A Magical Section
Seiad Valley, Ca to Ashland, OREGON
Not every section of the trail is going to have spectacular views or grand waterfalls or great stories. There are times when Kilo and I put our heads down and just hike...in the heat, covered in sweat and dirt, walking the repetitive crest line of mountains for hours. That is how this section of the trail felt with the exception of several trail angels we were lucky enough to run into.
We left Seiad Valley after a brief stop at the General Store to resupply our food. The climb out of Seiad was relentless and hot. We set up camp after about 19 miles. We squeezed our tent into a tiny spot by a spring on a slight downward slant and called it a night.
The following day we had one goal, cross the border into Oregon. About 7 miles into our day we passed a Southbound hiker who let us know there was Trail Magic at the Donomore Cabin (a POI on Guthook). “Like the best trail Magic ever with hotdogs and ice cream.” That definitely provided incentive for Kilo and I to knock out the next 8 miles to the cabin. We were getting close when a man appeared in the woods and asked,
“Are you guys hungry?”
“Are you guys thirsty?”
We then proceeded to do exactly what our parents had taught us not to do growing up. We followed a man through the woods to a cabin and took food from strangers.
That man was “Ducky’s dad.” And we also met Ducky’s mom and his family friends. Ducky had done the PCT (and the Appalachian Trail) a couple of years ago. He is hiking the Continental Divide Trail right now. His family has come out to the Donomore Cabin every summer for a long weekend for the past 4 years to deliver trail magic to PCT hikers to give back for all of the trail angels that have helped their son during his hikes. As the Southbounder promised, this was the best trail magic ever. Ducky’s mom cooked Kilo and I both two hot dogs. We had ice cold Coca-Colas, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin spice cupcakes, chips, and a pint of Chunky Munky Ice Cream. It is amazing the amount of food we are able to eat right now and not gain a pound. This will likely be a challenge once we come off the trail, but we will worry about that later. We sat with Ducky’s friends and family, and IceMan (who we have been leap frogging the trail with for a while now), Muffin Top and Humperdinck at Donomore Cabin for about two hours. Finally, Kilo and I decided to go. The Oregon border was only 0.7 miles away and our goal was to cross that border today. After saying goodbye and a huge thank you to Ducky’s family, we did the hike up to the border. Finally, we were out of California. California is a Really. Long. State. We had packed out celebratory beers for this moment. As we sat there and drank our beers first Muffin Top and Humperdinck came up and we took their picture with the border sign. IceMan soon followed. Everyone was in high spirits as Canada was now only 958 miles away (being under 1,000 miles, Canada now seems obtainable). Kilo and I hiked up another half mile after the border and set up camp for the night.
The next day was our first full day of hiking in Oregon. Around 3pm, the trail spit us out onto a dirt road. There was a son and his mother parked on that dirt road with (more) trail magic. We are getting spoiled. They had ice cold drinks, fruit (cherries!), and lawn chairs to sit in (chairs are a luxury on the trail after spending so much time sitting in dirt). We hung out with these trail angels and their new 12 week old Boxer puppy for about an hour before hiking on. About 4 miles later we hit trail magic again! This time there were coolers full of cold sodas by the side of the road. We took a brief break and indulged in a Coke. That night we camped at the Mt. Ashland Campground complete with picnic tables and pit toilets. A magical day indeed.
The morning brought (only) an 8 mile hike down to Callahan’s Lodge. There, Kilo had a new backpack waiting for him as two of the zippers had busted on his current one. And I sent myself some new shorts because my current shorts were falling off me. Thank god we only had 8 miles for the day because I was tired. Those 8 miles felt like twenty. Every muscle in my legs hurt and all I wanted to do was sleep. We picked up our packages at Callahan’s and then took an Uber into Ashland, a nearby city. We stayed in Ashland for the night so we could run errands; grocery shopping, laundry, and Kilo got a hair and beard cut. We took a zero the following day to get some rest, and stayed at Callahan’s for the night. They have an all you can eat hiker special spaghetti dinner plus one free beer per hiker that Kilo and I took advantage of. Full of carbs and rested, we are now off to Crater Lake National Park.