Oregon

I wrote posts for many of my days through Oregon, but I didn’t write consistently.  A number of days found me making camp late and eating dinner on these wonderful moss covered logs that are slowly returning to the earth.  Many times I ate by headlamp light, and since I write after I eat I just didn’t have energy to compose daily summaries this late.  I’m usually asleep by 9 after all.

Instead I’ll tell you about Oregon after the fact.  I’m in Cascade Locks, a town on the border of Oregon and Washington.  The Columbia River flows here, and this is the lowest elevation on the entire trail.  I’m basically at sea level.  A couple months ago I was on top of Mt. Whitney, the highest elevation in the lower 48.  Feels like forever.

Oregon starts out with Ashland, a decently sized town in the Rogue River Valley.  The trail stays south of town, cuts due east, and then heads north.  North for good.  It’s dry, hot, and water is scarce.  Many of the sources I drank from were stagnant algae flavored ponds, pools, lakes.  Once I was filtering from a slowly drying mud pit filled with tadpoles swimming around when a big old bullfrog plopped out from a log and into the water right next to me.  I laughed.

I passed Crater Lake, which was all tourists and cars.  I walked through so many burned forests and next to volcanoes.  I crossed dried up lava flows and obsidian fields, glimmering in the sunlight.  Then came The Sisters, beautiful mountains covered in glaciers.

The Sisters
The pass + Mt. Jefferson

I met up with Coppertone and drank down a root beer float.  Then there’s Mt. Jefferson, which is a marvel and my favorite stretch of trail so far.  Stunning area.  On top of the pass I had Mt. Jefferson behind me, Mt. Hood in front of me, and Mt. St. Hellens and Mt. Rainier in the distance.

Days later I walked the slopes of Mt. Hood and ate breakfast at the legendary Timberline Lodge, a historical site.  It’s a beautiful hotel built in the 1930s that now features a wonderful all you can eat buffet.  The dining room was smoky with griddled bacon and ham and sausages, smelled like time gone by, and had windows looking out over the mountains.  If you’ve seen the movie The  Shining, you’ve seen the building.  Stanley Kubrick used this hotel for his exterior shots for the movie’s setting.

And then 2 of 3 states were done.  Only 500 miles left.  I look forward to the far north, where the nights are cold and the sunlight is slant.  I’ve heard Washington is a gem.

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