Day 111 Ashland, OR Mile 1727
Something is different. Maybe it’s the air, or the changing mountains, or the new licence plates. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally crossed the border to break new ground: Oregon. It’s been on everyone’s lips for weeks now, and I’m finally tasting it: from the soda cache in the first few miles to the microbrew, burgers, pizza, and Indian food of Ashland. Look at a map and you can tell California is pretty big. Walk 1700 miles bottom to top and you know it is. As a fellow hiker quoted in the register book at the border, “Oh California, 3 months and 3 weeks, you and I go back longer than many of my relationships.” At times it was a love-hate affair, but as the Golden State fades into memory, I’m sure all the rough patches will be glossed over and turned into tales of epic proportions.
Entering the Beaver State, the trail straightens out to follow the crest of the Cascades, new mountains for us on the PCT. Mt Lassen and Mt Shasta gave us a taste of the volcanoes to come, and if their dominating presence is any indicator, the peaks from here into Washington will be legendary. I will be attempting the “Oregon Challenge” along with many other hikers on a schedule: Ashland to the Columbia River in 14 days. It will be a race across the roof of the Cascades-hopefully the escalators and conveyors belts I’ve heard of will turn out to be real instead of rumor.
Here are a few photos from Northern Cal. Good times with good people.