Saturday, August 31, 2013

Driving, Driving and some more Driving

On the Oregon coast
After our last post Sara and I went on a road trip to try and get our heads right for a glorious re-entry into society.  After getting a diagnosis of severe over training from the cardiologist, we set off towards Oregon to visit Sara's sister and find my brother on the PCT.  About the time we hit Barstow we got an update on some other tests I did and it turns out I also had giardia. Apparently I had had the lovely bug for almost two months and displayed none of the symptoms, but it did not allow me to recover at night like I should have been, which kept my heart racing, etc.  So we found a Walgreens and Starbucks that night in Sacramento so I could get my metranidazole fix and Sara could get caffeine.

We camped (possibly legally) just north of Redding on some pullout off some road where we could still hear the logging trucks fly by at three in the morning.  Fortunately the ripe blackberries in the morning made up for the few hours of sleep.  That morning, as we realized we left our camera at home, we made it to Crater Lake, the first park on our National Parkish tour.  Like much of the rest of the trip, smoke from forest fires blurred the view, but it was still spectacular.  We did a short hike, my first activity, down to the water's edge where we wimped out on swimming in the chilly water.

From Crater Lake we went up to Bend and stayed with our friend Amy (my girlfriend in-law) in her new apartment.  The next morning we ran along the Deschutes River, where Black Butte Porter flows at 200cfs into the Mirror Pond Pale Ale.  It was a great place for a first run for me, although Amy and Sara tried to hammer me, because it was flat and relatively lower altitude.  More on the Deschutes below.

Our next step was to try and find Gavin (my brother, Amy's boyfriend, Sara's boyfriend in-law) on the Pacific Crest Trail.  We knew he was supposed to be resupplying at Timberline Lodge near Mt. Hood in the next day or so, so our plan was just to hang out until we found him. A few miles before the turn to the lodge the PCT crossed the highway so we slammed on the brakes, pulled into the parking lot and asked another thru-hiker if he knew Gavin.  With over 1,000 hikers on the PCT why wouldn't he know Gavin?  Turns out this guy had been hiking with G-man and Gavin was only 20 minutes back.  Once again the Boughner's impeccable timing strikes.  We were able to spend the night with him along a branch of the Zig-Zag river before he resumed hiking.  It was wonderful to see him in his bearded glory and hear stories from his hike.  Apparently his hike involved many more shenanigans than ours.
Bumpass Hell

After a frustratingly fun two days trying to navigate back to Bend on roads not shown on our Atlas, we arrived at Sara's sister's place.  We had a great visit with Megan as well (where we got our last resupply box from my mom, the camera).  Megan showed us more of downtown Bend and borrowed some inner tubes for us to float on the Deschutes.  The four of us (Amy included again) spent a lazy
hour or so basking in the warm late summer sun of Central Oregon while freezing our butts off in the cold glacier fed river.  Once our feet, butts and hands thawed, Sara and I decided we would really like to have a river flowing through where we live.

Sara and El Capitan, Yosemite
From Bend we made our way to the Oregon coast, with a delicious stop at the Tillamook Factory, where we traveled south.  We spent a morning in the Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, where we ran into a bear cub during a short run.  We also decided we need to go back and hike more in the park.  That afternoon we ventured to Lassen Volcanic National Park and hiked down to Bumpass Hell (appropriately named for the unfortunate Mr. Bumpass who, while demonstrating the possibility of bringing tourists into the boiling, sulfuric ponds, fell in and lost a leg), which was a rotten egg smelling vale full of multicolored rock and volcanicy stuff.  We decided we need to go back and hike more in the park.

That night we drove most of the way to Yosemite.  The latter portion of the drive (11:00pm-2:00am) was through incredibly smoky areas South of Reno, NV where ash was actually falling.  We managed to find another semi-legal pullout on a road on which to camp before venturing to Yosemite that next morning.  In Yosemite we drove through and did all the touristy stuff (saw Half Dome and El Capitan) and reaffirmed we need to go back and hike more of the park. 

In a Sequoia
Our next stop was at the southern end of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with Sara's good friend Brie.  Brie is working in the park and so was able to give us an insiders view to the park.  We went for an awesome run in King's Canyon, swam in the King's river, and couldn't go in the cave because of a rock fall. 

We left the National Park tour for a bit and went to the people-infested place that is the Los Angeles megatropolis.  We were able to stay with some of Sara's friends and she showed me some of the great places to eat, and get ice cream.  We also got a tour of the space shuttle Endeavour, which after a multi-day journey through the streets of LA ended up at the Museum of Science.

Tortoise in Joshua Tree
Our last stop of the trip was Joshua Tree National Park.  Here we saw our first desert tortoise, Sara's first tarantula, and a coyote howling.  Neither of us had seen one actually howling.  We went for a short run up Ryan Mountain in the morning then hiked to the 49 Palms Oasis in the middle of a dry canyon.

After that we made our way back to Flagstaff.  Arriving in town this time was much better than a few weeks ago.  Aside from being very ready to get out of the car, both of us feel more ready to get back into the world of society.  I will resume work at Run Flagstaff, which has been very good to us while gone, and Sara will find a job that will tide her over until we resume hiking next summer and continue her commissioned art work.

Thus endeth the road trip.

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