WHERE: Etna — Ashland: Oregon, USA
WHEN: March–August, 2018
WHO: Karma & Scott
OBJECTIVE: Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) thru-hike
DISTANCE: 1600 – 1718 mi (temporary jump ahead due to snow, total miles walked: 1051.7)

A few days late with this update, but here it goes! We left Etna with the intention to get back on the actual trail as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that took a bit longer than expected since there were still heaps of snow left up in the mountains, but we finally made it. We started working our way north on the roads. Not a bad walk really, the small winding country roads and mountain forestry road networks took us through some beautiful scenery, parallel with the PCT but at a little lower elevation out of the snow. Just a bit mind-numbing to hike on roads in general… not ideal but we made the best of it and we downloaded an audiobook to help pass the time.

We walked through some strange lands on this stage too (the proposed state of Jefferson)… at least strange for us who are not from here. Americans in general seem very keen on signs. In this particular area it had gone a bit to the extreme with the stay-out-no-trespassing-mine-not-yours-message… a little unsettling… we walked on quickly and did not linger.

We crossed over the border into Oregon and soon walked into Ashland, a wonderfully friendly town – the complete opposite to the above mentioned. There was another weather front passing through dumping a lot of rain over the next few days so we decided to wait it out (…or good excuse to stay?). Turned out to be a great weekend, staying with lovely trail angel Becky and her family, thank you!! We ended up volunteering at the “Taste of Ashland” wine and food festival for a few hours in exchange for a weekend pass. Sweet! A great way to meet the locals and really get a taste for the region. Ashland is a great little town, it is easy to see why hikers get vortexed into staying here.

So, on a side note… Kind of strange to listen to a real life crime story about a California serial killer while walking in the California back country, lol… but it was interesting and did the job. Turns out this is actually the strangest thing that happened this week!

The book is “I’ll be gone in the dark”. It is a compelling investigation of a serial killer, rapist, and burglar dubbed “The Golden State Killer”, who committed at least 12 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries from the mid-70s to the mid-80s in California. The book ends. The guy was never caught! But we get to Ashland, glance at the local newspaper over a morning cup of coffee, and would you believe it?!? They actually caught him! After several decades of eluding capture DNA confirms they finally found this monster, the very next day after we finished listening to the book! Cool but kind of weird!

This marks a short break from the trail… first off to Florida for a family gathering, then it is time to jump back down south again for another go at the Sierras! Back soon!