PCT 2017 DAY 0: ASHLAND
JUNE 24-25, 2017
These past few weeks we have been concered about the amount of snow that is covering sections of the trail. So we were a bit surprised to be heading north from San Francisco, along Interstate-5, to find temperatures nudging 115 F (46°C). Maybe it’s heat we should be worrying about.
Hammer arrived at San Francisco airport on Saturday morning. His flight was half an hour early which gave him time to take a break at the hotel before we started the 350 mile (570km) drive north to Ashland.
As soon as we left the cooling breezes of the bay, the temperature started to rise. The landscape was very familiar – yellowing grasses covering exposed fields and a blazingly clear blue sky.
A few hours into the trip, we pulled over in one of these fields for Hammer to have a sleep. It was very surreal – almost like an outback scene from Australia, including the gum trees and the flies. And it was hot, I was glad we were in a car and not hiking.
As we headed north, the yellow grasses gave way to green forests. But the heat did not let up. I was getting a bit giddy with excitment when I first saw Mt Lassen in the distant haze to our right and then the majestic peak of Mt Shasta in front of us. PCT hike 2017 was getting to feel real.
We reached Ashland at 7.30pm with temperature at 103 F (39°C). Crazy weather, it feels very tropical with high humidity.
After 11 months we are back to where we parted last year. The pain is almost forgotten, I am back physically stronger than last year and mentally tougher knowing that when things go wrong there is a supportive and caring community offering a helping hand. And that is all I need to set forth with confidence.
To enable me to carry all I need when Hammer gets off the trail I’ve changed only a few items of gear from last year. I have a lighter pack, cooking gear and water treatment. All up my base weight without food and water is 7.3kg (abt 16 lbs). The clothing warn is essentially the same as last year. I particularly love the Marmot Lobo pants. Low cut and comfortable with a leg pocket perfect for my phone.
On Sunday we returned the rental car to Medford Airport. And after a few last minute hiking chores we went to the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of Julius Caesar. Powerful production so relevant to the current times. We are so happy to finally see a Shakespearean play in Ashland. Tomorrow, we hike.