here, but we just ran in to some other friends continuing on, and gotten work of several others ahead, so we will continue.

I left my journal in Bend, so no daily stats.  We are hiking a shit-ton of miles every day though, except town days, and rain days.  Wish us continued luck.

pictures on instagram