Day 93: Monday, August 5

In the Columbia Hotel in Ashland (left PCT at mi 1725.8?), walked 22.8? miles today

Woke up at 6:55 to find the others gone, was on my way myself by 7:20. Lately I've felt great in the mornings, with no need to break for the first 2 hours at least; went over 8 miles before my first stop at a spring today. Was around Team Real Names (I don't know what to call them as a group, they're the people I was around in Etna: Robin/Laptop, Travis/Coca, Maddy/Sailor Moon, Adam/Dinnertime) for most of the day because Travis also was meeting someone in Ashland this evening, in his case his mom. The miles just sort of floated by again ... At the top of the only real climb today, near the Mt. Ashland ski hill, someone had put out a few coolers of soda. Sucked down a Mountain Dew in about 2 minutes, then took a Pepsi for the road, and so much caffeine and carbonation so quickly absolutely ravaged my digestive system, which doesn't see anything stronger than the occasional stiff mixture of Tang these days. The afternoon miles passed less easily because I was in constant fear of spontaneous explosion from somewhere in my midsection. Eventually once my stomach settled down I walked the last 3 miles or so with Travis, then we took the weird shortcut trail across the railroad tracks and the junkyard and under I-5 to Callahan's Lodge, which is kind of like a home base for PCT hikers going into Ashland.

Travis' mom met everyone in the parking lot bearing pizza, cold soda and fruit so we trashed up the pretty nice-looking Callahan's front lawn by being all dirty and shirtless and sprawly and gluttonous all over it for an hour or so. Eventually those guys all went off to Medford with Mama Coca for a motel stay and a trip to Winco to buy food for the rest of their maildrops to Canada ... Kristin showed up for me 10 minutes later. Drove the few miles down the freeway to Ashland, checked into our hotel, had dinner at the Caldera taphouse, then did 200 miles' worth of grocery shopping at the local Safeway. Back at the crib, took some time sorting it into what I will carry out tomorrow for Crater Lake (the first 100 miles) and what I will ship to Crater Lake for the second 100 to the Willamette Pass area. Getting to bed way late because we always have a hundred things to talk about. Planning on being back on trail tomorrow; it feels like every PCTer takes at least one zero day in Ashland--I think Spins and Baboon might have taken 4 last year--but beyond that little bit of resupplying and maildrop-sending, and spending as much time with Kristin as her schedule allows (i.e. not much), I don't really have a lot to do here. And I've come to accept that I like the actual act of hiking the PCT more than I like anything else about this whole adventure, so I don't sit around Not Hiking if I can avoid it.