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After a few days of dragging our feet, of feeling burnt out and worn down, Pineapple, Bucha, and I comparatively bounded up and out and down the trail this morning. Today, we leave California and enter Oregon.
The Pacific Crest Trail only travels through three states, versus the five of the Continental Divide Trail or the fourteen of the Appalachian Trail. I’ve heard folks who have hiked the AT talk about the Virginia Blues—at 550-odd miles, it’s the state that hikers spend the most time in—but we PCT hikers spend more than three times that number of miles in California. The PCT runs 1,689 miles of its nearly 2,660-mile length through the state, which is only a hundred miles short of the two-thirds mark. As such, I’ve always thought of the state line as a turning point, of sorts.
The excitement built as the miles dwindled, and I’m pretty sure the three of us practically ran the last mile and a quarter to the border, where two signs and a trail register waited for us. We cheered for each other, grinning, hugging, taking ridiculous pictures and trying to think up sage things to write.
Oregon means shorter days and colder nights, more water and more forests. We’ll see Crater Lake and hike around Mount Hood. We’ll cross paths with even more people thru-hiking south on the PCT, and I’m even hoping to run into a friend headed southbound. I’ve also heard that we northbounders will spread out more than we already have; due to varying schedules and differing resupply plans, I’m likely to lose even Pineapple over the coming miles. It’s ultimately a bit bittersweet, but little of this was on our minds as we stood under that small border sign high on a tree.
We spent the rest of the day marveling over it—Oregon!—and amusedly lamenting that the trail didn’t really get any easier or change in any significant way once we crossed the border, or once we crossed the 1,700 mile marker. Still, we’re officially one state closer to finishing, and that is something.