Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It rained in Oregon

I always knew I loved my home state. However, it was not until I stepped over the imaginary line that separates California from Oregon that I understood just how wonderful it feels to be back.
Yesterday, Spud, my friend and hiking partner asked me "So...Honeybear, has it hit you yet, I mean, that we have made it to Oregon?". My answer was a resounding "YES, YES, YES". Let me explain. 
Aside from the daily physical activity of hiking, I consider this experience to be a test of my mental endurance. Thus, in order not to be totally overwhelmed by the prospect of hiking almost 2,700 miles, I usually avoid focusing on the end goal and instead I like to think about each day as a worthy part of the experience. I had never really considered how I would feel upon entering my home state. Tired? Happy? Angry? Defeated? Proud? Confident? Overwhelmed? Well, as it turns out I think I experienced them all and expressed this smorgasbord of feelings via a small emotional breakdown. Due to some distractions along the trail, I found myself a few minutes behind the crew I had been hiking with earlier in the morning and thus, heard their elated shouts as they celebrated the incredible achievement of reaching Oregon. As I came up the last switchback in California and saw the "Welcome to Oregon" sign I felt so relieved to be home that I burst into tears. First came the tears of joy. Joyful to be home. Then came those sad tears. Tears that were the last to touch what was left of the soft California ground. Then the tears of anger. Tears about many important and many more unimportant things. Then the tears of celebration. Celebrating 1,700 miles of hiking.  Then, after I thought I had calmed down I suddenly became overwhelmed by tears of gratitude. It was with these tears that I crossed the border between California and Oregon, and was greeted by hugs from Oasis and Spud and a slew of treats from other hikers who had also been waiting for this moment. As the curls of celebratory tobacco and marijuana smoke cleared, our large group that we sometimes refer to as the love train gathered near the sign for a group photo. Although we were dirty, sitting all bunched up in a big group reminded me of taking a class picture in elementary school. There we were, all 19 of us, so proud to have completed over 1,700 miles of trail. What an incredible feeling.
Less than a miles after we crossed the Oregon border, we were greeted two legendary hikers-a father daughter duo named Balls and Sunshine who had set up a party complete with birthday hats and blankets along a remote Forest Service road. What a spectacular welcome to the home state.
The trail magic has continued with a surprise visit from Ryan Hasty, the manfriend of Oasis who offered to take our packs for the day while we hiked carrying only water and maps. Later, we met up with my friend Spud's parents whose generosity, kindness and passion for gardening and many other things I can only hope to live up to some day. Thank-you Renee and Don treating us like royalty here in Ashland.
It feels good to be home and as we make our way north, we will also be making our way towards Eugene, where my good friend Rebecca will be meeting us at Shelter Cove! Furthermore, I am also very excited for a visit from my dad and younger brother as they join us for three days of hiking.
The evening that we arrived in Oregon it rained. Although the precipitation only lasted two minutes, it reminded me of how much I love Oregon. I leave you with a question that I have been thinking about quite a bit as I hike. What do you love about your home? What makes it special?


  1. Dear Lena,

    I hope that you read very soon this comment. I want to have urgently contact with you or somebody als you know. It is about your trip to Nepal in the past.

    Rudy Devos

  2. Thanks for the nice comments Honey Bear, it was a pleasure meeting with you and we are positive our paths will cross again. If you ever need a get away near the Oregon Coast you always have a place with us. :-)
    Hope you, Oasis and Spud travel safe.