I'd say walking 18 miles by ten am is pretty awesome except I'm not sure it really counted like that...
So around 3 am I noticed a puddle forming under me. Hmm not good. I'd never fallen back asleep and just sitting there watching the rain was getting old. I had been a little concerned with how long it was going to take me to get into town and had been debating waking up a little early the day before. So why not make it exciting and hit the trail around 3:30?
So I did, oh and good job life proof case my phone is still alive after sitting in the rain for hours because I couldn't find it, maybe consider day glo not just dark purple.
So off I went into the darkness. It was slow going. You can pretty much tell where the trail was by feel but you get darn wet in the process. I've heard people call wet bushes washing machines and I heartily agree. My legs and feet were soaked. Across dirt roads and around mountains and up at least 1000 ft I climbed. Laughing and muttering the whole way. Near the top it finally started to get light. That's when the morning started to feel long. I just kept contouring and climbing but never descending. I knew there was a long descent into town and I just wanted it to start already.
It was cold and wet and I was getting frustrated with the roads and intersections not on my map (guthook come on!). Finally as I started to descend another person popped up behind me. I'll admit it, I was pretty creeped out. All in camo and I couldn't see his face. I turned a corner and there was a lovely trail magic cache. A little freezing outside for a cold soda but I peeked at the journal as the hiker passed. Turns out it was just Scarecrow all kitted out in his rain gear, much better than an anonymous creeper. I drank the cold soda anyway and feeling a little rejuvenated with only ten or so miles to go I headed down. Passed the Ashland resort and a very sweet mom and son, down through cross country ski land, walked a few circles on a road as I lost the trail and finally felt closer. Those last few miles took forever, slightly overgrown single track overlooking a road peppered with power lines. Joyful hiking. Less than 2 miles from the road a section hiker out on her morning dog walk offered me a ride into town if I was still in the parking lot after her walk. I love the hiking community.
I hit old highway 99 and right as I crossed the street to get to the shoulder a guy pulled over and offered me a ride. I hadn't even put my pack down yet :) and with the beauty of technology I found out that Samwise and Sweet As were at the post office so I got a ride straight into downtown instead of having to wander aimlessly for hours. And what a reunion! Right in front of the post office with boxes exploding everywhere were Samwise, Sweet As, Hawkeye, Kombucha, Joker, the Cousins and Caveman. How fantastic. Hit up the local co-op, wandered into gear shops and then on to our hotel. The cousins headed back to the trail, it was great to actually say goodbye this time. Caveman decided to stay the night since he isn't feeling well and he'll easily catch up in a day or two. Take out Thai food and Men in Black on TV so happy. A nice mellow evening after a very long morning. So far Ashland I'm a fan.
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