Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reflections on Oregon

The Oregon section of the PCT, on the whole, was very, very good. It was a beautiful balance of wild and accessible, forested and open, alpine and valley, scenic and low-key. From Crater Lake to Eagle Creek, the landscape is full of vistas that have me marveling every time I look at my photos.

The best part about Oregon, though, were the people. Stumbles was our longest-term hiking buddy, braving the fires with us and coming out on the other side into the lovely Oregon scenery, and I can’t forget all the wonderful people we met who shared their campfires, their conversations, and their laughter. Seeing family when we were in Oregon didn’t hurt, either!

That said, going over my notes again reminds me of why I always get a small pit in my stomach when I think of Oregon. Of all the sections, this one involved the most pain, mostly in the form of aching feet, which translated into all sorts of fun muscles strains and joint pain that often kept me awake at night. Our foot problems got so bad that I remember wondering whether or not we’d be able to finish the trail— I was afraid that our foot issues would strike us out before we could reach Canada. Our morale flagged a lot in Oregon and I was often grumpy, but that really wasn’t anything new.

And so there is a tension with my memories of Oregon between the happy times and the days where my feet felt like they would explode. But we made it through, and we came out on the other side smiling. Especially after a weekend off, we were readier than ever to tackle Washington. 

In short, Oregon was a wonderful section, an excellent choice for someone wanting to hike an easy scenic section of the PCT. If I ever got the chance to go hike the Oregon section again, I would gladly grab my pack and head out into that gorgeous wilderness today.


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