Sometimes a town just takes you in an makes you feel welcome. Those old haunts of music, good food, new people and just the ability to take in some culture lure a hiker in. Our stay in Ashland has been truly relaxing. It started when we arrived at a bookstore and a woman who had just rafter the Colorado River for 18 days offered us a place to stay near downtown Ashland.
At 75, she was the most intellegent and active traveller that I have meet. Her stories worth pages of adventures. Her home overlook the whole of the Upper Rouge Valley a view that told us we were not in California any more. So we settled in before she was off to preform in a Taiko Drumming Group in Lithia Park near Ashland Creek.
Soon we found that her youthful spirit was the norm for this fountain of youth in Oregon. As we walked through the park later, it was filled with music, people, dancers and outdoor plays. After all this was the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and we were hiker walking through the high season.
We went to a replica of he Globe Theater from London, and watched a group of Spanish Flamingo dancers flow through the music of the mistro behind the guitar. To watch these beautiful women weave their hands and body to the rhythm the notes as their swirling dress followed behind the lead of their hips. Compared with the towns that we zeroed in before, it was like landing in another world. It was nice to enjoy a some of the haunts of the city.
We came back and talked wellinto the evening about our hosts travels around the world. It seemed that she had been a local college professor in the Arts, and she had taken up painting locals that she meet along her travels. Tales of Tramping around New Zealand and sailing through the Sea of Cortez seemed to inspire the thoughts of life after the trail. Yet for us Oregon and Washington was calling us, so we started to prepare for walking again.
Half way through town the sound of Celtic fiddle music drew us into the Black Sheep Pub, and with another free concert of Latin music in the park this evening we were sold on another night at a local hostel. It is the lure of good town stops, this is a place I will definitely find myself at again.
From the backcountry mile