August 5 (Day 96)

1681.9 to 1707.0 

Daily miles: 25.1

I have left California, feet stained with its dirt and dust so that I think they’ve been tattooed.

I’ve already forgotten more rugged beauty than most people have seen in a lifetime.  Forgive me for that, my brain gets overwhelmed sometimes.

I’ve been too-hot, too-cold, too-wet, too-dry, too-hungry and too-full.  I’ve sought out water in strange places and gone out of my way to avoid flooded rivers.  Dodged forest fires, seen mountains covered in smoke, gone to bed dirty without even thinking twice about it.  I’ve hiked a looped path across California, the long way, and now I have a couple more states to go.

California went out with a bang of nice green valleys, full of streams and grasses and tall trees.  Cool air blew through it all, so that I was sad to see the state go.  But, as it turns out, southern Oregon is awfully similar.  On cue, some rain clouds built up and I got my first little rainstorm in over 2 months.  The dusty path turned to earth again and the green ferns shone with drops of water.  The moss filled the air with its rain-smell and I think the temperatures must have dropped down into the 60s.  It was wonderful.

The last valley and last stream in California
I plod along and pass a herd of grazing cows, grow tired, seek out a flat piece of ground to pitch my tent.

Oregon hillside
At night, after I’ve fallen asleep and woken up again, I get out of my tent.  I shine my headlamp straight up, up against the trees I’m sleeping next to, and the beams don’t even reach the leafy tops, such heights these beasts have attained.  Instead, there’s a dark shadow against the stars and I know I’m in the land of giants.

Storming in the valley
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