Foot-Murder on the Oregon-Express pt 1
I’m back! I did not forget you, I was just incredibly busy finishing the state of Oregon! Sixteen long 27-mile days of hiking lay behind us now, and in our opinion, there is no difference to the other sections. It is not flat, it is not easy to hike long and far, and it is absolutely beautiful.
But let’s go back to Ashland, where we prepared all our resupply for Oregon and Washington. All in all, we sent away seven packages of food. There was a lot of counting and repacking involved and it took us two days to buy, pack, and ship everything. We planned to make it to PCT Days right on time, so we had to make an average mileage of 27 every day without a zero. Tough plan that worked out in the end.
The resupply options are not so good if you don’t go to Bend in between. Some resorts were also pretty sold out because we hit the Sobo-Bubble of the ones who flipped up to the Canadian Border.Follow our journey on Instagram!
Even though Oregon is supposed to be more “flat”, it was not easier to hike. While walking out of Ashland, we walked around many old volcanoes that you could not even see because they were so big and hid their peaks behind trees. But the map made it clear what we were walking around. Also, the ground was covered in volcanic rocks. A nearby fire smoked us a bit, which made the whole volcanic setup very scenic.
Surprised by a thunderstorm
The fire probably started because of a thunderstorm. After two months, we finally experienced some rain from a thunderstorm. This storm caught us at the most uncomfortable place where no one wants to be at the same time as a thunderstorm. This place was what felt like Oregon’s one and only ridgeline with almost no trees and no protection around us. So we had to run from protection to protection, knowing that a tree was also no good place to stay, but at least they were higher than us. Somehow, I always knew that we would end up at least once in a storm on an unprotected mountain.
To make it clear, that we are no complete idiots: We had a break on a western-faced cliff that was covered in bright sunlight. After that, we kept on hiking around the corner, crossed a ridgeline, and turned left. As we turned left, we saw what lay ahead of us: another ridgeline with a storm system behind it. We could’ve turned around, but also saw that the storm was moving across the mountain, so we continued towards it. Not the smartest idea at first sight, but later we saw that the storm also covered the trail behind us. So there was no “good” decision to be made.
The best would’ve probably been to wait the storm out in the tent.
Hiking the green tunnel
Other than that, the first 100 miles from Ashland were mostly walking through forests and no big views or anything. For us, it was alright because you get used to having awesome views every day and we started to not appreciate them as much as we should do. So it was nice to have something different. The forest also cooled us down and gave us a lot of shade. But it also made us fight more mosquitos. Because it was already August, they were not as bad as they probably were in June. So again, luck was on our side!
Our resupply plan made us walk from Resort to Resort. The first we hit was Mazama Village and it was crazy how many people were there. Finally, we could see some Americans on campgrounds and see how they spent their summertime. We just collected our food there and hiked out again because our schedule was tight.
What nobody seemed to talk about before is that southern Oregon is really, really dry. Long water carries had to be done. The longest since the desert. Thanks to kind angels, there were some caches that helped us have easier days.
We always started early in the morning during the first half of Oregon so we could see the sunrises that became more and more beautiful. So was the one when we hit Crater Lake. What a beautiful lake! I let pictures tell since I cannot find the right words for nature’s beauty.
That day we also hiked towards Mt. Thielsen, another impressive mountain with a glacier that provided our late camp with tasty, cool water. After Ashland, we departed from Lookout, which is way faster than us and could easily do 40 miles per day. But Chainsaw from Slovenia has been hiking with us since Etna.
So the three of us always hiked out a little bit too late and always ended up hiking about an hour in the dark, because after Crater Lake, Oregon finally offered us what we came for: lakes! We swam probably in about 15-20 lakes during our Express hike and that takes time. Time well spent, when you have nothing else to do than following a path through a forest.
The second resort we resupplied at was Shelter Cove Resort, and we spontaneously decided to stay there for the night, because lake dips make you thirsty for beer. We also met Kim, aka Sunrise, who is SOBO on her hike towards Norcal, and also many other fellow Noboers.
By the way: We were lucky to have bought a gas can in Mazama Village, as we could not get our hands on any more gas on our way to Cascade Locks! So if you are reading this for your future plan to hike the PCT, keep in mind that gas canisters might be hard to get your hands on.
This might also be because our bubble of Sierra NOBOs hit the bubble of Flip-flopers, who were now part-time SOBO. Every morning we would see five to ten hikers, and every now and then we would run in a familiar hiker from four or five months ago and we had a beautiful talk and something to laugh about.
Around Shelter Cove, the part of Oregon we were most excited about started: Lakes and more lakes to skinny dip in. Even though we were on a tight schedule, we still took our time to relax and cool down. The temperatures were still going high.
But also another area started, that Oregon is sadly famous for:
One day hike out of Shelter Cove is probably the most terrifying burn zone to be seen. A burn zone that much destroyed, that there is just ash, dust, and a few black stumps left. A burn zone that is so depressing, that it almost looks beautiful again, like being on a moon far away from earth. We hiked here during the sunset with a whole variety of red tones, while smoke was coming up from the north, smoke that should follow us for the upcoming days and I will write about it in the second part of our Oregon Trip.
Again, sorry for making you guys wait so long. I hope to have enough service to upload my second part next week!
And a big thanks to all of you guys for commenting and sending messages, you are all adding a big part of motivation to our hike!
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