Sunday, July 12, 2009

Road 20 in Oregon

I did it! I walked all the way to Oregon! When I saw the border sign and trail register up ahead of me, I had tears in my eyes.

I woke up to a cold morning. I could see fog in all the valleys below. I was glad to be up high out of it. The mountains I had walked in yesterday were like islands in the sea of fog.

The trail descended gently and brought me to the edge of the fog. The wet wind was cold. Just keep moving.

Eventually I crossed a bridge over a small creek in a meadow full of cattle wearing cowbells. I was at the edge of California. The border was just beyond the meadow. When I saw it ahead of me, I knew instantly what it was. I strode to the Welcome to Oregon sign with tears streaming down my cheeks. Never would I have ever thought I could pull this off. I took pictures of myself at the sign to prove it and signed the register.

The trail rose gently and soon I was back up to 7000ft. There must have been views, but the fog was dense. I found some prayer beads someone had dropped. I picked them up and smelled them. Sandalwood. I put them down again and left them there, just like the candy wrappers, bandaids and toilet paper that had bestrewn the trail all day. All signs of the proximity to the road the trail followed. The road dogged me all day. No privacy. Traffic all the time.

At the high point just south of Grouse Gap I came upon a cache of coolers. Inside were sodas for the PCT hikers with a register book inviting you to celebrate making it to Oregon. I was moved. The last one of these caches I had seen was way back near Tahoe. (And that was last year.) I had forgotten all about these trail magic caches and how good they make you feel.

I took a Pepsi and celebrated my victory while I cooked up dinner to carry with me to my camp site, wherever that may be. I went down the trail and decided to see Grouse Gap Shelter. Maybe I'd stay in a shelter tonight. Unfortunately, it was occupied by some families who had driven in and were cooking and using all the space. I took a photo and trudged back up the road and back to mama PCT who always takes care of me.

The trail was on a mission to descend to Interstate 5 so finding a flat spot took a couple of hours. There was a potential spot or two, but the cold wind made me keep looking. I finally camped next to paved road 20. Another 31 miles, but I had only 8 miles to go to Ashland where I planned to work hard planning my entire trek through Oregon. Lots of shopping and packages to mail. I couldn't hardly wait to take a shower, too.


  1. WAY TO GO PIPER! You made it to Oregon. I have been reading along with your trail journal the whole way. I am so excited for you and inspired by you!

  2. WAY TO GO PIPEER! You made it to Oregon!! I KNEW you would do it. I am so excited for you and inspired by you. Keep up your trek.

  3. Congratulations on making Oregon! Keep going, one foot in front of the other and soon you will be at the Canadian Border. BTW You have given me inspiration to get back on the trail next week to finish another PCT section, possibly Death Canyon to CrabTree. '

    The Beeman