Wow, what a journey this year! I’m sitting in my hotel room in Fields making hitch sign in hopes of getting a ride to Frenchglen where my car is parked. Of course that will happen after I devour a breakfast worthy of a hiker that has been on the trail much longer than I have.
I’ve never section hiked a trail before, and loved dabbling in the different mountains and canyons of eastern Oregon during 3 different seasons. From when I started in May, it has been over 5 months and 5 different trips to pick away at the miles.
Immersing myself in the hike, and the job, and in supporting other hikers has felt like a great coming together of all my past experiences; I have never felt so incredibly engaged on every level. and there is so much to do! So many other areas to explore, connections to make, and hikers to tell about this route.
I has a great realization recently…I went to grad school for museum exhibition design…a field I’ve never actually worked in besides my internship at the Smithsonian years ago. But at the heart of my desire to design three dimensional spaces to share an idea or artwork or knowledge, is facilitating an experience. The more interactive and immersive…appealing to all senses, the better. My exhibit has become the desert of Eastern Oregon.
The trail is an introduction to a landscape, and through maps and guidebooks and research into the incredibly rich history, geology, land management, and wildlife, I feel like the information the trail has the ability to impart is endless. Walking for weeks in the immense sagebrush seas and craggy fault block mountains, soaking in the numerous hotsprings, eating at the small cafes, and meeting folks who have homesteaded out here since the westward expansion is facilitating an experience much larger and deeper than I ever could have in a museum.
I’ll leave you with one of my first video experiences talking about the trail. Ultrarunner Christof Teuscher has been producing a video series, about his 17 day, 15 hour run of the entire 750 miles this summer! and stay tuned for some upcoming podcasts by Cascade Hiker Podcast where I talk about the ODT and hiking.