a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 1712.5 to 1717.7. Forest camp to Ashland.
Ashland today! We rise early and wake up Sababa in the process who doesn‘t seem to be in the same hurry/antipication to get to town. We quickly hike the 5 miles which are mostly downhill, see some earlybird deers grazing on some fields we pass, and reach the highway by about 8am. We know that there is a lodge called Callahan‘s Lodge by the highway from where it‘s supposedly easy to get a hitch to Ashland. The roads leading to the highway don‘t seem well travelled yet at this time of day and we don‘t see a lot of cars at the lodge either. So we decide to have breakfast at Callahan‘s which is a beautiful lodge and looks very well managed. The breakfast is delicious, we charge our phones while eating and then ask around for a ride. We are told to best stand near the entry to the highway. We walk back there and find two other hikers we‘ve met before already trying to get a ride. They have already been waiting for 30 minutes, but no luck. It usually works better with a girl, so I put my thumb out and hope for the best. Soon enough a truck pulls up, offers us a ride into Ashland, and we happily throw our packs in the back and hop in. The really nice guy takes us directly to our hotel and then keeps driving the other two hikers to the hostel where they will be staying.
Our hotel is a classic American motel, not too fancy but cozy enough. As usual we don‘t really get a lot of time to relax - we first take a long hot shower and then get rid of trash, pile all our laundry up in one part of the room, air our sleeping bags and backpacks and so on. We then leave the hotel to do some shopping - we both need new shoes and I need new socks while Dario needs new shorts. We first go by the Post Office to get some boxes as we will have to ship some boxes up ahead on the trail.
The first outfitter we hit up in downtown Ashland is Mountain Provisions who are known to be very hiker friendly and giving us discounts. I am looking to buy the same pair of Altras again, the Altra Superior, which have lasted me since Hiker Heaven back at mile 454, but unfortunately they don‘t have them. I go for the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 instead, the newer model of the first ones I had. I am then told that they don‘t have my shoe size but after a while the guy working there seems to have an idea and runs off to the back. Sure enough, he comes back with a pair in the right size, but says that there had been a material defect in these and they would be half price! I check out the defect (extra cushioning in the back) and decide it should be fine. 60$ - 10% instead of 120$, not bad!
Next we get Dario‘s Hoka shoes in a different store and then spend a lot of time looking for some new running shorts for him. We find a pair in a secondhand shop for 9$. They fit perfectly as he‘s lost a lot of weight. By now we are really hungry and look for the closest restaurant. Thai food it is! We take it in the bus back to the hotel and eat it quickly in our room. Both the pineapple fried rice and the Pad Se Iew are delicious!
Then it‘s time to get our resupply. We take another bus to the supermarket „Shop ‚n‘ Kart“. It‘s huge! And very different from all the ones we‘ve been to in California! The isles are stocked with incredible amounts of everything. It reminds me more of the ground floor in our IKEA where you pick up your furniture than an actual supermarket. And we shop a lot because the trail in Oregon doesn‘t come by many towns and the small resorts on the way sell their products way more expensive. So we buy 10 days worth of food, which should get us to the next town called Bend. No need to mention that we spend around 2 hours in that store. And there is no way we can carry all these handleless paperbags by ourselves. We need an Uber.
While we wait Flamin‘ Hot suddenly shows up out of the blue! We knew he was in Ashland after the Trail Days in Northern Oregon but we are still surprised and very stoked to see him right here! We convince him to come back to the hotel with us (he was gonna hit the trail tonight) and have some drinks together, and a dip in the hotel pool. But first we start organizing our resupply. We need to divide between 3 boxes to ship ahead and the food for the first stretch which we will be carrying. It‘s a huge task and it overwhelms me. I feel like we haven‘t had a single minute just to ourselves, to relax. Which we actually really haven‘t had!
When we finally feel like we‘ve organized most of our food we go for a swim in the motel pool. The water is not warm enough, we soon leave it again for a hot shower in the room. And then BigBro shows up! We have been talking to him the last couple days as he was always a couple of miles behind us and now finally caught up! It‘s so good to see him again after all this time! He‘s so skinny now and his beard has grown lots! He also brings Judith with him, a lovely German hiker, and the five of us sit in our hotel room, drinking wine and beers and eating pizza. Catching up. Loving it! But we are also all really tired and soon everyone retires back to their hotels and trail angel‘s places for the night. We clean up a little and then finally jump into bed. The plan is to leave Ashland in the morning and get back on trail. But we don‘t feel well rested at all and might need another zero. So we‘ll see.