July 22-Aug 5
Just before crossing the Oregon border, there were signs about a race on Saturday, the Siskiyou Outback. There were many trail runners participating in the 15k, 50k and 50 miles runs.
I started my day early, as Rafael was driving down to Ashland to meet me and I had 25 miles to cover. When I stopped for second breakfast at 8, I found my first wave of runners. Luckily they started people in small groups, so I would let them pass and get a little walking in before the next wave.
Everyone was super nice and we cheered each other on all day. All the food and water stations stopped hikers and fed us snacks, sodas and beers. When I left one, I got a half mile away and a guy parked on the dirt road above me, ran down the hill and handed me a Hansens soda. I was so full, but couldn’t refuse. A mile later, I found Megaphone and another hiker at some coolers with more soda and snacks. We are never going to get to Ashland.
After all of the sugar, my stomach started acting up again. I had still been nauseous and felt off at the beginning of the day, adding all the junk food, beers and soda didn’t help. The last 15 miles of my day was spent telling myself to ignore the stomach cramps, pretend they’re just side stitches, and then running into the trees. I finally got to Ashland and met Rafael. Though excited, I was exhausted and ready to sleep off this stomach bug.
Ashland to Crater Lake
We spent a few days in Ashland, relaxing, eating a ton of food and preparing for the first half of my Oregon journey. After a few months on trail, I had lost about 15 pounds. My shorts were only held up with my pack hipbelt and I bought a skort while in Ashland to replace this. Another piece of gear I decided to replace was my Sawyer Squeeze Pouch for my water filter. Usually, this is no big deal. Most of the time, these bags burst, and become unusable after a few weeks. This bag has lasted through ALL OF CALIFORNIA! There was the beginnings of a hole (see picture below), but it had not broke at this point. I just figured it was coming to an end soon.
During our stay, I reconnected with Sonya and met Curry and Stacks, two other ladies that she was hiking with. The four of us resumed the trail together.
It was great hiking with them for a couple days. I felt like I didn’t see other ladies while hiking through Northern California. They decided to stop at a lake and get lunch at the resort, while I decided to hike on. I met up with Straws and Piñata, a couple that had also hiked the AT together. I hiked with them almost all of Oregon!
This stretch was covered with downed trees. We climbed over, under and around too many to count. Lifting my legs over these trees or lifting myself over them was a shock to my muscles. California, I just walked through. Using my legs to propel myself over trees, was something they just happened to forget how to do. It’s amazing what muscles can and cannot do after a few months.
The afternoon became smokey the day before getting to Crater Lake. It was fine all day, just suddenly we could smell a fire. As we got to a ridge, we could see the fire across the way. Once we got to Mazama Village at Crater Lake, we learned that it had just started. A week or so later, it would close this section of the PCT.
At Crater Lake, my parents came down to visit. They brought a ton of food and drink to share with me and other hikers. My stomach was still a mess and I felt bad that I couldn’t eat more. I was so hungry, but everything made me nauseous.
Crater Lake to Shelter Cove
There were so many lakes through this section! It was a blessing and a curse. The first few days out of Crater Lake were a nightmare! Mosquitos were so thick, that you were in a constant black bubble, no matter how fast you walked or ran. At this point, I had not had any issues with mosquitos and had only carried citronella oil to keep them away. This worked for about 5 minutes.
After Crater Lake, I caught up to Jupiter again. BangBang, Lucky Charms and Spatula were also hiking with him and I tagged along. It was one of these mosquito days that we all decided to camp together and planned our spot. As I was hiking the mosquitos were just too much for me, I was covered in so many bites that I looked like I had chicken pox or some terrifying skin disease. The biting, scratching, buzzing just got to be too much. I threw down my pack, quickly grabbed my rain gear (hoping it would stop the biting), drenched myself and my pack in the citronella oil, and finally, took off running towards our campsite. I probably ran a mile and as the mosquitos still attacked me, I almost burst into tears as I screamed and cursed them (good bye again yogi strength, I’ve lost my shit).
This was one of the worst days on trail. All of us felt the mental break down due to the unrelenting, tiny vampires. We hid in our tents, watching the mosquitos cover the netting. They continued to buzz all night and were still there first thing in the morning.
When we all got to Shelter Cove, I bought two things of Deet and smothered myself in it.
Shelter Cove to Bend
Walking through the Sisters Wilderness was beautiful! So many flowers and streams. There were also a ton of people day hiking and weekend backpacking. This was great for me, as I had miscalculated my food box for Shelter Cove and I was running low quickly. I finally felt well enough to eat and was going through my food bag.
I was talking with Straws and Piñata about this and about how hungry I had been. Some guys that were backpacking for a few days overheard and gifted me and the rest of the group tons of snacks! It was enough to get me through the next day to Bend. Once Straws, Piñata, BangBang and Lucky Charms left, I made some coffee. One of the guys came back over to me and handed me a smashed, two-day old strawberry danish. He had packed out a few and couldn’t eat any more. I almost cried in happiness from how good it was. I thanked them over and over!
The section from Shelter Cove to Bend was one of my favorites in Oregon. Many people disliked walking across the lava fields, but I skated across them. In Ashland, I had ordered a new pair of shoes, with a rock plate, saving my feet on the uneven lava.
When I reached the highway, Rafael picked me, Jupiter, Little One and Yotes up. Little One and Yotes I had just met the day before. We dropped them off in Sisters and then made our way into Bend. Jupiter went on his own, finding a hotel room for a few days. Rafael and I stayed with our friends, Andy and Erica, for two nights. It was great catching up with them and exploring more of Bend!