In case anybody was wondering, I demolished Oregon, absolutely demolished it. I put ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on repeat, walked all day everyday and finished the state in two weeks. It was exciting, grueling, overwhelmingly beautiful, and very rewarding.
In Mazama Village I ran into my friend Tami who I hadn’t seen since the Sierras. I spent a day hiking with Tami and also Nesquick and 5 Star who I had only met briefly about 1500 miles before. Crater Lake is quite the spectacle and definitely worth checking out. After Crater Lake and north of Mt Thielsen Schemes and I hiked with Distance and Castaway for a few days until we got to Shelter Cove Resort. This place was cool, it was a little campground on a lake with a store. They had a good supply of ice cream sandwiches and also my favorite trail snack, Franz Pastries. I should say they had a good supply until I got there. We left there just before noon and crushed major miles. The following day Poca aka Pocahontas, another formidable friendly female hiker, joined Schemes and me and hiked with us the rest of the way through Oregon. After a few chilly nights we started getting into some pretty serious heat. Just south of Big Lake Youth Camp was one of the hottest days I had on the trail. We hiked through burn zones that provided no shade and then lava fields that I think inspired level 8 of the original Super Mario bros. I was low on water and was feeling like Clark W. Griswold in NL’s Vacation. Things worked out though, I traded a Clif Bar to a southbounder for half a liter of water, what a deal! BLYC treated us pretty well. I picked up a resupply package, there were couches for us to chill out on, they fed us burritos, let us shower, and had a sweet beach for us to camp on. Oh yeah I should probably mention that the Oregon Cascades were wicked awesome!! The Sisters are these prominent mountains in a line that are spaced out along the trail like every 30 miles until Washington. There’s 3 sisters and then 4 other big time mountains that the trail goes right along. It’s quite a sight to see. The biggest and most northern peak is Mt Hood, where people were skiing up until August 2nd. This is where the famous Timberline Lodge from ‘The Shining’ is located. It’s not as scary in person though, and there’s no hedge maze. I had been hearing about their incredible breakfast buffet for days if not weeks and we were originally planning to camp a few miles south so we would have just a short walk in the morning. Plans changed once we were within striking distance though, we decided to make a push for it and to make it there the night before to see if the pizza rumors were true. They weren’t, but everything worked out really nicely. There was a big wedding going on and as much as I wanted to get out on the dance floor and whip and nay nay, I smelled a little funky and didn’t want to offend anybody. The bar with the pizza was closed so Schemes, Poca and myself got a meal at the fancy restaurant that was still serving. We sat next to this really nice couple, Ron and Christel. We had a great meal, and a great time. When we got the tab we found out that Ron and Christel, who had already left, took care of the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it, it’s people like this that restore my faith in humanity. If you’re reading this, thank you so much. We camped outside the lodge that night and then put an absolute beating on the buffet the next morning. The rest of Oregon was simply majestic. We hiked along the backside of Hood, next to Ramona Falls and along Eagle Creek. Eagle Creek was spectacular and included Tunnel Falls which I thought was just the cat’s ass, easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. On August 3rd we got into Cascade Locks and finished the state with a few hours to spare. A local hiker Randy was really cool and nice enough to give us a ride all the way to Portland. If you’re reading this Randy please respond, one of us left something in your car. I took the red eye to Boston on the night of the 4th so Schemes and I spent the day exploring Portland. I’m quite fond of the PMW and this is a great city. Her friend Jen gave me a ride to the airport and I had a fantastic whirlwind 4 day intermission at home.
The reason for my trip home and the major event of the summer was my brother Jake and sister in law Jodi’s wedding. The wedding was a blast and it was quite an honor to be cast in a supporting role as the BM. We got great weather, ate good, danced for hours and were dazzled by the newlyweds’ moves on the dance floor. A bunch of us had a campfire and set up tents in Jake and Jodi’s backyard afterwards. I was used to that. Besides the wedding I had a bunch of other stuff to do so I’ll just list them; town chores and preparing for Washington, dinner to celebrate my parents 40th anniversary at my brother Mike’s, the rehearsal dinner at Chianti’s in Beverly, I ran up the woods with my father, saw the mighty Atlantic Ocean, checked in on the guys at work, and golfed before the wedding with my father, Rick Skalski, and all the groomsmen. It was a really great trip home. I had so much fun and it was so good to see everybody.
Now back to the trail. I’m flying back to Portland, have a ride lined up to Cascade Locks and then life gets really simple again. As much fun as these past few days have been, I’ve heard good things about Washington state and I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends and hiking the rest of the trail.