The field is cold when I awake, but it’s not going to stay that way for long – there’s supposed to be a heatwave coming through the Ashland area, and I’ve had about enough of sweating through my clothes these days. So we’re up late and out quick, Ashland thoughts ringing in our brains.
It’s a nice enough walk this morning, with lots of cowbells sounding off, attached to visible cows this time. I leapfrog with Six and Meer and Dave, Meer’s gentleman friend – I’m excited to chat with them some more in town.
I throw my headphones in my ears and roll down the trail – SO CLOSE TO ASHLAND.
At the trail turnoff for Callahan’s, I stand there debating for a while – do I take this side trail and have to walk it again, or go farther and be able to immediately hit the PCT via the road? – but then Pineapple texts me that she walked the PCT to the road, so it’s off I go in that direction, too. I want to be able to come back with her. She texts me shortly after regretting her decision, but oh well. We’ve made our bed, and all that. It is a rough bit of trail, particularly since you follow the road and just know, just know that’s where you’re headed, but I’d have to walk this at some point, anyway. Might as well make it as far as possible today.
I’ve made it to the road and am walking towards Callahan’s when a car pulls up, offers to give me a ride to Ashland, but when I request a brief change in destination is fine with that. Other hikers, roadwalking a bit ahead of me, are going to Ashland, though, so I offer a little cash in exchange for my brief side trip, passing Pineapple roadwalking along the way at the last minute. She’s grouchy, and I feel pretty bad about scoring a ride, but she’s almost done, and we enter Callahan’s together.
Callahan’s looks like an old country hunting lodge; but we thruhikers get a free beer for showing up, and they open up the all you can eat breakfast pancakes for us as well. Pineapple texts Gary – who we met in Burney – to confirm one last time that we can stay with him, and he’s still delighted to have us. He’ll come to get us from here in about an hour. Meanwhile, it’s day drinking with the many-much thruhikers that are there – and many much goodbyes to Bucha, who’s moving on along. She lives in Portland, and wants to take time off there. The rest of the folks, we’re pretty sure we’ll see them in Ashland.
Gary arrives, sits to chat with all of us for a while, then the party breaks off and we’re whisked off in a car (so fast!) to Ashland. We chat along the way – would we be interested in the Shakespeare Festival? Gary can get us tickets – is Hamlet alright? I’m shocked and appalled and elated – Ashland Shakes has some of the best Shakespeare productions in the country, and I am a bonafide Shakespeare nerd. Pineapple looks a little less enthused, but she seems willing enough to go after I basically jump up and down at the mere mention of such a thing.
Gary shows us around Ashland, and we get a better idea of what chores are going to look like tomorrow. At his super comfortable abode – where there is a bed for the two of us – he offers us showers and laundry while he cooks; we happily oblige before gorging ourselves on deliciousness. We feel spoiled and thankful, even before the root beer floats appear.
I spend the evening alternately drink-eating my root beer float and trying to figure out exactly what my resupply strategy looks like from here on out – I’m sending a box to all my town stops in Oregon and Washington, although I don’t quite think it’s smart to resupply for the latter yet. I end up deciding to go ahead and send my four Oregonian boxes from here, so I basically have to decide how many days it’s going to take me to get from here to Crater Lake, from Crater Lake to Crescent Lake, and from Crescent Lake to Big Lake Youth Camp. It’s all quite stressful and will probably involve carrying more food than I need to. Again. Better safe than sorry, I guess.
The rest of the evening is spent writing and internetting, and then it’s sleep on a mattress that feels like a pillow in the best way, lying in wonder that there are such good people in the world as I fall asleep.
Date: August 16 • Start: 1705.7 • End: 1716.2 • Day: 10.5
Notable Accomplishments: Free Beer at Callahan’s • Gary! • Prepared myself for Oregon resupply