Since the previous progress blog post we have walked many more miles and achieved a number of significant milestones.
The first milestone was reaching the half way point at mile 1325. Our reflections and thoughts on this were talked about in another blog post. We are super proud of having reached the half way point, but it also made us realise how far we had yet to go!
The other big milestone we have recently achieved was crossing the border from California to Oregon! California is 1698 miles long when measured on the trail, so you could fit several reasonably sized countries in sunny California!
California has been an amazing journey and she treated us very well. What we can’t get over is just how diverse the state is. We have crossed deserts, climbed huge mountains and walked through dense, jungle like forests, all in the same state. It harbours some amazing wildlife and some of the best scenery in the world. We have also met some wonderful people, who have helped us, fed us, chatted to us, or generally just been hugely welcoming. California (and Oregon so far) also seems to be where all the hippies went to hide after the 60s! It is with slight sadness that we say goodbye to sunny California and keep marching north.
Since the last blog post we have also seen more and more wildlife. Birds of prey have become more abundant, with regular sightings of eagles and hawks. We were also treated to a display from a large owl that decided to circle our tent for a while. But possibly most excitingly is the number of bear sightings we have had. Sarah’s bear count is now up to 5 and I have seen 4! We love seeing bears during the day, but we are still nervous about the thought of them visiting us in the night
So now we are resting our weary legs in Ashland where we have also completed our resupplies for the rest of the adventure. We ended up with 17 large boxes being posted out further along the trail. Just buying that much food is a logistical nightmare, and we ended up having to go to the supermarket 3 times! 95 Snickers is a sight to behold!
As for the resting, this is something we may need more and more of as time goes on and our bodies reach their breaking point. Although we feel fit and strong, our legs and feet have started to suffer quite a bit. You would have thought by now we would be invincible, but going by the number of other hikers who have recently had to drop out due to injury, we need to pay attention to our bodies’ calls for rest!
Now we turn our attention northwards as we are about to cross Oregon then Washington. In Oregon the terrain is set to get a little easier and less mountainous, but we do face another challenge; forest fires! We have already had to do a small detour in northern California due to a fire, but several other fires have started further up the trail. Hopefully we can get past them without too much trouble, but only time will tell. We certainly feel for the locals who have to contend with fires threatening their homes and lives each and every year.
As we prepare for the next stage of the adventure, we leave you with a quote from a fellow hiker that sums up how we feel; “The end is in sight, fortunately and unfortunately” (Houdini).