August 17, 2017, Mile 1716: Calling It

At Callahan’s Lodge, Ashland, mile 1716

It’s just not fun right now.

I developed a large bruise on my right shoulder, so I spent most of the day with my pack hanging off my left shoulder. It was painful enough to make me cuss, loudly.

California Section R, which runs from Ashland, OR, to Seiad Valley, CA, has a steep start, and right now is covered with smoke. That smoke is all over Ashland, Medford, and the Rogue River Valley. It’s hard to breathe, and is playing utter havoc with my asthma. There’s more, and worse, smoke and wildfire in the northernmost sections of California.

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Mt. Shasta, almost obscured by the northern California smoke

Going uphill is taking me longer, and longer, and longer. I understand why. I get it. But it’s sapping the fun out of my hike. And it’s draining my energy, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I don’t think I’ve got enough energy to continue, and still enjoy myself. You’ll never find a hike which is all fun, all of the time. But if it’s not fun at all, for whatever reason, it’s time to rethink things.

So I did eleven miles today, plus another 1.5 mile roadwalk, to get to Callahan’s. And I decided to call my hike for the year.

Callahan’s has been a great place to make the transition. I got to wash my clothes, and wash me. And while the laundry was going, I talked with Steve.

He listened to me for a few minutes, and then I asked if it was too late to join the family camping trip to Madras, OR. Madras is on the centerline of the August 21 eclipse. The family was planning on a trip from the 19th through the 21st. All I had to do was to make it to Seattle on the 18th.

So within a half an hour, I had tickets on a midafternoon flight from Medford to Seattle, plus a shuttle ride to the airport. My head was spinning, but it was the right thing to do.

I pitched my tent in the small grassy area at the front of the lodge, and went to have dinner in the restaurant. I had filet mignon, and the largest piece of chocolate cake I’d seen in a long time. Because it was time to treat myself. Well.

I’m sharing the lawn with Michael and Karen, his niece. They’re great, and it’s good to spend time with like minded people, before heading home.

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My final campsite, at Callahan’s

I made the right choice, but I wish I didn’t have to.

 

One thought on “August 17, 2017, Mile 1716: Calling It

  1. Haven’t had a chance to read the rest of your story but just want to say how proud I am of you for finding a way to hike this summer. You’ve had a challenging year and have stuck with what makes you happy. I’m sure sharing the eclipse with your family was a win!

    Liked by 1 person

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