Day 79, July 12th
Start: camp at mile 1,711
End: Ashland via I-5, mile 1,725
Miles hiked: 14

We all sleep in. It’s a town day, everyone is relaxed. We’ve only got 15 or so miles to hike today. How relaxing, it’s perfect.

Five miles in we reach a soda cache that not a chance good us about. There’s a good trail register with one soda left, a can of Shasta lemon lime. Not a chance, carrot, Mac, sheriff, JrSr and I pass it around. Two sips each. It’s a tease. Showing us the goodness of town food and drinks, but just a quick taste. Still ten more miles to the highway. Luckily it’s all downhill!

We get a comment on an Instagram photo of us at the cache wondering if we need a ride to Ashland. It’s 12 miles from the pct intersection, and we do need a ride! How awesome. We get in touch with kristi, the nice lady who offered the ride, and she plans to pick us up from Callahans at 1pm. We will not be waiting at the side of the highway trying to hitch in 100 degree weather. Hallelujah!

I make it to Callahans around 12:30. Carrots phone died and she hitched into town. The rest of the crew is drinking cold beers and hanging out in the hiker lobby at the lodge/restaurant. I get a call from carrot right before kristi picks us up, asking if we can get her in town, as the ride she caught dropped her off 5 miles from where we’re staying tonight.

Kristi arrives and greets us in the hiker room with her son Niko. She’s amazingly friendly. Not only did she offer to come get us, but she brought a cooler full of cold water and soda. She knows exactly what hikers want! Sheriff, JrSr and I like in her car, and we quickly pick up carrot, who directs us to the house we’ll be staying at.

As we talk with Kristi, we learn that she heard of the pct by finding hikers in Chester, California years back. She also would go to drakesbad and see many pct hikers there as well. Since then, she has been hiking with her son Niko in the mountains of Northern California and southern Oregon. They hike much of the pct, and hope to hike it together when Niko is old enough. Kristi follows along on some hikers blogs, gathering information and feeding her thirst for a thru-hike. I’m sure they’ll hike the trail some day, and they’ll love it. How could you not? She’s already building tons of trail karma by offering to help us out on a whim, going out of her way to drive us around. The goodness of people is so great. It’s just a pleasure meeting her and Niko. She offers to take us back to Medford tomorrow morning, where she lives, to run errands to grocery stores and REI. she couldn’t be more kind, and knowledgable on what hikers need/want when they get to town. She’ll have all the good karma when the time is right for her to hike the whole trail!

Kristi drops us off at Carrots friends house, Justa and Lints place. They kindly offered to take in tons of dirty hikers, most of which they do not know. Lint is a triple crowner. No, a double triple crowner. And he’s out on the Appalachian trail right now for his third time. He’s shooting for 90 days! Good for him, he’s a legend, and I’m sure he’ll get it in the time he wants. I wish I could meet him while here. But I meet his partner Justa, and she’s a total boss. She’s just amazing. She’s hiking the jmt this summer, then her and Lint plan to do the CDT next year together. How cool is that? I have tons of fun talking with her about this and that, really picking her brain on some deep subjects.

The whole crew is here. Carrot, Guthrie, Mac, sheriff woody, not a chance, JrSr, and even coughee! It’s so so sooo good to see coughee. He’s been sick as a dog. First giardia, then severe dehydration. He’s really been sick. We’ve been keeping in touch as much as possible, and he told us that if he didn’t feel better by the time we left Ashland he may think of going back home. He’s feeling much much better. Not 100%, but well enough that he thinks he’ll be fine. I’m so happy, I would have felt terrible if he couldn’t keep hiking, and I’m glad he’ll be heading out with us.

We all relax, then head to the bar together. We’re all wearing carrots clothes. All of us. She’s got all her stuff stored here, so her summer clothes become our loaner clothes as we do laundry. We all head to the bar wearing the loaner clothes, even though the wash is done. It’s hilarious! Things get fun, and we end up playing a bunch of pool. The locals look at us funny, for good reason. Mac has a skin tight purple shirt, with black cut off jean shorts (jorts). Guthrie looks like he came off Gilligan’s island, woody is wearing skin tight jeans and a bro tank, not a chance has black tshirt and black jorts, and I’ve got on pink swim trunks and a white bro tank. We look outrageous, and clearly cause a scene wherever we go.

We play some pool and start getting drunkenly competitive. JrSr and coughee are both really good, and teamed together. But Mac and I beat them (very lucky). They don’t like it, and challenge us to another match. We win again. And then a third time. With each win we rub it in more and more, laughing hysterically. Last game there’s two pitchers on the line. Lower buys. We win when they scratch on the 8 ball. Boom! Giant chest bump for Mac and I. I wonder what people here think of us, all smelly and disheveled. We get a lot of looks the whole night.

We all retire to the back hard of Justa’s place. It’s hot. Too hot to sleep indoors! I’m going to sleep so well tonight!

At the soda cache. Carrot, not a chance and woody pass around the only can of soda.

Carrot and JrSr hike down to I-5

Mt Shasta… Still! We’ve pretty much circled it the last 300 some miles.

The gang with Kristi and Niko. They were so nice to pick us up, thanks again Kristi, you’re awesome!

My beautiful friends!

Walking with Mac near the soda cache. Photo courtesy of carrot.

Carrot 1, 2, 3, and 4

Hanging out with Justa and carrot. My tan lines are the best they’ve ever been.