Flipping to Mazama, WA
Trying to logistic out the details for how to flip from Ashland, OR to Mazama WA without the assistance of any official trail angels is about as complicated a task as we have ever taken on. Planning requires about a dozen steps that must be reserved in sequence. Reserving a shuttle to Harts Pass doesn’t do a lick of good if you do not have a reliable method to Mazama, Winthrop, Twisp, or another near enough location.
Why no official trail angels?
We reached out through the normal Facebook channels to the known trail angels and weren’t very successful. One trail angel told us the ride season was over, which seems crazy, but I’m sure her response was related to the large number of wildfire-displaced hikers. It would have been possible to try harder for trail angel help, but sometimes you just have to get it done on your own (with a lot of help from your friends). It might be that taking the road less traveled will help other people be more successful through the standard routes. One could say we are taking an alternate…
The first step in getting from the Callahan Lodge in Ashland to Harts Pass in northern Washington is figuring out how to get out of Callahan Lodge. Our original plan included reserving a rental car to be picked up from the airport in Medford, a serendipitous reservation we made well in advance of the time when hundreds of hikers were trying to do the very same thing in a small window of time. There is an airport shuttle we can schedule to pick up the rental car, but they aren’t picking up the phone or returning our calls. Uber may be the only reliable option, but you never know what drivers are available in what areas at what times and the Callahan Lodge isn’t in a well-populated area. Hopefully, this works out.
If we can get to Medford and pick up the car rental, we simply need to make our way to the middle of nowhere in northern Washington. Our original plan was to return the rental car to Seattle and take public transportation to Mazama or Winthrop. Taking a bus is not ideal because of Brianna’s motion sickness and a few other reasons, so I put out a call for help from family.
What do you do when no other options exist? Reach out to a cousin that you just met again for the first time in over 3 decades. My cousin, Jeremy, has no reason to want to help us, nothing to gain, and yet he is. At the drop of a hat, Jeremy has moved his work schedule around and will be driving us the 4 hours from Richland, WA to Mazama, WA. He is not an official trail angel, but he certainly is a trail angel of magnificent proportions for us this week.
To accommodate this latest trail magical assistance from my cousin, the drop-off location for the car rental needs to be changed from Seattle to Richland. The car rental company says it can only be changed AFTER the vehicle has been picked up? Hopefully, this works out.
If we can make it to Medford to pick up the vehicle and change the destination city so that my cousin Jeremy can drive us to Mazama, we are working to schedule the Methow Motion Shuttle up to Harts Pass. The Methow Motion people have been very responsive and I am encouraged into believing they will pick us up as expected. The only thing left to do is secure a place to stay in the Mazama area.
Fortunately, we shipped our Harts Pass resupply box to Callahan Lodge and do not need to go food shopping as a step in this list of to-dos. We will, however, need to make a stop at the REI in Medford for new hiking shoes, fuel canisters, and an assortment of other hiking necessities. If we pick up the rental car at noon and can get our shopping done in an hour, an 8-hour drive should put us into Richland between 9-10pm. Jeremy was kind enough to offer us a bed to sleep in for the night so we can hit the road to Mazama by around 9:30am.
This plan is a house of cards. Remove any one of the cards at the base and the entire house comes down. Hopefully, this works out.
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