I ran into more trail magic that day near Fish Lake. A trail angel named Clementine was doing a bunch of trail magic in the area, setting up in a few different locations over several days. I got some jelly beans and an orange and was very happy to sit in a chair.
Later that day, before I hit camp, I heard Wookie sounds behind me. There was Blue again -- he had stopped at Fish Lake to grab a soda, so I had passed him while he was there. We ended up camping next to a cabin on the trail, which had a broken water pump. I'm so glad I ran into him, because there's no way I would have been able to handle using the broken pump myself because I'm just not tall enough, and it was the only water around!
Trying to get the broken water pump to work
What a miserable day the next day. The good news: we reached 900 miles! The less good news: I got rained on for the first time in a while, and all of my stuff got completely soaked. There weren't any campsites near me by the time I was reaching my breaking point near the end of the day, so I ended up setting up my tent in a bunch of weeds and grass, where I could hardly even stake in my tent. I was barely able to sleep because everything was totally soaked.
I couldn't believe I had walked 900 miles
The next morning, I packed up, and at the top of the next climb, I pulled out all of my stuff and laid it out in the sun to dry. While at the top, I had service, so I sent a message to Blue and asked if he wanted to split a room because I was ready to sleep indoors again. He said yes, and I was just glad to have my plans figured out for the night.
Oregon turned out to be very buggy, hot, and exposed
After my stuff had dried out, I booked it into town. This part of the trail wasn't flat at all, and that was super frustrating because I was ready to get to Ashland! When I (finally) got to Callahan's Lodge, right on the trail, I decided to stop into the restaurant and get myself a plate of spaghetti. Real, cooked food. That put me in a much better mood.
Finally hitting the highway; Callahan's right around the corner
It was time for me to hitch by myself for the first time, and I'm glad it was here, because I walked out of the Lodge, stuck out my thumb, and the first car I saw stopped for me 15 seconds later. Apparently a lot of Uber/Lyft drivers do a lot of travel between Ashland (several miles off the trail) and Callahan's Lodge (right on the trail) during the hiker season, and if they see you after they've dropped someone off, they'll often stop for you. How kind!
I got dropped off at the motel Blue and I planned to stay at, and finally kicked back and relaxed. We had planned to take a zero in Ashland the next day, so I was ready to relax as hard as I possibly could. We hadn't taken a zero since Cascade Locks, and we were definitely feeling it. I spent that whole zero watching The Office and doing absolutely nothing.
Thru-hikers produce a lot
Blue and I planned to head out the next day, but I got a message from Yahtzee that she had just made it into town, and wanted to say hello. We decided to all go to the Indian restaurant in Ashland for an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. Somehow, during lunch, she convinced us both to take another zero. She was very persuasive.
All-you-can-eat buffets are always a yes
Honestly, I was feeling incredibly burnt out after almost completing Oregon, so it was a great decision. I spent that whole zero watching The Office and doing absolutely nothing… again. It was exquisite.