Tag Archives: Ashland

Pacific Crest Trail Oregon – Day 5 to Hyatt Lake

Day Five
Today’s Miles: 11.6
Total Miles: 52.4
Camp 7 (near Hobart Bluff Trailhead) to Hyatt Lake

I slept in until 6:30 a.m., and started my morning with yoga stretches and meditation. I focused on affirmations of safety, wellness, and “I’ve got this!” I wanted to face my fear. I was determined to be brave. Today was the final day of backpacking with Carl during this first leg. He wouldn’t join me again until the final few days at the top of the state.

A visual of what Carl and I did the first 5 days – Donomore Pass to Hyatt Lake

We topped off our water, and hit the trail by 8:30 a.m. I was excited to finally be hiking north instead of east. Big animal tracks greeted us first thing. Carl wanted to see a large mammal, apparently not satisfied with his rattlesnake experience yesterday. I didn’t have a strong desire to see any large mammals, and I made a mental note to add that to my morning affirmations.

Cougar?
Bear scratches?

We made it to the Hobart Bluff trailhead in no time. One of the best outhouses on the trail lives here. In fact, you can hike the first 50.6 miles of the Oregon PCT (Northbound) with facilities every night if you plan accordingly. This section is particularly nice for anyone new to backpacking, and wanting to be “eased” into the scene. There is nothing special about the camp at Hobart Bluff Trailhead, our spot last night was far better. I’ll take a beautiful location over an outhouse any day.

Three miles up the trail, the PCT passes through the Green Springs Wildlife Sanctuary for one mile.

We hiked grassy savannas with views into the valley, and open hillsides.

It was a hard day. I was sore, and my body ached more than the previous days. We took many breaks, several involved taking shoes and socks off to allow our feet to breathe.

Toward the end of our day, we heard the sound of water and got so excited! This meant we were almost to our destination for the night. On the shore of the outlet of Little Hyatt Reservoir we took a proper break, soaking our feet in the water, eating the last of our food – which included a treat of a freeze dried ice-cream bar (that wasn’t very good), and chatted about our five amazing days together.

The kids met us at Hyatt Lake campground where we found a spot to stay for the night. I was tempted by the cabins with hot tubs rented out at Camper’s Cove Resort, but we decided $12.00 for a spot at the campground was a good deal, and more in our budget. We had to reserve online because of the pandemic, and none of us had great phone service. After a frustrating 30 minutes, and an $8.00 fee to reserve online, we had our spot for the night.

At 5:50 p.m. we headed to the Camper’s Cove Resort for dinner to discover they close at 6 p.m. Oh no! I planned on us eating at a restaurant for this night in my resupply bag planning, so I panicked for a minute. It certainly felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere, and we were mega minimal camping tonight. Why would a restaurant serving dinner close at 6 p.m.?

Thankfully the woman inside, (ironically named Sunshine because she was not all that friendly) told us about another restaurant just 10 minutes down the road, open till 8 p.m. – woohoo!

Cocorico was FANTASTIC – highly recommended!

We were immediately so happy the other place closed, because we knew this would be superior in every way. The menu was ideal, the owner of the restaurant was beyond friendly, the outside seating was great, and they even had a play structure our little one could play on while we waited for our food. Slam dunk perfect, and the food was AMAZING. This was a highlight of my entire Oregon adventure. (Well, I REALLY like food.)

When we got back to camp I had a mini breakdown; I couldn’t find my phone anywhere. Carl even drove around to retrace our steps. All I could think was, “Now I can’t hike the PCT!” My daughter, Hadlie, was probably hoping with fingers crossed, “Now I don’t have to hike part of the PCT.” (The plan was for her to join me the next three days.) Crisis averted when I finally found it in the car.

I got the four-year-old to sleep around 10 p.m., and happily fell asleep myself after listening to my daughter freak out about all the bugs she could see (on the outside) of her tent. Oy, I’m backpacking with her tomorrow? 🙂

Oregon PCT Backpacking Day 3 to Callahan’s Lodge

Day Three
Today’s Miles: 9
Total Miles: 29.3
Mt. Ashland Campground to Callahan’s Mountain Lodge

I slept MUCH better last night with the help of the wind lulling me to sleep. It took some time for me to figure out how to be comfortable without a pillow. Carl has decided a pillow will be his one luxury item on future backpacking trips. I was out of the tent by 5:15 a.m. and watched the sunrise. It was a beautiful morning, and the wind had died down.

Only faced with 9 miles for today, we enjoyed our morning, not needing to rush. However, we were low on water, so we rationed last night in order to make breakfast this morning. I was feeling a bit dehydrated, but water was hopefully waiting for us at what used to be the Mt. Ashland Inn, 3 miles ahead. We were on the trail by 8:30 a.m. and enjoyed another morning of wildflowers, some views of Mt. Shasta and a giant manmade birds nest.

Trail Art?

The Mt. Ashland Inn used to serve PCT hikers, but is now a private residence. Thankfully they have maintained a water spigot for hikers to use. I wasn’t sure it would be turned on this year amid the pandemic, but it was! With proper use of hand sanitizer, water bottles can still be filled. We enjoyed a little break snacking at the picnic table overlooking a beautiful garden full of vegetables and flowers.

I was sore and tired today, so a short hiking day was perfect. Shortly after leaving the Mt. Ashland Inn, I saw my first deer on the PCT.

There was also a fun view of Pilot Rock. We saw it the first day, and it already looked so much closer just three days later. This would be the first of landmarks on the horizon I would see far in the distance and watch it draw closer as my feet moved along the trail. This felt so phenomenal, but it was especially magical with Pilot Rock. We would go right by it tomorrow, even though it looked so far away still.

Pilot Rock

Old stage coach road

We made it to Callahan’s Lodge in no time. Taking the side trail down to the lodge, we got turned around for a minute (thanks to some locals who sent us in the wrong direction), but we retraced our steps and found the way. I crossed my first paved road today, which was weird, and later hiked under I-5, which was even more strange. We got to the lodge around 1:30 p.m., and immediately remembered the pandemic, putting our masks on before entering.

It was early in the day and we could have kept hiking, but I was excited to stay at the lodge, and we made plans for the kids to meet us here to give grandma and grandpa a little break.

The lodge offers a backpackers special for hikers who simply arrive with packs on (much cheaper than booking a room in advance). We could tent on the lawn outside the lodge, or for a very reasonable price, we could get a big corner room to ourselves – we splurged on the room! The kids were staying the night, so having a big room to coral the 4-year old would prove extremely useful. I was a little nervous with the pandemic, but we only saw a few other people there the whole time, and it was easy to keep distance.

Carl and I headed to the patio for lunch while we waited for the room. We have only eaten outside at restaurants during the pandemic, and this patio did not disappoint.

We shared a delicious pitcher of Amber ale from an Ashland brewery, but didn’t have the best food experience. However, we were gifted with a free pitcher, so I won’t belabor the point that food arrived frozen, or was completely forgotten. The service was friendly, and we have to give restaurants a little leeway during all the COVID craziness. With my beer buzz, I was happy, if not entirely fed.

Our room was ready shortly after, and we showered. Showering is the BEST after a couple days of backpacking (or 11 days of backpacking…which I will get to later in the journey). The kids arrived shortly after this, and the little one was SO happy to see me. I worried about the next four weeks. How was I going to be away for so long? We walked the quarter mile nature trail around the property a couple of times, stopping to view the waterfalls and lizards along the way.

My parents came to have dinner with us at the lodge and helped me replace the batteries in my GPS, which were already dead.

That evening brought anxiousness for me. It felt overwhelming to go through my resupply bag, and repack for the next leg, as well as factor in what the kids needed for the next couple of days. I had to figure out where Carl and I would get water the next day, etc. etc.

On top of all this, my book made the next leg sound awful; hot, not that pretty, and basically a means to an end. I felt defeated, What am I getting myself into? I was so happy to see the kids and give my parents a night off, but it threw me a little. Plus the 4-year old napped on the way to the lodge, so he was up past midnight. We had big comfy beds with pillows, but still didn’t get the best sleep. Lessons learned…