Ashland to Cascade Locks

Ashland is a really nice town. It seems to have kept its charm from days gone by. It has all the requirements of a thru hiker, cheap lodging or swankee digs like Callahans, great restaurants and pubs, plenty of shopping and all within a reasonable walking distance. I spent three days resupplying with gear, food and doing chores like laundry. Finally got the nerve to wash my down sleeping bag and jacket! They came out all fluffy and clean. 

  After hitching a ride back to the trail, we started our typical climb out of town. There is metamorphic rock with  volcanic activity visible from the past. Intermingled is beautiful plant life, ferns, grass like brush that you would find at the beach and the ever-not-so-popular silt! There is no point to try and keep clean or even dust free while hiking in Oregon! You are virtually a dust magnet. I feel like pig pen from the peanuts cartoon, just a cloud of dust following me! You can’t hike very close to anyone else or you are eating their dust so we stay a few hundred feet or more behind our partners. 

  I have made incredible friendships on the trail but especially with a German couple. We decided to hike together for the time being which makes we quite happy. They have taught me the finer sides of European vacation style hiking. This entails many long breaks, always includes eating, taking your feet out of certain bondage of trail shoes and relaxing anywhere you can find shelter from the brilliant sun. Somehow we still manage to get our mileage in but we just do it better. No wonder the Europeans live longer than us. They are masters of relaxation! 

  During our many stops, I began reading my Daily Bread. English is their second language so I translate as best I can the process of gleaning from the fields. We talk about God’s provisions and how, even on the trail, God provides. My friend shares how she felt when her grandma and father passed away, and doubted why God would allow her to hurt so bad. I shared how many worldly things are unknown but God has a plan. His perfect plan was that we were going to meet here, on this trail, thousands of miles away from home, and share who He truly is. We walked away and she started praying asking for a sign that God is real. He said, “look at the berries you are eating” and she laughed. But as we arrived at our next stop there was a sign, a beautiful wooden sign “Christ i Spring”. She was in tears and shared to me her question and then saw this sign, but doubted because the sign had been there for many years. But I told her God knew exactly where you were going to be when you would ask. I just love the way God works. She told me that she was going to have a relationship with Jesus while she was on the trail and see how that would transform when she went home to Germany. I was so blessed by knowing that she was open to Gods love.

  We hiked into Mazama Village and joined the many others who resupply then carry on to, what I think, is one of the greatest wonders of the world, Crater Lake.  Prior to the eruption some 7,700 years ago, Mt Mazama, as it was named was 12000′. Now the caldera is the deepest lake in North America at 1949′ and the seventh deepest lake in the world! I just think it is a beautiful depiction of Oregon in all its magesty. I happened to be there the night of the culmination of the annual meteor showers and watched as the night sky became lit up by millions, if not billions of stars. In the northeastern hemisphere, the show began. Meteors shooting across the sky. It was absolutely breathtaking! 
  I managed to leave Crater Lake before the fire consumed and closed the northern section of the PCT near the park entrance. This has to be one of the worst fire seasons ever. As I headed northbound, Mt Thielson was on the horizon. Another brilliant mountain. Oregon has so many great mountains including Mt Jefferson, Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack, The Sisters but by far the greatest is Mt Hood. It is quite the approach, close to 3800′ in elevation gain, people who tell you the Oregon PCT is flat have never hiked the trail! As I broke through the deep dark forest, which is virtually impossible because Oregon is all forested, Mt Hood was glaring down on me. What an impressive volcano! It was a crystal clear day, an anominalie as the sky had been consumed by smoke and fire for the past weeks! The last mile climb to Timberline Lodge, just below Hood, resembles dunes. I’m not sure who brought the sand but I was wishing they would put it back on the beach. My trail runners were loaded with silt and I thought many times of taking my shoes off and digging my toes into the fine sandy soil. Oh but how God blessed me with an amazing sight and His finest sculpture. I would love to come back one day and climb that mountain!

 After an amazing evening camping outside of Timberline Lodge, I partook in the unending breakfast buffet with vegetable quiche, cheesy eggs, sausage and ham, homemade Greek yogart with four kinds of fresh berries topped off with a Belgium waffle and a mound of fresh whipped cream. Yes, I ate all of it in one sitting and then waddled off and hiked ten miles. Life of a hungry thru-hiker! It amazes me how many calories I can consume and still be hungry. My belly growls daily. How can that be?  

As I left Timberline, the smoke came back. A reminder that Oregon and Washington are still ablaze!  But even with the smokey skies, you can see the beauty of this trail. Fall colors are showing up, maple leaves are turning and the pines are dropping needles, carpeting the trail with soft duff. On my last trekking day in Oregon approached, I chose the ever-so-popular offshoot of the PCT known as Eagle Creek Falls trail. It winds down a canyon and drops into Cascade Locks. There are numerous waterfalls, deep swimming holes and hundreds of day hikers. I hadn’t seen so many people since I was in Ashland. It’s interesting how many hikers are interested in my journey, how long I had been on trail, where I was heading, what my experience was like, who am I hiking with, the questions I get asked over and over. I love talking to others about my trek. It inspires them and it reminds me of Gods graces that he has allowed me to come this far. 

 So what have I learned in Oregon? There is nothing too big or too small that God cannot conquer. Whether it was my fear or doubts, my abilities or ambitions, my loneliness or my social overload, God has it covered. He knows what I need at the perfect time. As I finished the last half of Oregon solo, I began to wonder if I was suppose to be out here? He brought me Kathleen and Dwayne from Walla Walla, on my birthday no less, to minister to me. Kathleen prayed over me, prayed for my protection and comfort and reinforced that I was indeed, where God wanted me to be. Another wonderful couple Bonnie and Dave also from Washington showed me God’s perfect love and enthusiasm for my hike and what an incredible accomplishment for me to have made it this far. As I walked through the forest I could see the light, the brilliant Columbia Gorge and the “Bridge of the Gods” that lay ahead of me. God provided a perfect path, one that would take me where He wanted me, the one that would open my eyes to His truth, that I have nothing to fear, I have tremendous ability and I will never to be lonely! I am eager to take my next step and to cross over the bridge and reach my final destination, which He has determined for me before I was born. What a thoughtful and amazing God we have! 

   

So do not throw away your confidence, for it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

4 thoughts on “Ashland to Cascade Locks

  1. Always a joy to read your journal, Kelly. We pray always for your safety and wellness as you Hike4God! Oregon is a beautiful state. My parents lived in Grants Pass and we spent lots of time there. Yes, Crater Lake is gorgeous!!! Now you are on the trek to Washington and hope it doesn’t get too cold for you. It is hot here but a touch of fall in the air at night,. Many blessings as you forge on and you are getting to be a “short timer” as have accomplished much in these past months. Keep spreading God’s love to all as you have been doing. We are His messengers. Love & Hugs!! Laurel

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      • Are you in Naches WA, yet? Sent a package to you at the Kracker Barrel Store.
        A few provisions to keep you moving on towards Canada. Keeping you in our prayers for safety and good health. Perhaps you will be home for the Vorlage potluck???? Blessings and may God show you His mighty works always.

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