OPENING THE OREGON GIFT – WE’RE OFF FOR PCT V.2
PCT Day 1: Mile 1715.2– Mile 1729.9
Monday June 26, 2017: 14.7 miles (23.8km)
I love, love this trail. There is something magic around every corner. We left our motel this morning and started walking towards the outskirts of town to hitch a ride back to Callahans. Within minutes we were stopped by a couple out walking their dog, it was Don and his wife Jan. While talking to them a van pulled up and the driver asked if we were PCT hikers – and then he offered us a ride. Don and Jan continued their walk and we said our goodbyes. It turned out Alex, driving the van, could give us a ride straight away but in a couple of hours, as he had a court appearance first. He gave us his number to call if we still needed a ride in a couple of hours.
So with our conversation with Don and Jan cut short we continued to walk about a mile to the freeway on-ramp. It was a pleasant morning. Just as we were approaching the interstate, a car horn tooted behind us – it was Don. He’d gone home and got his car and drove out to give us a ride for the 15 miles from Ashland to Callahans. Magic right….
Don reminded me a little bit of my late father-in-law: a happy man always ready for a chat and willing to share his happiness with others. And Don had such an interesting life. He and Jan met while performing on Broadway in New York. In those days the theatres in New York didn’t have air- conditioning so in summer the whole company would pack up and take their plays to Long Island. Don proposed to Jan after the closing scenes in their first summer season – she thought the proposal was corny, but said yes. They eventually moved to California because they were doing more movie work. And later they moved to Oregon. Interestingly Jan didn’t much like this years OSF production of Julius Caesar.
I had a couple of pictures of Don that I took this morning, but managed to lose all the morning pictures in the transfer from the camera. I’m so upset about this. He was such a nice man. We could have easily spent a couple of hours with Don listening to his stories.
We were dropped right by where I finished last year and were on our way by 8.30am. The trail went straight up, it was warm and I found it quite hard. We were on a side trail which comes off the PCT to Callahans- it is a bit of a goat track and we lost the trail fairly quickly. We ended up rejoining the PCT a bit further south then necessary.
It was good to be back. We could hear birds singing, flies buzzing and a continual hum of traffic off the I-5. It was warm, we were sweating but there was a lovely cool breeze. A few hours of climbing through pine forest, interspersed with flower covered meadows and we were near Pilot Rock. Majestic views of Mt Shasta in the distance took my breath away. It feels so familiar – can it really be 11 months ago that I left the trail?
It felt quite surreal, as if we really just took a short break and were back. I was like an excited puppy let off the leash, constantly stopping (to take pictures), smelling the warm berry smell of the pine forest, listening to the sound of birds and bees. It was sensory overload.
Two southbound hikers passed us, Wild Horse and his friend Allepo. They left Bend 10 days ago and were trailblazing through snow for quite some time.
We stopped for lunch earlier then planned just because we passed a nice spot. From then on hiking just felt hard, it was hot, we were sweating and my feet were feeling quite painful, almost bruised especially the heels. By 4.30 the clouds were coming in and rolling thunder could be heard in the distance. We decided to stop for the day at the next suitable spot. We climbed Hobart Bluff about half a mile off the trail and found a spot. So happy to stop, feeling exhausted. The views from the Bluff were extraordinary. It brought me to tears.