Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 31: Middle of the Spiral (2)

Thursday, June 28, 2018 – 8.90 miles

I left Ashland today (HA). Half a block from the hotel, a man called out from a passing car and asked me whether I was headed to the PCT. I said yes and he offered me a ride. That was especially generous since he was going out of his way – he explained that he’s recently retired and likes talking to hikers. He drove me directly to the NOBO trailhead, so I missed 0.5 miles of highway walking. I can live without that experience.

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Beetlejuice flowers

Being back on the trail felt great after my break in Ashland! Soon I found myself catching up with another backpacker. What manner of trickery is this? He turned around and I deduced that he was Crazy 71, who I had heard stories about in Seiad Valley. Crazy 71 is a 72-year-old Asian man with a good heart and for the second year in a row is walking for a charity in Hong Kong. He asked me to take numerous pictures of him in different positions (ah, the age of social media). He asked my age, guessing it as under 24. Older men often ask my age and make wildly inaccurate guesses. My theory is that they don’t actually care about my age and they’re not actually bad guessers, but rather that in their advanced years they know how to ingratiate themselves to women. I passed Crazy 71 but he eventually got ahead of me again and permanently, so all’s right with the world.

Oregon has really kicked it into gear with trail markers. I saw two on one tree with another on the tree beside it, as if someone gave a kid the nail gun and said ‘put them wherever you want’. I’m not complaining though.

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I made camp at a spring. When filtering water, I noticed that my filter has a hole in the side. How…? It looks almost like it was scraped under pressure, but I don’t know when that would have happened. It’s a small hole and I’m unsure whether the filter is compromised; no water escapes through the hole while I’m filtering, and no doubt Sawyer would just say to replace it. I have a Steripen as backup, but hilariously (note the dripping sarcasm) I have nothing to use it in since it requires a wide-mouthed bottle and I lost my Nalgene. I could use my cooking pot, but then my water would taste like salt and burning.

While considering my options, I realized that I had forgotten my toque and several other clothing items in Ashland. ??!&$? It’s like I had a twin in the womb but absorbed it, and now its remaining cells are influencing my brain to take revenge (even while writing that it sounded like utter nonsense, but I’ve already written it so I’m going to go with it. That’s the philosophy with which most of this journal is written). So what to do? It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I’m going to return to Ashland to pick up my clothes and replace the filter.

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