Day 87, July 20
Start: Oregon skyline trail junction, mile 1,882
End: shelter cove camp with Guthrie’s parents, mile 1,912
Miles hiked: 21 (the OST alternate is 9 miles shorter than the pct)

Everyone in my group is resupplying at shelter cove. There are two options to get there; the pct, which stays high and dry, or the OST, which stays lower and passes lots of water. The OST goes right to shelter cove, and is 10 miles shorter. Many people take this trail into shelter cove; there’s even maps included in half miles section E. Purists would not take it, as it is not the official pct. By that standard, they also wouldn’t hike the much more beautiful crater lake rim trail, as that also isn’t the official pct. There are no purists in our group, and after talking to root beer float, who did the OST a few days ago, we decide to take it as well. As such, we head down the OST, and not the pct, this morning.

First thing in the morning, carrot and I run into two southbound backpackers, heads down hiking very quickly. They’re both wearing desert shirts with black Umbro soccer shorts, straight out of the 90’s. It’s a couple that looks to be in their thirties. Carrot stops them as they pass.

“Are you guys thru-hiking south bound?” She asks excitedly.
“Yup” they respond quickly.
“Did you do Washington, the whole thing?” She asks. We haven’t run into anyone who has made it through Washington due to snow. All the southbounders we’ve met have skipped ahead.
“Yeah.” They respond, looking very uninterested.
“Alright! Our first two southbounders!” Carrot exclaims as she attempts to high five them. They don’t flinch.
“We’re just tired of getting drilled by every north blunder we pass.” The woman says to carrot in a demeaning tone.

They’re miserable bastards. They treat us as if we’re not even worth their time, and we’re ruining their experience. It’s a shame, our first true southbounders and they’re rude as can be. I’m wearing my R1 long sleeve with the hood on. It’s early, and we’re hiking downhill.

“Awfully bundled up, aren’t you?” The woman says to me as carrot argues with the man about being the first true southbounders. I don’t even know how to respond, I’m so taken aback.

“Yeah, I just woke up.” I say. I want nothing to do with these people, they’re energy is terrible. I give carrot some hints that we should get going, and soon we’re hiking away.

“Wow, they hated us. They better get used to seeing a lot of people, if they already think it’s overbearing.” Carrot says.
“No kidding.”

Crazy, I’ve never met such rude hikers on the trail. Maybe they were fighting, I’m not sure. But usually hikers, especially southbounders, are so excited to see other hikers and chat for a quick minute.

Anyways, we hike on and soon sheriff woody comes storming up behind us. The group camped at nip and tuck lake, about a mile and a half past where carrot and I camped. They’re all ahead, rushing to shelter cove resort, where sheriff tells us Guthrie’s parents await.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon go very slowly. The OST isn’t pretty, at all. It’s a giant dust bowl until the last two miles where it parallels a river below.

We cross some train tracks and head into shelter cove, a camp ground/rv park on lake Odell with a small camp store that is loaded with hiker food. I meet Guthrie’s parents who are extremely nice, and they invite us all over to camp and have dinner with them.

It’s a full meal of venison chili, corn bread, soda, juice, hamburgers, salad, tons of fruit and many other items. It’s amazing, and they are so nice! We talk, share stories, and laugh about the happenings on the trail and some drama not a chance has created. Soon we’re laying out our bedrolls and all cowboy camping close together, like a large family. That’s how it feels, like one large trail family.