What’s more beautiful?

The views or the people?

For me it has to be the people. The other hikers, trail angels, random cars that pull over to offer a ride, or the lady at the post office.

The last few weeks have been all over the place. I slowed down, then sped up. I zeroed often enjoying friends and strangers while eating many cheeseburgers. I drank a lot of wine and even more lattes. It’s been amazing since day one and I’m having mixed feelings about it ending soon.

Between southern Oregon and mid Washington I’ve stayed with strangers who picked me up on the side of the road, ganjapreneurs, slept in the back of a store, hitched a ride from a cop, and walked through the most beautiful landscape in my life.

It wasn’t all sunshine and happiness though. Mosquitoes of the north are the worst I’ve ever experienced. I’d rather be post holing all day long in snow over walking through these mosquito swarms.

In a weird way all the incredibly beautiful areas were almost mosquito free so I managed some great pictures and memories.

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Starting with Crater Lake where I departed from Tela and got back up to speed for a short while before the fires started to pop up in northern Oregon closing down much of the trail. At Elk Lake I got off trail to Bend to see and stay with a friend for a few days where I was introduced to her husband, a big time ganjapreneur for the medical industry. I got to see some of his lab areas where he isolates certain mutations and preferences in his “product”. It was incredibly interesting stuff to see and awesome to meet someone on the cutting edge of an industry about to explode.

While zeroing Tela caught up and needed help getting around fires so we met up and hitched together (scary to do as a lone girl) to Timberline lodge and continued on missing the Sisters & Jefferson wilderness in the process. Those are two wildernesses I’ll need to come back for because it’s said to be the most beautiful part of Oregon.

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Pictured above is the awesome guy who waved Tela and myself down to offer a ride! He was rad. He’s also a ganjapreneur! Apparently Oregon is full of them.

When we arrived at Timberline lodge it was raining. This was the final stretch for Tela and she wasn’t keen on doing it in the rain. I had walked through enough rain myself on this journey so when she wanted to get a hotel room it didn’t take much to get me onboard. Only half a day ahead was a river ford the halfmile maps said could be difficult (read dangerous). Crossing during rain would probably be a bad idea. We hitched to a town called Government Camp down the hill from Timberline Lodge and slept at the Best Western.

The town was an interesting one. Very small ski town but with a healthy young snowboarder community. It had a weird vibe, not exactly bad but something was just funky to me about the place. Tela who is from Boulder Colorado and has seen many of these types of places also thought the place was weird.

It took two days for the rain to clear. Forecast looked great for the next week and off we went. We leave Timberline Lodge and it looks like this (pictured below).

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Fortunately it didn’t really rain, just a very light sprinkle but that night the tents got drenched with condensation.

Now that we were safely across the river ford that ended up being incredibly easy Tela and I parted one last time in the morning with her journey ending in Cascade Locks the next town down the trail.

I finally got great views of Mt. Hood and ran into faces I hadn’t seen in a long time after leaving the lodge. It’s great seeing faces you know from months ago on the trail. They all have massive beards now, sometimes unrecognizable to me.

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Got to walk behind a waterfall and over a dozen others making my way to Cascade Locks where I had a huge surprise walking into a diner. No other than Burning Daylight who had just skipped a few sections to get around fires and I hadn’t seen since Lone Pine over a thousand miles ago. It was fun catching up and boy does that guy move. He’s a few days ahead of me as I type this.

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I left Cascade Locks crossing the river that makes the border into Washington (pictured above) on my way to Trout Lake through a mostly boring section. In Trout Lake I ran into Easy Strider, we chilled at the local watering hole and drank a few beers before I got a room in the back of the store in town. It was in a weird location but ultimately a nice room and had a great price tag of $20. You enter it by walking through the storage area in the back of the store. After leaving Trout Lake things got very beautiful.

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Flowers were everywhere as we worked our way up to Goat Rocks.

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As you can see… Goat Rocks area is beautiful. What wasn’t beautiful, my feet. Not sure what happened but my Brooks Cascadia 8s gave me the worst blisters I’ve had on the trail. The following day I was in a lot of pain with nothing but duct tape to mend wounds.

I made it to White Pass and ordered new shoes that would arrive in Snoqualmie Pass in 4 days. It was 99 miles away. By the 2nd day out of white pass (40 miles in) I was fed up. New blisters forming every day and I didn’t want to spend my last few weeks walking in pain. When I got to Chinook Pass I hitched to Enumclaw to take time off trail where I found every hotel booked up. I tried to hitch north to North Bend but was not having any luck from the folks of Enumclaw with rides. Fortunately they have awesome police who I waved down and got a lift to the edge of town.

As I sat at the on ramp to highway 18 with my thumb out a young guy pulls over clearing his passenger seat. His name is Ryan and he’s on his way home to North Bend from work. He looks young, active, and had a good smile. We make small talk and he invites me over to dinner, his wife made quiche. I take the offer and his wife Angie greets me with a hug. Before we even eat they offered me a place to sleep, a shower, and laundry.

Here I am, a hitch hiker the husband just brought home.

They were awesome. Hikers, travelers, and climbers moved to North Bend to be next to mount Si for climbing. I needed to kill 3 days and they accommodated me for all 3 even though they had plans/work and would not be home the entire time. They bought me dinner, offered to drive me out to REI in a neighboring town, and fed me lots of wine.

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They had a beautiful home and the guest room had a comfy bed with a view of mount Si. It’s incredible, I don’t want to leave.

So here I am. I’ll get my shoes tomorrow and be on my way. Only about 300 miles to go!

This adventure has been more amazing than I expected it to be in ways i didn’t imagine. It’s changed how I view the west coast and it’s people and I’m forever a different person because of this. I’ve seen a side of humanity I didn’t know existed.

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North Bend

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