I kicked off my day with a 7 mile, mostly downhill, jaunt to the highway that would take me into town.
I'd heard so many good things about Ashland and was excited to see what all the fuss was about.
I reached the highway by 10:30 am, and didn't have to wait long for a ride.
I rode Into town with a friendly, hippie type of dude, who gave me a tour of town and dropped me off at the post office.
I'd been eagerly anticipating a package from my friend Linda, and was overjoyed by her thoughtfulness and generosity.
While assembling my food, I was approached by a young woman who just wanted to say hello and mentioned how she loves meeting all the hikers that come through town and offered some good places to visit.
When disposing of my trash, I was approached by another local who then ran out to his car and offered me a deck of playing cards he published after taking photos on his own Hike of the PCT. The deck featured pictures and information on wild edible plants he identified along his way.
I nestled into a coffee shop and caught up on a few blog posts, well aware and somewhat embarrassed by my stench and appearance. I hadn't showered or laundered my clothes in over 200 miles. Still, I couldn't resist the impulse to take m shoes and socks off and slip into my sandals while I relaxed on the leather sofa and sipped my coffee in the air conditioned room.
As I prepared to leave, I apologized to the man nearby whose reading I interrupted with a cloud of dust that formed from me putting my socks back on, and we struck up a conversation.
Christopher, an accomplished photographer, expressed interest in my story and shared of his experiences bicycling across the US.
He offered to snap a few photos on his studio nearby and when I admitted to my hope to be back on the trail in an hour, offered to drive me back after the session.
That sounded wonderful to me so we spent a few minutes taking some pictures and then rode back to the trail in his Audi convertible.
Here is a link to the photos:
and here is a link to a story he wrote about our time together:
Over the course of the short time we shared, Christopher shared some of the highlights of his career and the insights he drew from them. He spoke with wisdom and humility and I left feeling incredibly inspired by this kindred spirit.
To learn more about Christopher and his work, visit his site:
Back on the trail, I meditated on my good fortune and felt grateful for the lives I encountered during my short visit to town. I was reminded of a similarly named town in which I've felt similarly embraced.
I completed another 11 miles before calling it quits for the night, looking forward to meeting my parents in three days and hoping to greet them at Crater Lake.
It would require completing 100 miles in 72 hours and I was looking forward to testing my body and seeing if it was up to the challenge.