Ashland Zeros

Ashland Zeros

July 12, 2014

Start: Halfmile 1727.0
End: Halfmile 1727.0
Distance: ZERO
Cumulative: 1,767.5 Mi

BOOM: 64.8 miles in 21h24m. Challenge goal achieved!

I camped at the road last night, too tired to even think about trying to get into town. I slept in, because ya know – I deserved it. As I was packing up, Young Grasshopper drove by with Diver and Raggs en tow. She was dropping them off and offered me a ride back. All I could think was: This is how 10k feels all the time when he’s hitching. I hadn’t even made any effort, and I’d already scored a ride. I like Oregon.

I was planning to stay at the hostel, but Young Grasshopper told me it was full. No worries, I’ll stealth camp in the woods just out of town. Before I even offered that up as a solution, she said I could stay with her family. (She’s from Ashland.) I was surprised, but I couldn’t say no. I love the trail, because folks are so giving and generous. It sort of renews my faith in people. I’m planning on spending a few zeros here. I don’t wanna be any trouble, so I may try to find other accommodations for the next few nights. Gotta see how it goes. I’m just grateful to have tonight worked out.

I have an interview with Open Sky on Monday, so I’ll need to find a place to do some prep. Hoping to begin my work in the field of Wilderness Therapy after finishing this thru-hike. Definitely nervous; wish me luck!


July 13, 2014

Start: Halfmile 1727.0
End: Halfmile 1727.0
Distance: ZERO
Cumulative: 1,767.5 Mi

So I didn’t take a single photo today, nor did I take one yesterday. I’m really bad about that when I’m in town. It’s like “Yay, town!” And then my head explodes.

10k pointed out the other day how lucky I’ve been with wildlife. He’s totally right. Even the cougars were cool, despite how stressful an experience it was. All’s well that ends well kinda thing. I started tallying my luck (in no particular order): 7 black bears, 2 cougars, 2 scorpions, 4 coyotes, 5 rattlesnakes, 2 marmots (up close), and 1 bald eagle. Not too bad for just 87 days on the trail. And I’m not even certain that’s a comprehensive list of the “cool” wildlife I’ve seen. So how then have I seen so much, and others so little? Yes, I’ve been lucky. And yes, I’ve been good. It’s a combination. Scree fields, for example, are the terra firma equivalent of tide pools. They’re teeming with wildlife, and so I constantly scan them as well as open meadows and water sources, knowing that wildlife are more active early and late in the day. And I listen. Even stealthy animals mis-step every now and then. I’m patient when I hear a crunch or snap. I slow down, or stop altogether. In those moments, I know they’re out there either staring right back at me or trying to shrink into the vegetation. Sometimes I see ’em; sometimes I don’t. The rest, that’s luck. More than once, I wasn’t so much actively looking as I was lucky to look up at the right moment and toward the right spot. Get in the habit of looking for wildlife and it’ll become natural to scan distant slopes whenever the views open up. It’s incredible, the wildlife we almost see. To every recreational outdoors person who says “I never see good wildlife,” I’ll guarantee they see you. Get in the habit of being alert, and you’ll see them too.


July 14, 2014

Start: Halfmile 1727.0
End: Halfmile 1727.0
Distance: ZERO
Cumulative: 1,767.5 Mi

This is Mt. Shasta. As I don’t have any photos from today – you’re shocked, I know – I thought I would share with you the mountain that I’ve been staring at for the last few hundred miles. It keeps popping up, dominating the landscape. I don’t mind; she’s beautiful.

Great day. Met up with 10k to resupply this morning. He helped me prep for my interview. I’ve been through lots of interviews but haven’t ever really gotten feedback about them. It was cool for him to say “I feel like you avoided my question.” He was right, but I hadn’t realized it. Then a very similar question came up in my interview this afternoon. 10k could’ve smiled and nodded when I answered, but instead he called me out. How awesome to have a friend who isn’t worried about hurting my feelings. He knew that I would be better off if he was honest, and I knew it too. Huge thanks, my friend! Should hear something by the end of the month. Crossing my fingers!