Home Sweet Oregon

We pass the ‘Welcome to Oregon’ sign going 60 miles an hour.

I’ve been looking forward to reaching the Oregon border since the beginning of the trip.  41/2 months later, we finally make it.  But not to the sign I was hoping for.

On the trail there is a California/Oregon sign at the border.  I’ve been dreaming of happily sitting at that sign (or happily collapsed on the ground beneath that sign for months).  But the trail was closed.

The recommended detour for this last Northern California fire is to take a bus to Yreka, another one to Weed, then take Greyhound to Ashland.  We considered hitching, but thought that making a sign saying ‘Weed’ would be counterproductive.

Third lifeline.  Call a friend.

We get to Seiad Valley, Grider Creek Campground, and are greeted by our good rafting friend Kevin. (Who has lots of stories of rafting this summer to share, which we listen to with envy).

Pile into the car and away to Oregon we go!

On our way to Kevin’s house in the Klamath Basin, we stop by our favorite pizza place in Medford, Kaleidoscope Pizza (this is a favorite for the end of rafting trips).

Hwy 140 over the mountains to the Klamath Basin.

It feels like coming home, and at the same time, everything seems strange.

Our farm is just 30 miles up Hwy 97.  It’s been about a year since I’ve been back in the basin. A year since I was helping my dad pack up the farm, and my parents were making a big move across the world to Malaysia.

Now we’re hanging out with good friends, enjoying the view from their house at the Running Y.  A huge window in the living room has a gorgeous view of the marsh and Klamath Lake.  You can see all the way to Mt Scott and Crater Lake.

I know this country well.

Enjoying coffee in the morning, Kevin says ‘It looks like it’s gonna be a great day.’  and I reply ‘Yes.  It looks lovely. I’m going to enjoy it from inside.’  Backtrack seconds this.

We plan our Oregon resupply strategy.  It still feels likes summer to me, but apparently it’s late in the season so some places on our route are closed.  Logistics.  Shopping for  twenty days of food.  Sorting twenty days of food to mail it. Figuring out where to mail it to.  And in between, eating lots of food and enjoying the view.

It feels so good to finally be in Oregon. Only 957 miles of trail to go!

After sixteen-hundred-something miles, that suddenly sounds doable.

Everyone asks. Are you done for the season? Gonna finish Oregon?

Our reply is: Still hiking North.  (Backtrack says, if I were to ever write a book of our adventures.  That should be the title.)

Still Hiking North.

I feel like I may just end up spending the rest of my life hiking North. (On the windiest route possible to get North).

The other day, in the Marble Mountain Wilderness, I found my first patch of huckleberries.  Life is very good when there are huckleberries on the trail.  The blackcaps really were a sign of hope.

I’m in Oregon!

But I’m not home yet.

About Natalie

Natalie Fisher is a dancer, teacher, silk aerialist, and choreographer. She is inspired by the wilderness. Her work involves finding the seam where her worlds of dance, aerials and the wilderness meet.

2 thoughts on “Home Sweet Oregon

  1. Hi Natalie, aka Dances with Lizards!

    So delighted to find your website/blog. My Sweetie, Shawn, and our yellow lab, Txuri, and I met you on the PCT in Oregon (near Mt. McLoughlin) this past weekend and chatted for a bit about your adventure. You were heading to the Sky Lakes Wilderness area if I recall correctly. I hope the rest of your afternoon/evening was lovely and that you have since enjoyed your journey up and around Crater Lake.

    I look forward to reading about your travels north and wish you clear skies and easy footfalls for the remainder of your hike.


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