The past week or so has been phenomenal. Starting all the way back on my birthday, I spent a few days relaxing and, well, just relaxing at Tokatee Hot Springs near Crater Lake, OR. I managed to pull myself away from the hot springs last Tuesday (the 23rd) and drive up to Eugene, where I promptly arrived too late to visit in with my friend whom was leaving for training early in the morning. I slept at a rest stop just north of Eugene, planning on visiting another friend in the morning and then making the drive to Seattle.
Managing to get myself out of bed and walking by 11 or so, I headed out. No sooner had I gotten up to speed did I see two dudes standing at the bottom of the ramp near Corvalis on the 5 (legal in Oregon) with their thumbs out. I pulled over, and promptly saw the first two *clean* hitch-hikers I have ever met inside the US. They were also headed to Folk Life, and were willing to visit my friend and chill for a bit for a lift all the way. They, also, were fresh out of some hot springs, Cougar near Eugene.
As plan changes go, this was one of the best. While visiting with my friend, we decided that, with no real schedule to keep, a side trip to Bagby hot springs was in order. "Only about 45 minutes away," I was told. Though I knew the route, distance, and time it would take before we departed, it still seemed to take a incredibly long time to get to the hot springs. We camped in the parking lot, starting the evening with a hike to the springs and a hot soak.
The next morning (the 25th?), I woke and made some coffee, watching
It was raining when I woke up this morning, with a bit of mist making it past the netting on my hammock to settle on my face. I walked over to the van to set up a tarp and begin some coffee, watching campers emerge in pairs and trios from the "No Camping" hot springs trail. I smiled at a trio who walked over, toting a decidedly damp dog, and we struck up a conversation. I noticed that there did not appear to be any other vehicles in the parking lot right about the time they asked for a lift to Estacada. I smiled, thinking of my two other riders, and invited the trio to stay, figuring I could clear some space. While the coffee was sub-par, the company was great, amidst the constant Oregon rain. Eventually everyone roused, space was cleared, coffee was consumed, and another hot soak was in order. While all of the tubs we had used the prior evening were in use, we were directed to the old tub, a bit further down the trail. This thing was awesome! Hot springs are really something special, I wish there were some in the Northeast. The five of us, plus dog, drove to Estacada, where we parted ways. The two original guys and I headed north, destination Seattle. Or a rest stop a few dozen miles south of the city, as we were to later discover.
We made it! A slack-line was set up, along with some juggling instruction (both of which I have VERY slowly picked up, and need to pick up some line for myself), at the rest stop in the morning, after which we drove to Seattle...directly to REI. An hour or more was spent browsing this store, which has a wrap shack on the second floor, a full rock climbing area, as well as hiking and biking test tracks outside. Oh, and there was a lot of gear, too. I managed to walk out without purchasing anything, though I thought long and hard about it.
This evening we camped out at Gas Works Park in Seattle. Well, they camped, I slept in my van. The park has a stunning view of the Seattle night skyline, incredibly illuminated, along with the remains of an old gas works plant (hence the name) sticking out from their original locations from the grass. Hopefully I won't get interrupted crashing out here, across from the park.