Well I guess you could say the hike is getting pretty serious now. Not really it’s mostly just fun. I have however been paying a little more attention to logistics lately. For the bulk of the hike I had only been focusing on where the next water was, where I might camp that night, and how far until my next resupply. Since I’m getting off trail for a few days in early August I needed to start thinking a little more long range. I have to be in Portland, OR by the evening of August 4th for a top secret mission so my plan is to hike to Cascade Locks by that morning and hitch to Portland. In order to execute this plan I’ll have to crush some serious miles.
The last couple hundred miles of NorCal were some of the most impressive that section had to offer. We blasted through Castle Crags state park, and the Russian and Marble Wilderness areas. The trail travelled through some sweet mountains and I swam in some beautiful mountain lakes. After a nice long 38 mile day Schemes and I were camped up on a saddle between a couple peaks when we realized we had just a shade over 50 miles until Etna, our next town stop. We had previously talked about doing a 50 or more and figured we would wait until Oregon but the time was now and we decided to get it done the following day. I don’t choose these things, they choose me. I got up early, like I do everyday, and proceeded to click off miles. About an hour or two into my day I ran into this guy jumping up and down on the trail all red faced and excited like. “Whoa there Kemosabi!! Whoa there!!” he yelled. I didn’t know who he was talking to so I just kept walking. When he repeated himself I figured that I must be ‘Kemosabi’ so I stopped. “I JUST SAW THE BIGGEST RATTLER OF MY LIFE” he yelled a couple of times, and yeah he was talking in all caps. I wasn’t in the mood for snakes, because I’m never in the mood for snakes, so after I let him tell me about this thing for a few minutes I looked around to make sure the coast was clear and bolted down the trail. I pretty much just cruised the rest of the day. I took a short break for lunch, another one for supper and was rewarded with an incredible sunset. Just after midnight we got to the trailhead parking lot, laid out our sleeping bags and crashed out for a little bit. In the morning we hitched into Etna and made a beeline for the breakfast joint. Schemes didn’t waste any of the waitress’s time and ordered two huge breakfasts right away. I decided to dine in a more civilized manner and ordered my breakfasts back to back. After breakfast we went to the bakery for donuts and then ran errands and relaxed until we got back on trail that afternoon. We’ve pretty much just been killing it since then. I crossed into Oregon on Monday evening the 20th and so far it’s been just delightful. I’m at Mazama Village tonight and about to check out Crater Lake tomorrow. Parents of one of the hikers ‘Rattles’ brought their RV to a site here and put on a big meal for all the hikers passing through, it was really cool and the food was so good.
Oh yeah, Oregon has a couple of challenges for the hikers. One thing some people try to do is hike through the state without showering. I already failed that one but I did put on dirty clothes after my shower so maybe I’ll get an honorable mention. The real Oregon Challenge is to hike all 450 some odd miles of trail through the whole state in two weeks or less. I’m going for this one, and unless I get dysentery or all my oxen die I should do it.