Date: Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 1704.8, 6959 ft
Finish: Junction with trail to I-5 at Mile 1715.2, 4475 ft
Daily Miles: 10.4 PCT, plus 0.6 to I-5
Total PCT Miles: 1174.9
Weather: Cool early then warm and sunny
Accommodation: Room at Rodeway Inn, Ashland
Lunch: Bacon scramble, toast & jam
Dinner: Caesar salad, meatloaf & vegetables, ice cream and rice.
Highlight: Finding a bootmaker in Ashland who will replace the inner soles and the Vibram soles of my boots by close of business tomorrow. The insoles and soles are showing significant wear, but the uppers seem OK, and with these repairs I should be able to get at least another 500-600 miles out of them before I need a new pair. I’ve also worn through my second set of socks and will be replacing them as well (should feel like I’m walking on air when I get back onto the trail). My trekking poles are also showing their age, and I fear may be near the end of their lives, so I may replace the tomorrow at a sports store in town.
Lowlight: Sadly, Ashland is a spread out town, with the old town and centre about two miles from the newer section where I am staying (and the accommodation prices are reasonable). Thus I had to catch a bus there and back today and will tomorrow as well. On the other hand, there is a laundromat, supermarket and one diner within easy walking distance of my motel.
Pictures: Click here
I was actually quite cold hiking in a T-shirt for the first hour from 6:00am, and was pleased when the sun finally reached me. I had about 11 miles, mostly downhill, to get to I-5, and a hitch into Ashland. With a light pack and good hiking conditions I made good time as the trail wound its way down across open meadows with big views and through shady and cool forests.
I thought about hiking the whole way non-stop, but inevitably after a couple of hours I was feeling tired and hungry, so stopped by the trail and ate my muesli. From there it was another five miles of increasingly scrappy trail as it approached civilisation and left the National Forests behind. The last part was an unmarked side trail to the freeway, which I followed without problems, and by 10:30am I was standing on the freeway on-ramp with my thumb out. The first car that came along stopped and picked me up. Coincidentally, it was a PCT hiker who had given up his hike a week earlier because his dog could no longer handle it. He dropped me at my motel in Ashland at 10:45am and the manager let me check in early, which was fantastic.
After a shower, I walked next door to a laundromat and did my washing, followed by lunch at an adjacent diner. Later, I caught a bus downtown, dropped my boots off for repair (see above), did some shopping and window shopping at two outdoor sports stores, and picked up my bounce box and other packages from the post office. Downtown Ashland looks like a very nice place to live if you have the money with many interesting stores, cafes and theatres. The town has an almost perpetual Shakespeare festival going on and there were many tourists in town on a warm afternoon.
Tomorrow will be spent planning for, and buying for, the next leg or two, and hopefully, I will also find some time to vege out.