Spring Break ’15 – Hikes and Bikes and Friends in the State of Jefferson (Part 1)

Photo by: Dari Bohn

Over Spring Break, while I perused pictures of my friends vacationing in Greece and others in London, I managed to have a few mini adventures centering around my home. I did return to my other home in Redding for a whirlwind of a few days, and it all began by my taking the Greyhound bus for the first time.

The bus departed late at night from the dark and cold Medford station, not known for the respectability of the neighborhood. I had read about greyhounds before, seeing them described as great travel equalizers, allowing those who aren’t affluent to travel, meet new people, and gaze out the window at the passing countryside as it fluctuates and changes and breathes. The stories I had heard regarding the Greyhound today take quite a different tone. There is a kind of unspoken fear/rumour that these buses are dangerous, populated by drug addicts, and unclean. Whereas this may be true in some cases, the bus I rode seemed quite innocuous. I rode it deep into the night, where the only lights were the cool blue lights that lined the aisle, the shining of people’s faces from staring into their iphones, and the occasional moonlight that shone through the trees. The bus was strangely serene, half full of passengers either dozing off or absorbed in their technology, and the night was dark. When I tried to look out the window and ascertain where I was, all I could see was the dark shadow that must have been my reflection, although no features could be made out. I plugged my headphones in, and listened to an odd assortment of music ranging from Bon Iver to Of Monsters and Men to Pink Floyd. I spent the whole bus ride in a strangely contradictory state: with heavy eyelids and ready to succumb to tiredness but completely unable to as sleep eluded me.

I pulled into Redding quite late, when the streets were empty and the bars were no doubt full, and my parents picked me up from the bus station. As I got home, I collapsed into my old bed and fell asleep.

The next day was filled with seeing as many old friends as possible. Breakfast with the Majster (Also known as Majie, also known as Mary) I met her in a psychology class and we hit it off. We once tried to hike Mt. Lassen, only to find the trail to the peak was closed halfway up. She is a student and a nurse and an upbeat person with an amazing whale tattoo on her inner arm. We share a love of beaches and adventures, and I was quite glad to see her and catch up. I was also able to meet up with Joanna, an old friend from high school, who had gone straight to UCLA, and is well on her way to her future. The subjects of our classes don’t often overlap (hers often very heavily life science based, mine more media studies based), but our love of good coffeeshops always does. We met at the Coffee Bar, a building with a very industrial look outside and a bizarrely homely look inside. After this, I was able to meet up with some of the friends who I had met in Korea (despite all being from the same city in Cali) – San- the ever-upbeat and friendly gent, Kim- the driven and also the driver on one our trip down to SoCal for New Year’s, and Christina- the art major who lives in a hip apartment in San Fran who accompanied me to a concert down there months previous. That night, after much coffee and Indian food and wanderings, I met up with Rebecca, who lives in Seattle now, and she broke to me her big news- she was getting married in September (my biggest news to offer was that September was roughly the time I was going to run out of money, thanks college). I have only met her fiancee once, so can’t officially give my approval, but he takes her to see the Seattle Sounders play so I suppose he can’t be that bad.

The next day was family day, and the day after was my return trip. The reason my adventures is the fact that I recently got a new job, working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Only as an usher, but I am still incredibly happy to be working for what is arguably the most culturally (and financially) important aspect of Ashland. The festival, which runs from February to September, brings all sort of talent to the local area, as well as an incredible amount of visitors. Anyway, I had just started, and got my training in.

To be honest, my reason for riding the Greyhound back to Redding was not only to experience it, but because I can’t quite operate my car just now (for those who don’t know her, her name is Jasmine and she is a 1994 Ford Escort station wagon that is well-traveled. We take care of each other). So my method of travelling in those days was relying on the local buses (Rogue Valley Transportation District-which are also surprisingly clean, albeit not always on time) and riding my bicycle. I have a garage sale bike, an old Murray that has one older tire for mountain biking and the other is newer, a kind of hybrid designed for on road/off road travel. The new tire replaced one that was both terribly old and terribly riddled with goats heads- which are small thistle like plants which can spell doom for bicyclists. My bike works well for what I need it for though, which is to say as an alternative to commute with. I have been riding my bike/taking the bus to work, and rather enjoy riding home. There is a bike path that connects Ashland to Medford, called the Bear Creek Greenway. Not to mention that Ashland is quite bike friendly. The lanes are wide and so far no one has flipped me off. To get to the bike path, I meander through a few old neighborhoods and find the start of the path beside a dog park. However, the first time I tried to find the path, I ended up in some other park which circled some bog of a lake and didn’t get home until quite a bit later. Although it is dark when I ride on the path, so far it has been safe. This is not to say that it is always safe, as I had heard of a young man who was brutally murdered on the path, despite the fact that generally speaking Ashland is notoriously free of crime. Nonetheless, the path is beautiful, and the cover of night only amplifies this. It follows a meandering creek, which gives off a cool breeze as I ride by. The tall trees loom above the path, which can either be protective or sinister, depending on the night. My small flashlight illuminates a swath in front of me and a blinking red light lets anyone behind me know where I am. As for wildlife, I have come across several deer, three raccoons, and several cats when my ride takes me into the suburbs of Talent (the town I live in, just north of Ashland). I usually come home tired but adrenaline filled, and also I get the added bonus of feeling as if I had done something that resembled exercise.

I also ended up hiking with a few new friends, up to the Table Rocks, found out about their volcanic history and the plants atop it, but that is a story for part two.

Until then, enjoy your journeys.

Such a chill day with new friends #adventuretime

A post shared by Ryan Loughrey (@peaceloveandabowlofrice) on

 From the first time I adventured with Majie – Our attempt to climb Mt. Lassen (only to find it closed for repairs)

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