Day 31: Bittersweet

PCT Mile 1702.6 to 1717.7

Miles Hiked = 15.1

The lightening, thunder and rain blew through last night and I was happy to see another morning with blue skies. I was hiking by 7:15am.

As I hiked this morning, I had bittersweet feelings. I was sad that today was my last “official” day of PCT hiking this summer. But I was looking forward to seeing Donna tomorrow as well as the kids and grandkids in a few days in Bend.

My plan today was to hike to Callahan’s Lodge which is located adjacent to Interstate-5 in Southern Oregon (10 miles south of Ashland).

I was a little surprised that the visibility wasn’t better after the rain – it was actually quite hazy.

The trail passed through large mountain meadows filled with colorful wildflowers

I passed by Mount Ashland which is a popular destination for snow skiing in the winter as well as hiking and mountain biking in the summer. The large dome on the top apparently protects a radar dish that gives meteorologists weather information about the southern Oregon Siskiyou Mountains.

I took a short break, had a snack and continued hiking – there were more unique and colorful flowers

Eventually I started to have views towards the valley where Callahan’s Lodge and Interstate-5 are located. I could hear planes, trains and automobiles.

As the trail dropped down towards the paved road that goes to the Mt. Ashland Ski Area it actually crosses the driveway of two private residences. The second residence had provided a picnic table and water faucet for hikers … I took advantage.

One of the neighbors walked by and I gave him a cheerful “Hello, how are you?”. He just grunted something at me – I guess he wasn’t happy that his neighbor is a trail angel and provides a place for all us “strange hikers” to take a break.

I still had another six miles to go so didn’t stay very long. The trail paralleled the road as I continued down towards civilization.

I reached the cutoff to Callahan’s Lodge at 2pm

Ten minutes later I walked under Interstate-5 for the second time in the last month.

I checked into my room, took a quick shower and was soon was sitting in front of a burger and fries along with a local IPA.

After enjoying lunch I did laundry. Later that evening, when I returned to the restaurant for dinner, I ran into Energizer. I had met him a few days ago in Seiad Valley.

Energizer is a 57 year-old retired thirty-year career Army veteran. He is one serious hiker. He started hiking from the Mexico border in mid-May and has completed over 1700 miles of the PCT in two and a half months. That’s something like 700 miles per month! In comparison, I just hiked 500+ miles in the last month – so Energizer is really moving! We ended up having dinner together and then breakfast the next morning. Then he was back on the trail. I wished him good luck.

When I started planning this PCT section hike many months ago I considered the possibility of completing Oregon also. In June, Blake (my oldest son) and I discussed the possibility of Jillienne (my oldest grandchild) joining me for the next segment of the PCT to Crater Lake. It’s about 100 miles. It would be Jillie’s first backpacking experience. Blake and Tahnee (Blake’s wife) ended up renting a VRBO house in Bend for the week that Jillie would be hiking with me. Sydney (my daughter) decided to drive down from Seattle to join them. And, since Donna was already going to be in Oregon, she would join them in Bend also.

I decided I didn’t want to miss out on a family get-together and was also concerned that six nights and one hundred miles may be too much for Jillie’s first backpacking trip. I didn’t want it to be a negative experience. After discussing with Blake, we decided that Donna and I would join them in Bend and that Jillie and I would do a two night/thirty mile hike on the PCT in central Oregon.

There was one other consideration in my decision to not hike Oregon – Donna’s knee. She was scheduled for her knee replacement in mid-September but could schedule it sooner if I was off the trail.

So that is what happened. I spent the night at Callahan’s Lodge. Donna picked me up the next day after driving up from Central California. We would spend a few days in Ashland. Then we would drive up to Bend and meet the rest of the kids and grandkids (except Travis, who had to stay home and work).

Thanks for following – Oregon can wait until year!

10 thoughts on “Day 31: Bittersweet

  • You are finished hiking until next year. Well done. Great photos as usual! I especially love the deep purple wild flowers! Beautiful country. Your hiker friend, Energizer, is impressive! That is quite a bit of mileage he is covering! With the blog publishing delay, I have already seen you since your family visit in Bend. I am glad everything went so well. Jillie is officially a 3rd generation backpacker/hiker. Hooray for Jillie! Maybe Elliott can hit the trail next summer!? Maybe Elias or Josiah will be hitting the trails one of these days!? Actually, I think they have both done some hiking already but in a baby front pack or backpack! Happy you are home safe and sound! I am looking forward to seeing you blog and stunning photos of Oregon in spring or summer 2021! I just know you are going to make it to that Canadian Border. You are determined and consistent! If all goes well with Donna’s new bionic knee she may join you on the PCT again! That would be cool!

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  • Hi Todd,

    This has been a rewarding blog to follow. I am the father of Circus Act, a PCT thru hiker you may have encountered a few years age. I have been following your and Donna’s hiking adventure and blogs for a few years.

    I wish Donna will in dealing with her knee repair. I also hope you well on your PCT quest. I didn’t see you stopping for the year coming. I suspect you are looking forward to seeing your family. Good luck with the transition to off trail life. It may be an adjustment.

    I am a writer and am considering writing a piece about the people thru hikers leave behind. You and Donna are unique in that you were both on trail together and then she was a “left behind” person. If possible, I would like to start a dialogue with you both about your experiences and thoughts.

    You have my email If you wish to have follow up conversation.

    Best to you and Donna,
    Fred

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    • Hi Fred – yes I remember Circus Act well – I followed his blog along with Peanut Butter”s – Donna and I knew or met most of the people in Circus Act’s trail family so we followed their progress closely – how is Circus Act doing? Donna and I would be happy to help out with your “left behind” piece – let us know what we can do to help. Thanks for following!
      Todd

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  • Congratulations Todd! I have very much enjoyed following along with you on your great adventure and look forward to next season! You are an inspiration. Good luck to Donna with her knee! I wouldn’t be surprised if she joins you on the trails again.

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  • It’s been so fun to follow you and see all your beautiful pictures! Give Donna a hug for me andI hope her surgery goes well! Looking forward to following you again next time!

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