“That kid’s got a screw loose.”

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Oregon is shaping up to be pretty exciting. Not 5 miles in and I was treated to my first real rain in over 1000 miles of tinder-dry California countryside. This came by way of a lightning storm. And what do lightning storms bring after a long dry spell? Forest fires! So, as my clothes dried, I wandered up and over ridges with views to adjacent hillsides where pillars of smoke began to rise on all sides. The next day I safely wandered down to Callahan’s where the trail meets the I-5 and hitched in to Ashland where dozens of other hikers were pouring in via the highways as miles of trails closed down.

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Smokey the Bear was full of s#@t.

And more fires are burning further north and rumors of trail closures puts the fear of road-walking in me. Not only is it hell on the joints, but shade is usually minimal, cars are often a nuisance and/or a danger, it’s ugly, and it simply isn’t what I’m out here for. But, if all goes off without a hitch and the trails are open, I have ~425 trail miles left in Oregon (+ a few miles for the Eagle Creek alternate that I hear is amazing), and I’m reorganizing to do it in two weeks or less.

For a few months now I’ve been thinking of making a little game out of the Oregon section of trail. In order to do it in so little time I had to drop a little weight (from my pack that is, I don’t have much fat left to burn). Gone are my DSLR AND GoPro. It breaks my heart, but 3+ lbs of camera equipment was breaking my back. Gone is my stove and the ability to have hot meals; I’ll cold soak all my ramen, oatmeal, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. Gone are my extra cold weather shirt and running tights, balaclava, and a few other incidentals. And to keep my food weight down I’m going to be banking on 2-3 days between resupplies 90 miles apart, which means I have no choice but to move fast and do big miles.

This doesn’t mean that If I break down and can’t do the miles that I’ll starve in the mountains. There are highways in between, I’ll just have to hitchhike out to a larger town to supplement my food drops that I’m currently boxing up here and mailing to various locations along the trail. I haven’t been without my share of injuries and ailments, and hardly a day goes by that some tendon or muscle doesn’t demand my attention and slow me down. But I’m finding a drive I never realized I had. It’s always been there, I just never appreciated and exploited it before. I want to test my resolve. And what better way to do it than announce my intentions to a lot of people to ensure that I don’t back away from it unless I have no other choice.

A lot of people on the trail think I’m crazy for wanting to do such big miles. Well, a lot of people on the trail just think I’m crazy.

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I can't imagine why they'd think that.

A while back a guy named Sea Legs saw me jump into a snow melt lake at about 10,000 ft elevation after I was dared to by one of my crew. He walked up to the others shaking his head and said “That kid’s got a screw loose.” I couldn’t have been more proud! The truth is I like eliciting that response. I don’t go out of my way to get that reaction, but I’m proud to live a little more wildly (or crazily) and have that recognized. That said, I’m not running across Oregon because I want anyone to think it’s crazy or amazing. I’m doing it because I want to challenge myself. And to be perfectly honest, after 1700 miles of walking through the mountains I’m bored. I’m hoping this will add a little excitement back into the equation. Wish me luck!

Departure: 2pm, Monday, August 4th

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