The YearOf Living Differently-Hiking

If you want to go hiking in Ashland, you are in luck. There are trails and mountains everywhere-from a adorably Alice In Wonderland themed group of trails running across the top of the town (from Lithia Park all the way to Park Street) and I assume this is about 4 miles?

You also can hike from the bottom of Ashland to the Pacific Crest Trail and pretend you are Cheryl Strayed.

Here's the thing about hiking in the mountains. You have to go up and you find a flat place but then you either have to up again or down to find another flat place. Some of the up sections are very steep and of course, some of the down sections are also similar.
The flat places are really nice though, if a contemplative walk is on your agenda. The up and downs are also nice if you are focusing on breathing and taking your life step by step. I'm sure it's a metaphor. Also, they help make your quads really strong. The hills not the metaphor.

Luckily all these up and down places are on trail maps which I do not have any idea how to read. I figure I go up? And then I eventually go down.

In our region, there is poison oak. This is like what would happen if poison ivy had really bad menstrual cramps and decided to not give a fuck about your needs. It can be low to the ground. It can grow up like a goddamn tree. If you think it's poison oak it probably is poison oak so don't touch it.

If you climb up to a certain elevation (which means the up sections have to be REALLY STEEP) poison oak is denied a chance to live and so then you can frolic with abandon. Or you can hike NW in Portland and avoid the noxious weed.

Once you think you've gotten into Poison Oak, you need to take a bath with Technu, stat. Technu is the shit that helps you avoid the shit that is Poison Oak.

We've mentioned deer a few times in posts. Apparently there are also bear. My mother in law has witnessed one coming down the creek near their house which is in civilization, but on the edge of the mountain so it's pretty likely the bears live up where the trails are. I think the bears are pretty much trying to avoid the goddamn deer, or like, lying around eating blackberries so I'm not too worried.

Still, I'd like to have a dog to take with me because I'd like to hike alone and having been person in what is identified as a woman-type-body, I have issues with hiking alone. I probably should be more frightened of the bears or say, an angry deer, but I'd like to have a big dog and some mace.

I don't know how Cheryl Strayed did it but I've read Wild twice. She probably just kept walking. It's a metaphor I suppose. Maybe I can rent a dog.

Right now it's 106 degrees and super dry which means dehydration is a risk. We hiked a short hike today but I'm relishing the idea of 70 degree weather and long hikes alone.

It's part of the live differently plan, hiking long distances. I know Cheryl did it first, but doesn't mean I can't join that club.

I'll need more Technu. And yeah, read trail maps.