Sunday, August 26, 2012


   I always get worked up when I plan big days. I think I can do it, but not completely sure. My feet were sore, but I was not willing to give up my chance to try to break 40 miles for my first time. So I woke up at 430 AM and started walking by 5. It was really hard to get outside of the tent because it was so cold! But I also felt great. I slept great the night before and was ready to walk northwardly.
   It was good to be out in the cold for the first time, before the sun was even up. Hiking by headlamp can be a little bit confusing though. The trail was very confusing too. It did not match up with my map. For over an hour, I thought I was walking the wrong direction. There was no PCT markers and the trail I was on, was definitely not shown as the PCT on the map. But I didn't see the PCT turn off anywhere, so I continued onward.
   Eventually the sun came up and announced that it was going to be a beautiful day. A PCT junction also showed up, and I was making great miles. I danced along down the trail, enjoying the freedom to go at my own pace. I made great time all day.
    I had made 24 miles before noon. The Eagle Creek Trail was amazing. I could not ask for a better way to spend a 40 mile day. Wildflowers, views of Mt. Adams, Rainier, and others. Then the Eagle Creek Trail with water feature after water feature. The trail actually goes right under a waterfall. I even went for a swim in one of the hundreds of amazing swimming holes. I had 2 personal waterfalls to myself.
   I made it to the trailhead at about 4 PM. I texted Lauren's parents when I had a signal. Didn't expect them to be in the area until tomorrow. But they were in Hood River, about 20 miles away! I walked the last 2 miles into town to confirm my 41 mile day and met her parents at the Pacific Crest Brew Pub! After a couple of beers and a couple of dinners I am exhausted. Though I honestly think I could walk more if I needed/wanted to. 50 miles will happen someday, but not today. Not tomorrow or any other time soon either! Great day! We are camped at the KOA and the train is about 100 feet from where we are sleeping. ! Could be an interesting night, but I am very thankful to have Lauren's parents here supporting us and treating us for a couple days.


     Today was amazing. We walked alone all day, which meant we went at our own paces and had completely different experiences.
   Mt Hood came into full view today as we walked close to it. It was beautiful. Wildflowers blooming everywhere, glaciers high on the mountain, and even skiers and snowboarders enjoying the year round skiing offered at  Timberline. I was motivated all day by the all you can eat buffet at Timberline Lodge. I arrived at Timberline at noon and went right for the buffet. It was everything I could hope for, plus some. I ate my fill of steak, beef brisket, ham, watermelon, danishes, cookies, salads, and soup. Lauren joined me, after looking around for me outside for awhile. We both agreed that it was some of the best food on the trail so far. I could barely walk when we left after spending two full hours there.
    I was really hoping to get a room at Timberline. It seems like a really cool place. But it was completely full by the time we got there. Another hiker, Memphis, showed us a secret shower in the sauna room. It made our day, and we got clean!
   We decided to hike out separately. Lauren had her tent sent to Timberline so we could hike solo for a couple days. I left the lodge at 330 and walked another 10 miles. Did 25 miles today with a three hour lunch break. Not too shabby. My goal is to hike another 37 tomorrow into Cascade Locks, hopefully by 6 or 7 pm.
    It is painful being away from Lauren. We have been nearly glued together the last 2 months. But this will be good for us.


    Coldest night so far on the trail. It was cold enough to put frost on most of the plants that surrounded our tent. Its getting harder to wake up early and even harder to get out of the tent in the morning.
  The trail was easy walking all day. I have my first annoying blister of the trail right now. Popped it three times today. Its in between my big toe and pointer toe. I call it my 6th toe. Its not huge, but so annoying. Funny, after 1300 miles of this trail this year, and this is when the blisters come.
   Though I did not have much trouble hiking 27 miles today, it may be extremely difficult for me to hike my planned 50 mile day on Friday. I will still probably try. And with any luck, my foot will be healed tomorrow. We are only hiking 14 tomorrow to Timberline Lodge. Maybe a little beyond, but not much.
   Walking around Timothy Lake was a highlight for me today. It has crystal blue water. Many people were out enjoying the lake and its shores. I could smell Tide laundry detergent on a few people. Really reminded me how dirty I must be.
   We saw only two other hikers all day. Both were older women. I think this fire really spread out an already very spread out group of hikers. We often wonder about all the hikers we have met along the way. Where are they? We will hopefully see some of them in Cascade Locks as we will take off 3 days or more. I am looking forward to it.
    It is now 8:15 pm. I am exhausted.


   Today was full of challenges. It really reminded me of the Continental Divide Trail. We found out in Bend that a fire had closed 7 miles of trail in Jefferson Park. A detour was created which would add 19 miles and get a hiker 7 miles further down the trail using a couple roads and a series of trails. This sounded fine to us, and we carried extra food out of Bend.
   We both slept pretty well last night though it rained off and on after midnight. Walked to the trail that would take us to our first road. It was beautiful. Not much smoke in the sky either.
    The Brietenbush Trail was pretty, but not as easy to hike as the PCT. Lots of loose rocks and brush overgrown. At the road we found a sign showing us that the fire closure area had grown. The reroute would now add an additional 22 miles and involve walking 12+ miles of pavement on a mountain road. There was another alternate listed by a fellow with the name White Jeep. His route would add more roadwalking but get hikers further down the trail, making it more attractive to us. Three other hikers arrived, all with their own stubborn ideas. One planned to take the original reroute and poach the closed roads and trails. Another planned to walk the reroute as it would keep his continuous footpath going. The last was undecided when we left.
   We walked the 6 miles to paved road, then began hitching. I have walked enough road to know I don't like walking paved roads. This worked well and we had a ride in no time. Ended up getting all the way to where the pavement ended by a nice lady and her dog. Thanks Karen! With a bushwhack and a little more road walking we were on the trail by 5, 17 miles past where we got off the trail.
    Feels good to be back on. Kinda a stressful day, and I am exhausted.


   I slept so well last night. It was so quiet and was the good night's sleep we both needed. I was refreshed and for the first time in weeks, we were hiking before seven this morning.
   The trail was beautiful today. It followed a ridge that took us to the edge of Mt Jefferson. Along the way we passed lakes, glacial streams, and flowers of many varieties.
   It seemed so quiet today. I hiked by myself in the afternoon and did not see a single person. It almost feels eerie. Maybe it feels that way because of the thousands of people we passed in Bend. Or maybe people are spread out few and far between on this trail right now. We saw only one other thru-hiker today. Even the birds seem quiet.
   I also noticed a storm front moving in today. It is going to rain tomorrow and perhaps be a few degrees cooler.
   We made 26 miles today and are set up well for three more 25 mile days into Timberline Lodge.
  We saw the largest toad ever today! Also saw a few birds of prey.


  As usual, I did not get a chance to journal on town days. We got into Bend on Friday the 17th. Walked 21 miles before 3 pm. Once again, the 3 Sisters Wilderness area amazed me. So beautiful with large mountains everywhere, and wonderful wildflowers.
   We got a ride into Sisters from the trailhead in no time from two trail angels, Pochahantas and Legasoreus. Then we got a ride all the way to Bend from another nice lady coming home from a business trip. She drove us right to a store, right across from Tree's home.
  We spent two nights there. It was so good to see Tree and d=rt. We also got to meet Sage, Tree's awesome dog. She has trained him to do tons of tricks. Sage can give hugs on command, can say "I Love You", and can even get a beer can out of the fridge. If thats not enough, he can also recycle the can once it is empty. Tree and d=rt are headed to the Tahoe Rim Trail next weekend. So good to see them both. Also enjoyed a brew festival and a lot of festival food. Thank you Tree for your hospitality!
   This morning Tree drove us back to the trail. We were hiking just after 9 am. I was really dragging all day. I dont sleep well in towns, and our sleep schedules are always thrown off. I also felt a bit down today. Not sure why. Maybe my body feels the seasons changing. We dragged ourselves through the day.
   At Santium pass we found trail magic. A cooler from CatDog with pepsi and beer. A nice touch. Then across the highway we found beer in a bag from Scarecrow. At the trailhead we found Garylecth and the tall Scarecrow with another cooler of beer and snacks. It was a real mood improver and good to see those guys! Before that we were  considering hitching to town for another night off. Innstead we hiked another 4 miles and ended with over 21 miles under our belts. Not bad. We will do better tomorrow. Its dark now and not even 9 pm. Summer is coming to an end.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


   We slept for nearly another 10 hours last night. When we awoke, we felt energized and Lauren even felt hungry! Both very good signs. I woke and instantly had to poop, not a good sign. But we were both willing to try to hike. At this point we decided we either had to hike onward down the trail towards Etna, or turn around and hike back to the interstate. Though neither one of us was feeling 100%, neither of us wanted to give up either.
   We hiked onward, northward, towards Canada. But after a mile, it no longer felt good. We both felt weak and a bit sick as well. We talked about our options... We could try to make it to Etna, some 85 miles away. That could take us awhile though, and if we do need a doctor, we were not even sure that Etna had one. But turning around is not an easy task, not for 2 stubborn Northbound PCT hikers. We eventually decided it was the best thing to do though.
   So we hiked back to the interstate, 13 miles south of where we were 2 days ago. It was hard to do, but I felt exhausted and had a loss of appetite. We got a ride to Dunsmuir in no time, Gail a really friendly woman gave us a ride.
   In Dunsmuir we looked at our options at the library. We came to the conclusion that we should take a bus to Yreka, about 40 miles north of where we were. From there, we would take another night off, and on Friday take a bus to Siead Valley where we would meet the trail again. This would jump us up the trail 150 miles. Certainly not an ideal thing to do, but with our finish date of September, 25th, we don't have much choice. Being sick on trail is hard. It can take a week or 2 to feel strong enough to do big miles again.
   So we took the bus to Yreka. Very strange being in a non-trail town. We have backpacks, no one else around does. No hikers in site. We got a cheap hotel room and went and watched the new batman for $5 each. Still feel very glad to have a toilet and unlimited toilet paper...


      It was so quiet last night. Completely peaceful and relaxing. This made for excellent sleeping conditions! The plan today was to hike our first 30+ mile day. So we woke up early and were on the trail just after 630. It feels so good to be on the trail that early. Birds are chipper and the air is still nice and cool.
   The day seemed to fly by though and around noon, it was just plain hot! It was a rather uneventful day really. Just walked a bunch. The first part of the day was characterized by lakes in the Mink Lakes Basin.  It was pretty, but too many mosquitoes. We hiked the last 8 miles by ourselves, always good to have alone time. This evening we began seeing the three large volcanic mountains known as the three sisters. They are so beautiful. Lupine is growing everywhere here right now, and the smell of them is intoxicating.
   My feet honestly hurt after 31 miles today. But we have also hiked 140 in the last 5 days, so it may not be the 30 mile days' fault. We finished hiking around 630. With 2 hours of breaks, it took us under 10 hours to go 31 miles. Not shabby at all!
     Next Friday, I am going to attempt to hike a 50 mile day. It will likely take me 16-20 hours, but I really want to try. Me and Lauren will hike solo for that period, good for us to have a night apart for once. Looking forward to a day off in Bend. We have so much we want to do though.


   Today marks two months since we started this trip in June. Its also the day where people say the season begins to change. It seems so quiet in the woods right now. It kind of feels like the calm before the storm, is Fall going to hit the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Crest Trail soon? Are the critters all hunkering down waiting for that first snow to fall. Its hard to imagine while its eighty degrees and sunny on this beautiful summer day. But we all know its coming. The weather will change soon and bring cold days and even colder nights, along with some wet stuff.
   We hiked hard for parts of the day, but also had some great relaxation times. We spent over an hour at Charleston Lake where we swam and chatted with new friend Moss. It was a beautiful lake and for the first time ever, I was swimming before Lauren.
   We are now in the Sisters Wilderness area. It is beautiful! Hundreds of lakes in this big bowl. We are camped at Brahama Lake. It is also beautiful. Made 28 miles somehow, even with the long break.
   I watched a tiny ant carrying a feather today. It was amusing and amazing at the same time. Is his queen a fan of fancy feathered hair pieces or was he just very confused. Nature never seizes to amaze or surprise me.
   We are now just 51 miles from Bend. We found out that d=rt were waiting awhile for us back where they left the note. They had tried to wait for us and asked other hikers if they had seen us. It made us feel better that they had tried very hard to find us before giving up!


   The mosquitoes struck back this morning with a vengeance. It seems that hundreds were waiting for us to get up and out of our tent. I didn't deal with them for long, reached for the deet in no time. Snausage was out of camp early and we left shortly after. Its honestly hard to enjoy camp with hundreds of mosquitoes buzzing around your face.
   Made great time to Windego Pass, where I met Just Bill. Hotshot showed up as well. We then had to decide weather to take the Crescent Lake alternate or not. Snausage did a really good job convincing us to take the alternate, promising less mosquitoes, easier trail, more water, and 7 less miles. We were sold. Today I Really enjoyed hiking with Snausage, Just Bill, and of course Groaler Bear.
   The alternate was alright. Flat for the most part, very easy miles. But the dust was horrendous. These trails are used by horses a bunch, I think they tear up the trail pretty good. But we had plenty of water and very few mosquitoes.
   I was exhausted all day today. I woke up last night needing to pee, eat, and drink water. Of course I waited for over an hour before doing any of that, so lost a lot of sleep.
    These days seem to fly by. I often get completely lost in thought while hiking by myself. I no longer think about the motion of walking, it mostly just happens. The miles fly by and I feel great.
   We made it to a campground around 7 pm. I think we hiked nearly 29 miles today. This campground along Trapper Creek has huckleberries everywhere. Groaler Bear, Snausage, and myself are paying $15 for this campsite. I would have hesitated but I was exhausted and tthe huckleberries are amazing. This is the most I have ever seen, and I will certainly eat my $5 worth of berries tomorrow morning.
    We have 77 miles to Bend. Plan to get there on Friday. If we do make it, we will have hiked over 325 miles in just 12 days. That will be a new record for me, and is amazing for Lauren too. Time for some much needed rest.


       The day was great. We hiked 25 miles and Lauren said it was the first time she felt good doing that many miles. She flew today too. I honestly had trouble keeping up with her.
   We hiked the first 8 miles by ourselves. It felt good to hike at my own pace and in such an amazing place. Tielson Creek was beautiful. Crystal clear freezing cold runoff coming right off of Mt. Tielson. Its amazing how a little thing like good tasting water can really make a hikers day great.
   The day seemed to fly by. We spent a lot of time dreaming of the food, beer, and company we will have in Bend in a few days. Then, around 3 pm we found a note on the trail, it read... 8/13  12:45 PM, Shaggy and Groaler Bear- sorry you missed the bbq, we will see you in Bend in a few days... Tree, d=rt, and Sage. We missed them by 2 hours! Our minds raced as we tried to figure out when the bbq was, where it was, and how far we were from a road. We were also, of course, sad to miss Tree and d=rt. Would have loved to play with Tree's dog Sage too. We were both frustrated and excited to see them soon.
    Now its 9 pm, time to sleep. I am really enjoying our new friends company, Snausage and Hot Shot. Glad we have gotten to know them and hope we will see them more in the future.


       Crater Lake was actually probably one of my favorite National Parks yet. I suppose I was not expecting much, a big over-hyped lake. But I found much more. We walked along the rim for 7 miles. It was very peaceful and relaxing. Also the tourist watching was endless.
   We spent the morning leisurely, ate a big breakfast at the gift shop. Started hiking at 9. Got to Rim Village at 11. Left at one in the afternoon. 6 days of food and 7 liters of water. We are in a large, 26 mile waterless stretch. Luckily a young lady named Hot Shot had a friend who is bringing us water.
   We are at highway 138 with Hot Shot and Snausage. Good times. I love this trail.


  The terrain today proved to be easy and we had over 23 miles in by 4 pm. We were motivated to get to the park and eat at the all you can eat pizza buffet. We walked with several other hikers today. In Mazama Village there are at least 13 hikers. Kind of a party on the PCT.
   We ate, we drank, we resupplied our 6-7 days of food. Tomorrow we will hike on to Bend. I am exhausted!


   Today was a lot of fun. It always goes well with a good night sleep. Last night I slept so well. We were close to a highway, but very close to aa raging creek. The white noise  produced was perfect for sleeping.
   We saw Creeper and Carpenter today, along with Hotshot and Snausage. It was great meeting some new people along the journey today.
   The terrain was extremely mellow. It felt like a walk in the park. Very pretty though. Refreshing to be in a wilderness area again. Yesterday we crossed about 30 roads, some dirt, some paved. Today we crossed zero. Its very refreshing to find places without roads, cars, people, shopping malls.
     We really enjoyed seeing Devil's mountain today, and walking the ridge around it. It was so beautiful as the sun was setting. We found snow on the north side of the ridge which was an excellent combination for our beers we carried for so very long. It was like another birthday celebration for Lauren. We ended up hiking 26 miles today, not bad.
   We have 21 miles to Crater Lake tomorrow. I am very excited to see another park I have never seen before. Should be fun.


    I don't think sleeping under the stars is for us. We tried again last night, but between the mosquitoes and ants, we did not sleep much. I was exhausted when it was time to get up, Lauren said the same.
   The miles went by slowly and fast at the same time. We hiked over 27 miles somehow. Only saw 5 other hikers today.
   My back was killing me at the end of the day, but Lauren gave me a back rub, how lucky am I?
   I have carried 4 beers that I bought for Lauren's birthday, over 120 miles now. We have been taking medicine for the stomach bug though, and can't drink alcohol until the pills are gone. Tomorrow we will celebrate with a beer at the end of the day. We are both excited to see Crater Lake.
   Wow, I am completely exhausted.


    It was a chilly morning and we both woke up feeling pretty refreshed. For some reason I did feel like the day dragged on. The scenery was okay, but not like what we have seen recently. We are getting into a bit more of a green tunnel. Its still super beautiful, but perhaps a different beauty than what is found on other parts of this trail.
   We did not see any other thru-hikers today. Did meet a few folks out for the day, and a few on a week long hike. It is so weird to get in and out of bubbles of people on this trail. Also strange to think about all the hikers behind us. Are they still hiking? Its hard to know.
   We managed to hike 24 miles today. Not terrible considering we still are not feeling completely 100% yet. We will get back into it though. I am exhausted tonight for some reason. Time to get some rest.


   Today was pretty good. I felt really strong again. Lauren was feeling strong too. We made it all the way to Callahan's Lodge, some 16 miles by 2 pm. All our packages that we sent ourselves arrived. Lauren got new shoes, socks, and gaiters. I got chlorine tablets and a kilt to hike in. Never thought I would own a kilt. But it is extremely comfortable. Allows air to circulate, and should last much longer than the running shorts I seem to destroy every 500-800 miles.
   We enjoyed a good meal at Callahan's lodge too. Its really a great place to refuel, right beside the trail. I think a person could really hike this trail without ever getting more than a couple miles off the trail to resupply. That would save a lot of time and money. Time seems to be the most important of all though.
   I hiked with a man named Gourmet today for a few miles. We talked about how coming to the end of the trail has different meanings for different people. For some, its exciting to finish the trail. They have families, loved ones, apartments, and jobs to go back to. For others, they want to drag this experience out. They don't have much to go back to, or perhaps nowhere to call home. I peersonally am  in the middle. I am excited to start a new chapter of my life. Not looking forward to finding a job, getting into a grind of life. I am excited to start something new, once again.


    Today was much better than yesterday. Maybe it was the first solid stool I had in a week, maybe it was entering Oregon, maybe it was the trail magic at the border, or maybe all the delicious spring water today. Whatever it was, today was great.
   We woke to a beautiful sunrise, both felt well rested. We had gone to sleep at 8 pm last night, so we had gotten another good nights' sleep. The trail seemed to know what we needed today, easy miles. Somehow we cranked out 26 of them today. Both of us felt great too.
   The California/Oregon border was a bit unexciting for us. Neither of us had actually walked from Mexico this year, and we were both mostly excited to leave our sickness behind and start a new chapter of this journey. We spent about 3 minutes at the border and then marched on.
   Half a mile further we saw a sign that read "welcome to Oregon Trail Magic". Then we heard  people cheering. It was Balls and his two daughters, Sunshine, and Butterfly. They gave us soda,  hot dogs, twizzlers, and good company. Balls and daughter Sunshine hiked the PCT last year, AT this year, and plan to do the CDT next year. This would make Sunshine the youngest to hike the triple crown, at just 13 years old. Chili and Pepper were hiking near us all day too. Chili is just 13 years old, and has hiked the AT last year and working on the PCT this year. The father-son duo will also attempt the CDT next year. Exciting and amazing to see kids so young out here.
     I ate 4 hot dogs, drank a soda, ate some chips, and that's when I knew my stomach was getting back together. Lauren's stomach is still on its way back together, but we as a whole are feeling stronger everyday. Good day.


   Today was tough. I am so sick of being sick and tired. Today really felt like work. We worked hard too. I honestly did not have much fun today. I was exhausted and it was hot. I dont feel like writing anymore. Its storming right now. Only pumped out 18 miles today, and it was hard. Sleep


We took a long day off yesterday in the town of Yreka. Lauren visited the urgent care clinic and was reminded not to drink water without treating it. They also prescribed her a double dose of Flagyl, one for her, one for me. It worked out well.
   We also watched so many hours of Olympics and other television. We moved from the Econolodge to the Holiday Inn Express. Our stomachs seemed to improve throughout the day, and by dinner time we ate pizza. Not sure it was the best choice.
   This morning we did more lounging. Finally left by 11 am. I was worried that a hitch out of a non trail town would be tough. We received a ride in ten minutes. Two older gentlemen. We soon found out that our driver was the mayor of Yreka, a new first for me. They took us up ten miles where we needed to turn on to another highway. It was super hot there. We luckily got a ride in ten minutes from a girl who lives in Happy Camp, and she would travel through Saied Valley on the way home.
   She gave us a ride back to the trail, it was very nice.
   Being back at the trail feels weird. We are with a group of folks we have not met before and ones that got far ahead of us. We  are 160 miles north of where we were before we got sick. But its also a week later... We will most likely hike on tonight. Feels good, also weird to be here.


  Last night was rough. It was just one problem after another. Both of us went to sleep with stomach aches. Then the mosquitoes would not let up. They buzzed around our heads just enough to keep us awake. Around midnight I set up the tent. The area for the tent was really too small for our large tent, and we both ended up sleeping on rocky uneven surfaces. Then there were ants, millions, on everything. So as we are throwing our stuff in the tent, we are shaking off ants. They were on everything. Luckily we did hang our food in a tree to keep the rodents out.
    This morning we both felt terrible. We had stomach pains and felt really tired. I felt so bad, its Lauren's birthday and we both feel like vomiting. Our dreams of hiking 30 miles today were shattered as we were both exhausted.
   We decided to hike to the next water source and call it a day. A whooping 3 mile day. We camped in a saddle and slept most of the day. Though its no fun being sick, we did enjoy resting here. We are both in high spirits, played a few games this afternoon.
   We are feeling a bit better this evening, hoping to get back in the groove tomorrow. We also talked about hiking back to town tomorrow and getting a bus up to Etna after a couple days rest. Not ideal, but we may need more rest.


   We got into Mt. Shasta early on the 29th. It was easy walking and we had 20 miles done by 1 pm. Got a ride into Shasta quickly too. The day was pretty busy though. We had not been to an outfitter in weeks, since Tahoe really. We also needed some R&R. Ate dinner at Billy Goat's Tavern and enjoyed some of the best food on the trail yet. Watched some olympics too. It was a good day.
    Yesterday we had so much to do. We made resupply boxes for Callahan's Lodge and Timberline Lodge. Not really sure why it took all day. Maybe it was the all you can eat pizza buffet, or the walking all over town. We didnt return to the hotel until after 3 pm. Then ziplocs and noodles were flying all over the tiny hotel room. We finally went to dinner at 730, after packing and labeling 5 boxes, Lauren sewed my shorts, I installed her new pole tips and soaked her feet. Sushi for her town birthday. None for me, another burger instead. Then more Olympic watching in the hotel room. Shasta was a great place for a zero. Very much a hippie town with a very laid back feeling to it.
    Today we took it kinda slow getting out of town. The vortex of town made it hard to leave. Though I love hiking to death, the good life sometimes does appeal to me. Its such an easy life, waking up in a bed, eating 3 large meals (or more), and the beer and television, its good stuff. But the goodness of town does wear off eventually. Luckily we have not been in town enough on this hike to wear off its charm. On the Hayduke Trail this April, me and d=rt were forced off the trail for 3 nights due to a snoe storm in Bryce. The tiny town of Tropic, Utah wore off its charm pretty quick.
    We finally were on the trail by 1 pm. It felt pretty good to be hiking again. Tomorrow is Lauren's birthday. I have a few small surprises for her, nothing big! We are camped in a sweet spot. Amazing sunset. Should be a great sunrise too. We plan to start early and hike a 30 mile day for her 30th!