I slept well in the teepee last night, crickets providing a calming nighttime chorus. The sun was shining not shrouded by smoke by morning, the fruit trees in the yard glistened with dew. I watched as Jen let the chickens out into the yard. The sense of home was warm and comforting, and yet I longed for the trail. Jen still had work to do around the house, so I walked to the bakery to have breakfast and read. It was a lovely place bustling with local life, everything so charming. I sat for 2 hours reading and enjoying coffee, watching the small town wake up around me. I forgot how much I love people watching. It’s so rare I can be a single, silent observer.
Soon Jen showed up with her friend Amber. Amber was coming with us today, as she just got a teaching job on that area. They had some breakfast while we all played cribbage, which I happened to lose. It was a real close game, and it’s been years since I’ve played. I loved the feeling of a normal morning with new friends, and I looked forward to the car ride with these ladies.
As it turned out, we were going to be riding in a yellow Camaro convertible. It was a newer car, and with the top down we cruised the mountain roads in style. I sat in the back seat smiling from ear to ear with the wind in my hair. I love the feeling of letting go and giving in, feeling nothing but free in the back of a sporty yellow convertible. It was very smoky all the way to Seiad Valley, and I was particularly happy to not have hiked in that section. Everything felt right in the world as we pulled up outside of the cafe.
Angles was sitting at a table outside doing his resupply and I loved the look on his face as he admired the ride I rolled up in. I said my goodbyes to the ladies, and joined him in the shade. We packed up our food for the walk to Oregon and went inside for lunch. There we met up with Caboose, Sacred Cow, and Don’t Axe, and we all had BLT’s and milkshakes. Mine was a blackberry shake made with berries from the river nearby. It was the best milkshake I can ever remember having. It was Caboose’s birthday today too, so we all decided to hang out under a bridge while we waited for the day to cool down. We tend to embrace the idea of being hobos, and do so without shame.
This bridge was special though, it had some personal touches to it. Someone had built up a pool underneath, surrounding it with smooth river rocks. The river flowing through, adding a calm babbling sound, and someone had built a fire pit in the middle of the pool. It was a comfortable and well thought out space. We enjoyed this for a couple of hours, then Angles and I marched on to the trail at 7pm. I was determined to do some hiking today, even more determined to get to Oregon.
We hiked just under 5 miles straight uphill. We have another 3.5 miles up this climb before the walking levels out to Ashland. It felt great to get back on trail and my feet are feeling well rested. We will see what tomorrow brings for my feet, and me.