August 5, 2015
Bear Dog Spring (1682.8) to Tentsite after Wrangle Gap (1707.8)
25.0 PCT miles today
1748.1 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 4,513 ft, – 4,050 ft
Last night, when I said that crossing the border into Oregon would be bittersweet, I was wrong. It was nothing but exciting and satisfying. California remained steep and challenging up to the very last mile, and we were thrilled when we finally saw the register and sign that meant we were moving on to a gentler, easier state. Our time in California was beautiful and magical, but it was also exhausting and hard, and after 1,700 miles of it, we were feeling quite ready to move on.
Our hike through California was almost constantly a physical and mental challenge. The climbs were steep, the trail was often loose and rocky, and the weather ranged from freezing cold hail storms to blistering hot heat waves. But as is so often the case, with much suffering and struggle comes much reward. California left us speechless on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. The wildness of the trail, the grandiosity of the views, and the sheer diversity that could be found within a single 20 mile stretch made every ache and pain completely worth it. In leaving California today, we felt like we were leaving a dear friend whom we had been to hell and back with, and loved all the more for it.
We only hiked 9 miles into Oregon this afternoon, but it already feels different. It is hard to explain what has changed, after all, it’s not like nature knows about state borders, but we definitely feel somewhere new. Perhaps it’s the new species of tall, stick-like plants that have popped up everywhere, or the rolling green hills, or the flat “tunnel” trail through thick, healthy trees, but whatever it is, we’re already getting pumped up about the change. We feel so much more confident and at home on the trail entering this state than we did starting out in California, and with most of our injuries and problems on the mend, we feel like we can really appreciate all that Oregon has to offer. It also feels good to be in this state because Pickles and I lived in Portland for quite a while and will get to visit friends and family in both Bend and Portland. We feel like we already know Oregon quite well, so this is more of a visit than an introduction.
Tomorrow we actually get to go into Ashland for a full zero, so we’re already flying through the miles. We should be in by lunch, and we can’t wait to visit a town that we both love and get a little off-trail rest before starting in on this next phase of the adventure. Right now we are spending most of our energy looking ahead at the days and weeks to come, but I’m sure that the further we get from California, the more time we will have for reflection, and the more we’ll grow to appreciate and respect all that that state had to offer.