Sep. 9th, 2008

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I returned from southern Oregon and my weekend with Sang and Grrlpup last night. I have a good deal to report but won't get around to posting until later today - perhaps even this evening. In the meantime rest assured that they are fine and happy. There are pictures! :)
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On Saturday at o-dark-thirty I set off from Portland and headed south to Keene Reservoir, a beautiful spot about seventeen miles east of Ashland, where it had been arranged that I would meet our intrepid hikers.  They were waiting at the pre-arranged meeting place - and had been there for three hours.  Fortunately they were in a shady spot and relatively comfortable though obviously please when their ride/food/cold beer finally showed.  Let the record show that I was not late for the meeting - they were earllier than they had expected.  Thier pleasure was enhanced when I gave them the news that I had found accommodation at a rustic motel less than a mile from where I picked them up.  Originally it had been planned that we would drive back to Medford where we stayed last weekend but I had consulted the Internets and discovered the Green Springs Inn.

When we all arrived at Green Springs and checked in it transpired that the room I had booked had not been serviced.  The house-keeping guy had apparently failed to show up that day.  "Probably gone fishing.." I offered, hoping to convey a light and cheery demeanour.  "I hope he ain't in gaol again!" came the chef's voice from the kitchen.  I was handed the key to another, more expensive room, and asked to accept it as an alternative.  That would have been fine save that it was still occupied!  Further embarrassment all around and finally Sang, Grrlpup and I were installed in what was the only room available - a huge and very nice one sporting a huge bed, a roll-away in addition, a gas-log fire in case the evening became chilly...and a big-ass jacuzzi!  And all for the price of the room I had initially booked.  Yaay!

A very welcome hot shower and/or hot tub was taken by all and then we ate dinner in the Inn restaurant which was adequate without being outstanding.  On Sunday morning we ate breakfast, again at the Inn and it was really very good.  At around 1 pm sang and I left Grrlpup and Louie on the PCT while Sang and I set off to a nearby campground where Sang set up camp while I went in search of laundry facilities and a grocery store.  No luck on either count.  I returned to find that Sang had set up camp in a way any hiker, scout-leader or indeed sherpa would have been proud. The campground itself was really quite excellent; flat ground to put a tent, trees from which hammocks could easily be hung, running water, flush lavatories and hot showers, a fire pit and picnic table.  And situated right on Lake Hyatt.

Grrlpup and Louie showed up in camp around 4pm and after eating some of the curried rice/shrimp casserole I had brought with me we all set off for a nearby marina where a laundromat was to be found.  While we did laundry Sang managed to find some transmission fluid to put in the car and that stopped the frightening grinding sound that had suddenly become a major worry.

That night I made a great campfire and grilled some New York steaks which we ate with potato salad and green salad, followed by apple crisp.  Yummy!  We finally retired, Sang and Grrlpup to their respective hammocks and me to my tent.  I was well looked-after with a good mattress, sheet and sleeping bags.  I slept like a log.  Sang had a more disturbed night but I will leave her to tell you about that.  

Yesterday morning I once more made a camp fire and when we finally all gathered I made corned beef hash - one of the girls' favourite dishes.  I had prepared it in advance so all I had to do was brown it in a skillet and poach some eggs.  I went to a nearby resort cafe and bought a liter of good coffee to go with it and we breakfasted quite handsomely.  After breakfast Sang took me to the lake side from whence one could have a magnificent view of Mount McLoughlin.  Later we went to a nearby 'beach' area where the girls swam while Louie paddled and I observed.  After lunch a good deal of time was spent in breaking camp and re-packing and at around 3pm I left them, taking Louie with me of course, to begin our long driver home.

So much for a chronological account.  What of Sang and Grrlpup themselves?  They are happy but were more than just tired.  They said they had tried to do too much last week and spent a good part of the weekend re-casting their itinerary to reflect less mileage each day.  Sang said she ached from top to toe, had blisters on her feet and chaffing from her pack harness.  Grrlpup also had chaffing problems.  They are in good spirits but anxious to hike within themselves in order to enjoy the experience more and not have to default to what we have termed the F*** This S*** Programme which falls somewhere between vastly curtailing their hike and abandoning it all together.  I am confident that the new itinerary will accomplish its aims and that when I see them next Saturday at Lake of The Woods they will be in much better shape, both physically and in terms of their morale.  It is wonderfully apparent that they are engaged in this adventure as a pair and that they don't just happen to be hiking together.  When one of them needs help or support or encouragment the other immediately provides it.  It is inspiring and uplifting to see.

Well, that's it for now.  I shall report further when I return next week.

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