August 6, 2015 (19th Re-Ration – Ashland)
Tentsite after Wrangle Gap (1707.8) to Callahan’s Resort – Ashland (1726.5)
18.7 PCT miles today
1766.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,322 ft, – 4,809 ft
This is the stuff backpackers’ dreams are made of. The trail in Oregon has already started living up to its reputation of being smooth and fast. We don’t understand how, but the state border between California and Oregon is more than just a man-made invisible line. We are suddenly surrounded by mushrooms, dense dark-green trees, and logging roads everywhere we turn. The trail is almost completely cleared of roots and rocks and the grade of the trail is so gentle that we don’t even notice ascents or descents until they’re over. We’ve started talking about “California climbs” of the past and “Oregon uphills” that lie ahead. “Climb” just seems too harsh a word for anything that Oregon has to offer.
Today’s hike was pleasant and fast, and brought us into the Ashland area by 1pm, making for a somewhat unexpected nero before our scheduled zero. This is the ideal situation since it means we can use our nero to get a bunch of stuff done and then actually rest on our zero. We spent quite a while deliberating on the trail about what we wanted to do for tonight, go into town and stay in a hotel or pay for the “hiker package” and camp at Callahan’s Resort right on trail and go in tomorrow. We eventually decided to pay $60 each to camp on grass, take showers (with the use of robes, shampoo, conditioner, and soap), do laundry (with detergent), use a loaner laptop (and have access to wifi all evening), get a free pint of draft beer each, and enjoy all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner and pancake breakfast. We figured that by staying at Callahan’s tonight, we will be ready to head into Ashland tomorrow clean, laundered, well-fed, and with many chores done so that tomorrow can truly be about rest. In the end, it was all about convenience.
Callahan’s has turned out to be a real treat. We have been very productive all afternoon, enjoyed a delicious dinner of salad, bread, and spaghetti with meat sauce (which Pickles ate too much of and is currently regretting), and got to socialize just a bit with a few other hikers who are also staying here this evening. Tomorrow we plan to head downtown for a bit in the early afternoon, but then the rest of the day will hopefully be spent resting, off our feet, in a hotel room bed. The trail is seeming less daunting than ever at this point and we feel confident that after some good quality rest we’ll be ready to face some long days with enthusiasm and work our way toward the final stretch.