FC: Lisa and the Pacific Crest Trail 2012
1: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 Evolution Of A Thru Hike Why thru hike the Pacific Crest trail? How did it come about? *2008 - I start backpacking with a coworker. We hike all over, even New Zealand and he dreams about one day thru hiking the PCT. *2009 - I move to Oregon and hike the 3 Sisters Wilderness Area along the PCT and meet a couple of thru hikers who are hustling to reach Canada before the snow flies. Now it's my dream. *2010 - I hike Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area along the PCTand I become slightly obsessed. I go listen to a talk about the PCT by a thru hiker at REI. I buy the Wilderness Press Guidebooks. I read a lot. I plot and I scheme. How can I convince work to give me 5 -6 months personal leave? *2011 - I know the hike wouldn't happen this year but I feel in my gut that 2012 will be my year. Somehow I'll find a way to make it happen. I start researching and planning for “just in case". I find websites with links to more websites. I learn about “kickoff" and resupply and gear. I find the PCT-I email list where I post questions and get answers. My airline Comair announces layoffs and offer early retirement packages. I retire. The hike is ON! *2012 - I get my permits. I buy a food dehydrator. I finalize my itinerary and resupply. I buy the last of my gear. * Now all that is left is to makeup my meals, package my resupply boxes, and continue to train! I've been having knew and hip issues. Ugh. Bad timing. Jim, at Arnaux Physical Therapy is working his magic. I fly to San Diego April 17. Launch date April 18. Why hike the PCT? BEcause it's there. Because it passes through some of the most beautiful country in the US. And so much more.
2: Monday, February 13, 2012 Weighing In I finally was able to borrow my friends' weighing machine. I've almost all of my gear & I'm going to be over my target weight of 15 lbs. But what to cut? I can't replace anything else for lighter versions. So I have to cut. What can I live without?? There's a guy on the PCT class of 2012 website who says he's going “ultra heavy". Maybe I shouldn't cut anything and just go with it... Thursday night, there's a meet up of all the local 2012 thru hikers at a Portland brew pub. I'm looking forward to that. It'll be fun to compare notes & gear lists. Since I'm doing the hike so, these are people I could end up hiking with. Future friends. | Wednesday, February 8, 2012 Breaking Up Is Hard My 1995 Honda Accord LX, 4 cyl, 5 speed manual is gone. I sold it last night. I'm feeling sad. We spent 92,000 miles together, but I won't be needing it while I'm hiking and I'm happy to have the $. I s'pose I'm being a bit melodramatic but I'm allowed. Continuing my preparations - today I start dehydrating the fruit I bought at Costco. Now that makes me smile.
3: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 Final Pack Weight After review of everything and some changes, my base pack weight is 16 lbs 2 oz. It will go up to 18.5lbs in the Sierras. Bear cannisters are required & are heavy!
4: Monday, February 20, 2012 Meet Up Thursday I went to the Burnside Brewery on NE 7th & Burnside to meet up with other local thru hikers. It was crazy cool. About 11 people showed up. We were all strangers to each other from different backgrounds & different ages, but we shared a common goal. There was instant friendship. The conversation flowed. We were all excited and there was so much energy at our table. Really awesome. And the hamburger I had was the BEST burger I've ever eaten! Well, the evening ended with plans to get together again for a gear check - set up tents, light stoves, load packs, etc. So I'm feeling stoked. A lot of pieces are falling into place. The weather is cooperating. I've got the time off. I'm meeting people. My friend Daryl summed it up well when she said it's effort & perseverance meeting up with luck that's making this hike happen. | Sunday, February 26, 2012 Gear Checks Today I tested my gear. I am pleased with everything except my tent. The tent gets an F! I set it up, & put my pad & sleeping bag in as I planned on sleeping in it tonight. The sides were a bit saggy but passable. However, when I went out tonight to go to bed, it was all caved in, so my 5' 3" self had no room. Talk about feeling like you're in a tomb! Or a coffin. I'm very frustrated. This is my second tarp-tent shelter that I've tried. Uggh. I wish my 2 person Mt. Hardware tent was lighter. I love it... but it's too heavy for a thru hike. “Sigh". I will call the company in the morning for help. Otherwise a good day today. I got some training in and some more food dehydrated. My knees are feeling better which makes me happy. For the first time today I felt confident about my ability to do this hike. I've been worried that my body would let me down. But the physical therapy & strengthening exercises are starting to have a positive effect. Now if I can just solve the tent problem.
5: Monday, February 27, 2012 Tent Part II I feel like a kid. I'm camping in my back yard all snug in my down sleeping bag. I was able to fix my tent with the help of a friend. All is well with my shelter. Goodnight! | Saturday, March 3, 2012 Resupply My last dinner has been cooked, dehydrated, and bagged in quart size ziplock heavy duty freezer bags. Mac n Cheese, yummy. I've never dehydrated food before, so this has been quite a project to start out with - 5 months worth of dinners! If you don't dehydrate the food long enough it will spoil. If you dehydrate it too long, it will lose taste and nutritional value. But how to tell when it's perfect? Well, I'll take a loss of taste over rotten, however my first taste of some lasagna was pretty darn good. There are 3 basic strategies for resupplying on the trail. 1. - Buy all your food on the trail and ship ahead to those places where you can't get enough food; 2. - Resupply entirely from packages sent from home; or 3. - A combination of both. There are pros and cons for each of those and most people do strategy #3, a combination. I am resupplying almost entirely from home. I chose to do this because I have time to do it now since I'm not working. I think I'll eat better with home cooked meals, but primarily because I wanted to be able to relax when I got into town. After hiking 20 +/- miles, I didn't think I'd want to run around town shopping. I like the idea of just going to the post office, getting my package, and then finding a place to rest my feet and unwind. Plus, I like to open packages! It helps that my awesome cousin Darlene is able to be my at home Trail Angel. Now that the cooking and dehydrating is done, I have shopping to do. I want to get a variety of snacks, granola bars, tuna, etc... I read that Chia seeds are really good for energy as is a corn dish called Pinole. So I think I'm going to check that out at the local health food store. I won't forget chocolate chip cookies either!
6: Sunday, March 4, 2012 Born To Walk After reading Born to Run, I've been thinking about how it applies to my hike. The book was about ultra running, runners, & the Tarahumara Indians in Copper Canyon, Mexico. The Author talked about the joy you see on the faces of these Indians & top ultra runners when they run even when there at mile 40 in Death Valley. Well I'm doing an ultra walk. And yes hiking through forests, deserts, & crossing mountain passes puts a smile on my face. The beautiful moments make the awesome moments even more rewarding. It's a good feeling to push through a “wall" and become stronger. I feel very fortunate to be able to get off the couch and walk. So, I say to myself- Have a little pain? Embrace it. Fear? Welcome it. Joy? Love it! Cause you were born to walk! Woo hoo yaa | Thursday, March 8, 2012 It's Crazy But... I had a big day & I'm feeling wired. I'm also feeling sick to my stomach & excited. I started the day with a long drive to a job interview. I was early so I had time to review my notes. I felt confident & prepared. So the interview went well & they offered me the job. I told them I was thru hiking the PCT & wouldn't be available til Oct. So they will touch base with me Oct. 1 to see if I'm still interested. Then I got a call at noon from a company I applied to last year. It's my dream job - flying corporate, home every night & weekends off. They invited me to interview. Problem is, I'd have to start April 25 & give up the hike. I said No. Yep, sorry. It's a great opportunity but I'm hiking the PCT. I'm crazy!!!!! He understood. He said he'd keep my resume on file for future openings. Yikes. I'm... I'd say the same thing given another chance. Wow. Ok gotta go... process.
7: Friday, March 9, 2012 Start Date I just found out that my friends Chris (Splits) and Becky (Two Step) Haynam are starting their hike the day before me! I may catch up to them prior to Kickoff. Initially I was going to start my hike at Kickoff. Kickoff is a weekend gathering at Lake Morena Campground, 20 miles north of the border. It's the largest gathering of ultra light vendors in the country. But most importantly, it's an orientation and sharing of information about the Pacific Crest Trail for hikers. This year it's April 27- 29. However, I'm now starting my hike a week early on April 18. My plan is to hike 110 miles to Warner Springs and then get a ride to Kickoff from there. I decided to leave a week early because it is shaping up to be a low snow year in the Sierras. That means an earlier start through the Sierras is possible. The lack of snow has been hard on ski lovers but it's good news for me. Route finding will be easier. Stream crossings will be shallower and less swift. The downside is that the desert will be drier and I'll need to carry a lot of water, 6-8L in sections. That's heavy! I'm looking forward to doing some hiking with Chris and Becky. | Tuesday, March 13, 2012 More Food Yummy food. The most discussed thing on thru hiker forums besides gear is food. I'm excited about a post I read tonight. You take instant pudding, mix & combine it with powdered milk in a ziplock bag. In another bag you put crushed Graham crackers. On trail, add a little cold water to the pudding mix, let set, top with Graham cracker crumbs. So I bought several boxes of pudding, Graham crackers, & vanilla wafers. I think the nilla wafers will make a good topping also. Tomorrow I'll be smashing the crackers & wafers and assembling the pudding mixture. I plan on dehydrating pineapple as well. It's all about variety so I don't get tired of the same food day after day for 5 months. I know I will enjoy this little treat on the trail.
8: Monday, March 19, 2012 Trail Name There is a tradition at Kickoff & amongst hikers to give each other trail names. It's usually a name that fits your personality or based on something you do. Being given a trail name is part of the whole experience of hiking the PCT. So I have a dilemma of sorts. When I told my hiking partner about trail names, he gave me one. It fits, it brings back a lot of memories, & since my partner & friend can't go I'm sentimental about it. On the other hand I want to embrace the whole experience of the PCT, including being given a trail name. So what to do? I think I shall introduce myself by the name given me, “Helicopter". If I get to keep it great; if my fellow hikers change it... | Gary, March 19 2012 Hey, thought you might like this recipe. I haven't tried it but definitely looks tasty. Energy Bites 1 cup oatmeal 1/2 + cup peanut butter 1/3 cup honey (warmed) 1 cup coconut flakes 1/2 cup ground flax seeds 1/2 cup small chocolate chips 1 teaspoon vanilla Mix together. Refrigerate 1 hour. Roll into balls. | Brian, March 19, 2012 I'd look at it this way; use the name as it means something special to you, and every time you hear that nickname, it'll be like they are with you in spirit sharing your experiences. | Monday, March 19, 2012 Comments I have not figured out how to reply to comments, if it's even possible. I do enjoy reading the comments I get. Gary, thank you for the recipe! I'm going to try it out. Brian, you are absolutely right, and I'm hanging onto my trail name. Cheers, Helicopter
9: Monday, March 26, 2012 Trimming The Fat My mom surprised me with a Garmin 62S GPS. I'm so excited about it. I found a special PCT Topo sd card for it too. I was going to hike the trail with just Halfmile's PCT maps and a good map compass. But so cool to have a good GPS! Well, with the addition of the GPS to my pack weight, swapping my cook pot to the lighter Snow Peak titanium pot, and getting rid of some little things, I had to recalculate my pack weight. It's base weight is now 15 lbs. 2.9 oz. I'm jumping up and down over this! I'm 1 lb. 4 oz. lighter than I was before and that's with a GPS! I'm feeling like everything is in place and I just want to get on with it. Take me to the trail head please. | Tuesday, April 3, 2012 Two Weeks In two weeks I'll be on an Alaska airlines flight nonstop to San Diego. A few hikers have already started. Ron Ulrich is starting this week. He's wearing 26 wedding dresses over 26 weeks for his hike. I'm getting anxious. Hyper too. I'm thinking of putting two squiggly eyes on the back of my pack. They're the craft eyes kids use for projects. So if you're out on the trail & see a pack staring at you come say “Hi". I'm shipping my first resupply box today to Warner Springs. I have 23 total. My ride to Kickoff from Warner Springs is confirmed. All is ready! Here are the numbers for Kickoff so far: 751 total attendees, 269 thru hikers, 150 section hikers, 170 previous hikers, 163 wannabes, 104 groupies, 93 trail angels, 17 staff, 21 vendors, & 25 organizers. Needless to say, I will not be alone on my “Solo" trip. | Monday, April 9, 2012 I Hear Adventure Calling When I was a little girl I loved books. I still do. But back then I was always reading, oblivious to what was going on around me. My favorites were mysteries & adventures with strong heroines. One in particular began “I hear adventure calling". Thats stuck with me because it was how I felt. Well, in 8 days I will embark on a grand adventure of my own. My family & friends have been incredibly supportive. So I want to say thanks to all of them. My mom has been great even though she's worried for me. So as the day I leave gets closer and last minute prep is being completed, one more time; THANKS GUYS!!
10: Monday, April 9, 2012 Helicopter Nuff said!
11: Sunday, April 15, 2012 Packing Up I'm laying out my gear, double checking it, making sure I have everything. I'm simultaneously fighting the urge to take more stuff & wondering if there's anything I can leave behind. “Do I really need that shirt? What if I don't take this or that & find I need it?" Sigh. Here's the pile. | I have 23 resupply boxes. Here's a few of them ready to be taped up & shipped out. | Yesterday I hiked Silver falls with my friend Dave. It is a park near Silverton, OR. A 3 hr hike on the canyon trail takes you by 10 waterfalls. Beautiful. It made me more anxious to start. Will I ever get tired of the forests, mountains, & streams? I expect to have moments when I want to curse said forests, mountains, & trees. But tired of it? No. Here's a picture of south waterfall.
12: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Day 1, The Start, Campo 0 - Hauser Creek, Mile 16 There were a dozen of us at the monument at 8am. Everyone signing the register & taking pictures. Apparently my helicopter hat is “sick". Then one by one everyone took off down the trail. By mile 10 it became clear I wouldn't make Lake Morena that night, so I camped at Hauser Creek with LB, Minnesota, Joe & Joanna & others. I'm stoked & my legs are holding up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAfI9LxiUZo&feature=player_embedded | Thursday, April 19, 2012 Day 2, Hauser Creek, Mile 16 - Boulder Oaks Mile 26 Hiking in the desert is hard. The sun doesn't care that you're hiking uphill with a heavy pack and the mountain doesn't care either. I hiked solo most of the day, but met up with Power Nap taking a nap & joined him for a break til we hiked on. It's hard but the views are beautiful, the Yucca is in bloom, & the hikers are friendly. It seemed every time I started to struggle I would round a corner to an amazing view or a cold creek to cool off in. This is real. I'm doing it!
13: Friday. April 20, 2012 Day 3, Boulder Oaks, Mile 26 - Long Canyon Mile 37.2 Got up early to beat the sun, but was still the last to leave camp. I'm slow, but that's ok. I need to go slow & do low mileage to build up my strength. Already I can feel my legs getting stronger & my shoulders don't hurt as bad. I got my first blisters. I hiked a lot with Bob & Minnesota today. Bob has done the PCT 3 times, so us newbies have been hanging on to every word. He hikes slow! I had been feeling tired & nauseous all day & had trouble eating. I didn't hike today I stumbled. I finally crashed. Minnesota came upon me a minute later. I was dizzy, slurring my words & nauseous. Yep, electrolyte imbalance. He made a salty drink for me & fed me peanut M&M's. It perked me right up. My body came to life & my legs were strong again. I camped with Joe & Joanna. I'm still nauseous though, and shaking. My plan is to hike the 5 miles to Mt. Laguna in the morning, get a room at the lodge, & get better. | Saturday, April 21, 2012 Day 4, Long Canyon, Mile 37.2 - Mt. Laguna Mile 43 It was a leisurely hike up to MT. Laguna today with Joe & Joanna. I was glad for the company. They are from Washington. I find I enjoy hiking solo, but like all the cool people I meet too, like Wolf & Bobcat as well. Bobcat made her own pack & hiking clothes. My new friends from the last 3 days are hiking on. I will miss them, but I know new travel companions will happen along. I was able to get a room at the lodge. I got the last room! Yay! A shower never felt so good! I washed my smelly smelly clothes in the bucket provided by the manager. No clothes washing in the tub! Me and my clothes were pretty stinky. I'm feeling better. I downed a can of V8 right away & just finished lunch at the Pine Café. It was the best hamburger ever! And I had the pleasure of eating with a couple of locals. It's beautiful here & people come up from San Diego to hike & bike. So I will be fine I think & plan to continue on tomorrow if I continue to improve. But I'm sleeping in!
14: Sunday, April 22, 2012 Day 5, Mt. Julian, Mile 43 - Pioneer Mail, Mile53.2 Today was the best day of hiking so far. After sleeping in & eating breakfast at the Pine Café, I packed up & headed out. I was feeling strong and anxious to get back on the trail. It was easy hiking all day through the Cleveland Ntl. Forest and then through a transition zone as forest gave way to desert. Amazing views of the Anza Borrego desert! I was alone all day & only saw the occasional day hiker. Just me, my shadow, & the “thwack" of my poles. Once in camp there was only one other hiker there. Black Snake is retired & lives in Houston. We've agreed to hike together as far as Julian. I enjoyed my solo day but now that I'm back in the desert I'm thankful for a partner. He's done this section before & is familiar with the route. I'm cowgirl camping on a picnic table. The stars are out, beautiful. | Monday, April 23, 2012 Day 6, Pioneer Mail, Mile 52.6 - Rodriguez Spur, Mile 68.4 Sixteen miles today! Today was harder but nothing too steep & it had cooled down. We got an early start. In the desert you want to hike in the morning when it's cooler, rest during the hot part, & hike again late afternoon. The desert was in bloom. The mountains made a scenic backdrop. So awesome. We saw lizards, jack rabbits, & a rattle snake. The snakes like to curl up on the hot trail. Arriving at camp I was greeted with shouts of “Helicopter!". It was Buster, Grit, & another hiker from two days ago. We spent the rest of the day relaxing. As later more and more hikers arrived. We had a mini tent city. Paul (not sure on name), a hiker who is a musician, got out his ukulele & sang. I fell asleep in my tent to the sound of his music.
15: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 Zero Days A zero day is a day with no hiking. I haven't had one yet. Every day I've done 10- 16 miles with the exception of the 9 miles to Mt. Laguna. I had planned to continue hiking to Warner Springs today at mile 110. I have a ride there to take me to the Kickoff and orientation weekend at Lake Morena. I would then ride back Sunday to the trail head. However, there is rain coming in today and possible thunderstorms. I also woke up very sore. So I'm taking a zero day. I'll get to Kickoff from Julian. My body will thank me. I'll be stronger for it and I want to be successful at doing the whole trail. I love it. It was a hard decision to make because I really want to push on. But I'm trying to be smart and make good decisions. I'm happy, and going to read a book, eat lunch at “Moms" (free lunch for thrus if you sign the wall), and visit with the locals and hikers. | Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Day7, Rodriguez Spur, Mile 68.4 - Scissors Crossing Mile 77.6 Today has been a leisurely day. 10 Miles to Scissors. Just yesterday it was 110 degrees at the crossing. Today it was high 70's and a breeze. So we made it down in 3 hrs. On the PCT you pass through many different eco systems, and each trail town has its own unique character. I wish I was more knowledgeable about what I'm seeing. Did my first hitch into Julian 13 miles up the mountain today with 3 others. It's a touristy mountain town. Laundry , shower, food, treat blisters, & life is good. I'm splitting the cost of the room. A conversation between me & a biker on a Harley: “ Hi, you hiking?" Me - “yea how are you?" Biker - “well, where ya hiking to?" Me - “Canada." Silence... I'm feeling strong & doing great.
16: Thursday, April 26, 2012 Trail Life Since I won't be hiking again til Sunday. I thought I'd write a bit about what it's like on the trail. First a few principles: Take care of your feet (foot powder, taping hot spots, changing socks). Don't walk and look at your GPS/maps at the same time. Know where the water is. Carry enough water & drink it. Plan ahead, but be in the moment. Look out for other hikers. When hitching smile at people going the opposite direction as they might pick you up on their return, & eat .. a lot. It is entertaining to listen to a conversation between thru hikers. We talk about our blisters and rashes, sore muscles, have they hiked the trail before & if so how much, how many miles did they do that day, where did they camp or going to camp, where are they from, how'd they get here & what's for dinner. Everyone compares gear. All types of people hike the trail. College grads, hippie types, retired couples, professionals, and the average Joe or Jane. A lot of people quit their jobs with nothing to go back to. I met a hiker who is on his 7th attempt. 8 years ago he was told he'd be in a wheelchair in two years. Instead he threw on a backpack. Every year he gets farther & has done over 700 miles of the PCT. He's got metal in his back & lots of pain, yet pushes on. Inspirational. These people become your “family" and the trail is your “home". Your job is to hike it. Right now, at this “crossroads" in my life, there is nowhere else I want to be. There is nothing else I want to do. this is it. Blacksnake left this morning. He is not going to Kickoff. I was tempted to keep hiking with him. But there are some good workshops scheduled this weekend and I may learn some things that will make a difference later on. So I will go learn as much as I can, meet other hikers, and have a good time. Plus, they're going to feed us. Yay! Speaking of food, my favorite trail food right now is tuna and Cheese It crackers. | Sunday, April 29, 2012 Kickoff Kickoff has been great. I was reunited with friends I had made those first few days who had hiked on ahead of me. I made new friends. Everyone was swapping stories of their hike. All of us are anxious to get back on the trail. There were informative classes - PCT flora & fauna, mountaineering skills, bears, trail cooking and more. In the evening we had trailside readings and watched video clips of the trail. Fun! My trail name has evolved. My fellow hikers gave me a new one. I'm still Helicopter, but because of my “crashing & burning" in the beginning of my hike, I'm now known as “Black Hawk Down". I pick up my hike in the morning from Scissors Crossing. Yay!
17: Monday, April 30, 2012 Scissors Crossing, Mile 77.2 - Mile 99.2 I'm sitting in my tent in camp. It's dry and warm out so I could have cowgirl camped but my tent needed to dry out. This post is about trail angels & trail magic. I got a lift back to the trail this morning from Early Girl & Water Boy. They're from WA. They treated me to a scrumptious breakfast in Julian, then on to the trail at 10 am. They're angels. More trail magic is the water cache at mile 91.2, 14 miles away. Without it, the closest water would have been 23.8 miles away. So I'm very grateful to the angels who put it there. Not to mention my friend Craig who drove from San Diego to give myself & 3 others a ride to KO. It was a beautiful day in the desert. I saw two Horny Toads. I saw some different cactus in bloom as well. I felt strong today and my confidence is growing. If it weren't for the 6 ticks I killed it'd be a perfect day! Goodnight desert. | Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Mile 99.2 Campsite - Warner Springs Mile 109.6 Warner Springs at last! Today was an epic day. I'm relaxing here at the community center. It's more trail magic. The town is closed so the community stepped in with supplies & hot food that we can purchase here & rest from the heat. So, today was a day of firsts. I hit 100 miles, I saw the first trail icon Eagle Rock, I put in my first big miles at 18.8, and I completed section A. I'm tired. Once again I hiked solo. I'm between a large group of hikers two days ahead & the herd that started at KO. It's just me and a handful of stragglers. When I'm alone I think about family, friends, flying, dancing (apparently we have a new West Coast Swing routine). And sometimes I sing, have conversations with a wandering beetle, or sing silly songs. I'm continually in awe of the changing landscape. The desert gradually gave way to shady trees, tall grasses, creeks & open fields. I saw cows! Lots of cows. I will camp near town tonight as I have my first resupply box to pick up from the post office in the morning. Right now there's a hiker playing a guitar. It's very relaxing & a great end to the day.
18: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Mile 127.1 - Mile 144 It was windy last night at Mike's Ranch and I woke up to blowing mist & clouds. I got off to a rough start. Most of my water leaked out, I forgot my trekking poles & had to run back for them, my filter broke, I couldn't find the water tank to refill, and Moonshine & Photo Finish took off. Needless to say as I hiked up the mountain in my rain gear after finally getting it together, I was upset. I had my first big cry. But then I topped the ridge of Combs Peak & I saw blue sky! I was above the clouds. This is what I saw. Beautiful. I was smiling again. I soon caught up to my hiking partners & all is well. We did another 17 miles today! We're camping on a beautiful ridge in a boulder field. The boulders & trees block the wind & the ground is sandy & soft. Best campsite yet! Can't find the picture. So instead here is a picture of a water cache. | Thursday, May 3, 2012 Mile 144 - Mile 162.6 We lost Moonshine yesterday. She didn't show up in camp & we were concerned. So we were VERY happy to see her this morning on Hwy 74 walking back to the trail from Paradise Valley Café. The café is a mile off trail on the way to Idyllwild. Thoughts of a huge breakfast hurried out feet the 8 miles to it. The plan was to hitch into town. But after a delicious breakfast, feeling revived, and it being a beautiful day, we made it to Idyllwild via a short side trail. I'm proud of us for putting off a shower & laundry for 2 more days. We hiked a lot more up and entered the mountains. No more desert! Just cold, windy nights now. I want to talk about food. I'm not eating enough & I've lost weight. I will do better. I'm happy to report that my first home dehydrated meal was delicious. It wasn't spoiled. I had a simple dinner one night of rice, black pepper and a wedge of laughing cow cheese mixed in. For energy I've found dried mango works great. And Jelly Belly energy beans are awesome! Thanks to Darlene, Mike & Cassie for sending them to me. Camped tonight in a beautiful shaded spot by a spring.
19: Friday, May 4, 2012 Mile 162.3 - Mile 178.6, Devil's Slide Trail Idyllwild! Shower. Pizza. Bed. It's Friday night & I've spent 6 consecutive days on the trail. The most I've ever done. What a hard, hard, hard but great day. The trail today was 90% up. up, up. Some parts were steep, rocky, & exposed, while others were covered with soft pine needles. But always up. My calves were burning. Then one section I came to , had a rock wall towering above me on my left and a sheer drop off to my right. I had to be careful I didn't trip or slip here. I encountered my first snow. Large patches covered the trail. You just have to follow the footprints, post hole through, and the trail would soon reappear. This is the San Jocinto Wilderness & San Bernardino National Forest. And the views have been incredible. Sometimes steep canyons, green with trees or the brown vastness of the desert in the distance, or a bright blue lake far below. I'm still hiking with Photo Finish & it's working out well. On level or downhill trail, I lead as I'm faster. On uphill sections he leads as I'm a snail going up. So we had hoped to get to Idyllwild by 5 before the PO closes as we both have bounce boxes to pick up. But we didn't make it. The terrain slowed us down & we did another 20 mile total day. The Devil's Slide Trail into town is 2.5 miles. So hopefully we can get them Saturday. A trail angel knows the postman. Here's a couple pics. | Saturday, May 5, 2012 Zero Day In Idyllwild I sure needed this zero. Idyllwild is a cool mountain town that welcomes hikers. Everywhere around town are signs that say “Welcome PCT Hikers" and businesses give us discounts. San Jacinto State Park is here. There is world class rock climbing and of course great hiking. It's nice to have clean clothes again. Water is scarce on the trail and can't be wasted on washing either me or my clothes. I'm glad I have wet wipes! So after days on the trail, I stink! And my clothes get filthy. Which is why we are called “hiker trash". I doctored my chafed hips and bought toe socks. Hopefully this will help my feet. The chaffing has been resolved by making some adjustments in my pack. Photo Finish and I will head out tomorrow (Sunday, May 6) and plan to continue hiking together at least as far as Big Bear. It's good to have a partner as there are some tricky passes ahead with snow.
20: Sunday, May 6, 2012 Mile 178.6 Saddle Junction - Mile 191 Black Mountain Rd. Today was a very leisurely day. Hiked slow, took lots of pictures, had lunch on a rocky outcropping, & did 15 miles. We successfully crossed the infamous Fuller Ridge. No problems. There were a lot of snow fields to cross but most of them didn't last long. Since it was afternoon it had gotten slushy so mo ice. It snowed on us! So crazy. Today snow, tomorrow desert again. I've renamed Photo Finish. He's easy Miles now. It fits. In camp tonight there are probably 10 other hikers so I enjoyed talking with them. Here's a few pictures. One is of Easy Miles. | Monday, May 7, 2012 Mile 191 - Ziggy & The Bear, Mile 211 It took 15 miles & 8000 feet of elevation loss to get to the desert floor. Then another 5 miles of post holing through hot desert sand. By time I got to the I 10 underpass I was beat up, tired, & thirsty. There was trail magic there! 3 coolers of soda, water, & beer. I was so happy. A can of Pepsi never tasted so good. Another mile after the bridge brought us to trail angels Ziggy & The Bear. They came out of the house with a foot bath of hot water & Epson salt. Later on there was a salad & ice cream. It's unbelievable. This couple are older, & have been helping hikers for years. I got my 2nd resupply box & they're mailing a bounce box to Big Bear for me. They rock! Two more milestones today - I hit the 200 mile mark & finished section B.
21: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Mile 212 - Mile 226 Today Easy Miles & I were joined by Backup. I hadn't seen her since before Julian. She developed shin splints & could no longer keep up with her friends Buster & Grit. It was fun having her along. We entered the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. These mountains are different than the Jacintos. There are no pine trees. Just shades of brown with dots of green. The highlight of the day was the Whitewater Preserve. It's a fish hatchery and park. There were picnic tables & shady trees. I had been feeling really fatigued so I took a nap. But the best was the pool of water built from the nearby river. We sat & laid in it. So great all that cold water in the heat of the day. It's these little miracles that spur me along. So great. We left Backup there. She is keeping her mileage low for now. Easy Miles & I hiked on another 8 miles to camp near Mission Creek. | Wednesday, May 9, 2012 Mile 226 - Mile 242 I met a mother daughter team today. Heather and Monkey are from Bishop, CA. Monkey is 8. She loves pink, carries a stuffed monkey, & is very talkative and energetic. I'm impressed. We got back into the San Bernardino Forest and left the the desert behind. I like the pine trees a lot better than the scrub brush. I'm hoping to make it to Big Bear City Thursday night. It will mean hiking 24 miles tomorrow but it looks like it will be easy trail. My friends, the Hansens are going to meet me there. Really excited about that. Easy Miles keeps losing stuff. Yesterday he lost a bag of items, today he lost his knife. He's got a good attitude about it, but will have to replace it. I discover a new blister every time I take my socks off. So I'm going shoe shopping in Big Bear. Cowgirl camping again - the moon has been so bright at night it's been waking me up. It's pretty cool though. We met a hiker who is quitting the trail. He had reached his limit & was done. Quite a few hikers have quit for various reasons. Easy Miles & I made a pact that if either one of us feels like quitting we will call the other person first.
22: Thursday, May 10, 2012 Mile 242 - Mile 266, Big Bear City 24 miles! A first. Made it to Big Bear City. The trail was easy walking, nothing steep so we made good time. It amazes me though, how in one day of walking I can go from the desert heat to the mountain cold. I had to wear all my layers while breaking camp this morning. The trail went through pine forest, back into high desert, then back into forest. And I saw not one, but two Grizzly bears! They were in cages near the trail at a ranch. I've been in good spirits. It was such a nice day to be walking, the views were as awesome as ever, & the temp was cool. I made Easy Miles stop at an overlook and yell really loud with me. Coming into town we got a ride by a really nice lady named Lori. She dropped us at the Nature Inn and I saw Power NAp, Bobcat, & LB again. That was great. The inn was full so we came down to the Motel. I had a yummy burrito for dinner. So Friday I will zero here & get errands done. Sat. at 10 a.m. my friend Michelle is coming out. She's going to hike a few miles with me. | Friday, May 11, 2012 Big Bear Zero Days are so nice. Not just for the rest, but also for the social part. You get to see other hikers, some who you haven't seen for awhile, and catch up. Backup made it into town today. I was happy to see her as I had felt bad leaving her behind and alone. Her shin splints are doing a lot better. I went crazy at the grocery store and bought a bunch of veggies and lettuce blends, spinach, cheese, cooked chicken strips, and dressing. I made a huge salad with it & had a salad party outside my room. Everyone devoured it , it was awesome. I found out that the animal cages on the trail are for animals used in movies. They have other animals besides bears. Their animals were used in the recent movie “We Bought a Zoo". I've a tenth of the trail completed. Repeat for 9 more times & I'm in Canada.
23: Saturday, May 12, 2012 Big Bear 2 I had a wonderful visit with my friend Michelle. It had been about 2 years since I had seen her , so we had a lot to catch up on. So Awesome. I decided to stay another night. It was mid day and hot, I had a full tummy, and I confess I was feeling lazy. It turned out to be a good decision because I have plans now to hike out early Sunday with Backup. I like her and she is a strong hiker in spite of the shin splints. Easy Miles left this morning. I will miss him. We hiked 165 miles together! I needed some alone time so I walked down to the Big Bear City airport. They were having a fly in. I've missed flying and planes. I'm sitting in the airport restaurant facing the runway and watching the planes takeoff and land. All is well. | Sunday, May 13, 2012 Mile 266 - Mile 285 Back on the trail. It feels good to get going. I'm hiking with Backup and Fig. Backup just graduated from college, Fig is 66 and retired. We got to the trail at 7 a.m. and before we knew it, we'd done 10 miles, so we stopped for lunch and a sock change. There were some great views of the lake and Big Bear. The trail is easy today and should continue tomorrow to be mostly level. Typically I try to walk 4 hours in the morning before taking a break. The rule ten before ten is the goal. If I start at 6 this is possible. After lunch I'll hike another 2-3 hours before the next break. as it gets hotter and I get tired I need more breaks. I like to get to camp by 6 p.m. However I've been experimenting with stopping at 4, cooking dinner, cleaning up and resting and then hike a few more miles til dark. Then all I have to do is set up my tent or cowgirl camp spot and go to bed. Today we stopped for camp early at 3:30 but we'd done 20 miles already. While sitting here fixing dinner a guy walks up with no pack and says “Hey I have a truck on the road and there's watermelon, drinks, and donuts. Come on down". I didn't have to be asked twice. I jumped up and went down. There were 6 people having a picnic with a friend who is hiking the trail. Her name is Adriana and all of them work at an outdoor school near Big Bear. I love this trail and the trail community. Here are pictures of Fig, the lake, and the trail magic. Heather and Monkey showed up in camp and Monkey ran over and gave me and Backup a flower. What a cool kid.
24: Monday, May 14, 2012 Mile 285 - Mile 315 I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. It was cold! So I got dressed inside my sleeping bag, delaying the inevitable as long as possible. Finally I got going and packed up my things. Sleeping bag first then stuff the rest. Today was going to be a big day. My plan was to push myself a little and see how far I could go. I had studied the map and water report the night before so I had a good idea what was ahead. After eating my power bar I was off. By 10 a.m. I had reached Deep Creek at 13 miles and stopped for lunch. I soaked my feet in the cold creek, put fresh dry socks on and hiked on. By 1:30 p.m I had hiked 20 miles and took a short break at Willow Creek to tape up a hot spot on my foot, refill my water bottle, and soak my hat in the water to cool my head. The Deep Creek hot springs are at mile 308 and a popular spot. there were a lot of naked people running around so I kept going, and going, and going. Where was the water at Deep Creek Ford? Finally I got to it, but then where was the trail on the other side? While searching around, Argentina showed up and informed me there was trail magic ahead. Suddenly I was transformed, no longer tired, I pressed on with him. Sure enough, hot dogs, potato salad,soda, chips, cookies and more. I was so hungry. I ate it all. I looked at my GPS and saw I'd hiked 29 miles, so instead of stopping I went 0.9 more to make it 30. | So that was my big day. Now after setting up camp and washing off the grime with wet wipes, I'm sitting here on a rock in a canyon watching the sunset while i type this blog. Goodnight. Oh I almost forgot - I saw a duck, a pika, and a red fox! | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 Mile 315 - Mile 336 I woke up tired and sore. My blisters are not doing well. So I took it slow and easy today. I caught up with Minnesota (hiker who helped me in the desert) & Justin (hiker who named me Black Hawk Down). So I hiked with them. We took a 2 hr break at Silverwood Lake. It's a state park so there were picnic tables, toilets, trash cans, and the lake. I went swimming! I washed all my dirty socks. And I rested my feet which are on fire. I need new shoes. I don't think I can wait for the shoes sent me in my next resupply box in Agua Dulce. So I'm going to call a trail angel when I get to Cajon pass tomorrow for help getting shoes. Ugh. It was a great day though and I really enjoyed hiking with Justin & Minnesota. Justin is also the guitar player who sang us all to sleep a few weeks ago. He has a carbon fiber guitar. Here's some pics from the day.
25: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Mile 336 - Mile 342, Cajon Pass I went to sleep last night with Hee Haw's music in my ears and woke up feeling good. my feet hurt but, with only 7 miles to go and food waiting, I didn't mind. I took the time to make tea, only to spill it trying to save a long legged bug. It's so much fun hiking with Clark Kent (Minnesota) & Hee Haw! We laugh, joke, tell stories, and this morning made up songs about food. We were hiking to where there was Subway, McDonalds, Del Taco. Normally I don't like fast food but burning 4000+ calories a day makes everything look good. It's liberating being able to eat as much as I want and more. Clark Kent was walking behind me and said I walk the way the “experts" say to walk, by toe striking first and smaller steps. He said I move fast without looking like I'm walking fast. He wanted to know where I learned it, if it was natural or if I had to think about it. Well I had no idea I had good form, I just walk. But after thinking about it, the light bulb went on. Dance lessons! All that work on being forward weighted and over my center and balanced paid off. Thanks Mike Eads! You didn't realize you were teaching me how to backpack now did you? When we got to I-15 there was a trail sign “McDonalds .4 miles" and an arrow. We laughed so hard. We ate breakfast at McD's. It was 9:30 a.m. and guess who showed up? Easy Miles! I caught up to him. He'd gotten in last night. The 4 of us are splitting a suite at the Best Western. It has 3 beds and a pullout. We rented a car and drove 20 minutes to an REI. So awesome. I got shoes! I got the same Brooks Cascadia but I went up to a size 8. My old shoes were a 7. My normal size is 6. Ahh, so nice, happy, happy feet. I did the usual shower and laundry show, and got my resupply boxes and a care package from my sis Karen. Yay! Now a little hot tub, pool, more food. Sigh of bliss and contentment and I will be ready to hike now that I have shoes. | PS California Section C is now complete, starting D in the morning. Just about halfway to the Sierras.
26: Thursday, May 17, 2012 Cajon Pass - Mile 357 There is a lawyer, a pilot, a doctor, and a musician in a hotel room...Has to be a joke in that somewhere. How does it finish? Well Clark Kent and Hee Haw took off. Easy Miles and I had to go to the post office to mail boxes and return the rental car. We got back to hiking at 10:45. Section D begins. And it's 21 miles of up, a calf burner or sure, but nothing like what we had before Idyllwild. We made it 15 miles. There was a water cache amongst shady trees that made a good rest and lunch stop. And we caught up with Hee Haw and Clark! So funny, we saw them ahead and snuck up on them. Today was the day of the Poodle Dog dance. It's worse than poison ivy and was really thick. Trying to get through really was an exercise in twisting, turning, and a sideways shuffle. Put your left pole in and your right pole in, do the poodle shuffle and shake it all around... I joke but I was totally freaked out by it. Silly really. When we got through it, I was mentally and physically exhausted. Fortunately we were almost to camp and I have great hiking partners. They made me laugh. So a quick camp set up, clean up, cook dinner, check maps and water for the next day, blog, then bed. Elevation gain today, 4000 feet. | Friday, May 18, 2012 Mile 357 - Mile 377 I have come through my close encounter with poodle dog bush unscathed. No rash has appeared. My feet are doing great too. They don't hurt anymore and after 2 days of hiking I have no new blisters. So yay for my new shoes. I am now hiking in the Angeles forest. This morning the sunrise was beautiful and I could look down into the cloud covered valley below. I really like being back up high and in the trees. I hiked again with Hee Haw and Clark Kent, and Easy Miles. Clark Kent's name has been changed to Malpractice. Hee Haw and Malpractice went down to Wrightwood to resupply. So now it's just Easy Miles and I again. We only did 20 miles today. We had time to go further, but there were no places ahead to camp. We are camped a mile from Mt. Baden Powell, another infamous mountain. In wetter years snow can be a real issue on it. The sun is setting and it's a gorgeous one.
27: Saturday, May 19, 2012 Mile 377 - Mile 396 It was a day of toad and boy scouts. It's the endangered yellow toad. A portion of the PCT is closed for this toad, so we had to take a detour that involved road walking the Angles Crest Hwy 2 for 2.7 miles. Total miles today is 22. There were also hundreds of boy scouts on the trail. They spilled out of campgrounds and snaked down the trail. And more kept coming! What a great day it was though. First thing this morning we summited Mt. Baden Powell, the highest mountain in southern California. So awesome up there! As I hiked today I tried to soak it all in & think about how I would describe it. There's humming birds who zoom straight up, hover, than zoom down again. The trees are a blend of skinny, fat, tall and short. Some of the trees have had their bark stripped from them, leaving them bleached white in the sun. What bark remains is charcoal. There's the squirrels running about and the bird who's song is like a donkey's bray. The sky looks bluer than usual due to its contrast with the pines. I love being up high in the mountains. But it was another day of up, up, and more up. | We caught up with Dancing Feet, a girl from Hawaii. I hadn't seen her since Julian, so it was fun to catch up. The trail is truly a social experience. But I expect once we get further north it will be less so. We're camping tonight at Cooper Canyon trail camp. And guess what? It's full of boy scouts. There is room though and I set up my tent for the first time in two weeks. I like my tent. It's cozy. | By the way, I really enjoy the comments I get that readers post. It makes me feel connected. So keep em comin'! I expect to get to Agua Dulce sometime on Tues.
28: Sunday, May 20 , 2012 Mile 396 - Mile 411 400 mile mark came & went. I've been on trail now for 4.5 weeks. Today was a lazy day. I slept in till 6:15, made tea, ate breakfast in camp & didn't start hiking till 8:20. The trail has been crisscrossing Hwy 2 for awhile and the guidebook said there was a restaurant a mile and a half down the road. So for 8 miles this morning Easy Miles and I were should we or shouldn't we? Finally we decided to go for it. Not just the hot meal, but also the experience of it. If no one picked us up in 15 mins we'd just keep hiking. We got a ride after 10 mins from a day hiker. The food was delicious. There's something about grilled Ortega Chilies that just makes a sandwich great. We celebrated passing 400. While finishing up, in walked Rian and Brian. We've been leap frogging each other for awhile. The trail can be funny this way. Now the problem facing us was a ride back to the trail and it turned out to be quite an adventure. First I yogi'd a ride from a gentleman with a 1957 Volkswagen Beetle. It was a dead ringer for Herbie. We got maybe a quarter mile up the hill when the engine quit. We had to turn it around, push it a bit til it started rolling back downhill, then coast back to Newcom's Ranch. By this time our hiker friends had finished eating and were also looking for a ride. There was a couple getting ready to leave so I went over to see if they were heading our direction. They weren't, but what nice people! They're from Florida near Anna Maria Island where my family goes every year. My parents live in Lakeland, FL. after talking a bit and sharing my adventure with them, they said they could give us a ride. Yay. So we loaded up and I hear a shout, “Helicopter!" “Blackhawk!". Wouldn't you know, it was some people from the campground last night who shared their campfire with us. That was awesome. We hiked another 8 miles after that. There was a cache of fruit for PCT hikers. We weren't hungry but we took some grapes and an apple for later. It's hard to get fresh fruit. Yummy. So kind of a lazy day, but after all of that uphill hiking the last two days, some of it quite steep, we needed a bit of a break. Tomorrow we're getting up super early to try and get big miles in. There is more detours and poodle dog boogying ahead. In case it doesn't show up well, the picture is the#400 made out of sticks. A side note, I saw Brian and Rian later in camp. They said the couple that gave us a ride, stopped and gave them one too. So if you read this FL couple, Thank You for being our trail angels today!
29: Monday, May 21, 2012 Mile 411 - Mile 436 Section D is for Detour. First there was the endangered species detour, then the Old Station fire detour, and finally the Poodle Dog Bush detour. It's been a lot of road walking. The Old Station fire was a huge fire that happened in 2009. A couple firefighters died. There was a memorial for them on a closed road outside a gutted camp. It was very eerie walking through there. It was a ten mile uphill walk on hot pavement to avoid the pd bush. So we stopped for an afternoon siesta at a campground. I was lying on the ground listening to my iPod shuffle when a really good waltz song came on. It was “The Flower That Shatters the Stone". I tried to resist, but couldn't. The urge was too great. I got up and danced. I tried to remember my waltz choreography but only managed the first phrase. It felt great. I love to dance. We hiked another 6 miles after that for a 24.5 mile day. It is cool how I can be on a ridge and in one side is the brown desert, and on the other side green mountains. We are camping at the North Fork Ranger Station. Weather forecast is for colder temperatures timed to arrive when I get to the Mojave desert. Is that great timing or what? Well I took a picture of poodle Dog Bush to post but it is missing, Oh well. | Tuesday, May 22, 2012 North Fork Ranger Station - Hiker Heaven Agua Dulce, Mile 454 Another section done. Section D is finished. There's not a lot to say about Monday. I can't believe how fast time is passing. It's May 22 and I've hiked over 400 miles! The guide book said the next 20 miles would be hot and exposed, so we got up at 4 and were hiking by 5. The first 8 were up and down and it was already getting hot at 7. We stopped at a KOA for a cold soda which was quite refreshing. It was a wonderful spot but we didn't linger as we wanted to beat as much heat as possible. It was a good effort but the last 5 miles were mid day and I staggered into town. Nothing that an air conditioned café couldn't fix though. Agua Dulce is home to Vasquez Rocks County Park. These rocks slabs are reddish brown and tower above. They form small canyons with lots of small shrubs, trees, and desert plants like Mormon tea. There were signs identifying the different greenery. I'm staying at Hiker Heaven. It is a trail angel home. They have turned their backyard into a small encampment with cots and large canopies. There's a trailer in back too with a kitchen, shower, living room area. They have horses too. It's a nice place. We are planning on hiking out tomorrow evening around 4:30. No more hot desert hiking mid day for this girl! There will be four of us: Easy Miles, that Guy, Gnu, and me.
30: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 Agua Dulce, Mile 454 - Mile 459 I know, what a lazy day! 5 Miles? Really? But the guys I'm hiking with had errands, and I didn't want to hike in the heat. Although it's supposed to get windy and that cold front is coming through. So these next few days might not be too bad. The little group of hikers who have been ahead or behind me & camp with are: Argentina on his 7th PCT hike, Hee Haw the musician from Maine, Malpractice from Minnesota, Gnu from Japan, Rian, Brian, Dave, Dancing Feet, Power Nap, Fig from Maine, and of course Easy Miles from Oregon. We're a traveling gypsy camp. Here are some pictures of Hiker Heaven. It was a great rest stop but I'm glad to be back on trail. Camped on a ridge with a beautiful view.
31: Thursday, May 24, 2012 Mile 458 - Mile 478, The Andersons Trail angels Joe and Terri Anderson host hikers at their home “Casa de Luna" otherwise known as “Hippy Daycare". We got a glimpse of what we would find at their home when we came to the water cache they maintain 8 miles from their home. It was in some shady trees with a pink flamingo, inflated skeleton, a Frankenstein, & fake palm trees. There was water and soda in the cache. It was interesting on the hike over how one minute I'd be in dry, hot, desert conditions and the next be in a mini eco system of lush grasses, trees, and shrubs. We got a ride for the two miles to the Andersons from the trail. Once here we were greeted with clapping from hikers already here. There is a lounge area in the front yard with chairs, a charging station, rock painting, hoola hoops and more camping in a Manzanita grove in the backyard. The grove is huge and there are a lot of spots to set up camp. Don't let me forget the Hawaiian shirts. There's a pile of them and everyone is wearing one. Didn't I say yesterday we were a traveling gypsy camp? It really feels like it here. For dinner Terri will be making her famous taco salad. There will be games too. I'm hiking out early though. It's supposed to be cool and drizzly tomorrow and I want to take advantage of it to get some big miles in. I'm looking forward to possibly meeting friends in Lancaster and Tehachapi.
32: Friday, May 25, 2012 Mile 478, The Andersons - Mile 503 What a day! Got up at the crack of dawn & made tracks. We stopped at a coffee shop for coffee & tea, then hitched to the trail. It rained during the night and was cold, windy misty when we got up. The cooler temps allowed us to hike faster and all day which was awesome. This memorial weekend there are two big events happening. One is my Aunt Sally's 80th Birthday. To celebrate my family is having a big reunion in Bowling Green, KY. I wish I could be there. Happy Birthday Sally, I love you! the second event is the annual Fresno United Country Western Dance Council and West Coast Swing dance competition. It's put on by Steve Zener, who does a fantastic job. I have a lot of friends there, and one of them, Darlene Dubert, is competing. She is competing Pro-Am Intermediate with dance instructor extraordinaire, Mike Eads. I know she'll do great. Well it has been cold & windy all day and it's currently snowing. It's snowing on my tent! We hit a big milestone today, and to celebrate we made a little video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQO08KXHtpo&feature=player_embedded | Saturday, May 26, 2012 Mile 503 - Mile 523 Brr. I woke up cold. My energy bars and the water in my drinking tube were frozen. I hiked out with every bit of clothing on. I even put my sleep socks over top my Polartec gloves. At mile 518 there is another rest stop for hikers called Hiker Town. It's made up of several buildings styled like an old time village. A lounge area with shower & kitchen is set up in a garage. There were puppies everywhere. They were cute. I was excited to get here because I had plans to meet friends Karen & Barry Drake. It worked out too! We drove into Lancaster and went to In & Out Burger. They took me to a pharmacy too so I could get eye drops. I have a red eye but I don't think it's an infection. It was so nice to spend time with friends on this holiday weekend. We had fun catching up. After they left I hiked on for another 5 miles. Easy Miles left earlier so I'm on my own again. However, I'm camping here with Argentina. I've been having trouble with my trekking poles and they are essential for setting up my tent. Last night was kind of the last straw cause I was freezing, it was starting to snow & get dark, and I needed to get my tent up quickly. I couldn't get it up til I fixed my pole. So, thanks sis Karen for ordering new ones for me!
33: Sunday, May 27, 2012 Mile 523 - Mile 549.5 Today I crossed the Mojave Desert section of the PCT. It was lots of dirt road walking alongside the LA Aqueduct. This area is very windy and so there are a lot of wind farms with their tall white windmills. We finally left the aqueduct behind and headed up into the Tehachapi foothills. I am so lucky! I could not have timed it better. There wasn't much wind blowing sand around, the temperature was in the high 70's , and so I was able to hike through the afternoon. It was easier than the start from Campo. In fact when I stopped in Tyler Horse Canyon for lunch, I got cold. And this is the Mojave! I hiked today with Argentina and Moss. Moss is a girl from Massachusetts. I also caught up to Easy Miles, but he's on a different schedule now and wanting some solitude. I've been feeling the need for some solitude myself. It's Lisa time. Or should I say Black Hawk time. I'm also really feeling the need for a full zero day with no hiking. My body is sore and tired, including my left Achilles tendon. I want to be strong when I get to the Sierras and Tehachapi is the last town stop prior to Kennedy Meadows. I'm really happy to be hiking with good people. The plans are to rendezvous in Tehachapi with Easy Miles. | Monday, May 28, 2012 Memorial Day, Mile 549 - Mile 558 Tehachapi! I saw lots of windmills today. There was also a large burn area. We've 2 adjoining rooms with & hikers crammed in. It's quite the little party. The two hikers in my room I just met. One is mouse. His base pack weight is 6 lbs. He started the trail in May 7 is flying, doing 30-40 mile days. Both are hiking out early. Everyone has been talking about their Sierra plans. Do I take an ice axe? Microspikes? Where are you resupplying? Climbing Mt. Whitney? Changing shoes? And so on. I'm finalizing my own plans and strategy cause the next stop is Kennedy Meadows. There are a lot of Brooks Cascadia trail runners being worn this year. It's the shoes I wear. I'm happy with them. I ate at the Great Wall for dinner. It's an all you can eat Chinese buffet. Perfect for hungry hikers. The town of Tehachapi is small and spread out, up in the foothills. Just 22 miles away is Mojave on the desert floor. The PCT passes through the middle, between the two. I'm happy to get some rest. The tendon was better today, but I still think rest and ice is good for it. I'm also happy that I haven't lost anymore weight. I've been maintaining my normal weight. Imagine coming across a shower in the desert wilderness. This picture is of Argentina pretending to wash under it.
34: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Tehachapi Zero It's been a great day. I got my resupply boxes sorted out. I rested. I iced my feet & tendon. I'm feeling good now. It's been another reunion day as hiker friends came in, including Hee Haw & Malpractice. I was happy to see them, especially since Malpractice has been having feet trouble. Atlas, a hiker who started with me & who I haven't seen since day 3 showed up. He rented a car and has been shuttling hikers to/from the trail. We bought some water after dinner and cached it up trail. Otherwise we'd have to carry 25 steep mile worth of water. I'm excited to be in range of the Sierras. I'm catching up to my itinerary too. I've been 3 days behind but should get to Kennedy Meadows at planned time. One thing that is really good about the trail is how hikers really look out for each other. Good people, hikers. A funny note, we walked over a mile and a half on roads to the post office this morning. Only to discover we could have taken a short cut across the grass and railroad tracks making it 3/4 of a mile instead. Guess which way we walked back? Yes i can walk 30 miles on the trail,but one mile in town? Ride please! | Wednesday, May30, 2012 Walker Pass I made it! Walker Pass is the end of section E and Southern California. Trail magic was waiting. Nuff said. P.S. Here is a picture of Team Turtle who brightened my day. | Thursday, May 31, 2012 Mile 558 - Mile 575 I'm finished with section E and have begun section F. Today started out really well. We didn't get hiking til 9:30 due to a post office stop. But I was raring to go! I felt eager, energetic, and excited. Hiking time and on to Kennedy Meadows. The first 8 miles to the water cache were easy. There were homemade chocolate chip cookies and strawberries at the cache too. A former hiker's mom had left them. Yummy. But then we had to fill up on water and my pack got heavy fast. Then there came a very long 2000+ ft climb along with hot sun. I had to keep stopping in the shade to rest. I made myself an electrolyte drink and got recharged. Then wham. Pain shot through my left ankle/tendon. I had already been feeling bad about slowing Easy Miles and Argentina down, now this! So I stopped again to rest, take some Ibuprofen, and tape it up. The tape helped and we went a few more miles to get over the hill. But , I couldn't do the 20 miles we were aiming for. The guys, bless their hearts are sticking with me for now. We jokingly called ourselves the Three Stooges. I'm Moe, Easy Miles is Larry, and Argentina is Curly. The plan is for me to get up early to take advantage of cool morning temps and because I may have to take a lot of rest stops. Aaaaggghh! I didn't get any pictures today. Initially it was just more wind farms marring the view. We're in high desert now though and there are trees and rocky outcroppings and beautiful views.
35: Friday, June 1, 2012 Mile 575 - Mile 602, Robin Springs I'm sitting under a tree resting in its shade. We got here at noon and I promptly fell asleep. The plan is to hike again at 4 the final 13 miles to the spring. We should get there at ten tonight so there won't be time to blog. This section is turning into the hottest, driest section I've experienced so far. It was funny this “morning", Easy Miles woke me up “Black Hawk, it's 4:30, time to get up". I'm groggy and disoriented, and it's dark out but ok. As I'm searching for my glasses and crawling out of my sleeping bag, he comes back over, “Black Hawk, go back to sleep". I looked at my watch wrong and it's only 12:30. Ha ha ha, then we both overslept and got going later than we wanted. But it's all working out. The trail has been mostly level and downhill, so my leg has been doing ok. Sore but not too painful. It's the uphill that puts a strain on it. So I'm thankful for the reprieve. Oh, also this morning around 6, a beautiful skunk with a big fluffy tail came ambling down the trail toward us. When he registered out presence he stopped, looked at us for a bit, then turned and scampered off. He really did have a beautiful coat and was rather cute. | Saturday, June 2, 2012 Walker Pass 2 It's a nero day. I slept in. There was breakfast at 7. It was breakfast burritos and they were delicious. I pushed myself pretty hard to get here, 31 miles. Let's just say I was highly motivated. I need to slow it down now so I'm not exhausted when I get to Kennedy Meadows. It's 50 miles ahead at mile 702. I remember Erin (Wired) talking in her blog last year about feeling fatigued. She made it to Canada. I will too. I just have to make myself not push to hard and take time to rest. So no more big days for awhile. Today I'm resting, enjoying the food, cold drinks, and company of other hikers til this evening. Then hiking out withEasy Miles for 10 miles. I rally enjoyed my solo hiking. I didn't see another hiker til 4pm. It was kinda cool being alone in this vast wilderness. It really was beautiful even though it was giving me a beating. I couldn't appreciate it much going through, but acknowledged it. Okie Girl,who put on this trail magic, really is an angel. She helped me more than words can explain here. I'm feeling good again and looking forward to the Sierras.
36: Sunday, June 3, 2012 Mile 657 - Mile 681 The morning started well with a hot cup of tea. I love tea in the morning, especially in camp when it's chilly out. I'm hiking with Easy Miles again. Our hike today climbed up and up into the high desert and on into a more alpine like environment. It was cool and shady most of the day. Yay! The desert is being left behind as we approach the Sierras. I will not miss the desert. Tonight while setting up camp in Chimney Creek campground, a hike yelled “bear!". Sure enough, a large brown bear was walking down the road right by where we were camping. He was simultaneously minding his own business and checking us out. I grabbed my phone to get a picture but only got his rear end. He was walking quickly and I didn't want to get too close. We are definitely hanging up our food away from our tents. It felt so nice to get into camp early enough to set up my tent, cook dinner, and relax. Something I haven't done in a week. Just to orient people to where I am. Walker Pass is near the towns of Lake Isabella and Onyx. I'm currently 30 miles north of there and will be in Kennedy Meadows tomorrow night, Monday. More and more hikers keep coming into camp. It's windy and chilly out, but I'm snug in my tent. | Saturday, June 2, 2012 Sat. Night, Mile 657 I had a pleasant hike out with Easy Miles. Watched the moon rise on one side of the ridge and the sun set on the other. I feel strong and good again. I had to work off all that food I ate today!
37: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 Kennedy Meadows, Mile 702.8 I'm so excited to finally be here in Kennedy Meadows. It's Sierra Nevada time. I arrived Wed., June 6, at 4 p.m. I got a hot meal and Ben & Jerry's Peach Cobbler ice cream. Yes, I ate it all. I also got my resupply box, my bear cannister, my bounce box, and REI box. My new trekking poles came so no more fixing and re-fixing poles every day. They even match my backpack. They are purple Black Diamond women's trail shock poles. I'm very happy to have them. The population here is 200. There is a general store and Tom Figeuroas “Internet Café". There is no cell service, just a pay phone. There are a lot excited hikers too. Me included. I'm glad the desert with it's heat and lack of water is over. I know there will be other challenges ahead, but I will just roll with it. I'm actually feeling strong today. That's a good thing cause the bear cannister adds 2 lbs. to my pack and I'll be climbing some high passes. Easy Miles has a shin splint problem in his right leg and needs to rest. So I may need to join up with another group. It's generally not a good idea to go solo in the Sierras. However, since it's a low snow year it may not matter. In any case, “Yaaaaay!!!!" | Thursday, June 7, 2012 Mile 702.8 - Mile 719 Easy Miles has been nursing a sore right leg and thinks it is a shin splint. He wrapped it and took Ibuprofen. We hiked out in the evening up to the Kennedy Meadows campground, 2.5 miles up trail. It was a real nice campground and a camper, Chris, invited us over to enjoy his campfire. The next morning, Easy Miles wasn't feeling too good. His foot and ankle was all swollen and there was a purple, black, and blue splotch on his foot. Not good at all. Well Nugio and his dad had a motor home and car there and Nugio was going to LA to pick up a friend from the airport. So they fed us breakfast and then Easy Miles left with Nugio. He was going to go to an Urgent Care and get it looked at. I hiked on. I hiked with Argentina today and there was a lot of hikers on the trail that I know , so I won't be “alone" in the Sierras. It was so beautiful today. there were meadows, trees, mountains ahead, and water. Lots of water. The Kern river cuts through the valley we went through. I love the sound of running water and there are lots of places to fill my bottles. The bear cannister did not want to fit in my backpack. I finally figured something out though and crammed everything in. It makes a great camp stool. I didn't get any pictures because I couldn't get my phone turned on. It's working now though, so tomorrow I'll take some pictures.
38: Friday, June 8, 2012 Mile 719 - Mile 737 Hello from 10,000 feet. It has been such a beautiful hiking day, I go my first glimpse of the High Sierras. And I've been hiking in a forest of Bristle Cones pines with boulders strewn about. I've been sharing the trail and rest stops with Astro, Trail Whore, and Argentina. That Guy caught up to us at 3p.m. It's working out well. His hiking partners are too far ahead so he's going to join forces with me. Argentina is getting off the trail in the morning and skip ahead since he's done this section before. I'm not used to the altitude yet, but otherwise feeling good. My tendon isn't bothering me anymore. I'm getting my enthusiasm for the trail back and feeling happy to be out here again. I thought about Easy Miles a lot today and I hope he's ok and it's just a matter of a few days rest. I hope he can heal and get back to the trail.
39: Saturday, June 9, 2012 Mile 737 - Mile 751 Today was the best day of hiking ever. First of all I got to have my tea & breakfast. Then we just took our time and enjoyed the views, taking pictures, & talking to people we met along the way. We planned on getting water and resting for an hour when we got to a water source at 151. Then we were going to hike another 3 - 5 miles. However, there was a beautiful lake here. We couldn't leave. We spent all afternoon here & then just decided to stay and camp. It doesn't make a difference because we get to the Mt. Whitney Junction tomorrow and will stop there. We plan to climb Whitney the following day. I had a delicious dinner of curry and rice, and for desert That Guy had chocolate cheesecake that we shared. Yummy! My camera doesn't do the scenery justice.
40: Sunday, June 10, 2012 Mile 751 - Mile 767, Crabtree Meadow Today has been the best day ever. It's probably my happiest day on the trail. It's partly due to the grandeur surrounding me. But it's also because I felt more free and unconstrained. Unconstrained by heat, lack of water, mileage or pace. I have a great hiking partner too. It's been nice to share the Sierras with another person because it's all so big, beautiful, epic, overwhelming, and awesome. Pinch me. all my hiking partners have been great. First Blake Snake, then Easy Miles, Fig & Backup, Hee Haw & Malpractice, Argentina, & now That Guy. The last two days we've been hiking in the Inyo National Forest/Golden Trout Wilderness. Today we entered Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park. It took us awhile to hike the 17 miles to Crabtree Meadows because we kept stopping to take pictures. There were deer grazing in a meadow and a marmot who posed for a picture before scampering off. The upper Crabtree Meadow near the ranger station is dotted with small tents. It's been reunion time. This is the base camp for climbing Mt. Whitney. Mt Whitney is 14,505 feet and the tallest mountain in the U.S.outside of Alaska. From Crabtree it's an 8.5 mile climb. I'm really excited to be here. We'll be climbing it in the morning. The hikers who summited today said the views & hike was really awesome. I'm feeling strong and acclimated to the elevation. We will leave out tents set up & just carry water & snacks up so our packs will be super light!
41: Monday, June 11. 2012 Mt. Whitney! Can the Sierras get any better? Every day is so awesome and beautiful. Today we hiked to the top of Mt Whitney. There was a few mountain lakes on the way up. And the 360 degree views from the top were incredible. What was really good though was how strong I felt. I even ran a stretch towards the top. There were several thru hikers up there with us, so we got a group photo. There were also a lot of weekend hikers who hiked up from the wast side near Lone Pine. One of the things I've been learning from this hike is how to let go and be in the moment. It's actually been a topic of conversation between That Guy and I, and other hikers as well. When we got back down to camp we cooked dinner and then celebrated out summit with Raspberry Crumble for desert. While we were eating, a search and rescue helicopter landed in the meadow and picked up a hiker. No one knew who he was and what was wrong with him. More reunion happened this evening as more hikers came in to climb Mt. Whitney in the morning, so we had a lot of fun swapping stories and pictures. It's going to be cold tonight so I'm sleeping in all of my clothes, including my rain pants, inside my 15 degree down sleeping bag. The sleeping bag will be in mummy mode. That means you can't see my face except for perhaps my nose.
42: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 Mile 766 - Mile 786 Rt Section G is finished and Section H begins. It was another epic day. I've never felt so high as I have these last couple days. I didn't think anything could top Mt. Whitney, but today Forester Pass did. Forester Pass is the highest point on the PCT at 13, 900 feet. We went up the south side and had to cross some snowfields on the way down. I thought I was videoing That Guys decent and the surrounding scenery, but I forgot to push the record button after switching from camera to video. Too bad because That Guy fell back on his butt. It was classic. I hiked with a great group of guys today. Besides That Guy, there was Archie and Scrambled Leg. They all rock. We ate all going down the Bullfrog Trail and will hike with me tomorrow to get to the Onion Valley trail head and from there Independence. I ate my last dinner tonight and all I have left for tomorrow is beef jerky. So it's a good thing I'm going into town. I can't get enough of the Sierra views. They just don't stop. There's always more crazy beautiful views.
43: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 Mile 786 - Bull Frog Trail Today we hiked 10 miles to the Onion Valley Trail Head via the Bull Frog Trail and then up and over Kearsarge Pass. It was another beautifully scenic day past the Kearsarge Pinnacles and lots of alpine lakes. We took our time and enjoyed the hike out. However, the closer we got to the trail head the quicker our pace til we were running down the trail. Trail magic and a ride to town awaited us. Bristle Cone and Uber Bitch were camped out and giving rides. Everyone we'd been hiking with was there; Lumbar & Choo Choo, Archie, & others. The road into town was on a winding mt. rd. We descended from green mountains to the hot desert town of Independence. So different. Made me want to turn around and go back. I picked up my boxes at the Chevron station, and had lunch at Subway, and then all of us hopped on the bus to Bishop. Bishop has more stores, motels, and restaurants than either Lone Pine or Independence, including an outfitter. So it made sense to come here. People here are super friendly to hikers. All the trail towns are cool. Bishop has a real western feel & has the world famous Schats Bakery. Yumm.
44: Friday, June 15, 2012 Bishop ZerosZeros I have had a wonderful two days in Bishop. Thursday was spent doing chores. It pretty much took all day to do our shopping, resupply, laundry and other odds and ends. That Guy and I spent a lot of time at Eastmans Outfitter. I was able to replace the leaky bite valve on my hydration bladder with a new locking one. That Guy got a new shirt & hat. We ran into Beardo, Scrambled Legs, and a couple other hikers at the store too. Friday, my friend Darlene drove up from L.A. to visit. It was so much fun catching up. we walked around , ran a couple more errands, had dinner, but mostly just talk, talk, talked. That Guy took the 1 p.m. bus back to Independence with 14 other hikers heading back to the trail. I've enjoyed this much needed rest but find I'm ready and anxious to get back on trail. Back to the mountains. I'm looking forward to what lies ahead on the trail and the surprises that will come. The trail really does provide and can be magical. I'm feeling good and strong as well. Darlene is going to hike a couple miles with me up the Kearsarge Pass trail in the morning. That'll be great. It's around 8 miles back to the PCT. My pack is heavy again since I'm fully resupplied. So it'll be slow going at first, but that's ok. Steady onward. | Saturday, June 16, 2012 Kearsarge Pass - Mile 800 I hiked solo today up and over Kearsarge Pass, then over Glen Pass, down to Rae Lakes and on to mile 800. Darlene hiked the first couple miles up the trail with me and we were having a great time. When “ Oh No!" I had left my case with wallet, phone, & the days map in the car. So I stashed my pack behind a rock and hiked back to the car with Darlene. It was bound to happen sometime. I'm just glad I caught it. She headed home and I hustled back up the trail. It was fun hiking out cause I kept running into hikers on their way down to town. I saw Power Nap, Brian, and Rian's mom. Then on the other side of the pass there was a hiker sitting in the trail with his back to me and another hiker standing. “My buddy is low on electrolytes do you have any tablets?" He asked. The hiker on the ground groaned & mumbled. So I set my poles down and as I was taking off my pack they started laughing. It was Malpractice and his friend playing a joke. They got me good! After that I didn't see anyone for awhile. Between Rae Lakes and camp I met a Southbound weekend hiker. I said hello and he said “Hi, you must be Helicopter." It seems my legend precedes me. Actually some hikers told him the day before he'd probably see me. Rae Lakes was beautiful and I almost camped there but kept going because the camp here sets me up good for another pass in the morning. I'm glad I did because Legion and Steady are here as well as a few other thrus. It's good to be back in the trail.
46: Sunday, June 17, 2012 “Mile 800 - Mile 821 Breaking camp in the morning is always a slow process for me. As everyone packed up & got ready to go , I was surprisingly not the last one. In fact as everyone strung out like a pack train down the trail, I ended up line leader for most of the morning. We are still in Kings Canyon. With two passes to climb and a lot of miles to cover I pushed hard. At the top of Pinchot Pass I had lunch with Peanut, one of the Yukon hikers, and a couple others. On the way down I listened to music. The vocal version of California Dreamin' came on and I danced down the trail to its rhythm. I flailed my poles around and executed a couple turns extending my poles out like wings for balance. It is not easy turning with a pack & tennis shoes on. I didn't fall. However, I've been falling a lot - 3 times in two days. Put a hole in my pants and bruised my knee. Every time I stumble &/or fall, I hear That Guy's voice in my head saying “this is a no fly zone Helicopter". After Pinchot Pass it was up and over Mather Pass. I saw a lot of new faces at the top of Mather. There were 2 Chris's, and 4 others whose names I can't remember. I never saw any of the hikers I started the day with after Pinchot Pass. I got way ahead. Now I'm camping in a little canyon above the Palisades River by myself. Chris & Chris went a few miles further, but I was too tired to continue. Plus it was already 6:30. I had a big smile on my face all day. The only thing that would make it better would be a signal so I could post this blog and send a couple texts. | Monday, June 18, 2012 Mile 821 - Mile 846 My morning started with a long decent down the canyon. The morning sun was lighting up the rocks and the river was hollering on its roller coaster ride down the mountain. I made everything around me a character in a play with me as the traveler through their land. It was downhill to level most of the day. I hiked for a bit with Yoga and Gourmet. Gourmet is a thru, Yoga is joining him for 600 miles. They've been dating 8 months. I hiked on when they took a long break and made it up and over Muir Pass. That was a challenge! I lost the trail multiple times and crossed numerous creeks and rivers. At one point all I could see was moving water, rocks , and mountain peaks but no trail. I told myself “you got this Lisa". I looked at the map, the GPS, thought about what made sense, and figured it out. I finally made it to the top! Thor & two other hikers were there. I was so happy to see them I didn't take a break. I just snapped a couple pictures and followed them down. It was an easy gradual descent down to lots of lakes including beautiful Evolution Lake. I'm camped here with Data , Steamer, and Conji.
47: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Selden Pass, Mile 845 - Mile 872 Selden Pass is the “easiest of passes", so Yogi's guide says. And it was. But it was 20 miles to the top with more than one false summit. It psyched me out. I've been doing big miles the last few days, especially for the Sierras. However, the trail dictated it. It's been either 1) camp at the bottom and have very low mileage, or 2) hike up and over and have high mileage. I opted for high mileage. And to my surprise and happiness I could do it. I'm tired and ready for camp at the end of the day,but I'm still strong. These passes have been over 12,000 feet. Selden Pass is 11,000. I crossed the infamous Evolution and Bear Creeks today. In higher snow years these crossings can be hazardous. But this year with its low snow levels, made the crossings easy. The water came up to my knees and was cold. Hiking alone and overcoming obstacles like stream crossings, downed trees, route finding, and decision making, has really made me feel good. It's been teaching me self reliance, grown my confidence, and made me cheer for myself in triumph. I'm doing it. The trail followed the river and wound through the canyon. It was sometimes high on a rocky ridge, and other times through forest and lots of lakes and meadows. I never get tied of the alpine lakes. Each one brings a smile of delight to my face. Awesome! Houdini hiked up and we had lunch together. I can't keep up with his long legs though , so I didn't see him again. So, another great day in the Sierras.
48: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 VVR Vermillion Valley Resort is a small camp/hotel on Lake Edison near Mono Springs. There is a store, restaurant, camping area, and cabins. There is a ferry that picks up hikers and takes them the 4 miles across the lake to the resort. I had not planned on going since I was resupplying in Mammoth Lakes. However, the thought of a good hot meal and a chance to experience another tail icon proved to much to resist. So I hiked an easy ten miles to the dock and waited for the ferry. The sun was shining. There was a beach. That Guy and Chef were there. We went swimming. What a great afternoon. I felt like I was on vacation. Pinch me please! Once at VVR we saw Momma Bear and Monkey, along with Desert Fox and other hikers. Dinner was Pasta Primavera. So it was a nice little stop before Mammoth, especially after hiking so hard and I thoroughly enjoyed the VVR experience.
49: Thursday, June 21, 2012 VVR - Virginia Lake , Mile 891 It's another easy trail day. After a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast , and potatoes, we took the 9:30 a.m. ferry back to the trail. Mammoth was only 24 miles away, but with the late start, plus Silver Pass to climb, we knew we wouldn't get there today. Silver Pass was not hard. It only went up to 11,000 feet, however it was a long hike up. We started around 75 000 feet and it took most of the day to get up and over. After the pass we had a ridge to climb. There were a lot of deer out this afternoon. They were oblivious to us. There were also a lot of mosquitoes who were NOT oblivious. I had to put on my mosquito head net. Several weeks ago a bad windstorm went through Mammoth Lakes area and downed a lot of trees. So there was a lot more scrambling and climbing over or going around these trees. Some of them were huge. I may have mentioned this before, but the blow down got worse the closer to Mammoth we got. Trail crews have been working hard to clear trails. We wanted to get to Purple Lake but stopped to camp at Virginia Lake instead. We found a great stealth campsite and it was getting late. That Guy and I are going to hike together as far as Tahoe. He is flying home for a family reunion from there. But tomorrow Mammoth! The picture is of Thor and the guys on the top of Silver Pass.
50: Friday, June 22, 2012 Mile 891 - Mammoth That Guy and I hiked to Mammoth via the Duck Lake Trail. It was a beautiful east trail with lots of lakes. Consequently, we saw a lot of day and weekend hikers with fishing poles. It would be fun to fish in these lakes if I had time. Fresh fish cooked over a fire is delicious. We met a hiker named Bob who was hiking the loop trail around Duck Lake. Bob is 80 years old. He has hiked the John Muir Trail many times over the years as well as other trails. His advice was to hike fast when you need to but know when it's time to slow down. He said he still loves the mountains. Very cool. I took his picture. On the way down we got stuck behind a horse train. They were slow and we were sucking their dust. So That Guy takes off to run around them and I follow. Our packs are bouncing, we're leaping over branches and rocks, we pass the lead horse, get back on trail , and I trip. It was like a dive for home plate right in front of all the horseback riders. I jumped up and kept going till I was a safe distance ahead of the horses. So I'm fine but my pants now have matching holes in both legs. The trail ends at Lake Mary and we took a taxi into town. I needed some gear replacements. the Mammoth mountaineering shop is a nice outfitter. I found an icebreaker shirt that was 40% off, convertible pants, and most importantly a new hip belt for my backpack. Tomorrow will be a zero day. | Saturday, June 23, 2012 Mammoth Lakes There is always so much to do in town. The rest and relaxation you expect never seems to happen. But Mammoth is a great town. There is free public transit on the trolley car. People are friendly. The mountains loom large. We had dinner with Choo Choo and Lumbar the first night at a pizza place. That was really fun. The next day we were constantly running into other hikers. Everyone seems to stay at the Motel 6. It's hiker friendly and has laundry. I've enjoyed my stay here but as always ready to hit the trail again. I'm really looking forward to Tuolumne Meadow in Yosemite Ntl. Park. My next resupply isn't until S. Lake Tahoe and that's too much food to carry. So I'm planning on buying food along the way to supplement what I have. Off I go.
51: Sunday, June 24, 2012 Mammoth - Mile 911 So much for good intentions and early morning departures. Decided to sleep in instead. It was nice. But after lunch Atlas, That Guy, and I headed back to the trail. It was cold and windy at the trail head , but once on the trail it was fine. We hiked by Red's Meadow and through Devil's Postpile National Monument today. All really beautiful. I couldn't believe how bad the tree blow down was though. The trail was clear but the whole area was full of downed big trees. We are camping at Soda Springs camping area by the trail. There's a bear box and plenty of flat spots for the tents. Tomorrow will be our first big mileage day since before VVR so I'm off to sleep.
52: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 Tuolomne Meadows It was a fun day. we hiked 11 miles into Tuolomne Meadows, had a hamburger and fries at the grill, bought food for the next 7 days, and hung out. It was fun hanging out, chilling, talking to other hikers. We spent a few hours there and then hiked 6 miles to a great campsite on a river. Yosemite is such a beautiful place. It's my favorite Nation Park. The sunset tonight over the river was bright pink and orange. We are still in the park boundaries at mile 947. You can't lose the trail in Yosemite. All you have to do is follow the horse manure. I've become accustomed to being dirty and smelly. I don't even notice it on me or anyone else. But it's still a treat to be able to wash my feet in a river. And I love washing my hands with soap and water in a sink. My nose runs a lot because of the dust. So a big thanks to my friend Chris who taught me how to farmer blow. Otherwise I wouldn't get much hiking done. I'd have to keep stopping. Thor and Sautee are camping by us and we had a good time joking and talking while eating dinner. Here are a few pictures of the day.
53: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Mile 947 - Mile 961 We got off to a late start today. First it was cold, in the low 30's. I couldn't stop shivering even after hot tea & breakfast. So I crawled back into my sleeping bag & waited for it to warm up. Then there was a leak in That Guy's thermarest that had to be fixed. Finally we got moving. We hiked in Yosemite Park boundaries all day. It was another beautiful day for walking. We'd only gone 2 miles when I tripped on a root and fell hard. It only gave me a bloody knee. Then towards the end of the day while hustling down some steep switchbacks, the quad muscle in my left leg cramped up bad. So I was done for the day. We found a good place to camp. Better to stop & rest rather than risk an injury. Other than those mishaps, it was a good day and we'd been making good time. A hot dinner, Ibuprofen, and sleep should have me feeling stronger in the morning.
54: Thursday, June 28, & Friday, June 29, 2012 Mile 961 - Mile 1003 Last night I was too tired to blog. The trail through Yosemite is up & down, steep, rocky, downed trees, & lots of mosquitoes. It's been slow going. I keep falling down too. Must stop it! Then I left my pouch with phone, maps, & wallet under a tree. I realized it was missing 2 miles later. I found it. Yay! In spite of the mishaps, That Guy & I have gotten out groove back & did 26 miles today. Other hikers we've talked to have also struggled these last few days. We are not alone. This evening we went over Dorothy Lakes Pass & left Yosemite behind. The trail got easier & we saw beautiful lakes below. It really energized me & I hustled the last couple miles to the 1000 pt. 1000 miles! I can hardly believe it. A lot has happened in the last 500 miles. New hiking partners, new trail towns, the last of the desert, Mt.Whitney, & numerous passes through the Sierras. What a trip this has been. I'm looking forward to the next 1000 miles.
55: Saturday, June 30, 2012 Mile 1003 - Mile 1026 What a great day! The trail went back up on the crest and it was awesome. I took lots of pictures, so the miles came slowly. We had lunch on a ridge with a spectacular view of the surrounding peaks. When we descended down to Sonora Pass we found lots of trail magic. First there was Steve, whose wife Steady is hiking the trail. He gave us soda, cheese, a snack pie, & chocolate. Then up at a picnic area was Owl who had grapes, cherries, strawberries, cookies, & chocolate cake. I ate & drank too much but it sure gave me the energy to power up the next & last climb over 10,000 feet. It was fun to see other hikers there also. Atlas is a couple miles ahead. We spent too much time at the trail magic & couldn't make the 25 mile mark. We will catch up tomorrow.
56: Sunday, July 1, 2012 Mile 1026 - Mile 1054 Today the scenery was rolling green hillsides and valleys with lots of wildflowers. There were some rocky ridges too. We made it over Ebbets Pass and crossed Highway 4. There is a couple here who I was looking forward to meeting. They have a cabin nearby. However, I didn't have cell phone service at Yosemite or Ebbets Pass & couldn't contact them. We hiked 28 miles today and are feeling good. There was a cooler at the hwy with apples, oranges, and cookies. We missed the big trail magic by an hour. Apparently there was hot food & potato salad. But we were thankful for the fresh fruit. The oranges were delicious. It was a great day. Here is a picture of Atlas & That Guy digging in their packs.
57: Monday, July 2, 2012 Mile 1054 - Mile 1089 Hiking today rocked. It was truly and epic day. We hiked 35 miles! Strong miles too. It was beautiful, we met up with other hikers, the views were great, & the trail was fast. When we arrived at Carson Pass trail head & visitor center, we saw Grit. We all sat down on the edge of the parking lot to cook our dinners and rest. A couple approached us and come to find out they are hikers and plan to hike the PCT next year. They were fun to talk to. We just had a good time hanging out. We hiked out with Grit and it was fun catching up on the last 1000 miles. She started the same day as me. Atlas is somewhere behind us and we will meet him in Tahoe. The last 11 miles went by quick since we were talking and walking fast. It was almost a full moon & we got out first glimpse of Lake Tahoe from a ridge with the moon bright in the sky. We had to hike in the dark for an hour. That Guy and I had to share a headlamp which was a challenge. When we got to camp at 9:30 p.m. there was a group of hikers there with a campfire going. There was a lot of camaraderie going around and it was cool to see people we hadn't seen in awhile. But we were tired & it was late so we put the tents up quick & dived in. It's so nice to lie down & stretch. Ahh sleep. We are only 6 miles from Tahoe now & will get there in the morning.
58: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 Echo Lake & South Lake Tahoe It was a short and sleepless night but I didn't care. Because Tahoe was only 6 miles away. That Guy and I were on the trail by 5:45 a.m. It was mostly downhill or flat so we made good time and got in at 8 a.m. While looking around Echo Lake parking area for the store & post office, a car pulled up to us. It was a trail angle named Steve, and he had Houdini, Nancy, & another hiker in the car. He was dropping them back at the trail and offered to host us at him and his wife Peggy's cabin. So awesome. We already had reservations in Tahoe. But we got out resupply boxes at the PO and went to their place for the day. Freebird and Sunjay joined us. It was such a nice time. We had snacks and lunch and sorted out our boxes. I got a shower. They drove us down to Tahoe to shop and do laundry. One of the shops we went to was Lake of the Sky Outfitters. The owner hiked the PCT in 1979. He has a wall with pictures of thru hikers and gives us a discount. It's a really great gear store. When we got back to the cabin we all just relaxed. Liz, the CEO from the PCTA joined out little party as well. Their cabin is high up and has great views of Lake Tahoe. Then we had an awesome dinner. We sat down at a large table to eat. It's such a small thing, sitting at a table in a home, but I loved it. The good food, good company, good conversation, was wonderful. We talked about what the trail had taught us, about the people you meet, and how it's a real community. It's the great equalizer. Regardless of your socioeconomic status we're all trying to hike to Canada and 99% of the hikers are great people. So it was a nice time. We said our goodbyes, took a few pictures, and then Steve drove us down the mountain to our hotel in Tahoe. Pictures are of the cabin, Steve & Peggy, me, & the gear store owner.
59: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 July 4 Happy 4 th of July! It was the best 4th ever. I bought town clothes and didn't look like a hiker. It was a relaxing day. We walked around and explored. We went to the beach. It's so strange though the contrast between the trail and town. There are a lot of people here for the 4th and after the solitude of the trail it was just weird. I didn't get all my chores done but hey, it's a holiday. I'll do them in the morning before heading back to the trail. The fireworks were awesome! We were going to watch them from the beach as they were over the lake. But in the process of hunting down an ATM discovered a restaurant on the 19th floor of a casino. It had windows all around and a great view of the fireworks. It wasn't crowded either. So we watched the show from there. The 4 th is one of my favorite holidays and I won't forget this one. | Friday, July 6, 2012 Back On The Trail, Mile 1095 - Mile 1115 I spent the 5 th doing laundry and getting back to Echo Lake from South Lake Tahoe. I stayed with Steve & Peggy again at their cabin. Atlas, Sunset, Northstar, & Shutterbug were also there. Sunset has hiked all 3 long trails. This is his second time doing the PCT. In the morning I woke up to a sore and swollen left knee. Everyone else was already up & eating breakfast. I ate and then laid down on the couch with an ice wrap on my knee. Everyone left for the trail and I fell asleep. When I woke up 90 minutes later, I was a new person. I felt tons better. So back to the trail I went. I had a helicopter moment at the trail head. I heard my name “Helicopter" being called but didn't see the hiker right away. Right in front of my nose was Chili and Pepper! They are a father & son duo who started with me. I hadn't seen them in weeks. So it was cool to catch up with them. They were waiting for the PO to open. Well no one was ready to start hiking so I took off solo. It felt strange. After hiking with a partner for so long, leaving people & town comforts behind was just strange. But I was and am happy to be hiking again. I passed a lot of day & weekend hikers. The rail is currently in the Desolation Wilderness. It hasn't been very desolate. There are a lot of people out for the weekend and a lot of mosquitoes. Shortly after Dicks Pass and 6 miles from camp I caught up to Atlas & Sunset. I finished the day out hiking with them. My knee is holding up and I had good energy today. I didn't fall once! I passed a lot of beautiful lakes. Here are some pictures from today, including Chili & Pepper.
60: Saturday, July 7, 2012 Mile 1115 - Mile 1146 I was the last one out of camp this morning. I caught up to Atlas and Sunset when they stopped for a break. I kept going because my energy level was still high. I stopped at Barker Pass for lunch. Super Girl, Shameless, Paws, and a few others were already there sitting at a picnic table playing cards. So I joined them. It was nice to see new and old faces. They're a fun group. The trail today followed the Tahoe Rim Trail for awhile, so there were a lot of great views of Lake Tahoe. At one point I was on a ridge where the ground dropped off on both sides. Lake Tahoe was on one side and other mountains on the other side. Then the trail skirted the ski boundary of Squaw Valley Ski Resort. I skied Squaw Valley several years ago with my friend Daryl,so it was fun seeing it in the summer. I saw a grouse (I think) and watched it for a few minutes. There were a lot of day and weekend hikers today and it's always nice to stop and chat. I finally made it to camp. Pineapple & Express were already here camping. I hadn't seen them since Mammoth Lakes. I like camping with other hikers, especially when I've spent most of the day sol. So a great day, but I'm one tired chickie.
61: Sunday, July 8, 2012 Mile 1146 - Mile 1172 I'm on top of the world! (was). The trail climbed up a hill, went around Tinkers Knob, and was then on the crest with panoramic views on both sides. I saw a deer. It was very close and checked me out as it walked by. I hiked over Donner's Pass and at Highway 40 walked the quarter mile down the road to Donner Ski Ranch. I was with Atlas and the two of us gobbled up breakfast burritos, Haggen Dass ice cream bars and soda. Then back to the trail. Again there were lots of day hikers. I talked with one couple , and the guy had hiked the PCT in 2008. The trail then passed the I80 rest stop. There were no vending machines but water and bathrooms were nice. Also on the trail today was the Peter Grubb Hut, a hut maintained by the Sierra Club. It was nice and cool inside and made a good spot for a snack & rest break. It's been a pretty easy, fast trail the last couple days. I've been doing well, not falling, & good miles. That ended when I took a good tumble this evening. I laid in the trail for a few minutes, to tired to get up. I finally did and all seemed well so I hiked on. About a mile later I started to hurt. So I found a place to camp and stopped early. Rest and food will make me fine in the morning.
62: Monday, July 9, 2012 Mile 1172 - Mile 1198, Sierra City I'm still walking. I woke up early and decided to just get started. I'm stiff and sore. Once I got moving though my body loosened up and I got a good rhythm going. It's exciting to see other hikers when you're hiking solo. Late morning Q Ball zoomed by. He slowed enough to say hi, then kept on running. Q Ball is an ultra runner. A little later as I was walking down the hill to the reservoir, I saw an old guy walking towards me. It was Billy Goat! Billy Goat is a legend on the PCT. He's been hiking around on the trail for years. He told me I looked like I was floating down the trail. That made me smile. I really enjoyed talking to him, but he said there was trail magic at the bottom of the hill. So off I went. Sure enough, Bruce from reno had a cooler of Gatorade and water and lawn chairs. A great time to take a break and rest. While I rested, Beardo showed up. It was fun to see him as well. He hikes with Q Ball, Wolf Pack, and Jeremiah Johnson. We are all headed to Sierra City to resupply. Thanks to my early start I had 15 miles in by 10 a.m. and got to Sierra City by 3 p.m. Grit & Maple were already here. There is a bed & breakfast called The Moose Inn that is run by two awesome trail angels, Margaret & Bill. They let hikers camp in their back yard, do laundry, & shower for free. I was so hungry when I got here I ate a huge 1 lb. hamburger. Two and a half hours later I was able to eat a rib dinner of carrots, potatoes, baked beans and ribs. I'm a scrawny 104 lbs. I need to put weight on or at least maintain. My battery was dead so no pictures of today. | Tuesday, July 10, 2013 Sierra City - ? I had a very nice rest day. I ate a lot. I slept a lot. I hung out & socialized. Now that it's cooled off I'm heading out with Last Minute, Ruby Locks, & Caff.
63: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Mile 1205 - Mile 1232 I'm cruising through the alphabet. Finished Section L & started Section M. Last night we hiked out of Sierra City at 5 p.m. to the top of a 2700 foot climb. There was a great campsite at the top. We lost Caff. He is somewhere ahead. So our group is now Last Minute, Ruby Locks, Reim, and I. The miles came easy today. We hiked steadily but tool breaks. We all are meshing well and its been some good conversation. A good day. The trail has been almost entirely in the trees today with only a few scenic spots. But they were nice. There's been some good springs. The best one was called the A Tree Spring. The water was cold, crisp, & clean. I drank & drank. I made up a lemonade packet and drank some more. It was that good. We had lunch at this fine spot. Sometimes the water is just a seep, like where we are camping tonight. But it's still good water.
64: Thursday, July 12, 2012 Mile 1232 - Mile 1261 Lookout Rock. After a 10 mile hill climb we arrived here in time to watch the sunset. Beautiful. Today had a few surprises. First there was the swimming hole at the fork in the Feather river. We got there at 2 p.m. and dived in. After a refreshing swim we ate lunch and laid on the boulders in the sun. The water temp was perfect. Just cold enough to feel good after a hot hike. Then there was a spring before reaching camp that had delicious water. And finally Lookout Rock. Another great day.
65: Friday, July 13, 2012 Mile 1261 - Mile 1289 It was a fast day through the Buckhorn Wilderness. After a climb it was all downhill to Belden. We all felt like we stepped from the woods to another planet. It was an alien world & what was going on? People were running around in bathing suits. Some were carrying inflatable flotation devices. And in the background is the thump thump of bass. Turns out it's a rave. So live music, djs, tents, & a stage were happening on the river. We got food and called the trail angels the Braatens, to pick us up. I have a resupply box here. We will hike out in the morning. Here are some pictures from today. Also a shout out to my friends competing at and attending the Portland Dance Festival this weekend. Randy & Rhonda Shotts put on a good event. | Saturday, July 14, 2012 Mile 1290 - Mile 1313 After a good night at Little Haven, the trail angel's place for hikers, we headed back to the trail. The day started with a bang. It began with a long 14 mile, 5000 foot climb. It took most of the day to get to the top. The trail entered the Lassen National Forest. After a bit more hiking we got our first views of Lassen Volcano in the distance. We played some fun trail games to make time fly. Last Minute and I sang parts of theme songs from Disney animated movies. Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, The Lion King, and the Little Mermaid for example. I'm really having fun with this group.
66: Sunday, July 15, 2012 Mile 1313 - Mile 1335 Halfway on the PCT baby! Yes! What a fantastic day. We caught up to and shared the trail with Moonwalker and her daughter, and Mark Trail. The 7 of us reached the midpoint together and had lunch there. Then we took off and reached Hwy 36 in record time. There was trail magic at the road and we called a trail angel for a ride to Chester. We celebrated the milestone with a good dinner and mint chocolate chip ice cream with fudge topping. Always nice to shower & do laundry as well. Chester is a small friendly town. We are staying at the Antler Motel. It's comfy and clean. It's been a good week with the group. Tomorrow we'll split up as we have different plans. However, we should regroup in Old Station. The first half of the trail was a great adventure. I had good and bad days just like “real life". I'm looking forward to the second half. What surprises lie around the corner? What will I see? Experience? Bring it on! I've got Oregon get-there-itis. And I think I'll be even more excited about finishing California and making it to Oregon than I am about this halfway point.
67: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 Mile 1335 - Mile 1354 After a very restful zero day in Chester and after sleeping in 11 hours straight, I was ready to hike today. I felt great. I attempted to hitch to the trail head 8 miles away with no luck. No one would stop. So I walked to the Best Western two blocks away looking for other hikers who might have the phone # of the trail angel. No luck. Inside the hotel I asked about taxi service. “Chester doesn't have a taxi. Where do you need to go?" asked the receptionist. When I told her she said “We'll take you." And they did. How awesome is that? I've really been touched by the kindness of strangers on this hike. Sunset was at the trail when I got there and I hiked a little with him before pushing ahead. A cold front came through and cooled things off so it was great hiking weather. The trail entered Lassen National Park. One more park to check off my list. It's been pine forest for awhile and the ground is littered with giant pine cones. The kind you pay a lot of money for at Christmas as decoration. There are hot springs and geysers in the park. I only hiked as far as Drakesbad Guest Ranch. It's a very hiker friendly place. The cabins are expensive and booked up long in advance but there is a campground nearby. At the ranch they gave me loaner shorts & T-shirt and washed my hiker clothes. They gave me soap and a towel for a shower. And they fed me a yummy pasta dinner. Ice cream for dessert. All for $10. I had dinner outside on the picnic table with several other hikers. There were place settings with mats, silverware & plates, and coffee cups. Fancy for an outdoor dinner. It was served family style to us after the guests of the ranch had eaten. The other hikers here are Chris, Sunjay, Sunset, Birdy, La La, and two others.
68: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 Mile 1353 - Mile 1367 I've been on the trail 3 months today. And I got sucked into the vortex of DGR. I was going to hike out this morning but decided to stay for breakfast. Then I decided to stay a bit longer and soak my sore muscles in the hot spring pool. Then it was almost time for lunch so I stayed for lunch. Finally I was able to drag myself out of there and start hiking. Really it was just hard to leave people and food behind to hike solo again. None of the other hikers there were ready to leave. So far Lassen Park is not what I expected. It is heavily forested with a lot of beautiful lakes. I talked to a few day hikers from the ranch on my hike out and had a good afternoon. Fifteen miles today in spite of lingering too long.
69: Thursday, July 19, 2012 Mile 1367 - 1398 Last night I had a visitor. A four legged one. I was awakened by loud rustling and stomping around my tent. My thoughts in quick succession were Bear? My food? Headlamp? Headlamp on, it took awhile for my eyes to adjust. All I saw was a big dark shape with 4 legs. Turns out it was a deer. An unafraid , persistent deer. It wanted what was next to my tent! I would scare it off and it would just come back. I finally gave up and went back to sleep. “It's your forest deer, just don't knock over my tent please." The trail left Lassen Park and headed towards Old Station and Hat Creek Rim. At Old Station I stopped in at the RV resort to eat at the deli and buy some extra snacks. Next stop was Subway Cave. I didn't go to the cave but I filled up my bottles at the spigots there. There were some nice people there who talked to me and gave me some carrots and a couple bananas. What a treat! They were very interested in the PCT. Hat Creek Rim begins shortly after the cave. There is no water for 30 miles, and temperatures can get to 110. I'd been worried about it and figured I'd have to night hike most of it. However, it was cloudy and windy with a hint of rain. I decided to go for it. I left the cave area at 1 p.m. and hiked most of the Rim. The temperature was high 70's. I couldn't have asked for better weather! How lucky am I. There was also a water cache oasis with chairs at mile 1398. This was a nice welcome surprise. So I got more water for tomorrow and camped a quarter mile further. Here is a picture of me with Kermit the Frog. He has been all over the sates with this lady I met as an ambassador for preserving natural resources. (I hope I got that right). Also pictures from the rim.
70: Friday, July 20, 2012 Mile 1398 - Mile 1424 The trail was flat, hot, and rather boring for much of the day. The exceptions were the black lave rocks on the way down off the rim and the first views of Mt. Shasta in the distance. Seeing Shasta really perked me up! Other than that it was just trees, tall grasses, rocks, and only one water source in the middle of my 26 mile day. I would pick a tree or object in the distance, hike to it, then pick another. I'm not complaining, it was fast. I made good time to Burney Falls State Park. Eight miles from the park someone left a tote bag with ice cold Gatorade for hikers. Mine still had ice in it so it was a Gatorade slushee. I was so grateful. The water in my platypus bladder was warm. I was hot. So this really helped fuel the last few miles to the park. When I got here, I found other hikers. I got food at the store, picked up my resupply box, took a shower, & washed my clothes. They are the usual chores. I met some people from Bend, OR. They were very interested in my hike and gave me a cold lemonade and watched my things for me while I ran around. The biggest thing for me on the trail has been the kindness of strangers. It's really been profound and had touched my heart. I'm camping here in the park with Sunset and the Bee Man. It's nice to share camp with other hikers.
71: Saturday, July21, 2012 Mile 1424 - Mile 1429 Burney Falls State Park is a busy place on the weekend. It's a nice park with fishing and boating. You can rent kayaks, canoes, & power boats. The falls are pretty too, the way they seem to gush out of the rocks and over the rocks. I slept in and then spent most of the day sitting at a picnic table outside of the store. I felt very peaceful. I was charging my phone and iPod in the outlet there. A lot of hikers came and went while I was there. Most of them hitched into town for resupplying. The camp store didn't have much to offer. It was 90 degrees today! So I waited til evening to leave and only hiked five miles. I'm cowboy camping next to a river. There isn't enough room to set up my tent. Texas Chill, The Newman, & Robocop are here as well. Tomorrow is going to be really hot again so I'm going to get up at 4:30 a.m. I'll hike til noon or so, take a siesta, and hike more in the evening when it's cooler. This is a picture of the dam just past Burney Falls.
72: Sunday, July 22, 2012 Mile 1429 - Mile 1456 Section O begins! It feels like I'm walking in a jungle. The trail is winding through thick forest with a lot of low level ground plants, shrubs, & ferns. In places it's completely overgrown the trail. It's the rolling foothills of the Southern Cascades. There have been great views of Mt. Shasta though. There were a lot of flowers and water has been sufficient. I got up early for the heat bit it wasn't too hot due to all the shade. I've been leapfrogging Chris & Texas Chill today. I stopped to camp on the ridge though before the trail descends back into the buggy lower elevations. I'm glad I did, because I have phone reception! I have no bugs and a beautiful view!
73: Monday, July 23, 2012 Mile 1456 - Mile 1487 I started the day off watching the sun rise over the mountains while I ate my oatmeal and drank my tea. It turned the sky shades of pink. I was met by fantastic views of Mt. Shasta in the morning on my descent from the ridge. It was a beautiful morning. I saw a lot of wildlife today. They don't see or hear me coming till I'm right there and then we all jump. Last night it was a deer. Today it was a bear, a deer, & a snake. I didn't get a good look at the bear. It was brown, round, & fuzzy and went crashing down the mountain side as fast as it could go. So I started talking loudly as I walked. First to myself, then to the trail, then to any animals out there. “Human coming through." I keep catching up to Chris. He's a very fast hiker but his feet are hurting real bad. He needs new shoes. Hiking on through the woods it's still a jungle but improving. There was a lot of water and I got to soak my feet in cold water. Aahh... I'm pitching camp early again. It's only 5:30 p.m. but I already hiked a lot of miles today and don't need to do more. I feel funny wasting daylight though. Rest is good.
74: Tuesday, July 24 , 2012 Mile 1487 - Mile 1506 I woke up. I walked 500 miles. Then I walked 500 more. I liked it. So I walked 500 more. 1500 miles ! Oregon is in sight! I think I will cry when I get to Oregon. Although the trail north of here is supposed to be really beautiful. A lot of hikers have dropped off the trail for various reasons. I think after the emotional high and “wow" factor of the Sierras, to not as many views, combined with the physical tiredness of all the high mountain passes are factors. I've been hiking in the Trinity Alps National Forest. The trail went west and passed south of Shasta then turned north to pass to the west of Shasta. It was mostly downhill today to I-5 freeway. I caught up to Chris at Amirattis Market in Castella where we both have packages. The market is two miles from the trail. I got my resupply box, my new Dirty Girl gaiters, & a GPS clip for my pack. We got a ride into Mt. Shasta for the night. Yippee.
75: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Mile 1506 - Mile 1524 It was a hot , hard climb but oh so worth it. I'm camped in a an open area with several camping spots and an amazing view. I pitched my tent facing Mt. Shasta, Castle Rocks, and surrounding mountains. It's beautiful and I should be able to see a lot of stars tonight. This morning I made a sign “PCT hiker to trail", and got picked up right away. His name is Forest and he moved to this area from Portland six months ago. I really appreciated the ride. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3tHtCtZK9c&feature=player_embedded | Thursday, July, 26 & Friday, 27, 2012 Mile 1524 - Mile 1554 The trail gained 4000 feet in elevation over 13 miles up t the Trinity Divide. I hiked half of it yesterday and the rest today. Once on top its been fairly flat. I like being up high. This section has great panoramic views and Mt. Shasta continues to dominate the landscape. I took a lot of pictures of Shasta. It's been rocky in places with towering, rust colored cliffs. But what's interesting is that the rocks change to gray, then back to rust. It's the weekend so there were a lot of day and weekend hikers out. It's always fun to meet and talk with these people. A lady was out with her young daughter and teenage boys. She teaches school in Shasta and gave me several plums from Chico. They were the best plums I've ever had. I could easily become addicted to them if I lived here. Yummy. That was this afternoon. This morning at 9 I hit trail magic. A 2011 PCT hiker was out with two friends cooking pancakes. So I had pancakes and orange soda. It was a great day. I'm really impressed with Northern California. And not because of the food. It's just very beautiful. So even though I'm anxious to finish California and get to Oregon, I'm really enjoying this part of the trail.
76: Saturday, July 28, 2012 Mile 1554 - Mile 1586 What can I say about today? I started off hiking with a section hiker. He's a teacher and has been spending his summers on the PCT for years. I enjoyed his company. Then later I met another section hiker and a thru hiker. I felt a new sense of trail maturity and relaxation about the day as I hiked. The trail entered the Trinity Alps Wilderness in the Klamath National Forest today. It has lived up to its reputation of stunning scenery. I saw some snow on distant peaks, rust colored rocky hillsides, green hillsides, meadows, wildflowers, and panoramic vistas. It's a great section. I'm camped now near Hwy 93 where there is trail head parking. It's a nice spot, flat, shaded, and away from the parking lot. Two adults and a child rode by on horseback. they gave me a bottle of Gatorade which was perfect. I was thirsty and my water is rationed for breakfast tomorrow and the 5 mile stretch to the next water. | Sunday, July 29, 2012 Mile 1586 - Mile 1606 I left the Trinity Alps Wilderness behind and entered the Russian Wilderness. It's just as beautiful. I woke up a little sore and tired so hiked slower, took it easy. I hiked with Jackie the section hiker again and had a good day. A good day with one exception. All my talk about being a seasoned hiker now and I go and fall again. It was a steep downhill section strewn with rocks and very sandy. I slipped on the sand, tripped on a rock and went head first down the trail. Kinda like diving for home base in baseball. It was a bad fall but I came out ok with just scrapes and bruises. I'll probably be stiff and sore in the morning. I was glad to have Jackie there to dust me off.
77: Monday, July 30, 2012 Etna I got off the trail at Etna Summit and got a ride into town with two day hikers. They visit Etna every year. Jackie was with me and had them drop us off at Bob's restaurant. It's a family style diner with delicious homemade pies. Then we walked over to this charming bed & breakfast with a “Hiker Hut" in the side yard. It's a surprisingly restful place. It's a large wooden shed that has been carpeted and furnished with bunk beds, living area, kitchen, & bath. Etna itself is a tiny town and people are friendly. Everyone waves or says hi and seems to know everyone. Two small boys had a hotdog and lemonade stand set up in their front yard. The hut supplied us with bicycles to get around town with. It's a good place for me to stop and ice up my sore spots before hiking on. My propeller (on my hat) is still spinning!
78: Tuesday, July 31 & Wednesday, August 1, 2012 Etna Lately I've had to tear myself away from town. I've had to prod and push myself a little to leave the company of people and comforts of food & cold drinks behind. Not this time. Etna's great. A lot of hikers have come in and then left. It's great to see new and old faces. But I have ants in my pants. I'm anxious to get back on the trail. I'm restless and need to get moving! Only 4 hiking days from Oregon. But I'm doing what I need to do, resting and icing my knee. I Like riding the bike donated by the Hiker Hut because it uses different muscles and gets the blood flowing so I'm not so stiff. It's working. I'll be able to hike out. I'm feeling good. There's still a lot of snow in Oregon north of crater Lake and in Washington that has slowed hikers down. They've even had to break out their microspikes and ice axes. So an extra day here to allow snow to melt more there, it's all ok. I'll be able to make up time with the mellow terrain ahead. And I'll have people to hike out with. So yay, back on the trail again I go. Stacy, a local thru hiker had a dinner party at her house last night. She rounded up the hikers staying at the Hiker Hut and Motel Etna and brought us to her house where another hiker who is a chef was cooking. And could he cook! He made Jambalaya, salad, and a zucchini/yellow squash dish. It was delicious. It was fun to share a good trail experience with my hiking friends. So Etna has been one of my favorite stops but I'm happy to finally be getting back on trail. I haven't been able to get pictures of myself since I've been hiking solo. So here's a picture of me at the Hiker Hut with a bike.
79: Thursday, August 2, & Friday, August 3, 2012 Etna - Seiad Valley, Mile 1606 - Mile 1662 There were several of us trying to hitch out of Etna. We had been there a couple hours when the father of Momma Bear/Grandpa to Monkey showed up. He took us to the trail head. Back on the trail again! It feels good to be hiking and while my knees are a little stiff I feel great. We are still hiking in the Russian Wilderness and the first half of the trip was rocky trail. It continues to impress though. there were more meadows covered with wildflowers, forest, green hillsides with rock outcroppings and one final view of Shasta. I saw another bear. A big one this time. It was in the evening around 6, about 2 miles from Paradise Lake where we planned to camp. It was a goof thing I was talking loudly to Tofu Todd and That Guy. The noise gave notice to the bear and all I saw was its big, furry, brown butt as it jumped a log and ran down the mountain. That makes a total of 4 bears I've seen on this hike. Paradise Lake was a beautiful campsite. It was spring fed and was surrounded by high cliffs. It's also accessible by a side trail with road access. So day & weekend hikers were around. The trail smoothed out and started descending down 17 miles into Seiad Valley. On the way it changed from a dry alpine environment to a lush rain forest type place with lots of streams. It was also humid. Tofu Todd is taking three days to get to Seiad. I planned two days. So I had to wish him well in the morning and head down the trail. I didn't have enough food to take longer. There are a lot of discomforts that long distance hikers have to deal with. Blisters are the most common. Then there is foot pain, shin splints, IT Band, and knee pain. You learn to deal with it, then ignore it and keep hiking. There's always some little problem. Another common ailment is Giardia, which is a parasite that you can get from drinking bad water. In the desert everyone was religious about treating or filtering the water. Then in the Sierras there was an abundance of clean safe water. So many hikers stopped treating. I have a Sawyer inline filter attached to the drinking tube of my Platypus bladder. But I would frequently fill up my Gatorade bottle and drink it untreated. Those springs are delicious! Now though we have to treat again. A lot of hikers got Giardia between Shasta and Etna. There's a time lapse between infection and symptoms. I developed symptoms 10 miles up the trail from Etna. Yucky. So at night I've just gone straight to bed. It's been pretty slow going. But I made it to Seiad Valley. Tomorrow I will go to a clinic and get some meds. Seaid is tiny. There's a store , a café, and an RV park. We are camped at the RV park. Fingers crossed this won't delay me too long. If it does I'm confident I can make up the time.
80: Saturday, August 4, Sunday, August 5, Monday, August 6, 2012 The Trail Provides When I look back on my trail experience so far, the phrase “The trail provides" mentioned often in various planning resources comes to mind. So many times I got what I needed when I needed it. Whether it was trail magic, the right person(s) to hike with, or two fighter jets flying fast overhead minutes after saying it'd be cool to see. It's certainly the case this time. First, That Guy caught up to me in Etna and we hiked out with a few others. So I'm not solo anymore. Then while hiking we met a section hiker named Chuck. We passed each other a lot for two days because I was so slow and stopping a lot. He is from Sacramento. He offered a ride to Ashland as his wife was picking him up at 2 p.m. Sunday on Hwy 96. Then, we got to the trail head in Seiad Valley Saturday with a 6.5 mile road walk still to do but Lloyd was there to give us a ride. Sunday the owner of the RV park gave us a ride to the meeting spot for our ride with Chuck. Then as luck would have it my cousin and her family were in Ashland waiting for me to hike in as I should have been arriving Sunday on foot. So it's all just worked out smoothly. There weren't any walk in clinics open so we had to go to ER. I do not have Giardia! This is great news cause Giardia usually keeps you off trail for a week. I have some sort of stomach flu bug. There's nothing like 3 L of IV fluid to perk you up though. Doc says two days off my feet getting food and fluids to build my strength up and give my body a chance to stabilize and recover should do the trick. I have a prescription. I'm already feeling better. So, another little roadblock in my trip. But these things happen on a long hike, just like real life, and you just have to roll with it. So I'll rest here and then my cousin will take us back to the trail. And I'm so happy to see my cousin. I've missed her. It'll be fun to catch up. This isn't the best picture but these flowers are common on the trail. I really like the contrast of the red and yellow colors. | Tuesday, August 7, 2012 Ashland - Mile 1744 I wrote about how the trail provides. Well it turns out the group I hikes with a few weeks ago spent a few days in Ashland and were hiking out today. It's grown though. I met them at the trail head at 12:30 and 6 of us now started hiking. Our group now consists of Last Minute, Ruby Locks, Rem, Grit, Moss, and me. Then a couple hours in, Quest joined out train. It's fun to be hiking with them again. Due to logistics getting back to Seiad Valley and in order to stay on schedule, I decided to pick up the trail here and when I reach Canada I'll come back to Seiad Valley to knock out the 68 miles I missed. I'm feeling better and it feels really good to be in my home state. Southern Oregon had these lush, green, rolling hills and tall grasses. The forest offers nice shade from the heat. We are camped near a reservoir. The sound of the water is very soothing for going to sleep. Nice! It was awesome to spend time with my family. I'm really blessed to have their support. best trail angels and trail magic yet!
81: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 Green Springs 17 miles east of Ashland on Hwy 66 at Green Springs Summit, is the Green Springs Inn. It has cabins, a lodge, restaurant, and group facilities. It's beautiful here near the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. The PCT goes through the monument at mile 1744. Proprietor Diarmuid McGuire is supportive of PCT hikers and very kind. My symptoms returned full force while camping last night and it was clear this morning I wouldn't be hiking anywhere. I called the Inn and they had a room free and picked me up. I was able to get the medicine I need and should be on the mend for sure this time. It is Giardia after all. My friends of course hiked on but we are staying in touch. When I'm strong I can really fly down the tail and do big miles. So I'm going to stay here close to the trail and when I can, I'm going to fly. Pictures; the gang, love those dirty girl gaiters, & the lodge.
82: Thursday, August 9, 2012 Getting Philosophical I can't help it. I've had a lot of time for introspection. I've been thinking about the trail, about these last few months, and the metaphors keep coming. You fall down. You get back up. To succeed you keep walking. Just get up and walk, doesn't matter if you're fast or slow. You depend on, trust, and support your fellow hikers. You look out for each other. A hiker named Houdini had his backpack stolen when he went to get water. He had to get off the trail. But an outfitter in Mt. Laguna, and other people in the PCT community pitched in donating gear and he's back on the trail. How awesome is that? There's more. Sometimes I catch myself looking down too much and almost miss a beautiful view. Yes, you have to watch the trail but look around , look up, don't miss out. Same in life. The Green Springs Inn is full tonight so they gave me a room above the restaurant for free. It's used for storage but there's a bed & a chair and it's comfy. This place and the people here are awesome and I'd like to come back sometime with family and rent a cabin. It would be a good base camp. It takes two full days on the medicine before you really feel good again. Then there are four more days of it. So I'm planning on hiking out in the morning. There are two resorts between here and Crater Lake - Hyatt Lake Resort and Fish Lake Resort if I have trouble. The elevation profile looks mellow. Fingers crossed.
83: Friday, August 10, 2012 Green Springs Inn - Hyatt Lake, Mile 1750 I struggled with the go or not decision this morning. Didn't feel good, didn't feel bad. On the fence. So I had breakfast and I felt like a new person. But it was still one of the hardest mental battles I've fought on the trail. The first step is the hardest even when you're motivated. But once you get going, wow. It felt great to be hiking again and in the Oregon Cascades too. The trail passed through the Siskiyou Ntl. Monument. It was designed to protect its diverse ecosystem. It's beautiful. I heard a high pitched sound. Was it an animal, bird, or a hiker? I know a few hikers who like to whop and holler. Never did figure out what it was. Another fun encounter happened while I was resting enjoying the view of Hyatt Lake Reservoir. A small furry head popped up out of the ground. It watched me intently. I said hello but it wasn't impressed and dropped back into his hole. When I go to Hyatt Lake I was ravenous for a hamburger. So I stopped for a late lunch. I got picked up right away for the ride to Hyatt Lake. It's only a mile of trail. The lady who picked me up, Liz, has been trekking in Nepal, India, Afghanistan, and a lot of other places. She was cool and I would have loved to talk to her further. The hamburger was delicious and I handled it ok. I was going to hike another 4 miles and camp but decided to stay here and not push too hard the first day. I feel good about tomorrow. Marionberry Cobbler anyone?
84: Saturday, August 11, 2012 Mile 1750 - Mile 1784 I'm baack! 34 miles! I had the daylight and will to do more but body said no. I listened. Only 47 miles from Carter Lake. I woke up ready to go. This morning after passing a couple hikers from France it was just me and the deer on the trail. I saw a lot of deer. I also crossed the first lava fields of the trail. There's more ahead. It's been smoky and hazy all day. It smells of smoke too. Somewhere there's a fire but it's not near the PCT. I passed the trail to Fish Lake Resort but didn't go because it's two miles off trail. I didn't want to walk it and the cars on Hwy 140 were driving too fast for me to hitch. All for the best. I got more miles in. There's a good chance I'll catch up to my friends as they've slowed down. I lucked out with a camping spot. It's probably the only flat spot for miles and it's perfect for my tent. Woo hoo! I'm tired.
85: Monday, August 13, 2012 Mile 1817 - Mile 1830 Crater Lake! I'm here! I think I'm as excited to be here as I was getting to Kennedy Meadows. It's hazy so the lake doesn't have that bright blue hue but it's still gorgeous. There were several hikers at the Mazama Village store including Busted Magic. I hadn't seen her since Etna, so it was good to see her. I has a big breakfast and got my resupply box. Then hikers/trail angels Early Girl and Water Boy drove up. They are the angels who gave me a ride to the trail from Kickoff. They were hiking this year but Water Boy fell and fractured his leg. Anyhow, I'm spending the rest of the day with them and will hike on in the morning. | Sunday, August 12, 2012 Mile 1784 - Mile 1817 I love how the light filters through the trees giving them different shades of green. It's very still and peaceful. The only sounds are my footsteps on the pine needled trail and the occasional breath of wind rustling the limbs. I left the forest for rocky ridge tops. Then scattered pines and finally a large burn area. I finally saw some other thru hikers. A couple. I think her name is Blue Jay. She has Giardia too. Other than them, no one else. I'm really looking forward to Crater Lake.
86: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 Mile 1830 - Mile 1852 This morning after breakfast, Early Girl and Water Boy took me to the trail head. There were hugs and smiles and then I was off. I feel great today. I believe I'm 100% cured of Giardia. It was a steep hike from Hwy 92 up to the rim of Crater Lake but so worth it. I stopped at the Rim Village to buy a sandwich for a picnic later. I also bought a cool pair of bright yellow sunglasses. They match my hat. The lake was bright blue and sparkling in the sun. The trail went up and down north along the rim so there was great views. I found a place for lunch in the shade of a tree overlooking the lake. I was delighted when I opened up my ham sandwich and discovered a hard boiled egg in it. Yummy sandwich. I hiked a good pace but it felt very chill and relaxed today. About mid afternoon after leaving the rim, I stopped for a break and Quest came up the trail. So we are hiking together for the next few days. When we got to Hwy 138 we heard there was a fire 39 miles ahead. So we hitched to Diamond Lake to get info and camp for the night. Imagine my surprise when there sitting at a picnic table was a friend of my cousin who I knew. She is on vacation with her family. So fun. The word we got about the fire was call the Umpqua Forest Service in the morning to find out if the PCT is closed and hot to get around it. It's become an adventure within an adventure. And instead of ramen noodles for dinner I had pizza and double fudge brownie ice cream.
87: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 Fire! This morning the Forest Service confirmed that the PCT was closed for the fire at Windigo Pass. So we had a zero day at Diamond Lake. While there we met a lot of people, ate pizza, and had huckleberry ice cream. My cousin's husband Dennis drove up and shuttled me, Quest, and Mr. Chips around the fire to Shelter Cove at West Lake Odell. We are camping here with several other hikers who showed up.
88: Thursday, August 16, 2012 Mile 1912 - Mile 1942 Quest and I hiked out this morning only to encounter more fire hazards and trail closures. The PCT was closed at Hwy 58 for 20 miles. We were already hiking and didn't know about it. We smelled smoke and saw the helicopters flying overhead and getting water from the lakes. But we never saw the fire and had no trouble. There are a lot of lakes on the trail now and we stopped at a big one for lunch. Even went wading. Also we are now in the Three Sisters' Wilderness and I feel like I'm home. I've hiked this wilderness area twice and it was my first hike on the PCT. It was where I met my first thru hikers and started dreaming about doing it myself someday. And here I am! There are a lot of other hikers around me now too, which is good and I'm enjoying hiking with Quest. Today was his first 30 mile day.
89: Friday, August 17, 2012 Mile 1942 - Mile 1972 I'm home. I'm hiking on familiar trail in the Three Sisters' Wilderness area and it's awesome. We hiked fast this morning and took a side trail down to Elk Lake Resort for lunch. Quest is leaving the trail for a few days to go home to Eugene, OR. There are a few other hikers including Archie. It was great to see Archie again. I hadn't seen him since Yosemite. His new trail name is Willway. The lake was beautiful with Mt. Bachelor nearby. There were also first views of South Sister and Middle Sister. After lunch I hustled on to get 30 trail miles in since I'm meeting my cousin tomorrow at McKensie Pass. The hike this afternoon passed through several meadows covered with Lupine. At least I think that is what the flowers are called. They smelled so good. I wish the smell could be bottled. I'd wear it. The trail passes fairly close to the Sisters' Mountains and so I got some good pictures. I'm dry camping since I couldn't make it to a lake ahead. It was getting dark so I called it a day. It feels good to be healthy again and I'm more determined than ever to make it to Canada. I'm ahead of schedule now since I've been doing 30 mile days. These pictures are South Sister, Quest & me, and Lupine.
90: Saturday, August 18, 2012 Mile 1972 - Mile 1989 Oregon has turned out to be an adventure within an adventure. First there were the two fires. And there's another fire further north. Then today there was thunder and lightening west of the trail but no rain. It's kinda exciting. I was thankful for the cloud cover though as it kept the temperature cool. In the Three Sisters' Wilderness is a place called the Obsidian Area. It's a restricted area to protect it from overuse. You have to have a permit to camp there. It's my favorite place. The Obsidian sparkles when the light hits it. There's a spring that flows out of the mountain, across the meadow, and then plunges off a cliff as Obsidian Falls. Beautiful. I hiked through there this morning and stopped to fill up all of my water bottles from the spring. Delicious water. I hustled this morning in order to meet my cousin Darlene at McKenzie Pass. The pass is on Hwy 242, a seasonal road and the Dee Wright Observatory is there. The observatory is made out of lava rock. You can see all of the mountain peaks from it on a clear day. Lava rock surrounds the pass and it's very hard to walk on. Even on the trail you have to be careful not to twist an ankle on the loose rock. I met a friendly section hiker on the trail, retired, who is passionate about the outdoors. He quizzes me at length about my hike and I didn't mind. Even though I was hurrying to meet my cousin, it was inspiring to talk to him because he was so enthusiastic. It felt great to get to the observatory because it's a real mile marker. I got there 10 minutes after Darlene. She had ice cream! Turns out my hiking friends Last Minute & Co. are here. So good to see them. We met for dinner after all of my errands were done. They are leaving before me tomorrow but I should be able to catch up and hike with them. Right now it's just nice to spend time with my cousin when I'm not sick & we can enjoy our time together. I'm so blessed to have support from my family, friends, & community.
91: Sunday, August 19, 2012 Bend, OR. Nero Day I spent the day with friends and family. What could be better? Darlene and I went to Starbucks for coffee. Then we went shopping and I bought a new hiking shirt. My old one was falling apart. We had lunch at Madeline's Grill with an old coworker and good friend Scott Granger and his wife. The rest of the day was spent lounging by the hotel pool. There is always such a contrast between trail and town, it can feel surreal at times. I'm heading back to the trail now to hike over the lava field in the cool of the evening. There's a three mile stretch left. | Monday, August 20, 2012 Mile 1992 - Mile 2025 I saw a bear today! It was a black bear on the trail not far from me. He turned, looked at me for a second, and then ran off. That makes my 5th bear. At Hwy 20, Santiam Pass, I caught up to my friends Last Minute, Ruby Locks & Co. There was trail magic there. Steady's husband had Subway sandwiches, soda, and chips for us. I'm hiking with the gang again and it's nice. Santiam Pass is the start of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The centerpiece is Mt. Jefferson but there is also Three Fingered Jack. At one point on a ridge looking back south I could see the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, and Three Fingered Jack. There's still some snow up here but not much. It's melted pretty quickly in this heat. We are camped with a great view of Jefferson. Definitely a good day.
92: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 The Big Detour Part I The Jefferson Wilderness is one of the highlights of the PCT. Mt. Jefferson rises high above lush meadows and green forests. The wildflowers are in bloom after the late snow melt. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the most scenic part of this area because of the Waterfall II fire. So the adventure within an adventure continues. Initially the fire affected ten miles of the PCT. However, we met a southbound hiker who told us the fire had spread and that Lake Ollalie had been evacuated and was closed. This was a big concern as everyone was planning a resupply at the resort there. That combined with a long detour meant we didn't have enough food. Well we'd find out. The first part of the detour was to take the Breitenbush trail west to a dirt road, then a long road walk north to another trail east. The Breitenbush Trail was rocky and downhill. I felt very clumsy and it was slow going. When we got to a trail head parking area there were signs posted confirming the bigger fire and a longer detour. It was getting dark and the trail was hard to follow. So when we discovered a dirt road paralleling the trail we walked it instead. Turned out to be a good decision as it was the right road. Around 9:30 p.m. when we were almost to Hwy 46, we saw a camper with a light on and a couple sitting outside. Rem went over and said hello and the man Brian, told us where a good place to camp was. It turned out to be a great spot but we were all so tired we didn't care. No sooner had we gotten out tents set up when Brian drove up in his truck. He offered to give us a ride to Detroit Lake in the morning to get food. How awesome is that? Trail magic.
93: Thursday, August 23, 2012 Detour - Mile 2093 The last part of the detour had us bushwhacking through the forest following pink flags. We finally arrived back on the PCT at mile 2065. It felt good to be back on trail. Road walking is hard on the feet. There were helicopters flying around most of the day getting water to fight the fire. We were told there were 600 firefighters working on this fire and it was only 5 % contained. It was a great day for hiking. We had cool temperatures and good trail. We were also treated to our first good view of Mt. Hood. Yay! We passed Lake Timothy, which is a large lake with good camping. We kept hiking through as it was too early to stop. Then there was Little Crater Lake. It's a small lake with water so clear you can see way down to the bottom. It's also 35 degrees. Cold water. I treated it anyway! I'm really looking forward to getting to Timberline Lodge tomorrow at Mt. Hood. | Wednesday, August 22, 2012 The Big Detour Part II We met Brian at 7:30 a.m. for our ride to Detroit. Detroit is on beautiful Detroit Lake where people come to fish,camp, sail, and enjoy the outdoors. It's also a good stopping place on the drive from Salem to Bend and I've been there many times. We had a nice breakfast at Cedars, bought food at the convenience store, and then Brian drove us back to the detour. It was so kind of him to wait for us. A new trail angel. So the long road walk began. We hiked 12 miles north on Hwy 46 which is scenic road through national forest. We entered the Mt. Hood Forest. Then we turned east on road 4690 for 7 miles, then north again on road 4022. We've hiked 4 miles on this road so far and are camped off to the side. Tomorrow, we will be back on the PCT after a few more road miles. I'm so glad I'm with friends. Its made what would have been tedious, much more fun.
94: Friday, August 24, 2012 Mile 2093 - Mile 2107 It was cold this morning. the group couldn't decide last night when we'd hike out- 6 or 7. So I split it and was ready at 6:30 a.m. Only no one else was up. Everyone was sound asleep still. Of course I didn't want to wake them up and it was to cold to wait. So I took off. I was really looking forward to Timberline Lodge and seeing Portland friends. I'll be in WA for my Aug 28 birthday so we are celebrating early. I'm glad I got up early because I was treated to a fantastic early morning view of Mt. Hood. There was a PCT trail register at Hwy 26. So I signed it “still spinning" with a simple drawing of the spinner on my hat and my trail hat. Then it was 4 miles to Barlow Pass at Hwy 35. Then only 4 more miles to Timberline! But oh, the last mile was killer. It was uphill in deep sand. It was like climbing an Oregon sand dune. But I slogged on and what was that noise? Music? Here? There was a DJ spinning rock music and talking over a loudspeaker. I could see lots of cars and colorful flags across the ravine and the lodge in the background. Mt. Hood itself was on my right. Turns out the Hood to Coast relay race was beginning. I got there just in time to hear him say “30 seconds" and then “runners, get outta here!" There were a lot of people around. I picked up my two boxes at the gear store, got lunch in the lodge, plugged in my cell phone, and waited in the lobby for my ride. Last Minute and Grit got in an hour later. I never saw Rem and Ruby Locks though. I was sorry to miss them. But I will see everyone “up the trail" I'm sure. That's how it works. My friend Doug picked me up and we got all my usual errands done. then it was Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner! Then we watched one of my favorite movies on Blue Ray, “Apollo 13". So nice to spend time with good friends. Tomorrow will be a trip to REI and planning the last legs of my journey in WA. So exciting! Goodnight.
95: Saturday, August 15, 2012 Miscellaneous Pictures Quest and I expressing our frustration with trail closures. A morning picture from the ridge before Timberline. Picture of Rem. Ruby Locks truckin' down the trail. Forest Ranger checking permits in Three Sisters and doing trail work.
96: Sunday, August 26, 2012 Mile 2107 - Mile 2132 I got a late start this morning but extra sleep and breakfast are good things. The PCT coincides with the Timberline Loop Trail for awhile. So I saw a lot of day and weekend hikers. It's a beautiful section. It's mostly forest but there are also steep canyons and valleys. There were also a couple of tricky river crossings but I didn't get wet. I took a lot of pictures of Mt. Hood. I'd like to do the Timberline Trail around the mountain one day. The guidebook recommended a two mile alternate trail that hooked up to the PCT. I went by Ramona Falls and it was the perfect lunch spot. The trail had two steep climbs and descents that wore me out. First day hiking after a zero day I have to remind my legs what their job is. It's chilly tonight, windy, and overcast. It might rain but I'm snug in my tent. There is another thru hiker camped here named Sesame. I met him a long time ago. When I was in town I washed both my sleeping bag and backpack. What luxury! They don't stink. Speaking of town, it was a bit overwhelming. REI and the mall were crowded and noisy. It was a shock to my system after the quiet of the woods. Re entry into the real world after my hike is going to be harder than I thought. I think I've grown a lot and learned a lot these last few months. In the coming weeks I'm going to be thinking about how I can apply what I've learned on the trail to regular life and what changes I should make. It's too easy to slip back into old habits and I want to keep moving in a positive direction. I feel good though. And resolute. I'm coming Canada! I'm solo at the moment but hope to find hiker(s) in CascadeLocks to hike Washington with.
97: Monday, August 27, 2012 Mile 2132 - Mile 2155 It rained last night so my tent was wet. It was wet and misty out so the valley below the ridge I was hiking on was obscured by clouds. It was cool to be above it. The trail crossed several talus slopes. As the morning sun came up it shot a starburst of gray laser beams through the trees. It gave the trail a rainforest feel. The guide book recommended another alternate trail called Eagle creek. I took a two mile insanely steep side trail to get to it. The eagle creek trail follows the creek as it winds down a canyon. There area lot of waterfalls. The trail is high above, following the river down. It was like walking along a cliff. Two waterfalls were unique. Punch Bowl Falls and Tunnel Falls. Tunnel Falls you walked through a tunnel behind a very high falls. The trail ended at the Columbia River Gorge. A two mile paved bike path led east to Cascade Locks, OR. There is a trail angel here who calls himself Shrek, Trail Ogre. His hostel is Shrek's Swamp. He's still building the place up but there's space for hikers, shower, & laundry. It will be really nice when he's done building it though.
98: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 Mile 2155 - Mile 2185 Happy Birthday to me! The last few hundred miles since I got sick have been a battle between my desire to finish the trail and my desire to quit. I never thought I would feel like quitting. I'm so glad I hung in there. This morning as I crossed over the Columbia River Gorge on the Bridge of the Gods, I teared up. I made it to Washington! It feels good, right. I'm happy to be hiking. There's a good group on the trail with me. Yardsale and Dirty feet were packing up when I left Shrek's this morning. They will meet me in camp tonight. I caught up to Colors and Quirk. They're a married couple I met near Shasta. Last Minute and Grit are 6 miles ahead. And Tony from Belgium is camping here also. The trail today climbed from near sea level at the gorge to 3500 feet. It's been up and down 1500 feet at a time the rest of the day. It was a green tunnel today. The trees obscured any views of the Columbia I might have had. In some places the ferns and plants were as tall as me. And there was a lot of water. I thought today about my video entry for next years Kickoff. I've got some good ideas I think. I also thought about writing a book. If I wrote a book, what would make it unique and stand out from all of the other books written about the PCT by hikers? What would this title be? “A Backpackers Guide to Falling". I humor myself. I forgot to mention Sesame. He is also camping here and he gave me a couple temporary tattoos. So I'm rocking a couple colorful dragons. I'm home for the night. time to sleep. | Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Mile 2185 - Mile 2216 Hang on! It's another roller coaster trail today. Early in the day there was a wicked long climb up to 4000 feet. Just a lot of up and down. I caught up to Last Minute, Grit, and Anchor Man and hiked with them for awhile. Then I caught up to theThree Caballeros and hiked with them for a few miles. It was really great to see them again. They're fun, intelligent guys and I hadn't seen them since the Sierras. The green tunnel finally opened up as the trail climbed and got a few views. It's been cloudy and cool. Good hiking weather. I was starting to feel tired and losing energy when I came upon trail magic. There were two buckets labeled “PCT hikers" on the side of the trail. Inside were Fritos, pretzels, and chocolate. A bag of pretzels and a Twix bar later and I was energized again. It worked better than caffeine. I met three ladies on the trail who were section hiking. They were friendly and enthusiastic and I really enjoyed talking to them. I'm camped tonight with a couple I just met, Ripple and Peregrine. They started the 16th of April. I did 31 miles today by 5:30. I got cold when I stopped to rest so my breaks were short. Walking. Comfortable. Sitting. Here. I set up camp early and it is nice to relax in camp.
99: Thursday, August 30, 2012 Mile 2216 - Mile 2248 I woke up to frost on the ground. But then only a mile up the trail was a great morning view of Mt. Adams. What better way to start my day. I'm hiking in the Mt.Adams Wilderness. The views today more than made up for the days without. there were a lot of close up views of Mt. Adams. But late afternoon I was also treated to a view of both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier. Gorgeous. Most of the hikers I've seen this week are resupplying in Trout Lake. I have enough food to get to White Pass so I'm pushing through. When I got to Road 23, a father was dropping off his son who is hiking the trail. He offered me a ride into town. It was really tempting! But I said no and kept walking. Two big reasons were 1. I didn't need to go and would just spend money. 2. The weather is perfect! I want to get as much hiking in and miles in as I can while the weather holds. Washington is called the hiker wash state for a reason. Rain. Lots of rain. Well it was a great hiking day. I'm camped with Big Bird and a couple of section hikers who are very friendly.
100: Friday, August 31, 2012 Mile 2148 - Mile 2182 This morning as I was hiking, inspiration struck. I know what my book will be. It feels right and I'm super excited about it. There were a lot of great views of Mt.Rainier this morning. It and the surrounding peaks poked out of the clouds like islands in a sea. So awesome. I saw a lot of hikers today including Atlas. I'm happy he is still hiking. He'd gotten off trail for an injured foot. At lunch time I hit trail magic. A Mountain Dew is a great energy boost. And it was ice cold! I entered the Goat Rocks Wilderness this afternoon. I've been looking forward to it all summer. I've wanted to hike it for at least three years. It's got forest, meadows covered in wildflowers, waterfalls, and rocky peaks. I climbed over Cispus Pass. There were snow patches on and off the trail. It was fantastic. I'm camped at 6000 feet on a flat area overlooking a canyon.
101: Saturday, September 1, 2012 Mile 2282 - Mile 2303 It was an epic day! I am beyond elated. I made it to White Pass in record time. I got here at 2:30 today. This morning I got up early and was hiking with the sunrise. It was cold and windy and the frost crunched under my feet. I crossed several big snowfields as the trail climbed and went around Packwood Glacier. Then the trail switched back up a very steep rocky face. At the top it split into the stock PCT and hiker PCT. The hiker PCT went across “Knifes Edge". So named because its on the rocky spine of the mountain. It drops off on both sides and the descent along it is very steep. There is a lot of snow. It was insane, thrilling, sketchy in places, magnificent views, and a little scary. I loved it. I also hated doing it solo. It sure felt great though when I got down onto easier terrain. Huge pat on my back for that one. I gave a woop of satisfaction. The trail left the high alpine setting on a long descent back into forest and meadow. One more long 1500 foot climb and even longer descent and I arrived at Hwy 12. White Pass is only a half mile from the trail but there was a day hiker leaving who gave me a ride. It's hard to pick pictures to post. I got a lot of good ones today.
102: Sunday, September 2, 2012 Mile 2303 - Mile 2323 It was wonderful to sleep in a bed and sleep in. But it was another beautiful day for hiking. The weather forecast is for this nice weather to continue for at least the next five days. Being a holiday weekend, there were a lot of day and weekend hikers out. What surprised me though was the horses. I saw at least 20 horses throughout the day. Ten miles up the trail I was looking for a good place to eat my lunch. I came around a corner and there were six thru hikers sitting down eating. So I joined them. We all hiked on together and are camped together. I hadn't met any of them before. There is Lisa Peru, Rabbit, Salty Snacks, Estero, Gourmet, and two others. I passed a lot of small lakes today. The trail entered the Mt. Ranier Park. That is cool.
103: Monday, September 3, 2012 Mile 2323 - Mile 2353 I woke up this morning to the sound of elk calling to each other. As I hiked down the trail they continued to bugle. Then I saw one ahead running down the trail and out of sight. The sunrise over the mountain was a blush pink color. The trail seemed to go up most of the day. I lost and found the trail a couple of times. It crossed over Hwy 410 where there was a parking area. Consequently, I saw a lot of day hikers. I hiked with Scalpel. He hikes a lot faster than me but stops often to smoke. We are doing the same miles so it works. We stopped to rest near a spring and he made us yarrow tea. It's supposed to act like Ibuprofen. I felt pretty good after the tea. I hiked on expecting him to catch up but he never did. I'm camping on a flat spot where the trail widened out. As I was setting up my tent a coupe of kids came up the trail. They were probably in their teens. They were lost day hikers. No map. No shelter. So I got them sorted out with my maps. They were 9 miles in the wrong direction and it was getting dark. They assured me though that they had food, warm clothes, and head lamps. I hope they will be ok.
104: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 Mile 2353 - Mile 2386 A good day begins with a good breakfast. I had oatmeal and breakfast biscuits this morning. I had good energy and a strong day. Of course I was motivated too by the closeness of Snoqualmie Pass. But I was enjoying the trail, views, and just being, that the miles flew by. there was a lot of climbing today too. I didn't see any other thru hikers, just section hikers. Water was a little scarce. I was low on water and couldn't find a spring listed on the map. the next water source was grungy. Beggars can't be choosy. I strained it through my bandanna to get out the muck. Then I put a little extra bleach in it. Next I added packets of true Lemon to make it taste better, It got me the 8 miles to the next spring which was good water. There was a swamp that had a spring but I got all muddy trying to find it and gave up. So it was the day of water divining. The trail was mostly forest but there were a couple rocky exposed sections. Each day of good weather is a gift. It was sunny and low 70's. I've had no significant weather on my entire 4.5 months of hiking. I know I'll see rain before I'm done but I'm amazed at how good I've had it I'm camping for the night in a cleared area in a small meadow. There's a campfire ring here but I won't use it. | Wednesday, September 5, 2012 Mile 2385 - Snoqualmie Pass, Mile 2402 Lesson learned, Don't camp in a meadow. At least not a Cascade meadow. My tent was dripping with moisture this morning outside and in. I strapped it on top of my pack so I wouldn't get everything else wet. The trail was very rocky and crossed a few talus slopes and clear cut areas. So it was slow going. I'm getting better at hiking over rocks though. On the plus side there was a lot of water. I passed a trail maintenance crew. They were working hard and I really appreciate their work. I passed a couple of friendly grouse hunters too. I told them I hadn't seen any and they were bummed. There were also a lot of people out picking huckleberries. One day hiker said to me, “The weather is going to be great the next couple days so don't stay too long in Snoqualmie Pass." She was right . I'm going to take advantage of the weather and hike out first thing in the morning. Snoqualmie Pass is located off of Hwy 90. It's a ski area. Besides that, there is just the Summit Inn, Summit Pancake House, Chevron Station, and small grocery. There are a lot of hikers here!
105: Thursday, September 6, 2012 Mile 2402 - Mile 2426 Climb , climb, up, up, and up some more. It was a 3000 foot climb this morning with a lot of smaller ups and downs. It's incredibly beautiful in the North cascades. It reminds me a lot of the alps. I couldn't stop taking pictures. On the climb up I stopped for a snack and a very aggressive bird came looking for crumbs. I met three day hikers and chatted with them while we took turns getting a picture at an overlook. The trail got really rocky. I crossed a lot of talus slopes. It felt like miles and miles of rock. It hurts my feet since I wear trail runners. It's also tiring as you have to constantly watch where you put your feet. There was a waterfall on the long descent to Lemah Meadow. Once down in the valley I had to ford Lemah Creek. The water was cold but my feet liked it. Once across I checked my GPS and saw I was 3/4 mile off trail. “What?" “How?" It ended up being a good thing though as there was a side trail that hooked back up to the PCT. The PCT bridge over the creek was washed out and would have been a more difficult crossing. So yay. I wanted to go further today but the trail starts another big climb and there wouldn't have been anywhere to camp. It was too late and too far to get up and over.
106: Friday, September 7, 2012 Mile 2426 - Mile 2456 Aahh, I have legs of steel. There was another 3000 foot climb through forest right away this morning. When I got to the top it felt like I was walking into spring. There was green grass. Flowers were in bloom. A bird was singing. And the morning sun was shining through some short pine trees. It was a mellow, lovely morning. I saw a lot of grouse. they would run down the trail ahead of me trying to escape this two legged giant. I pushed pretty hard today since the terrain slowed me down so much yesterday. But it turned out to be easier trail and I was able to get miles in. This is a popular section. I met a lot of south bound section hikers. Since its been awhile since I've fallen, it was time. I took another trail dive. I'm just scraped up a bit. I gotta stop it though! Too close to get injured now. All in all another great day in the North cascades. I finished it off with the perfect campsite too. Perfect is flat, high, no bugs or mosquitoes, and water.
107: Saturday, September 8, 2012 Mile 2456 - Mile 2476, Stevens Pass It's twenty miles to Stevens Pass. I had a more relaxed hiking day. I slowed down, took more pictures, and had a longer lunch break. I ate lunch by a nice lake. The hills were more gentle today too. The last climb of the day took me to the top of a ski lift. There was a good view up there and I imagined it covered with snow. Stevens Pass is a small ski place. I was supposed to meet my sister and her family at the pass this afternoon. They weren't there yet but I was early so I went up to an outdoor grill at the ski place. I had a sandwich, turned on my phone and there was a message saying they wouldn't get here til 7 p.m. No problem, I'll hitch to Skykomish, I thought. Skykomish is 15 miles away on Hwy 2 & the closest town with lodging. Two minutes later I'm getting my pack together when a voice says “Hey are you a thru hiker?" I look up and it's a guy in a blue t-shirt with dark hair and a beard. “Yes!" I say. “Need a ride to Skykomish or Baring?" Seriously? “YES!" Trail magic. He hiked the trail two years ago and had just finished a day hike. So he swung by the trail head looking for hikers. We picked up Tony from Belgium too. I'm staying at the Cascadia Inn. Chili and Pepper are her too. Our resupply boxes were at a trail angels house, the Dinsmores, but they brought them over to the hotel. And my sister! Right here at 7 they got here. Soooo happy to see her. She has been so supportive and I haven't seen her in a long time. This is the sister who moved to Spokane. An old friend of mine from a year I spent in France in college lives there with his family. Small world, my sister and her husband met them not knowing the connection. They sent me homemade fruit leather in an envelope with writing in French all over it. I will be entertained deciphering it.
108: Sunday, September 9 & Monday, September 10, 2012 Zero Days I took Sunday off to spend time with my sister and her family. We drove to Leavenworth, which is east of Skykomish. It's a Bavarian styled village surrounded by the Cascades. Every building and decor looks Bavarian. There are a lot of shops and restaurants. Bratwurst anyone? It's a three hour drive to Spokane, so they left for home at 4. When my sis hugged me goodbye she said “You got this Lisa, you got this." That meant so much to me. My family, friends, & community have been supportive and encouraging. Knowing they have faith in me is awesome. I'm very thankful for them. I intended to hike out Monday morning, but it was raining, cold, and windy. Since the forecast called for it to clear up by Tues. morning and sunny skies the rest of the week, I decided to stay another night. | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 Mile 2478 - Mile 2501 It wasn't raining, but everything was wet. The trail was overgrown with tall wet plants and it was cold. So on went the rain pants and fleece. I hiked all morning in warm clothes. The trail was gentle today which really surprised me. Or maybe I'm just used to the ups and downs now that I hardly notice. I felt very mellow today too. The trail was mostly in the trees but there were a couple of high alpine fields that I crossed which had great views of the surrounding mountains. I stopped early tonight. I should have hiked a few more miles but I was getting cold, tired, and hungry. I came across a good campsite and didn't feel like rolling the dice that there would be another one further. I'll make it up tomorrow. I hit the 2500 mile mark today. How cool is that?
109: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 Mile 2501 - Mile 2529 Last night was the best sleep I've ever had on trail. I slept all night without waking up once! So, thoroughly rested, I started out the day with , of course, a climb. I'm hiking through Glacier Peak Wilderness. It's rugged, wild, and breathtaking. The trail has been difficult with a lot of downed trees and overgrown with plants. But I had lunch on a ridge with a panoramic view of snow covered mountains and rocky spires. I crossed grassy hillsides and descended into valleys only to climb back up again. I saw two bears in the rocks high above me in the afternoon. I passed a few hikers but its been pretty isolated otherwise. I'm camped with Happy Plate, a section hiker who is hiking Ashland to Manning Park. She's super nice. I wish she could do bigger miles, I would enjoy hiking with her. I have to say I have discovered I like trail mix after all. Especially if there are lots of M&Ms. It's like desert. | Thursday, September 13, 2012 Mile 2529 - Mile 2558 The trail continues to inspire and amaze me. It went from open, rolling green hills, to old growth forest. In between was a snow covered lake, rivers and waterfalls, and rocky mountains. There were some places that got my heart rate up. I had to cross a couple of icy snowfields. The trail got narrow along a cliff edge. And finally a section where part of the trail had broken off and slid down the mountain. Trail crews built a new section of trail and a new bridge across the Siuattle River. It added 5.6 miles to the trail. But it's a beautiful bridge and it was nice to have easy trail for a change. I met some people on horseback this evening. Always nice to see people. My body is like my Tyvek ground cloth. Dirty, wrinkled, patched and worn but still strong and getting the job done. I have knee and hip pain that is getting worse and my feet hurt. Yet my spirits are high and I'm happy I've been able to experience this trail. It's a great trail. I've been thinking about my journey and my mind can't really comprehend what I've accomplished so far. Canada still seems a dream away. But as the miles go by beneath my feet and another day is over, I'm one more day closer to the border.
110: Friday, September 14, 2012 Mile 2158 - Mile 2180 I've been seeing a lot of furry creatures that resemble marmots but I'm not convinced they are. They hang out in the rocks and talus slopes. I got up early this morning because I hoped to catch the 3:00 shuttle to Stehekin and get to the PO before it closed. As I was rolling up my tent I noticed a hole in the side. Turns out a creature was after my food and took a bite out of my tortillas. It must not have liked it because it only took one bite. I patched it up with duct tape. The trail was fast and easy so I made good time. It basically descended down, down, down to the valley at 1500 feet. But not before giving me a couple last views of the mountains. Then it was just green and wet. My knee gave out and I can feel parts moving around. I told it to work cause we were almost there. And it did. I will have to ice it and tape it though. I made the shuttle! Last Minute, Grit, and a lot of other hikers got off it. It was so great to see them! I've missed being with other hikers. It's been a long, lonely stretch. I met some great people on the shuttle. Day hikers and fishermen. I hung out with them after I got my resupply box. One guy had an extra knee support wrap that he gave me. It'll get me to Canada. I'm told the bakery is as good as advertised. So I'll stop there in the morning on my way back to the trail. The hotel was full so I'm camping in a small campground. But it has showers and bathroom. Stehekin is a cool place and the lake is beautiful.
111: Saturday, September 15, 2012 Mile 2180 - Mile 2194 I slept in til 6:30 a.m. I packed up, got coffee at the restaurant, and took the shuttle to the bakery. The bakery was awesome! I got a lot of food. Breakfast first and a lunch for the trail. I will be dining well on the trail today. After all, I'm going to Canada! I saw all the people I met on the bus last night at the bakery. I really enjoyed talking and spending a bit of time with them. I got back on trail at noon. Cascade National Park is really incredible and I would like to come back and explore it more and take the ferry from Chelan. It was easy trail today but the steep stuff is coming. I'm camped at Fireweed camp. It's a big camping area in the park that accommodates stock. I'm very happy that the knee wrap is helping and my knee is working. I was worried enough this morning that I had an “exit the trail" strategy if it failed me. Highway 20 at Rainy Pass is only 4 miles from where I'm camped. I think I'll be fine. I'm going to Canada!
112: Sunday, September 16, 2012 Mile 2594 - Mile 2620 I am thrilled and wowed by what I an walking through. This is my favorite Section of WA I think. All rocky peaks. It reminds me a little of southwest mountains. I met a couple of fun girls. Lauren and Claire, who I had lunch with. They are camping here with me too. So my knee is in bad shape and the climbs are slow. The pain is not constant but when it hits it's excruciating. It feels like it wants to collapse. It's swollen. Harts Pass is 10 miles away so I'll evaluate when I get there in the morning. After looking at the elevation profile for the rest of the hike though, I am hopeful. It's not terrible. I've been thinking today that there aren't always guarantees and not everything is certain. that's where faith and hope come in. But I want to try to not take anything or anyone for granted. Life is wonderful. And I am grateful that I've been able to hike this summer and meet so many awesome people. So I will make good decisions tomorrow . Fingers crossed!
113: Monday, September 17, 2012 Mile 2620 - Mile 2646 I'm going to Canada! I'm gonna make it! the swelling in my knee was down this morning and everything felt better. It wasn't till I did 10 miles to Harts Pass though that I knew for sure I would make it. I had just sat down on a rock to have a snack when an SUV pulled up and a dog with four people piled out. One guy came over and asked if I was a thru hiker. He hiked the AT in '09 and was out with his friends taking pictures of the PCT. Then he asked how my gear was holding up. I hesitated then said “ Well my backpack is ripping out at the seams in a couple places but it's holding together and my knee is falling apart at the seams too but holding together." I smiled and we both laughed. And that's when I knew. It's been a great day of hiking. I met a lot of great people who encouraged and congratulated me. I saw Carpenter and his hiking partner as well as Willway/Archie on their way back to Harts Pass from the monument. Not everyone continues on into Canada. The section from Rainy Pass to Harts Pass is definitely my favorite part of WA. It is awesome north of Harts Pass too. I'm tired, happy, excited about tomorrow, and a bit emotional. 23 miles to Manning Park. there are a lot of hunters out. I'm camped next to four of them in a big white canvas tent. I was happy to find water here. My map said water was seasonal only and therefore unreliable for a 27 mile stretch. So I had anticipated a cold dinner. But , water was trickling down and the hunters had made a pool with rocks. So it's lentil spinach curry with ramen noodles tonight.
114: Tuesday, September 18 , 2012 Mile 2646 - Mile 2668.8 Canada! I made it! There was a tough climb right off the bat this morning. Old trail staying up high to Woody Pass had been abandoned and was unsafe. Instead, new trail switchbacked down into the valley and then back up to the pass. It was one of the harder passes in WA. After that it was an easy beautiful morning. I passed a small lake and after that there weren't many views as the trail descended down into the trees. The PCT monument 78 is at the US/Canada border at mile 2660.1 About a half mile away I met Southern Hiking back southbound. We high fived each other and shared congratulations and smiles. I was happy there was someone to share the moment with. The monument was in a very peaceful spot which seemed fitting. I thought about my friend Daryl who dropped me off at the southern monument in Campo. I thought about all of the trail angels and strangers and their kindness. I thought about my hiker friends who I shared miles of trail with. I wish them safe travels. Then I wrote in the register. And it was on to Manning Park Lodge. My feet had wings. At the lodge I was given a box breakfast for morning since the bus to Vancouver leaves before the restaurant opens. Shower. Laundry. Food. But first I had to get on the hotel computer and let my family know I arrived safely. There's no cell service or wifi here. Eating dinner at the restaurant it seems so surreal. I can't hardly believe I'm here. Of course I'm not done. I still have to go back and do the last 68 miles of California. This is the section from Seiad Valley to Ashland that I skipped when I got sick. But for now I'm enjoying this moment and celebrating!
115: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 Long Bus Ride Home It took 12.5 hours to get home to Oregon. A typical hiking day. Only I was sitting on a bus instead of walking. I took Greyhound to Vancouver, B.C. and then the Bolt bus to Portland with a short stop in Seattle. It gave me a chance to reflect on my journey and think about next steps. I intended to go straight to Seiad Valley to finish those miles of trail I missed from being sick. So I worked out the logistics of getting to the trail head. I knew a fire had broken out last month north of Seiad valley and that there was a road walk detour. When I went on the PCTA website to get details, I discovered that the fire closure had been expanded last week. There is now no way to walk around the closure. The instructions were for hikers to take the bus to Ashland and pick up the trail there. So my hike is officially complete. I confess my initial reaction was relief. Cause I'm tired! But my heart is still on the trail. I have friends still hiking. I miss it. And I wonder why did I push so hard to finish? I could still be hiking! Aah but I'm happy to be done and it's time to move on to other things. I have learned and grown so much on the trail. It was an amazing experience. It's great to be home and sleep in my own bed! also I will do a gear review soon and post it. | Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Random Facts Base Pack Weight at start, 15 lbs Base Pack Weight in Sierras, 17 lbs Base Pack Weight after Sierras, 14 lbs Number of Hiking Partners, 12 Longest Distance with Same Partner, 600 miles Longest Solo Stretch, Timberline Lodge - Manning Park Canada Favorite Trail Food , Dark Chocolate Sesame Snaps & Zucchini Casserole Favorite Trail CA, Mt.Whitney - Selden Pass Favorite Trail OR, Three Sisters' Wilderness Favorite Trail WA, Rainy Pass - Hats Pass # of Rainy Days, 0 On Trail & 2 While in Town # of Snow Days, 1 Night & 1 Hr in the Afternoon # of Zero Days, 12 Favorite Gear, My Tent Hardest Section, So Cal Desert from Hiker Town - Walker Pass Unexpected, How social the trail is and the community that is the PCT Would I Do It Again, Or A Different Long Trail?, You Betcha! I've been bitten by the bug and I am a thru hiker. Next time I'd learn from this first one and hike lighter, smarter, & hopefully stronger. But nothing planned. Right now I'm focusing on finding a job and re-entering the “real world" with its faster pace & sidewalks instead of trail. I start tutoring an ESL student this weekend. I will substitute teach too. And I'll be looking hard for a flying job. I definitely want to fly. In my free time I plan to write. So I will be a busy girl which will help ease the transition.
116: Friday, September 28, 2012 Gear Review Lightheart Gear Solo WedgeTent- I loved this tent. I became emotionally attached to it. It's easy to set up. I only got condensation once and it the wasn't the tent's fault. Never camp in a Cascade meadow. It's spacious for its weight. It's not the lightest UL tent but the space was worth the weight. The wedge or canopy version is also worth the extra weight over the standard version. Granite Gear Vapor KI Backpack- Overall it performed well. The seams were ripping out in a couple places by the end of my hike. Biggest gripe is the size of the pockets. It was difficult to get my water bottles in and out while my pack was on. Also the load lifters had to constantly be readjusted. I liked the roll top closure. The capacity was sufficient even in the Sierras when I added the bear can. Garmin GPS 62S- I bought the Garmin PCT Trail Map sd card and at Kickoff, Halfmile loaded all of his way points into it. It was a good thing he did as the Garmin Trail Track was sometimes inaccurate. The GPS itself performed well. I never had trouble receiving a signal from satellites. Cook System- I used the MSR pocket rocket stove and cannister fuel. It always fired up and had good boil times in all temperatures and elevations on the trail. It was very reliable and I would carry it again. The titanium pot was lightweight but too big for my needs. I would get a smaller single person pot. Sleeping Pad- My Z-Lite did not have the reflective coating on one side that newer ones have. That would make a difference in r-value. By itself I was cold & didn't sleep well. Used with my Pro Lite Inflatable however, I was comfy & warm. Both lasted entire hike. Although I threw away the Z-Lite at the end. I would try just the Z-Lite with the coating next time. And it doubles as a great sit pad. Marmot Down 15 Degree Bag- Great sleeping bag but too warm for most of the hike. A cooler bag, maybe a 25 degree bag would be more versatile as you can always sleep in your warm layer on colder nights.
117: Tyvek Ground Cloth- Awesome! Strong, light, and protects the tent floor well. Brooks Cascadia Trail Runner Shoes- Once I got the right size I had only 1 blister in 1300 miles. My feet didn't hurt. they handled the weight of the pack on my back. Comfortable. A lot of them on the trail. When in doubt about which trail to take follow the Cascadia footprints! Clothes- I'll just sayI wish I hadn't waited so long to break down and buy a down puffy jacket. I love my Montbell jacket. It's super light and warm. Headlamp- A bright one for night hiking is a must & worth the weight. Trekking Poles- Leki Poles that twisted to lock couldn't handle the daily lengthen & shorten process. My tent sets up with them and the locking system kept breaking. I switched back to Black Diamond poles with external locking and they worked great. Post hike & looking ahead, I now question each piece of gear. Can I go lighter?
118: Sunday, November 25, 2012 Zucchini Casserole 3 zucchinis shredded 1 cup Parmesan cheese (powder) 1 small box of cooked pasta black pepper, salt, & green chilies to taste Add any other seasonings or red pepper flakes you might like Mix & dehydrate 6-8 hrs If it looks imbalanced adjust amount of each ingredient accordingly. Enjoy! | Friday, November 2, 2012 Keeping It Real, Part I I've been home now for five weeks. here's what its been like. Hot dogs, ice cream, frozen yogurt, pizza, fried chicken, potatoes, coffee, lattes, enchiladas. So much food! Horns blaring, brake lights flashing, cars crashing, music. Everything fast, loud. Crowded sidewalks, everyone in a hurry. Sensory overload. Geese, ducks and other birds hanging out on the creek by the library, giant grin on my student's face, friendly people, commuters on the train reading & napping, flying, dancing to a country beat. Stillness. New job, new faces, old friends and old places. Running in the rain. Adapting, adjusting, learning to walk on streets. I've started flight instructing at a large busy flight school. the other day I was in dispatch and the dispatcher says “Lisa, do you have a car?" “No" I say. “Why?" “Well i saw you walking one way and later the opposite way and wondered what the heck is she doing!" I had walked to the library and later Albertsons. So I explained about taking the max rail, riding my bike, staying with friends. He said “You're just keeping it real, aren't you?" And I laughed. Keeping it real. | Friday, November 2, 2012 Keeping It Real, Part II It's monsoon season in the Pacific Northwest. Today I canceled yet another flight for weather and went for a run. The clouds hung in the sky at 900 feet. Shades of gray mingled with a hint of blue sky. The sun was trying to shine but the wind blew bringing darker clouds and rain. So I ran. There's a little park near the airport where I go. It's quiet there. Leaves covered the path. The ducks waddled out of my way, splashing into a small pond and quacking their protest at my intrusion. “Hello ducks" I said. And then the rain came, & the wind blew. I'd make no $ today but my heart sang. Keeping it real.