Today started with heavy hearts, and let me tell you, extra weight of any kind is never good while hiking. We were heavy hearted because we had to say goodbye to our family. Soon they will be a continent away.
We had a big breakfast, a great deal of hugs, and finally the dreaded goodbyes.
When we finally got on the trail, it was nearly 10am. Late starts are never good, but the extra time with the family was worth it.
It was time to crush the miles. But there was a slight problem. When I eat a lot for breakfast and then immediately hike, my stomach can’t get it’s shit together. So, we did crush the miles, but my stomach continued to churn and churn angrily. It’s sour disposition continued to worsen until I projectile vomited not once, but twice. Both times I simply pulled off to the side, let things fly, and then continued to walk.
“It’s time to make the miles.” I said.
To which Jon Michael replied, “That’s hardcore.”
We still managed to walk 28 miles even after a late start and vomiting. Yeah, that is pretty hardcore.
Our family has been incredibly busy this summer, traveling all over America to visit family and friends before they return home to Kenya again. A few months ago they told us they would love to see us on trail, but July 17 was the only day they had free all summer (shows how busy they are). We didn’t know where we’d be, but eventually we were able to estimate a road that we would pop out on, and a time.
They would be returning from a family reunion in Nebraska and have to drive 1500 miles in 30 hours, and we would have to maintain our schedule, hoping for no fire closures, injury, sickness, or other problems that might slow us down.
Somehow, by the grace of God, it worked out. We arrived at the road within 20 minutes of each other.
They whisked us away from the trail and to some good food at a restaurant in Crater Lake. There we were able to enjoy the same views of yesterday with the whole family.
It feels so good to be back together again, cracking jokes, getting lots of snuggles and hugs, and telling many stories.
We are staying at a little crossroads motel out here on highway 158. It’s the kind of motel that looks like it came right out of the 50s, with old furniture and cigarette stained walls. The perfect place for a little family reunion.
A 16oz steak is resting in my belly right now. My siblings and my parents all within reaching distance. My stomach is content. My heart is content.
It will be so hard to say goodbye tomorrow.
We spent today walking the rim trail along Crater Lake, the deepest lake in America. Most of the tourists in this area pull up in their cars to snap photos of the lake, but we got to spend all day deeply experiencing its beauty.
We even took a nap on the ridge, looking down into the crystal blue.
It’s one of those places that really makes you feel small. It makes you want to be small.
We camped at Christie’s Spring last night, which I will now and forever more call Christie’s “Cult” Spring. For the multitude of mosquitos followers was more overwhelming than I have ever experienced in my life.
When I went down to the spring to fill my bottle, the mosquitos attacked me in sheets, so that I was covered by fifty to one hundred of the filthy creatures at a time. Shrieks of terror left my mouth, but I could do nothing about the blood sucking demons, as I needed both my hands to fill my bottle.
People will tell you that if you walk 3mph, you will go faster than the mosquitos. This may be true in most places, but Oregon mosquitos have evolved to a new level. We ran from Christie’s Cult Spring, and still, like leeches, they clung to us.
Our biggest problem was that, though we had head nets, we failed to bring bug pants. Our legs were totally exposed, and the mosquitos had no issue reminding us.
After and hour or so of running for our lives, we realised action needed to be taken. We stopped, quickly set up the tent, dove inside, and then proceeded to make pants out of our plastic food bags and bolster tape. We strapped those bad boys to our legs and were ready to face the swarms again.
With the plastic bag pants, we looked like some kind of soldiers in strange armour. And though it was humid and sweaty, we were finally able to walk with more sanity.
This was not the welcome to Oregon that I was expecting, but a good memory it will one day make.
As a welcome to Oregon and the Northwest, my terrible allergies have begun!
Today started with hives all over my neck and a swollen face. Only after pounding some antihistamines did I start to feel a little better.
Here’s an incredibly attractive photo of my swollen face about an hour after the allergy meds had begun working.
Hopefully tomorrow will go a little better!
We got into Ashland yesterday. We resupplied, did laundry, ate great food, showered, and got to stay in a cute little hostel in downtown.
To get into town, we had to hitch on Interstate 5. I thought it would be an impossible hitch, but people are cool, and we got a ride.
Since we did all the resupply work yesterday, today we just get to chill. And we are taking a day off to celebrate being in a new state.
So far, this is what it’s looked like:
Later today we’re hoping to catch Incredibles 2 while it’s still in theater. And we also hope to hit up an Indian Buffet that’s only $12, later tonight. Good stuff!
One last night in California. One last cat-hole. One last sunrise.
Today, at long last, we crossed into Oregon!