Hours on Trail: 9.5
Miler Marker: 1,712
I didn’t sit up until 20 minutes after our alarm went off. I was sleepy and cozy, with this being a slightly cooler morning than I had expected. Remembering we had made it to Oregon, I smiled as Keith asked if I was ready for breakfast. Sitting up, I took the granola, peanut butter tortilla from him and ate. We swapped stories of our weird dreams as we packed up, ready to hit the trail. By now our days have become routine, but in a very nice way. The kind of way that you enjoy your normal life, with just enough change to make it interesting. By 6:30am we were hiking down the trail, through the tall, mossy pines. We passed a few people in the morning, clearly out for the weekend. Breaking out of the trees, we hiked up to the tops of a few ridges before cresting over them. Clouds formed above us and darker thunderheads formed south of us. We knew the potential for scattered thunderstorms throughout the day, and kept our eye on the north moving blobs. Distant booms had us looking around often, counting the seconds and miles between us and the storms.
Around 9am I spotted a nice flat rock downhill from the trail. I asked Keith if he’d be ok with resting in the sun, and we agreed it would be a good idea. So we set down on the rock and Keith checked the radar for the area. I watched as a large dark cloud moved our way. Fingers of lightening streaked across the sky, followed by thunderclaps. I estimated it was about 10 miles away as I ate my Oreos for the morning. By the time we were done eating it began to drizzle. So we threw our rain covers on our packs and moved to the cover of the trees. We drank our coffee as we watched the rain fall, staying dry thanks to the pines. The little blob just hit us with rain as the main portion of the downpour and lightning traveled to our east. When the rain let up a bit we hiked out of the trees, watching the rain shaft move north from us. Lightening shot from the cloud into the valley and ridges below, giving us quite the show from a few miles away. The sun came out again and we realized this may very well be the pattern of our day. See the rain, hide in the trees, hike in the drizzle until the sun returns.
We hugged the side of more ridges, occasionally walking atop them before dipping down the other side. The trail parallels a dirt road, which eventually becomes paved before dumping out at i5. We went back and forth between dense woods and open fields of flowers and bushes. With the sky so dark for most of the day, the bright green meadows contrasted with it’s black background, creating wonderful views. I couldn’t have thought of a more fitting first full day in Oregon. Keith and I talked and laughed the morning away, watching the sky and listening to the thunder. At one point we stopped for a few minutes under a tree as a downpour passed over, giving us a little bit of hail along the way.
Nearing lunch time we stopped along a ridge, sitting on a downed tree. After we sat our packs down a hiker walked by, letting us know a few trees were on fire below us. One of the trees had been struck by lightening, causing a small fire. There was a small team of fire fighters already on the ground, with an engine parked on the dirt road ahead. We decided it was best to move on, so we threw our packs back on before hiking through the large exposed section of ridge. Back in the trees, we stopped for lunch with a nice view of Mt. Ashland. We ate while Keith looked at the radar again. Soon it began to drizzle, so we moved a bit further into the trees and let the shower pass while we ate. By now it neared 1pm and I was sleepy and not feeling so great. But I followed Keith down the trail as we hiked closer to Mt. Ashland. After stopping for water, I asked to stop for a bit again. We were only 3 miles from camp, but I was bloated and felt gross and it was only 2pm. So we stopped for a bit in the trees and I sat down in the shade.
After our little break we continued on, crossing Mt. Ashland road and joining a cross country skiing route. Before too long we arrived at camp. We dropped our packs and walked around, trying to find a nice hidden spot far off trail. Keith was the successful one and we hopped over a few rocks, arriving at a perfect little flat spot. We set up the tent amongst the trees and I climbed a rock to call my Dad. We ended up talking for quite a while and by the time I returned to camp Keith was just waking up from a nap. With the threat of showers gone with the clouds, we enjoyed a quite evening with some classic cousin shenanigans. We ate our rice and had enough fuel left for some Sleepy Time tea before bed. We crawled into the sleeping bag, excited about going to the coast tomorrow. In the morning we plan to hike to Callahan’s along i5 and wait for Jacob to come down and pick us up. Then it’s 2 days of rest and beach life for us before returning back to the trail. It’ll be a good time to reset everything, fix up some gear, and force ourselves to not hike for a day. I’m excited and it should be a lot of fun.