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MailTribune.com
  • Passing thru

    A record number of thru-hikers are heading toward Southern Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Cam Honan arrived at Callahan's Lodge late after a long, wet day. Hungry and in need of a shower and sleep, he learned that all the rooms were booked for a wedding.
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    • Volunteers needed
      The Pacific Crest Trail Association, which protects, preserves and promotes the trail, needs more trail maintenance volunteers in this region. Training is provided, so no previous experience is req...
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      Volunteers needed
      The Pacific Crest Trail Association, which protects, preserves and promotes the trail, needs more trail maintenance volunteers in this region. Training is provided, so no previous experience is required. Email volunteer@pcta.org for more information.
  • Cam Honan arrived at Callahan's Lodge late after a long, wet day. Hungry and in need of a shower and sleep, he learned that all the rooms were booked for a wedding.
    No problem, said the 42-year-old Australian. He'll just crash on the lawn.
    And he did, as thousands of other endurance hikers traversing the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail have done over the years.
    "I will sleep where the wedding reception will be held tomorrow," says Honan, after finishing a beer and a few plates of spaghetti on the lodge's veranda on June 29. "If they need an extra best man and there's a free meal, I'll do it."
    Honan, whose trail name is "Swami," pointed to his backpack, an efficient, 7-pound toolbox that holds everything he needs to rip through 40 miles of trail a day for his months-long trip from Mexico to Canada. Right now, his pack is empty of dried beans and other lightweight food.
    But also in front of him is a box of provisions he had shipped to Callahan's. Consuming 21/2 pounds of food a day, the lanky hiker will make it to Crater Lake in less than three days, about twice the speed of the average PCT hiker.
    In the next several weeks, Ashland will see more "thru hikers," as they are called, arriving in town with scruffy hair, a spare backpack and trekking poles. They will be in need of a computer, washing machine and place to flop. And often a cold beer.
    The number of PCT hikers has increased each year since the trail was completed in 1993, says Jack Haskel of the Pacific Crest Trail Association. But because of low snow levels this year, a record number of hikers left the Mexico-U.S. border in April and are heading this way.
    "It's the busiest year ever on the trail," he says.
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