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July 2002 Journal
|Mon. July 1, 2002||Days on Trail:||67|
|Destination:||Sierra City||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Sierra City||Total Miles:||1089.4|
Happy Jo, Josh, Tom and Matt (Sam I Am) were seated at the counter. I joined them. I saw them come in last night while I was having dinner.
I met a new section hiker, Just Jane, yesterday. I spent time talking with her by the front pool at the motel. She’s very sweet.
Today I met another section hiker, Nate. He’s traveling north-to-south and gave us some trail info on water locations and snow. He said no more creek crossings to ford up to Mt. Lassen. Yes! I’m putting my newly delivered Teva’s in a second bounce box that will be sent ahead a couple of towns. If I find I need something, I can take it out of the box. I’ve lightened my pack some more. I took out my Puffball jacket and many other lighter things. I think I lightened my pack by 3 pounds.
Lady Leaper and Holly Hobbit came into town today too. I saw them after I returned to the store after taking all my mail (thank you!!!) and resupply box back to my room.
I had dinner in the restaurant at the motel and I’m going to get to bed early. It’s 8:55pm now.
I’m anxious to get back to hiking. I’ve been off for 4 days now and I hope I haven’t lost my conditioning.
We’ll see. Gottago.
|Tues. July 2, 2002||Days on Trail:||68|
|Destination:||:1 mi. before county line crest saddle with a diminutive pond||Today's Miles:||17.5|
|Starting Location:||Sierra City||Total Miles:||1210.2|
My starting elevation today was 4,570’. Within the first 8 miles, I climbed to 7,350’. This segment, from Sierra City to Belden, has 11,056’ of elevation gain. So this morning, I almost took care of 4,000’ of the elevation gain there is in the 92 miles from city to city.
I hiked out on the trail at 9:40am and stopped around 7:30pm. A local from town was kind enough to say "yes" to my request for a ride to the trailhead a mile and a half from town. The focal point of the town and surrounding area are the Sierra Buttes. When I first noticed them driving in with Linda on June 30th, their presence was breathtaking. Of course, I was in a car then, not hiking up the “relentlessly upward” switchbacks.
I got up the switchbacks I’d been dreading and as always, they never seem as hard once I’ve gotten to the top.
I saw only two other hikers, a southbound section hiking couple named Gina and Brian. They’d seen Artie and Sherry in the early morning. They’d also seen all the other hikers I’d mentioned that had left in the last two days. They said they’d seen Phil (Donk) too, who was almost to Belden.
Today was quite uneventful. I felt good hiking. I know the lighter pack makes it easier on my breathing, legs and feet. I’m thinking about asking Ray to send my running shoes now that my pack is lighter. But maybe not. I have no blisters and wouldn’t want to get any in new shoes.
Well, 9:34pm and its time for bed. So … Good night.
|Wed. July 3, 2002||Days on Trail:||69|
|Destination:||Black Rock Creek Rd 22N56||Today's Miles:||27.6|
mi. before county line crest saddle with a diminutive pond
I started hiking today at 6am and ended at 7:10pm.
I can’t remember much of today because I let too much time pass before journaling. Bad girl Linda.
I do remember passing Smokey on the trail in the morning. The book made reference to “then the trail swings north, taking a tortuous course that has to be hiked to be believed.” This description set me off into all kinds of self-doubt. I never did figure out during all the uphill and downhill, what that “torturous course” was. The book was written a while ago so there must have been some trail maintenance done.
I had a nice lunch on top of a ridge hidden by the wind blown, twisted trees. Smokey walked by and never noticed me.
I walked to the last water source and found no water. So at the LaPorte, Quincy main road junction, I walked a ¼ mile as suggested on the road to LaPorte and was elated to find running water.
Back on the trail around 4pm I hiked for another 3 hours or so. My right foot started to give me trouble. A new soreness occurred in a tendon running from the top of my bootlaces up my shin. I think I had my bootlaces too tight. Loosening the laces failed to alleviate the problem. I stopped and elevated my feet for a few minutes to get the accumulated blood recirculating.
I resumed hiking and never felt the pain again. By the way, the left foot plantar problem is gone now. I’m glad I took the time off.
I stopped to camp with enough time to clean up in a small creek.
|Thurs. July 4, 2002||Days on Trail:||70|
|Destination:||½ mile short of Bucks Summit||Today's Miles:||26.8|
|Starting Location:||Black Rock Creek Rd 22N56||Total Miles:||1263.6|
He came back to the trail and has found he still is too weak to hike. He has talked to other hikers who have had giardia and they’ve all said it took them 2 months before they felt strong again. So Coach will be leaving the trail to go home tomorrow, the 7th of July. I think so anyway. With Coach, no one really knows what he’ll do. His will is strong and I know this hike means a lot to him.
Today’s hike started at 7:06am and ended at 8:50pm. It was all downhill this morning, way down to the beautiful, full, middle Ford Feathered River. Coach and I took a snack break at the river. I’d forgotten how adventurous hiking with Coach could be. He and I almost killed ourselves trying to hike up the way too steep hill we’d climbed down to get to the water. It would have been way too easy to reach the water just under the bridge earlier!
From 10am on, we had 7 miles to do the elevation gain of 2,700’ to Lookout Mountain. I could tell Coach was not himself. His legs were feeling weak and he had his troublesome blisters back.
The trail was hot, buggy and overgrown and we never thought it would end. We reached the crest at 5pm.
We hiked a couple more miles before stopping for a quick dinner at Bucks Lake Road.
We hiked more than we intended to after dinner because we couldn’t find a flat campsite for another 4.8 miles. The day was long and hard.
|Fri. July 5, 2002||Days on Trail:||71|
|Destination:||Belden City||Today's Miles:||19.6|
|Starting Location:||½ mile short of Bucks Summit||Total Miles:||1283.6|
I wanted to get to Belden for a Dr. Pepper or Pepsi and ICE! I wanted to get to Belden for a shower and a laundromat. I wanted to eat in a restaurant.
It was 19.5 miles to town. I started hiking at 6:30am and arrived in Belden at 2:20pm.
I passed Tim, a hiker who had originally started hiking the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) in the beginning of June but was forced off the trail due to, first – snow storms, and second – fires in Colorado. He is now going to hike from where he got on the PCT, at Sonora Pass, to Canada.
Then I met up with Just Jane about a ½ hour later down the trail. Coach, Just Jane and I hiked together for the rest of the very steep, long, 5 mile, almost 5,000’, descent to Belden. Ouch. It hurt our knees and feet all the way down.
Belden is not what you’d expect. It’s a town, but all that is in the town is a campground. In the campground there is a store/bar and restaurant. Over and out. The store is not stocked with much. The restaurant was OK. And the feeling other hikers got was a dislike for hikers.
Just Jane, Coach and I camped down from the camping area where we didn’t have to pay. We are camped right next to the Feather River, which is nice. We immediately jumped in, well, after we ate that is. We ate first because the restaurant closes at 3pm.
We rinsed our clothes out in the river while swimming because the laundromat is 2-1/2 miles away in another town. The shower, I was told, only has cold water. So the Feather River served most of our needs.
Coach told me today that he’d make the decision whether to leave tomorrow, but that he really knew he couldn’t go on. He feels weak and sleepy all the time. I was sad to hear he’d be leaving the trail. I know the decision was a hard one. I knew if he could go on, he would. I’ll miss him. I have so much fun when he is around.
It was early to bed after I made myself some boiled hot dogs for dinner. Ugh.
|Sat. July 6, 2002||Days on Trail:||72|
|Destination:||Belden City||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Belden City||Total Miles:||1283.6|
The opening time for the restaurant listed on the door was 7am. At 8:15am the door was opened for business. Half of the people parked in the RV spots were also waiting to go into the restaurant for breakfast. I ate 2 breakfasts and felt sleepy afterwards.
I called Ray since the one pay phone was finally free. He told me the terrible news about Bill, one of the Sierra Club Wilderness Training Course teachers I’d had last year. “He was one of three who had been killed by an avalanche in Peru” Ray said. None of the three had been found yet. I believe Mathew, another of the three, was the new husband of Anne Marie (another Sierra Club WTC teacher I’d also had last year in WTC). My deepest sympathy to their family members.
I knew Bill enough to know he loved his mountaineering and was very conscientious about his planning, preparation and participation in the sport. He taught us that, which I am very grateful for.
We all were lazy today. We spent time by the river ... we were alone ... and we were together again. Each of us spent time getting ready for our departure tomorrow morning. I’m hoping to leave by 6am. I’m dreading the enormous climb I have out of Belden.
As I’m writing, the train is going by no more than 100’ away from where I’m camped. The trains seem to go by more at night. The trains are long and loud.
I feel relaxed after my day off. I’m ready to get moving again. I have had many thoughts about not wanting to hike any more. I talked to Just Jane over breakfast. She’s had the same thoughts and I felt good hearing it’s not unusual to have them.
I’m missing Ray and home, but just for today, I’m going to think about what’s right, not what’s wrong. I’m going to remain open minded and be selective about the thoughts I allow to ruminate in my head. I want to feel good about myself and my decisions. No regrets and no remorse. Thy will be done!
Good night … 10:07pm.
|Sun. July 7, 2002||Days on Trail:||73|
|Destination:||Humbolt Road at Humbolt Summit||Today's Miles:||26.1|
|Starting Location:||Belden Ctiy||Total Miles:||1309.2|
This day’s hiking would involve a 5,000’ elevation gain. Belden is at 2,330’. So most of the morning, until noon, I climbed. It's interesting though. I didn’t feel tired. The time passed quickly. I felt strong. I hiked a good pace but didn’t feel I was breathing hard. I was surprised because I usually can’t get lost in thought while hiking uphill for a long time. I think during the last 3 or 4 days of hard, long climbs, I finally accepted that I will have these climbs every day. It IS a crest trail after all. I don’t know why it took me so long to stop fighting how hard each day would be.
I passed Gravedigger after 7am. He had just stopped by a stream to have his breakfast. I walked on and couldn’t believe all the damage that had been done to the trail, trees and soil due to flooding and wind. I could tell the CCC (California Conservation Corp) had started doing a lot of trail maintenance but only on the lower portion of the trail. The cabin mentioned in the PCT guide book was NOT there. After a couple of hours I couldn’t find the trail and had to follow ducks (rocks piled up high) or orange ribbons on trees every 100 to 300 yards. I don’t like it when I don’t have a clear, well defined trail. I become insecure and go into self doubt about whether I’ll be able to find my way. I reached the headwall of the first part of the elevation gain by 11:57am. I read the PCT guide … I looked at the map ... I turned right (north) on a road … after hiking for 1.2 miles, I turned around and hiked all the way back to where I last knew for sure I was on the PCT. The road didn’t feel right. After I’d walked most of the 1.2 miles back, I ran into Gravedigger. He was confused as well. It turned out we walked the road I’d originally walked and found a way to get over to Poison Spring (great name!). Based on looking at the location of the Spring on the map in the book, Gravedigger found the PCT trail on the OTHER side of the Spring. Neither of us knew how we’d missed the trail. Everything was washed out. Nothing looked like the trail. I’m sure glad I ran into Gravedigger. We had lunch to celebrate getting back on track. I hadn’t stopped for a break since I started hiking this morning. Not good.
Gravedigger and I hiked together the rest of the day. I enjoyed being with him. He’s pretty quiet even though we did have some good conversations that made the time pass quickly. Our breaks to get water were quick. So basically, we hiked until almost 8pm to get our 26 miles in. Of course, I’d hiked 2.4 more too.
We stopped for dinner around 6:30pm. I got in my tent as soon as we stopped hiking tonight. It’s 9:10 now. I’m dirty from all the lava rock dust. I tried to clean myself a little with Wet Ones. We have no water nearby. I filled up with water 2 water stops before the dry section we’re in. Gravedigger waited for the pond that we never found. So tomorrow we’ll probably have to hike ½ mile off trail for water.
Good Night – Gottago.
P.S. I hope Coach caught a ride to Chino or Chico.
|Mon. July 8, 2002||Days on Trail:||74|
|Destination:||Bridge over North Fork Feather River||Today's Miles:||29.4 (+ 1 mi off trail to water)|
|Starting Location:||Humbolt Road at Humbolt Summit||Total Miles:||1338.7|
The terrain has changed from granite rock to volcanic rock. There is a lot of dirt generated by walking on the fine basalt dust.
The day’s hike seemed easier than the previous hiking days. In the morning there was much uphill, and in the afternoon much downhill. But both up and down were easy-to-moderate.
Even though Gravedigger and I hiked together, much of the day we weren’t in sight of each other.
We planned to hike the 6.2 miles to the Carter Meadow Trail Junction and go off trail ½ mile to get water in a flowing creek. Someone was kind and left a note in the trail junction sign indicating there was still flowing water as of 7/2 when they were there. We filled up and had breakfast. An hour later we were back on the trail at the junction.
At 1pm we sat on the trial and ate lunch. Food is a big deal. Everyone loves eating and talking about eating. We learn from each other all the different choices there are to create meals. Gravedigger showed me the chocolate cake frosting he eats with peanut butter. I can’t wait to buy some.
At Highway 36, at 3:29pm, I PASSED THE HALFWAY MILEAGE MARK, 1329.7 miles, for the hike!
We had agreed to meet at Stover Camp Spring, 24 miles for the day, to discuss whether we would do another 6 miles making it a 30 mile day.
I got to the Spring and met Ron and Justin, PCT section hikers, going northbound. They started in Echo Lake and will go to Canada. They had gone to Quincy where many other PCTers had gone. There was a 4-day music festival going on over the July 4th weekend. I guess it was one big party = little sleep and lots of drinking and drugging!
Gravedigger showed up at the Spring while I was eating my dinner while talking to Ron and Justin. He wanted to do a 30 mile day and hike the 6 miles to the North Fork Feather River and camp. I wanted to jump in the water and get clean so bad. But instead I said, “I would go too.” It was 5:45pm when we left and 8:12pm when we arrived at our camp on the river.
I put up my tent and went over to the river. I cleaned myself and all my filthy clothes. Tomorrow Gravedigger wants to go to Warner Valley for lunch. He heard at lunch time only, they have some hiker special, lots of food for little money. We only have 9 miles to get there so we are going to celebrate our 30 miles and sleep in a little. This makes me very happy.
It’s 9:50. I made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat when I got in my tent tonight. I also ate another small box of cookies. It’s so nice to eat and not feel guilty.
Good night – Gottago.
|Tues. July 9, 2002||Days on Trail:||75|
|Destination:||Junction to a horse camp, park’s north boundary||Today's Miles:||Today’s Miles: 23.6 (+ 1/2 mi to Hat Creek Camp and water)|
|Starting Location:||Bridge over North Fork Feather River||Total Miles:||1362.5|
How great it was to sleep in this morning. ‘Sleeping in’ meant we started hiking one hour later. We were on the trail by 7:15am. We camped at 8:12pm tonight.
Gravedigger got information about the trail from the southbound section hiker, Tim. Tim said stopping at Drakesbad Guest Ranch for the buffet lunch was a must. We planned our hiking all around our visit there today. We slept in because we knew we didn’t want to get there too early. We were only 9 miles away at camp.
Al M. (I wonder why he signed the PCT register at Stover Camp with only his last initial?) was a southbound section hiker Gravedigger and I met at 6pm on the trail last night. We stopped and chatted for 10 minutes. He started in Castella and will end after doing Mt. Whitney. He had mentioned that he’d had quite a climb earlier in the morning from where we told him we were thinking of camping by the bridge at the North Fork Feather River later in the day. (He also told us about the boy scouts camped there. We camped far away from them.)
Well, he was right. We climbed the gently graded trail, uphill, for over 3 hours. Water was available often so I didn’t have to carry much water weight. I’ve been told throughout this hike that I carry too much water. I’m finally learning not to.
Gravedigger saw a bear running away from him as he was hiking ahead of me. He’s seen 6 so far. He doesn’t use trekking poles, so he hikes much quieter than I do because of the noise I make using my poles.
We hiked from 7:15 to 11am when we arrived at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. It’s beautiful. I want to come back. It’s owned by the National Park Service and we were told reservations could be made 2 years in advance. The website is www.drakesbad.com. There is a nearby lake called Boiling Springs Lake that we passed. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s green, it smells, and it’s lethal. Ducks have mistakenly landed in it only to be instantaneously cooked. There are signs all around, warning people of the scalding-hot lakes’ fumaroles, mud pots and rotten fumes.
At Drakesbad, they serve lunch from 12-1pm. They ring the bell for the guests and visitors. Tim told us, and the Manager confirmed it, we could wait until 1pm (“we” being the hungry PCTers) and only pay half price for the buffet. The Manager talked about how much the PCTers eat when they come so he couldn’t allow us to eat first at ½ price because there would be nothing left for the guests. We paid full price to eat at 12. We practiced restraint though and waited for the guests that were there to go first. The Manager also said that we were too clean to be PCT hikers. He said that the hikers he has seen were filthy. We told him we cleaned up at the river the night before. All the employees were very hiker friendly. We had a great lunch and great visit with some of the guests. Klaus, from the San Francisco area, joined us at our table. Christine, her mom, niece and nephew joined in our talk about our PCT hike. They all had many questions and seemed very interested. It was fun.
We left for the trail at 1:30. After finding a PCT register and signing it, we finally got our stuffed bodies back on the trail. The rest of the day’s hiking was the easiest so far after the initial 450’ climb.
We intended to camp around 7pm at Badger Flat but found all water sources dried up. I had extra water with me and shared some with Gravedigger so we could get to the next water source and camp. That turned out to be Hat Creek, a mile further on the trail and off on a side trail a ½ mile or less.
At 8:12pm we arrived at our camp having done 23.6 miles. My feet were tired. I have a blister on my left little toe that seems to become worse each day. I’m not used to having blisters. I’m beginning to have more compassion for those hikers who have had to deal with bad blisters.
This is the second night I got to clean up in a river or creek. It feels so much nicer crawling into my sleeping bag clean.
My dinner tonight was ½ apple, ½ orange, ½ banana, ½ leftover turkey sandwich, and 2 cookies. Drakesbad’s leftover food was better than any meal I had in my food bag.
Oh no … it’s 10:27pm. We have about 9 miles to go to Old Station, my next resupply. Mike (Gravedigger) wants to get up and leave by 6am.
Good night – Gottago.
|Wed. July 10, 2002 – OLD STATION||Days on Trail:||76|
|Destination:||Highway 44 trailhead||Today's Miles:||15.2|
Junction to a horse camp, park’s north boundary
We arrived around 9:30am at the “resort” (not quite my idea of a resort, but it had laundry facilities and a shower). I got a motel room just because I thought I’d spend the night, but soon knew I couldn’t stay in the small, dark, motel room. The Post Office was within 25’ of the resort. They had my 2 bounce boxes (boxes I made up at 2 different towns and sent ahead to another town). I’ve been lightening my pack and figured I’d keep the items I took out of my backpack available until I felt sure I didn’t need them any more. Back in my room I opened the boxes. Most of what was in them I sent home to Ray. One small box I sent ahead to Naches, WA.
The resupply box I expected was not at the Post Office. I was lucky though. In one of the resupply boxes I had much of the trail food I hadn’t used from Echo Lake to Sierra City (the part of the trail I’d skipped) that I’d bounced to Old Station. So between the goods in the bounce box and purchases at the store, I had all I needed. I went shopping at the small market next door. Basically there are 2 parts of town in Old Station.
I didn’t hike the 1-1/2 miles to the 2nd part of Old Station. What I described above made up the other Old Station – Resort, Post Office, and Market. Doug, at the market, was wonderful. Very friendly – out-of-his-way friendly. He likes the PCTers. We all got a peeled, fresh chilled, corn on the cob as a welcome. We were told we could start a tab. He gave us (PCTers) a 10% discount on the total spent. He really went out of his way to make us feel comfortable. I also appreciated Elise, the woman who ran the motel. She, too, was more than happy to be of service. I was given a 10% discount on the room. I only used the room until 4:45 when I started hiking again. Gottago! Gravedigger gladly took over my room for the night.
When we first arrived in town we checked out the hiker food box. (This is a box many places provide for the hikers to place unwanted goods so that other hikers may take them.) I got some Milkman dried milk out of the box to go with the cherries I bought in the store for breakfast.
Then we started eating. The restaurant closed a while ago, so we ate out of the store. I had bear claws, Pepsi (2 massive sized – filled with ice) and a large watermelon that Gravedigger and I ate at a picnic table, on the grass, by the creek. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Amigo show up. He is a section hiker, having done 1/3rd of the trail in 2000, another 1/3rd in 2001, and will be getting back on the trail in late July to finish up in Canada. He had been a trail angel in the desert for us all. Near Anza. I remember how much I appreciated his water cache and chilled fruit. He stopped by Old Station to leave a note on the trail informing all of us that there will be a 50 gallon water cache, for sure, at Mile 21 from Old Station on the Hat Creek Rim trail section. From Old Station we have 34 miles without water! His Mom and Dad will keep the water cache filled. This is such a great service to us all. Thank you Amigo, Mom & Dad!
Justin, one of the new section hikers I saw 2 days ago, came into town after having done his first 30 mile. He looked happy, but hot.
Everyone is talking about how hot it will be. They’re saying it will be 120 degrees in the Hat Creek Valley. I started to get scared. Gravedigger wants to hike alone again and won’t be hiking out until tomorrow. I made the decision and hiked out at 5pm to get in 7 miles. Then, in the morning, I plan to get up early and start hiking by 5:30am. I carried 6-1/2 liters of water with me.
I had dinner at a picnic table near Hwy. 44’s overlook of Hat Creek Rim. A few people drove up while I was eating. They got out of their cars to use their cell phones since they got reception. I talked to an older man who was helpful in describing what I was looking at. He told me about Mt. Lassen and how it blew in 1915. I saw Mt. Shasta for the first time from the viewpoint. This man lost his wife 3 years ago and he now has cancer in 2 places and will be going in for chemo. Boy do I feel lucky. I also felt very sad for him. I could tell he enjoyed our chat. He said he’d go to town if I needed water.
After I ate some cheese from a can on wheat thins, M&M peanuts, and some dehydrated pudding cookies; I packed up and hiked on about an 1/8th of a mile and put up my tent. I saw the setting sun through the trees and decided to stop so I’d have time to write and get enough sleep.
How does it get to be 9:53pm already? I stopped at 8:30pm. I got a kick out of Gravedigger in the laundry room. He saw that I had washed my whites separately from my colors. He said that it was the first time he’d seen anyone do that. I’m known at the cleanest hiker on the PCT. Yes, I used bleach on my white hiking shirt.
Good night. Gottago.
|Thurs. July 11, 2002||Days on Trail:||77|
|Destination:||Highway 299||Today's Miles:||30.4|
|Starting Location:||Highway 44 trailhead||Total Miles:||1409.8|
I was glad I’d hiked the 7 miles last night. My Rim hike wasn’t too hot until around 11:30. It was windy when I first started at 5am. I can’t believe I woke up at 4:15. The entire day’s hike was mostly flat – no ups and downs.
The views of Mt. Lassen on the southern end and Mt. Shasta as I
looked north were exciting. The wildflowers were out in full bloom.
What held my attention most of the day was the contrast between
the broken or downed fire burned trees, and the delicate colorful
I enjoyed being alone today. I took a number of rests. The first was a 2-1/2 hour rest after I began hiking. I was hungry. I took a 25 minute break. Then I stopped for an hour and 15 minutes at Amigo’s water stash. He had a PCT register where he requested, instead of the thanks for the water, we write a poem or something special. I wrote about my anxiety over today’s hiking in the 100+ degree weather with no water. I shared in the register the 3rd Step Prayer and how it always calms me. I mentioned how I still have my fears but they don’t have ME. (The fears of the dark, bears, running out of food, getting lost, and NOT having enough water!)
The heat took its toll as the day went on. I felt sleepy and light headed. I stopped again around 3pm and almost fell asleep. I’ve been elevating my feet at the breaks and taking off my socks and boots. It’s like the desert where my feet get so wet and that makes for blisters.
The soil is red and I didn’t need suntan lotion. The dirt covering my legs protected me from everything. Even mosquitoes couldn’t penetrate the clay-like exterior covering my legs.
At 5something, I finally got to the little creek before the big creek with the bridge over it. I had no water left. I was so hot inside my body and I could tell my head was hot too. I’d just finished my last rationed water. I’d started with 6-1/2 quarts the night before. I took one quart from the water cache. (I didn’t want to carry the weight of more – a mistake!) I hadn’t factored in the high temperature, sometimes over 100 degrees.
I treated 5 quarts of water, washed out my socks and cleaned myself up. Boy did I feel 100% better. I’d been dragging. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on bread!) and took off to hike across Hwy. 299. The book said I couldn’t camp before then. I left at 6:30 from the creek by the PG&E plant. I’m happy to be off my feet and even happier to be finished with my journal.
I’ll be in Burney Falls tomorrow. I wonder if anyone will be there.
Good night. Gottago
|Fri. July 12, 2002||Days on Trail:||78|
|Destination:||Rock Creek||Today's Miles:||31.1|
|Starting Location:||Highway 299||Total Miles:||1422.9|
This morning I still felt very tired and sleepy from yesterday’s long, hot hike. Today at the Burney Falls Park, people who had been coming back to camp for many years said that they had never experienced the kind of heat we were having. Great! Well, I missed the real hot weather of the desert so I’m getting some experience now on how to manage my hiking hours and the heat.
When I got to the state park, I asked Philip, who I saw fishing near the bridge, how to get to the store. Then I went over to the entrance of the park where I talked to 2 of the friendliest rangers I’ve ever met. Shirley even offered me her car to use if I needed to go to Burney for anything.
I left my pack by the ranger’s office and went to buy food. It’s so hot I have no desire to cook meals. I created a “hiker box” in the store for hikers. I donated much of my boxed resupply. Then I bought some new food for the next 3 days. Peanut butter and jelly seems to be what I want most. I bought a large jar of peanut butter and poured the jelly into a baggie. I’m also into wheat thins. I like to squeeze the canned cheese on them. The store didn’t have a great selection of food. I bought tortillas, Swiss cheese, and bologna. My taste buds get bored quickly. I hope I don’t tire of this food before the 3 days it will take to get to Castilla. I hear they have a good market there.
On the other side of the store was a fast food place. I ordered a chocolate milkshake, large Pepsi and nachos. While I was waiting for my ‘healthy’ lunch, Philip showed up on his bike, finished with fishing. He is a charming young man, a Political Science major at ASU. He was very interested in my hike. We talked through most of the nachos I could eat.
Shirley, the very friendly ranger who was also interested in my hike, gave me a map of the park indicating where the hiker/biker campsite was. She also offered me use of her car if I wanted to go to Burney. After I finished eating, I walked over to the hiker campsite. I asked a campground hostess, Sandy, also more-than-friendly, who was interested and amazed by my hike, where the hiker site was. She offered to drive me the 400 yards!
I walked though. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to spend the night even though I knew I needed to rest. I laid down on my Ridgerest. The ants and flies and moving sun kept me awake. I was sweating profusely just trying to sleep. I couldn’t put the tent up to keep all the critters off me or I would have been much hotter. I read about my upcoming hiking days. The more I read, the more I knew I was going to leave the campsite and hike some more. I have a lot of ascending ahead of me with a 15 mile, no-water section. I wanted to get 5 miles in tonight so that tomorrow I can start very early, hopefully, getting in the ascending part before its too late in the day.
I packed up. I didn’t even take the shower I planned to take. I ordered another meal at the snack stand (a veggie burger, milkshake, and ice water). On my way to the snack food stand, I passed a family and stopped for a fun talk. Grandma and Grandpa had their 4 grandkids for a couple of weeks. I gave my website to Christine, the older granddaughter. Her Grandma had started asking me questions about my hike. It felt good to see all the grandkids listening so attentively as I talked about my hike. I wonder if a seed was planted?
At 4:30pm I was back on the trail. I was hot and much happier sweating on the trail than lying on my Ridgerest pad swatting ants and flies.
I came to the bridge over Rock Creek. I walked down the left side and under the bridge. I was hoping I could find some flat ground to pitch my tent. I walked on the north side of the creek 100 yards and found this sandy area just big enough. A few steps further up creek, I found my bathing pool! I’m a very happy, clean camper. I can’t believe I found this fantastic spot on my own. Usually I’m with people who find the great spots.
My mind said that I should keep hiking … just clean up and get going. But I didn’t listen to it. I knew I’d feel better tomorrow and the next day if I stopped and gave my mind and body a nice relaxing evening. I’ve had fun being good to myself tonight. It’s getting dark now. It’s 8:58pm. I’ve been in my tent looking at my trail data, writing my journal and I’m going to get some good sleep tonight. I hope I don’t fall asleep before I get to see the Big Dipper!
I’m really on my own now. I’m hiking alone and don’t expect to see anyone else to hike with. It feels OK. I think I can finish this hike. I want it to be over so I’ll probably be doing more miles than I should. We’ll see … or – to be continued …
Everyone today asked “are you having fun?” Why would anyone think walking a marathon a day would be fun? I’m just beginning to look at this hike as something I can be proud of though. I commit, for all to see, “I … will … finish!” Once again, I need people to keep me on track.
Good night – Gottago!
|Sat. July 13, 2002||Days on Trail:||79|
|Destination:||Tate Creek||Today's Miles:||28.3|
|Starting Location:||Rock Creek||Total Miles:||1451.2|
I hated leaving my private little creek side campsite, but I wanted to do 30 miles today. Town is calling me. I got started hiking by 5:30am and I quit hiking after dusk around 9:15pm because I couldn’t find the trail.
The day’s hiking was mostly gentle uphill all day. Even the rolling ups and downs were more ups. The trail in this section, Section O, is not well maintained. That’s being kind. From about 10 miles out of Rock Creek, I had to work at holding and pushing back the shrubs and small trees overtaking the trail. I hold my poles out in front of me, eye level, with my hands together and the ends of the poles splayed out to, hopefully, move whatever is in front of me, out of the way. There were many boggy areas. A couple of times I moved against the least resistance of the high green growth to determine where the trail, that I couldn’t see, was. If the growth moved easily, I figured I was on the trail. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel very insecure and become afraid when I think I’ve lost the trail.
It was hot, in the 90’s, and very humid. I felt as if I were hiking in a tropical country. I’ve never had to drink as much water as I drank.
On the positive side, I enjoyed seeing so many unique wildflowers. I ran into 2 section hikers, separately, but they were hiking together. Mike, the first one I ran into, goes by the name of Lichen Dancer. I enjoyed spending the 10 minutes talking. I ran into Mike’s hiking partner, Chris (Vander man), 35 minutes later. It seems Mike had gotten up in the morning and just started hiking. Chris wondered how far ahead he was.
Just before I’d run into Chris, I’d taken a break with Mt. Shasta as my viewpoint. I’ve been seeing it from afar the last few days. I don’t know how many photos I’ve taken of that mountain.
While walking through some high population mosquito territory, and grumbling to myself, one of my grumbles startled a bear cub, maybe 50’ away, on the trail. As I looked up from swatting the critters, I got to see the cub turn and run off. I didn’t stop to look for Mama. I picked up my pace fearing the cub might have given Mama Bear the impression that I was after it. I was thrilled though. It made my day. My first bear! Well, it was the highlight of my day, until I sat on a snake!
OK Lamont, this is for you, only because I know how much you love snakes. I believe on pg. 431 in the PCT guide book, they have a picture of the exact spot where I took my lunch break and sat on the snake. I was tired and I’d been looking for just the right view for lunch. When I saw this spot, I threw down my pack, positioned for a back rest, and laid out my Ridgerest (sleeping bag mattress). I plopped my tired body down. I had taken all my lunch goodies out and I was a happy camper. I was eating, watching the view, and having my Cytomax drink. Then … I felt something move under my fanny. I thought “maybe I’d put the mat on a piece of wood and when I reached forward it slipped?” I kept on eating. Again, I felt something trying to move under me. This time I figured I’d sat on a hole to some little creature’s home and the animal was trying to get out. I got up, picked up the mat a little, and as soon as my body pressure was off the mat, the VERY big snake moved out from under me. Needless to say, I jumped 3’ in the air. I did think to go get my camera and take a picture of the snake that was slithering down into his hole and home, 1inch away. My heart took quite a while before it stopped beating so fast. The snake looked like a rattle snake, but had no rattle. I thought maybe I’d broken the rattle off when I sat on him. Bill, who I met at Ash Camp the next day (today), told me it was a bull snake. I wonder why the snake took so long before it moved under me? I couldn’t believe the strength the snake had to move under my weight.
I’ll get to the end of my day. I lost the trail in a burned area. The trail just seemed to disappear in the loose soil. I knew that it was there somewhere. I spent 40 minutes of my precious little light I had left to hike my remaining miles to make it a 30 mile day, retracing the last ¼ mile, walking back and forth far too many times. This grouse I kept seeing must have thought I was loony.
I got myself so crazed. I put up my tent because it was now dark. I crawled into my tent pissed and frustrated. I hated going to bed not knowing where the trail was. I don’t do well with unresolved issues. I woke up all night thinking about what I’d have to do in the morning to find the trail.
I got up in the morning. I didn’t want breakfast. I didn’t brush my teeth. No pills. I just packed up and said, “Please show me the way.” I found the trail in 20 seconds. I can get myself into such a state that I can’t see anything in front of me.
So there you have it.
Good night. Gottago…….. and write the 14th’s journal now. Bet it won’t be very long.
|Sun. July 14, 2002||Days on Trail:||80|
|Destination:||Climb to Another Road||Today's Miles:||25.1|
|Starting Location:||Tate Creek (1/2 mile before)||Total Miles:||1476.4|
I stopped for breakfast an hour later. Brushed my teeth and took my pills.
I stopped at least 6 times today for breaks. I wasn’t into hiking. I felt off. The trail section for today had creeks everywhere. They all called to me. At one point I was hot and unmotivated when I came up to this pretty creek. There were a couple of hidden pools out of sight. I’d just taken another break an hour earlier. But I didn’t care. I washed myself, my socks and the clothes I was wearing. I just put my shirt and shorts back on wet. My feet loved the cold water. When I got back to hiking I felt energized. I’m glad I didn’t run into anyone before my extra washed clothes I’d had hanging from all over on the back of my pack had dried.
I passed one young couple backpacking. Then around 3:30 I met a very nice man named Bill. He was checking out the local fishing. He’d just taken a job and had moved to Yreka. He’s going to be the Managing AD Editor for the newspaper. He and his wife have always wanted to hike the PCT. I enjoyed talking with him. I haven’t seen another PCTer in days. Not since I left Old Station.
I wanted to hike more today, but I knew I needed to stop. I almost didn’t stop, but I felt good about this campsite that came up. I wanted to get my journals finished and I did. I’d hoped to get to Castella tomorrow before the Post Office closes at 5pm. I love reading my mail. Thank you all so much for writing. I miss everyone. Specially my hubby!
9:55pm ... Good night … Gottago!
|Mon. July 15, 2002 – CASTELLA||Days on Trail:||81|
|Destination:||Castle Crags State Park||Today's Miles:||23.4 (plus hitch to Castella)|
|Starting Location:||Climb to Another Road||Total Miles:||1499.7|
I wanted to get to the Post Office in Castella before it closed at 5pm. I started hiking at 5:50am. 23.5 miles in 9 hours and 25 minutes! (That’s 23.6 minute miles.) . I got a ride from the PCT trailhead at Riverside Road to Castella at 3:15pm.
The first part of my day for about 13.5 miles, was mostly uphill. The last 10 miles was almost all gentle downhill.
For much of the morning’s hike the trail was overgrown requiring much of my attention and energy to move through the shrubs and trees. I was constantly trying to avoid the poison oak. Even though the trail was uphill, the gentle grade of slope made it easier to hike. I was in my “get to town” mode of pace. I seem to have more energy when I want to get to a town.
The day’s hiking seemed to go by fast. The shade of the trees in the forest helped me stay cool. The book talked about the black fly population and how bad it would be. I didn’t have any flies, which also made for a nice hiking day. I didn’t see one person on the trail today. I stopped only briefly to eat a couple of times. I carried water, 3-1/2 liters, from the first creek I stopped at. My pack felt very light.
I got to the PCT trail head at Riverside Road and re-read the confusing alternate route description to Castella, a route you’d use if you needed to pick up a resupply at the Post Office there. I read the route description again. It made no sense. 2 vans filled with people drove by. They drove by, apologetically, as I put out my thumb to hitch a ride the 2.1 miles to town.
I started hiking up the road. I heard a truck 5 minutes after I started hiking. I stuck my thumb out, looked at the driver and his full truck, and looked away again believing he wouldn’t stop. He pulled over ahead of me. I walked over to the driver and told him I needed to get to the P.O. in Castella. He said that he was going there too and to “Hop in the back of the pick up!”
The drive was longer than I’d expected. I guess the 2.1 miles was on trail, not road. 10 minutes later the kind man dropped me off at the P.O.
I thanked him and turned to find Lee, of Lee & Ann, standing with his backpack in front of the P.O. I was very happy to see him. Ann was in the P.O. We hugged. They had taken 4 or 5 days off and were just getting back on the trail.
After picking up my mail (thank you all!) and 2 boxes, Lee, Ann and I unpacked our goods on the bench of front of Ammirati’s Market.
Ray – thanks for my new boots. They fit great. And, what a surprise when I opened my resupply box and found the special treats you put in. The chocolate covered pretzels and Jelly Belly’s were a big hit with Ann & Lee. I, of course, began to devour the spice gum drops. By the way, I noticed my box of assorted Mother’s cookies had been opened by the chocolate chip cookies and then scotch taped back together again. Did you get hungry on the way to the P.O.? Thanks Babe for being “the Best Support Person”!
My maps for the next section were in this resupply box and NOT in the box that I never got in Old Station. So I’m sending home the books you sent me so I’d have trail descriptions and maps to follow. Thanks for taking the time and energy to keep me in good stead!
Lee, Ann and I spent a couple of hours it seemed buying, sorting, discarding, packing and exchanging foods with each other. Then we hiked over to Campsite 25 in the Castle Crags State Park to camp for the night. Site 25 is the dedicated PCT hiker site. We stopped to register at the park entrance. We had a mile hike to the campsite. Because I hike on the PCT and not on roads, and I was carrying full food weight plus a bag of fresh grocery food, I begged a ride from the Hatch family driving by. (I think their name was Hatch, not Batch.) They were great, 3 boys and a girl. Mom & Dad were very friendly. They are from Vancouver. They made room for all of us in their van and dropped us off at our site.
We shared foods we’d had or bought for dinner. I contributed some of the great pumpernickel bread Ray bought and sent me; some of the Sharp cheddar cheese I bought; a cucumber; and Tang. Lee & Ann shared their smoked salmon and fresh tomato with salt. It all tasted great. I had a Mother’s macaroon after every helping of something healthy. So - see Pat, I AM eating. We didn’t stop eating for over an hour. We had a nice talk and visit. I was ready to be around people and I couldn’t think of 2 better than Lee & Ann.
I asked a woman in the bathroom if she had quarters. The showers required $.50 for 5 minutes of water. The kind lady gave me 8 quarters! I had shampoo and rinse. Ann gave me a small bar of soap. I decided not to use the razor Ann gave me (I’m going to let it all grow!). I had a good shower around 9:30pm. I washed my clothes out too. All for $1.50. It felt great getting into my tent all clean.
I slept good and didn’t feel the need to get up early. A good morning!
Well, it’s 10:15am. I’m still in my sleeping bag. It’s time to get up and head over to the P.O. to mail my journal and film and make some calls. I don’t know whether I’ll leave around 1pm or 4pm today or maybe stay the night and leave in the morning.
To be continued …
Good Day – Gottago.
|Tues. July 16, 2002||Days on Trail:||82|
|Destination:||Castle Crags State Park||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Castle Crags State Park||Total Miles:||1499.7|
I didn’t get out of my tent until close to 10:30am. Now this was fun. I spent the time re-reading my journal entries to be sent off (for blatant errors); writing the journal entry for Monday; reading about the upcoming hiking descriptions of the trail when I leave Castella; and getting my film ready to be sent off.
This was the first time in 82 days no one was around. I wasn’t running around in town trying to get things done. I was happy when I made the decision, a hard decision to make, to give myself the entire day off. I wanted my legs to have a rest and I wanted to zone out and eat.
After I got out of my tent, I walked the few steps to the park road where I got a ride from a lovely vacationing couple. I tried a new tactic. I didn’t put my thumb out for a hitch. I just approached their slowly moving car and said, “Do you happen to know how to get to the Post Office, the shortcut way through the park?” After we discussed that I knew it was near the highway, I asked if they were going that way (since that’s the only way to go to Castella) ... and they offered me the 1-1/4 mile ride. Have to save my legs you know.
I mailed my journal, film, old boots and books back home to Ray and then made phone calls.
Ray is back at work and busy again, but listened and agreed to send me new OR gaitors (mine are falling apart) and order me a new Soltec sun shirt since I can’t get the dirt and stains out of the white shirt I wear every day. People on the trail can’t believe I’d wear a white shirt, but I love it. It’s all nylon, dries in 10 minutes, keeps the sun off me and reflects the heat, AND, a big AND, the mosquitoes can’t bite through the nylon. I especially like the collar that I wear up which protects my neck. I order a large so that the sleeves, which I never button, cover most of my hands. I get the sun shirt from Travelsmith.com.
Speaking of what I wear and what I like, I really love the lightweight biking gloves. I have calluses on both of my palms from holding my trekking poles and the padding of the gloves keeps my palms from blistering again. They also keep the sun and mosquitoes off my hands. The gloves only have half fingers so I still can eat with them on. Very important!
Next to the Post Office is the only other building in Castella, the market, Ammiriti’s. I bought a Pepsi, ice cream, wheat thins, more cheese, and salami.
I called Deb(bie Davis) and felt much better after we talked. I know I’m going to finish my hike, but I still have daily ups and downs. I’m near the I-5 Freeway and my head takes off with thoughts of “How easy it would be to come home”, and “What am I doing any way?”. My head rarely shuts up. It helps to hear from Deb that people at home are actually reading my journal, on a regular basis, and look forward to the new updates. THEN, I get this letter from Byron (Wallien) (I get one letter every stop from him, Pat (Yeo) and Milly (Greenberg)). Byron’s letter mentioned his brother, Bill, was ill. Bill told Byron that he wanted my journals sent to him as they come in and to please send him a map of the trail. Byron said that his brother was very interested in my trip. Well, that lifted me up. I don’t feel out here all alone and I’m filled up again. So thank you Bill, and Byron, thanks for being MY hero. I can’t believe Marion (Wallien) has the PCT map on the refrigerator! So, how could I leave the trail when I have so many people who love me and care enough to follow my journey?
I understand the trail gets real pretty from Castella on. I’m looking foward to everything that is new to me. Each day lately I feel that this IS really a solo hike now. Before I had people I hiked with or hiked faster to get to be with. Now I’m beginning to get that this is MY hike. What others think or want doesn’t matter. My job now, until the end, is to find out what makes me happiest on the trail. I don’t want to have my old ideas drive me to race to the end and have missed the journey. It’s so hard for me to take time out in a day. My head says that I can’t stop cause I have TO DO the miles. And I do want to do the miles, but I also want to find a way to give myself a break and not beat myself up physically.
I’d like to finish around September 14th, 15th, or 16th. That’s 2 weeks before I planned to finish. If I finish earlier - that's fine too. But Ray is going to the Big Book Seminar in Sacramento, September 19 thru 22, and I’d like to go too. Willie B(ingham) wants to have dinner with us Saturday night. How could I miss that? When John W. hears about our dinner, I’m sure he’ll want to come too.
I can’t believe how much better I feel having taken off this day. I also feel better having talked to Ray, Deb and Natalie (Kaplan). I’m in my tent. It’s 7pm. I have nothing left to do today except lay back and have my thoughts. Where is that Big Dipper? Life is good. I’m all packed up and ready for an early start tomorrow. It’s hot. I had hoped some other PCTers would come to the backpackers’ campsite tonight but I guess I’m not going to get my wish. I wonder how far behind everyone is?
Oh … 2 days ago, Artie & Sherry did a 50+ mile day from Burney Falls to Castella. They wanted to get to the P.O. before it closed Saturday at 10:30. I can’t even image how that must have felt. I miss my hiking friends!
Until tomorrow, Gottago.
P.S. If anyone sent me mail in Belden, I didn’t get it. The P.O. was closed. Please save it for me when it’s returned. I apologize.
|Wed. July 17, 2002||Days on Trail:||83|
|Starting Location:||Campsite 25 (Castle Crags State Park)||Total Miles:||1528.4|
All PCT hikers know the campsite, Campsite 25. It was fun for me to catch up with Bushwhacker on all the trail news and receive information on what to expect going north. Theresa said the poison oak and ticks on the trail, just before the 6-1/2 mile road into the town of Seiad, might be a problem. I’ll wear my long nylon pants for that part now.
I woke up early and started hiking at 5:40am. I had trouble understanding the description on how to get back on the trail from the campground site. I made a wrong turn and only realized this because I ran into Lady Leaper (Cheryl) and Scott coming up the trail from I-5. They had taken 2 days off. Cheryl said she hadn’t known she’d needed the time off until she took it. They both looked well rested. I knew they were getting back on the trail and couldn’t figure out why they were going the opposite way than I was. I knew they had to be right, so I turned around and walked back the mile to the wrong turn. Again, people showed up just when I needed help!
Cheryl, Scott and I ended up taking our breaks and lunch together today and then camped together. Scott said our elevation gain for the day was 6,580’. I knew we had a big day climbing but I was surprised to hear that total. We have views of the Castle Crags from every angle as we hiked most of today. Later in the day we had more views of Mt. Shasta and even far off Mt. Lassen.
I felt strong today. I guess my day off helped. I’d been apprehensive about all the climbing. When I planned how much mileage I’d do today, I only planned 25 miles and was afraid I might have trouble with that. I never have much confidence in myself.
The day was uneventful, just great views all day. I found myself wishing I had a hiking partner today. Cheryl and Scott have a lot of fun with each other. I enjoyed being with them. I asked if I could spend the night with them where they camped.
We hiked until 8:25pm. It’s 9:56pm now and I’m beat.
Good night – Gottago.
|Thurs. July 18, 2002||Days on Trail:||84|
|Destination:||¼ mile past Grouse Creek Trail in gap||Today's Miles:||27.8|
|Starting Location:||Spring||Total Miles:||1556.2|
Today’s hiking was level to slightly uphill, with only a few uphills, but they weren’t long. My kind of day. Our elevation got to 7,100’ today. That’s not very high but I haven’t been in elevation much over 5,000’ or 6,000’ lately. I felt weak today. I don’t know if yesterday’s hard day is the reason or the elevation or maybe, I’m PMS. I normally could have done much more mileage on the easy terrain but my mind and body were more into looking at the scenery, taking photos and talking to a few people I ran into on the trail
I wish I knew more about geology because this area’s volcanic mountains are different colors. The PCT guide book says, “about half of the miles we walk will be across ultramafic terrain and a few will be across mafic terrain. Ultramafic and mafic rocks, like granite rocks, are intrusive rocks, all solidifying within the earth’s crust. Granites are light gray, mafics are intermediate, weathers to a rusty color.” Anyway, I find myself paying too much attention to everything but the trail in front of me.
When the hiking is this easy, I get lost in thought. I like that because the miles go by faster.
There are many roads that go to the lakes away from the PCT. I like this area and would like to come back. There is a trailhead in the Shasta – Trinity National Forest – Park Creek. I believe you get to this road (Parks Creek Road 42N17) from Weed. Most of the lakes were not on the trail.
I met up with Cheryl & Scott after my lunch break in a meadow by a spring. As soon as I met up with them, Brant came hiking up the trail. He’d gotten off at the I-5 near Castle Crags and hitched to the base of Mt. Shasta. He got up early, 1:30am, and summited for sunrise at 5:30am. He needed crampons, which he had. Oh, to be young and so interested and energetic. Brant is the young hiker who helped me find the trail out of Kennedy Meadows.
Cheryl & Scott took off hiking. Brant too. I washed my socks out in the creeklet. By lunch, I’d hiked 14 miles. At the creeklet I was at mile 16+ for the day. I hiked by Bull Lake wanting to go for a swim and get clean, but I wasn’t willing to spend hiking time walking cross country to the lake.
At 6pm I stopped to make dinner, not because I wanted it, but because I knew I had to eat. There were dark clouds forming over head. I was on a high point, so I poured the boiling water into the sealed dinner bag and hiked a ways (5 minutes) into the forest and ate. I don’t know who got more of my dinner – the flies & bees or me! I’d originally planned on cooking and eating at the creek where I got my water, but the mosquitoes were in full force. So I moved twice before I raced through my dinner. Not very enjoyable or relaxing, but I was full.
I wanted to hike 28 miles today. I had 3 more to go after dinner. It’s always a concern come camping time. I want to hike on but I’m afraid I won’t find a spot to put my tent up. That happened tonight. I really felt good and would have loved to hike on a few more miles. But I get a little scared hiking and thinking of camping in the dark forest, I don’t want to end up on never-ending switchbacks, and I don’t want to camp too close to roads. All of the above were my choices tonight. When I reached this little open-air gap, I made the decision to just set up camp. It felt safe for me.
If I do at least 26 miles for the next 4 days, I can get to Seiad in 6 days, not 7. So you can bet I’ll try to get there mid-day on the 6th day for FOOD!
It’s 9:28pm. I ended my hiking day at 7:47pm. Now I’ll read about tomorrow’s day.
Good night – Gottago.
|Fri. July 19, 2002||Days on Trail:||85|
|Destination:||Crest Saddle with views of South Fork Lakes Canyon||Today's Miles:||24.9|
|Starting Location:||¼ mile past Grouse Creek Trail in gap||Total Miles:||1581.1|
This morning I was making good time. Of course, as I walked by all these GREAT campsites, which I didn’t think were there last night, I was mad at myself for stopping. What happened today is that I had massive amounts of uphill. I met and talked to 3 different people way too long and I took a lot of breaks. I also bathed and washed my stinky body and clothes. AND, also the views today were the best. I felt as if I were back in the Sierra. I like being up on top where I can see forever.
I was about 5 miles along when I met Paul Griffith (new trail name, South Paul). He is doing a 50 mile section, south from Ashland. He enjoys walking south. He times his section departures each year so that he runs into and meets the northbound thru-hikers. He gave me some good tips on the cities I will pass. He also told me about 2 water sources listed in the PCT data book that are dry, which leaves a 15 mile dry section from 5 miles before the Etna Road. I gave him my website address. I hope he signs the Guest Book.
Not long after talking to Paul, I met another very nice man, Jon. I believe his last name is Byan, but I could be wrong. He was in San Francisco with his wife attending a wedding. She left for Europe, and he got in the truck and pulled his trailer to day-hike some more of the PCT. He has hiked all of the Southern California sections.
The other gentleman I met was an interesting character. He was doing a week on the PCT. He was carrying in his arm his sleeping gear and wearing a day pack on his back. He said he was out of food and was going to get off at Hwy. 3 and hitch to Etna. He couldn’t wait to eat ice cream. I said I was starving (I was going to say for ice cream too) when he offered me one of the rolls he had in a bag. That was all he had left. I couldn’t say no, but then I felt bad that that was all he had. I gave him my last dried apricots, some gorp, and 2 pieces of beef jerky. I wonder if he was working me for food.
I go through so many mood changes in one day. Today was no different. I hate getting up and getting ready in the morning, but I hate getting a late start more because that means less miles I can do in a day.
Once I have about 5 miles in, I feel better. But then if I don’t get in 15 miles by lunch, I’m bummed and feel behind the rest of the day. Once I get 17 or 18 in, I start feeling better again. Unless of course, like today, I get the 17 or 18 miles in around 4pm. Today, my plan was to bath, no matter what. I was so uncomfortable last night in my bag - I was so dirty and itchy. It’s a good thing I don’t have a tent partner! I’d picked the South Fork Scott River as my bathtub. It was 23 miles away from where I began hiking. I didn’t get there until 5:15pm. I felt great after I washed. I changed into clean clothes and put my wet rinsed clothes in my bag to be hung up at camp to dry.
It was 6pm when I finished in the water and knew I didn’t want to waste more time cooking my dinner. So I just ate some cheese and bread and cookies (of course). The trail wasn’t kind to me. All clean, I had to hike all uphill for the next 2 miles.
I really like my time in the tent at night. I don’t like rushing in the tent when I finally get in it. So … I think my solution, or one I’ll try starting tomorrow, will be to start hiking earlier in the morning, maybe 5am.
I also realize that feeling safe and good about where I camp is important. I sleep better when I sleep on crests of mountains. I least like forests. I don’t know what’s near me. It must be one of those control things.
I’m tired. No more. Good night – Gottago. I stopped hiking at 7:47pm. It’s 9:31pm now.
|Sat. July 20, 2002||Days on Trail:||86|
|Destination:||(Horse Camp) near Shelly Lake’s Outlet Creek||Today's Miles:||30|
|Starting Location:||Crest Saddle with views of South Fork Lakes Canyon||Total Miles:||1611.1|
I took off hiking at 5:05 while it was still dark. That early, I woke up a covey of quail sleeping in the weeds by the trail, startled a deer that was trail side, startled and caused a hawk to fly off, and then 3 grouse flew away from me.
My morning start took me near Crater Meadow Mountain in the Klamath National Forest. Everywhere I looked, all day long, I wanted to take pictures. Much of the terrain today reminded me of the Sierra. I stayed high on the ridges most of the time. Even though I was on mostly ridges, I climbed much of the day. My legs are very tired. But when the scenery is as beautiful and ever changing as it was today, I feel more energized and interested in my hiking.
Many hikers choose to resupply in Etna, a town 100 miles into this section’s 156 miles. There is a road is where you can try to hitch into Etna. The road, Somes Bar–Etna Road, is not frequently used. Brant, who passed me this morning, hitched to town. I carried all my food to Seiad, 56 miles further. Originally, at home, my plan for the 156 mile section was 7-8 days of food. I revised the number of days I need to 7 while packing up my food in Castella. But since I’ve seen the mileage I’m doing, I will be in Seiad before the late afternoon on the 6th day.
The Somes Bar–Etna Road gave me a goal today. It was 19 miles from where I started this morning. There was plenty of water along the trail until 5 miles before the Somes Bar–Etna Road and then until 10 miles after the road. I loaded up with 5 quarts at the Paynes Lake Creek. I drank 1 quart within ½ an hour. It was in the low 90’s today. It was hot and I lost a lot of water through perspiration but I am heat acclimated now.
When I reached the road I was excited. It was almost like I was going to town. I just knew it wasn’t long before I’d get to Seiad now. Anyway, being near the road made me get into my “get to town” hiking pace.
I met Jason at the road, just after I came down off the trail, near the road. I heard him singing while seated by a tree. We talked about his involvement in the Christian group that was off for the day hiking. As we were talking, the couple that runs the camp/school drove up. Fran and Steve asked all kinds of questions about my hike. They offered to drive me to town. I took one of the Gatorades and two of the Hershey bars they’d bought to give to their hikers when they returned. They took my trash for me. It must have weighed a pound. Jason gave me his uneaten P&J sandwich, which I ate right on the spot. I felt energized by our visit and their kindness & generosity. I needed human contact. I left with a full stomach and quicker step.
It’s 10:45pm so I’ll end by telling about my invite to dinner by Al. I’d just picked up a quart of water at the Shelly Lake’s Outlet Creek and was going to have to walk another 2.5 miles to the listed saddle to camp. I won’t sleep in the DARK forests! I’d done my 30 miles. I was dead. It was 8:25 and getting to be later than I like to hike. The boogey men come out within the hour, you know.
I was hiking a few minutes on the trail after my water stop, and I see these horses and mules free roaming on the trail. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They didn’t look wild. I took pictures and the flash startled them causing them to run. I saw 2 men, one with halters for horses. I said “Would you like me to stop hiking while you catch yours animals?” That was when Al said, “Want to come to dinner and eat with us?” I didn’t hesitate with my “Yes!” What a great night I had with these 3 men who work the Salmon River area doing trail maintenance. Doug has been camping out doing this kind of work for 32 years, Al for 15 years, and Dave has done his share too. They were getting their camp set up for more of the trail maintenance crew who would be coming in tomorrow. Dinner was already cooked. I served myself hot dogs, rice and beans. It was great. The horses and mules walked free all over and around us. They entertained us by chasing the cows. It was incredible how lucky I was to be invited to dinner and spend the night with these men. They got out a cantaloupe and cut it up just for me. I shared with the men the Hershey bars Fran and Steve had given me. They made a campfire too. If felt like I was on a movie set. All too unreal.
The horses and the cows in the meadow all have bells on. It will be interesting to see if I can go to sleep. I’m very tired, so I doubt I’ll hear the bells for long.
Good night – Gottago.
|Sun. July 21, 2002||Days on Trail:||87|
|Destination:||1 mile before Buckhorn Spring||Today's Miles:||23.1|
|Starting Location:||(Horse Camp) near Shelly Lake’s Outlet Creek||Total Miles:||1634.2|
The best part of today (a “feeling off day”) was when I woke up at the Forest Service Camp with all the horses standing next to my tent. I’ve never been around such inquisitive, friendly, and well mannered horses. I forgot to mention that last night as I walked into the camp with Al, I had one horse follow me and not leave me as I stood in camp. Where the camp kitchen was set up, Al said that I was the horses’ excuse to gain entry inside the imaginary “no horses allowed” area where camp was set up. I could have sat and watched those horses forever. They were having fun being allowed to roam free all around the camp and meadow.
I call today an “..off..” day because I was feeling blah all day. I had no energy, no interest and no motivation. My left plantar problem is back too. I’ll be taking a day off in Seiad hoping to give my foot a break and my body some fuel and zone time.
I was probably in the prettiest terrain I’ve seen since the Sierra. Marble Mountain Wilderness is a definite ‘must come back and explore' area. There was much up and down today. In the first hour I took two breaks. I know I’m not getting enough sleep. Last night I was up until 11:15pm. I got up this morning at 5:14am.
By 1:30, when I stopped for an hour, I’d only hiked 11 miles. Every step was hard. I also lost about an hour backtracking to see if I was on the right trail. Brant came down the trail and asked why I was walking back toward him. I was hiking back to read the last sign post.
He saved me some time when he reinforced that the trail I was on was the right one. I watched Brant leisurely walk ahead of me and, in no time, he was out of sight. It seems everyone out here is young and fast. I think Brant is all of 20 years old (I later found out he’s 23). I question why I’m out here, beating myself up every day, trying to do the mileage the younger and faster ones do. Brant stopped at 6pm by Palisade Lake to camp. He had probably done his 25-27 miles. He probably started later than my 6:05am departure this morning too.
I have to stop by 7:30pm. I’m resenting hiking 15 hour days. If I don’t do the bigger mileage, then that’s ok.
You should see my campsite tonight. I chickened out again. I planned to camp somewhere near Shelly Lake’s Outlet. I had another mile to go. It was 8:15. It was beginning to get dark. The guide book said after the outlet there was all forest hiking. Well, I passed a ridge up 50 yards from the trail. The ridgetop was light, open and felt safe. I hiked up to the top. There was no level ground. I made do. But now I’m in my tent and I, and all I brought into the tent, are slipping down to the end of the tent! There is a foot or more difference in the level of ground from top to bottom. But it’s amazing how safe I feel in my sinking tent.
I’m glad today is over. Seiad tomorrow.
Good night – Gottago – 9:43pm.
|Mon. July 22, 2002||Days on Trail:||88|
|Starting Location:||1 mile before Buckhorn Spring||Total Miles:||1657 (36.7 more miles to Oregon border!|
I woke up often throughout the night. The first and obvious reason for waking up so much was my sloping tent. I had to keep pulling myself and the sleeping bag up away from the bottom end of the tent where we would slip to. The second reason was to make sure it wasn’t going to rain and lightening since I didn’t have my rain fly on the tent. AND, I had camped so close to being the highest thing on the saddle of the mountain, I feared lightening as much as I feared the bears (which I believe live in those dark forests).
I started hiking at 5:10am. I wanted to get in the miles I lost not hiking last night. I also wanted to get into Seiad by 2pm or so. I set these arbitrary goals so I can always feel pressured I guess. Some day, maybe, I'll give myself the freedom and luxury of “loose ended daily goals.”
After about a mile of in and out of forests and then ridge too, I ran across a camper, Lee, and his dog, Misbehavin’, in a tent near Buckhorn Spring. I walked by and said “hi” to Lee. He was obviously just getting dressed in his tent. I was about 50 yards past him when he came out of his tent and informed me of the spring that was 50 feet away ahead, indicated by a pole in the ground. He and I walked over to it and chatted. He is a southbound section hiker, hiking about 500 miles from Crater Lake. I could tell he was very attached to his 14-year-old arthritic dog. When I initially walked by Lee’s tent, I’d seen Misbehavin’ limping. I suggested to Lee that maybe his dog had something in his paw. Lee said, “No, it just takes him some time in the morning to get the kinks out of his aging body.” I said “I relate!”
So, anyway, if I had just hiked to where I’d intended to camp, I wouldn’t have been alone AND I would have had flat ground AND not in the big bad forest!
I hiked straight through to Seiad without wasting too much time taking breaks. The last part of the 23 miles to Seiad was road walking. The PCT organization tried to figure out a way to build a bridge to span the Klamath River to avoid the long road walk, but the cost of the bridge was too prohibitive. The 13-1/4 miles before the road were mostly downhill, dropping 4,400’ while hiking to Grider Creek. My left foot was hurting. My compensating for the plantar tendon caused another tendon on the top of my left foot, running between my pinky toe and ankle, to swell up and hurt. Near the end of the road walking, my foot was numb to the pain. I was thrilled to arrive in Seiad.
The town, a combo Cafe/Market/Post Office and RV Resort, make up Seiad. I went into the market, past the pay phone that didn’t work (none of the 3 pay phones in town work because the company that operates them went under). I bought a Dr. Pepper and a green apple. I asked for the PCT register, where we all sign in and write something for the other PCTers to read or we write about our stay in town. The Register was in the Cafe. I walked in there and Rick, behind the counter, looked at me. I said that I was hungry. He told me he’d turned off the stove and that he closed up at 2pm. It was 2:30. BUT he said he’d make me something cold. I had a REAL ice cream soda and a ham & cheese sandwich. I was in heaven eating at the table and reading in the Register about who had already come through on the trail. I doubt that there are more than 10-15 people ahead of me so far. Some of the faster hikers stopped at Quincy for the music festival and they may come into town today (Tuesday, July 23rd).
After I finished eating, Mark (Bushwhacker), came into the store. Bushwhacker, Cheryl (Lady Leaper) and Scott were all in the Bunk House at the RV park. Scott and Cheryl had done a 40+ mile day to get in the night before. Mark had done a 38+ day to get in the night before too.
Mark helped me carry my boxes from the Post Office back to the RV Park, 100 yards away. This is the perfect town stop for a hiker. Ten feet away from the Bunk House, where I stayed with the thru-hikers I mentioned, is the laundry room. Next to that are the showers and bathrooms. Frequent trips back to the market for things to eat occurred continuously until the market closed at 7pm.
Our bunk house had a porch with tables and chairs. Mark, Scott and I hung out seated on the porch bullshitting about the trail. I loved it. Not hiking felt great. I had a big bag of fruit, yogurt, potato chips, and juice next to me. From the moment I got into town, I didn’t stop eating. Cheryl had gone into Yreka with the owners of the RV Park and had come back with all kinds of goodies from a REAL market. Most of the towns we stop at have very little to offer in the way of a variety of good and healthy food. Cheryl gave me a corn on the cob she microwaved inside the bunk house, and later I got a salad Mark didn’t want.
I had Ray’s “I love you/I miss you” card that I read along with my other mail. Byron (Wallien) and Milly (Greenberg) still haven’t missed sending me their newsy letters. Lamont (Ross) said that he couldn’t keep up with where I was in my hiking schedule and sent his card a few stops ahead.
Ray sent my Marmot 15 degree sleeping bag and I’ll send him back my heavier 0 degree Friendly Friends bag. That will save me 8 ounces of weight. Ray also sent my light weight bug repellant from 3M so I can get rid of the heavier can of Cutters I had to buy. More weight loss. Ray put in more of my newest favorite cookies, Mother’s Tri Pack, and some more Snicker bars and Spice Drops. He also sent me new gaitors (they go on my boots to keep out stones and sand) and the shirt off his back ... literally. This shirt is my favorite for hiking, the Soltec from Early Winters. (1/24/04- I get the Travelsmith sun shirt now.) When he called them trying to order me a new one, they were out of my size. Hence, he sent me his own Xlarge!
Around 5pm Brant walked into the RV Park, right before the dark skies let loose with some good rain. It was only good rain because I was clean, fed and comfortable hanging out UNDER the porch watching it fall on everything but me.
A Greek man, drink in hand, came by to visit and was amazed by what we were all doing. He couldn’t work it out that we didn’t start together, don’t hike together, won’t leave at the same time to get back on the trail, but are so friendly and act as if we’ve known each other all our lives. He also couldn’t quite figure out that we actually walked, not had received rides, the 1600+ miles from Mexico. He stayed confused for quite a while as we each tried to make sense of what we were doing on the trail and what trail life entailed. Eventually the man understood. He went back to his RV and returned with his video camera. He tried to direct what we should say while he had his camera and tripod focused on all of us lined up on the porch. He would be the interviewer and we, one at a time, would share about the trail while he video taped us.
Later, we all went through our packs. Cheryl and Scott and Mark would leave at 5am. Brant would leave after he got his resupply package at the Post Office. I am so happy to be sitting on my bed (Tues. July 23rd) writing this journal, not going anywhere until tomorrow morning. I went through the resupply box Ray sent me and put aside 3.1 days worth of food. Initially, before beginning this hike, I’d planned more days to hike the section of miles between towns. So each resupply box has more food than I need.
It felt great sleeping in a bed. Clean! At 11:04pm I turned out the last light in the bunk house. I felt like I was back in summer camp. What a great day. It’s amazing what a little human contact can do for the morale.
By the way – only 36.7 miles to Oregon! Who would have thought I’d make it all the way across the long, very long, state of California?
I talked to my sister, Leila, very briefly today (I borrowed the RV park Owner’s phone) to figure out when we’d see each other. She lives in Portland. As I was rushing off the phone because the Owner’s want their phone back, I heard her say “I’m proud of you Lin.” Just writing this brings tears to my eyes. I guess that’s all I ever wanted was to hear that the people I love are proud of me. So “thanks” Lee. I did hear and feel your kind words. I know when my husband and my brother read what Leila said they’ll both individually think, “But I tell you how proud I am of you all the time too!”
|Tues. July 23, 2002||Days on Trail:||89|
|Starting Location:||Seiad||Total Miles:||1658|
I went over my schedule for the remainder of the journey to Canada. I hope to meet up with Leila, my sister, who lives in Portland, OR. And before I reach her neck of the woods, I hope to spend time with Celine and Jane near Bend, OR where they live. I called Ray back today, after we had a nice talk, to ask him to send me my cell phone. Today and previously, I’ve had such trouble in the towns finding a phone or using the only phone they have in town after waiting for every other hiker to finish with their calls. Since I’ll have to coordinate the timing on meeting Leila, Celine & Jane, I thought having the phone would be a good idea.
I spent much of the morning, like I said, going over my schedule. I don’t know how realistic I am with my hiking speed, mileage and time needed in towns, but I came up with a revised finish date of September 9th. We’ll see.
I mailed off my journal pages for the last 7 days, and sent home the ‘found’ resupply box that had been forwarded to Seiad from Old Station. How it got to be 1pm I don’t know. I did have a great time visiting with Wily Ellis, who works at the P.O. She loves Seiad. I told her I’d like to come back and check it out more. I asked for her phone number for a future visit. She was kind enough to let me use her phone since none of the pay phones work.
Today I hadn’t yet eaten a real meal and remembered that the café closed at 2pm. I sat at the counter watching Rich, the owner, make me a double double cheeseburger. I thought I’d try the mint chip ice cream milkshake today. Hmmmm Hmmmm good. After lunch I was lucky I made it back to the bunk house before falling asleep.
I laid down for a nap but couldn’t fall asleep. I walked the 50 yards to the store, where Rich was now doing his second job after closing the café up at 2pm. He rang up the bill for my purchases of cottage cheese, salsa, chips, some cheese for backpacking, and ice. That was dinner. I sat down on the porch of the bunk house, mixed the salsa with the cottage cheese (I need protein right?) and dipped my tortilla chips into the mixture.
Kathie Lee came by shortly and basically, we spent the rest of the evening together visiting. We went over to her living area and we sat at her picnic table. We talked a lot about alcohol and drinking. Joe came by and visited too. He lives in the RV Park also. Kathie Lee was doing needle point work on a pretty white piece of gauze fabric while we were talking. I looked over and noticed her writing my name in green on the fabric after she had asked me “What is your favorite color?” I said, “Green”. Long story short, she came to my door 30 minutes after I had said “goodnight” and gave me the finished 2 foot square needle point piece of a little boy, kneeling, and potting flowers. She did all this without following a pattern! She wrote the word “Peace” and then her name, Kathie Lee, under my name. I was very touched. Sharing time with Kathie Lee made my Tuesday.
I showered - my last one for a while again. I’m packed and ready for a 5am departure tomorrow. I have 4,400’ to climb in 6 miles. It’s hot. I’ll be trying to beat the heat.
It’s 10:14pm and I’m calling it a day. I have a much better attitude than I did when I arrived in Seiad. Rest and food are important ingredients to my state of mind and energy level.
Talking to the people I did today, helped me feel better too.
Good night – Gottago.
|Wed. July 24, 2002||Days on Trail:||90|
|Destination:||Mud Springs Spur Road||Today's Miles:||30.2|
|Starting Location:||Seiad||Total Miles:||1687.2|
I was surprised that I felt strong. It took me just under 4 hours to get through the initial hard climb. I was happy I left early in the morning. The views of all the drainages and mountains in every direction were awesome. Seiad Valley looked so small from high up. So did the large Klamath River.
I wanted to do big mileage today. Hyatt Lake Resort, my next stop for resupplies is 88 miles away. (I love only carrying 3.5 days worth of food) I’m hoping I can stop early the 4thday. I’m excited too, because Oregon is only 6.5 miles away from where I’m camped. I thought about doing the extra 6.5 miles tonight, but decided against it. I want to see Oregon when I cross into it, not in the dark. Everyone is ready to be done with big, old, very long California.
Today is 90 days that I’ve been hiking. Lots of milestones.
The elevation gain for this section to Hyatt Lake Resort is 12,651’. Well, I know for sure I did 7,000’ of that today.
My left foot started out sore but seemed to be okay most of the hike until maybe, the last 1/2 mile. I hate having injuries that may potentially stop the hike. Pain I can handle as long as I don’t have to stop hiking.
I tried something new today. Lady Leaper and Scott do this. I ate my dinner for lunch. Then when I got to camp tonight, I ate my lunch. I thought making dinner at lunch would take too long and that I wouldn’t want hot food if it was still hot during the day. I was wrong on both counts. I was ready to start hiking again after 35 minutes and I enjoyed my soup-like dinner meal.
My eyes are closing as I’m thinking of what else to write. So, guess what? Bye.
That’s it for tonight. I only got 5 hours sleep last night. It’s 9:32pm.
Good night – Gottago.
|Thurs. July 25, 2002||Days on Trail:||91|
|Destination:||Callahan’s (I-5, near Ashland, OR)||Today's Miles:||34.3 (+1 mile)|
Springs Spur Road (6.5 miles from the Oregon/California border)
Last night’s campsite at Mud Springs Spur Road was very comfortable and practical. There was a nicely-running spring at the end of the road where I filled up with 4 quarts of water. I camped just off the dirt road, under pine trees, in a cleared, flat site that had a rock fire ring.
The site was very comfortable, I laid around so long the next morning that I didn’t begin hiking until 6:40am. I’m surprised how well my legs are holding up with the higher mileage hiking. Isn’t it interesting how only a day or two ago I wrote that I wasn’t going to hike past 7:30pm and that I wasn’t going to do high mileage days! I’m a fast forgetter. I just don’t know what it is about my needing/wanting to get that mileage in. I do know that I wanted to get to Hyatt Lake Resort by the end of my 3rd day of hiking. I didn’t want to have to hike any of the 88 miles I had between Seiad Valley and Hyatt Lake Resort, on the morning of the 27th, the fourth day.
The first 6.5 miles of this morning’s hike where exciting. I had great motivation. I couldn’t wait to see the Oregon/California border. I’d remembered seeing on one of the PCT videos of someone’s trip, the hikers hugging the tree that had the Oregon sign on it. I wasn’t disappointed when I came to the tree on the trail I’d seen in the video. There was a mileage sign showing how many miles to Canada. I think it said 962. On one side of the tree a sign said “California" and the other side it said “Oregon”. I was happy to see the PCT trail register. I lifted the top of the box and opened the notebook. Before I entered my name and what I wanted to say, I looked at the other PCT hikers who were ahead of me and what they had written and how far ahead they were.
Phil (Donk) was 10 days out there ahead of everyone except Hans Solo. Then I saw how fast Smokey was moving. I think he and Artie & Sherry were 5 days ahead. I haven’t seen Ann & Lee’s names in the last 2 registers.
I wrote that I was looking forward to seeing Celine, Jane and Jack in Bend and my sister Leila in Oregon. I also wrote that I can’t believe the day had come that I would actually have hiked the State of California (except for the 100 miles from Echo Lake to Sierra City that I skipped. I plan to go back there and hike that section directly following the Big Book Seminar, September 17. I’ll fly out of Sacramento at the end of the seminar in the afternoon of September 21st to Reno. From Reno I’ll hitch to Echo Lake. I hope to stay a day at the Echo Lake Resort. It was so beautiful. Then I want to slowly, very slowly, hike my last 100 miles.)
I spent 20 minutes at the border. As soon as I climbed the next hill, I started to smell the smoke and see the smoky skies from the Oregon fires. I took pictures of the smoke and haze that prevented seeing any of the landscape of the surrounding mountains. I’d read the PCT guidebook and it would say, “to the Southeast you’ll notice blah, blah peak.” There is no way, with the smoke, to identify anything that is beyond 1/4 of a mile away.
All day long I kept thinking about Callahan’s. It is a hotel/restaurant, 1 mile off the PCT, near the I-5, and within 12 miles of Ashland. I’d heard they only serve dinner and that the spaghetti dinner was great. From where I started hiking this morning, Callahan’s was 35 miles away. [When one idea takes precedent over all other ideas … isn’t that the definition of insanity (without balance, without moderation)?] I figured I could never get that many miles in today because I left camp too late. But all throughout the day, I kept pushing, just to see how far I could get.
I passed Mickey Mouse’s Mom and Sister. (Mickey Mouse is another PCT hiker I’ve not met.) They were hiking north-to-south to meet him on the trail. She asked if I was trying to get to Ashland tonight. I told her I didn’t think I had enough time left in the day, but that put my mind in action again. Maybe I CAN make the I-5 and Callahan’s. Usually, going into a town is a lot of descending. I hike much faster downhill.
I hadn’t read ahead enough in the PCT guidebook because what it said was that there was no camping 5 or 6 miles before the I-5. It was privately owned land and hikers had to stay on the trail.
I passed the quaint and charming Ashland Inn, a very inviting Bed and Breakfast. They have a note to the PCT hikers on the trail to freely use the water from the faucet they provided. They also said that we could use the picnic table, placed just for us, just off to the side of the Inn, but please - no camping. I thought about checking into the Inn but it was only at the 29 mile point in my day’s hike. Now, I don’t know if I can explain why I couldn’t stop, but maybe other hikers relate. Stop before and so close to Mile 30? Stop before I get to see if I can make it to Callahan’s?
Well, once I passed the Inn was when I read about no camping in the next 6 miles. So I was committed now to getting to Callahan’s. How late do they serve dinner I wondered? The race was on, much like the fast hiking descent down to Belden! (Coach and Just Jane remember that knee breaking, steep downhill, fastpack to get to the restaurant before 3pm when it closed.)
So here I am, hiking with no choice to stop. It’s getting darker and I’m in one of those scary dark forests. My head was on overtime trying to scare me. Cougars and mountain lions were getting ready to pounce on me. I kept thinking about what I’d read before … “don’t jog at dusk in lion country” … does fastpacking count as jogging in a lion’s mind, I wondered? I kept turning around and looking over my shoulder. He wasn’t going to catch me by surprise. (1/24/04 – Just last week the LA newspapers were full of lion attack articles!)
At the end of the trail, around the I-5, I went the wrong way and had to back track. I hate getting lost normally, but especially when it’s getting dark (8:30pm) and when I’m hungry and know the restaurant probably doesn’t stay open past 9pm.
I found Callahan’s, or better yet, I found the way to get under the I-5 to it. I walked up to the reception desk, requested a room for the night, and then the girl looked at her watch. I knew that meant trouble. It was 9pm when I arrived and she said that the restaurant closed at 9pm. Great.
She was kind and gave me a tray to take to my room with a green salad, lots of bread and butter, and a Pepsi. That worked. I showered quickly, rather, I bathed in the tub ’cause I couldn’t figure out how to make the shower part come on. Then I sat on my bed, with my feet elevated, and ate everything on the tray.
I didn’t turn out the light until midnight. My alarm was set for 4:30am. Boy did the bed feel good.
|Fri. July 26, 2002 – HYATT LAKE RESORT||Days on Trail:||92|
|Destination:||Hyatt Lake Resort||Today's Miles:||23.6 (+1 mile)|
|Starting Location:||Callahan’s (I-5, near Ashland, OR)||Total Miles:||1745.1|
I started hiking at 5:45am and got on the trail by 6:15am, a mile up the road. I was glad I had only 23.5 miles today until I got to Hyatt Lake Resort. Boy, tonight, if I can get a cabin, it will make 2 nights in a bed, back-to-back.
I was tired, but not sore, from the last two days’ hiking. This section, Section B in the PCT guidebook, from I-5 near Siskiyou Pass to Highway 140 near Fish Lake, is called ‘the least scenic’. Well, it was ‘least scenic’ because I couldn’t see much at all through the smoke of the fires. Fortunately, I was lucky to meet Tracey & Stacey and their 2 young boys out for a day hike. We talked for a good 15-20 minutes. (I’m beginning to sound like Mike Hahn. Some of us know Mike can’t pass people on the trail without having a 20 minute conversation.) They were both very interested in hearing about my trip on the PCT. Stacey had just been telling her husband that she’d like to do the trail a few minutes before. Contact with other people on the trail is important to me. I hope they know how much their interest in me and my trip adds to the happiness of my day. When I hear, “You’re doing this solo? You’re one brave lady.” I regain perspective of the fact that maybe I AM doing something special.
Deborah Currie sent me a great article on Extreme Living. Lynn Hill, the rock climber, was featured. But the article was about adventure and living. After a bad fall, Lynn Hill writes in her new book “Climbing Free”, “It was time to pay attention not just to how I climbed, but to how I lived.”
This paragraph also hit home with me: “What adventure must have however, is the risk of failure. If the outcome is already known, one’s journey toward it isn’t an adventure. It’s the element of doubt – concerning both the obstacles you might face and your capacity to overcome them – that makes an adventure.”
And then the last paragraph hit home for me too: “Because in the end ‘success’ isn’t the main point of adventure. Those who venture to the edge and come back don’t usually brag about having “achieved their goals” or “conquered their fears” or any of those clichés. They know that in the process of undertaking goals that require total commitment, they gained something more important than success: They lived completely.”
Thank you Deborah for sending the article to me. You have given me food for thought on the trail. Here are some questions Deborah wrote to me in her letter: “I wonder about your insights into life and yourself? … I wonder about the lessons there might be for you? … I wonder how you will be changed? …” I know there has been change in me but I don’t know what it is yet. I trust by the finish of my hike, including the last 100 miles, I will have a better understanding.
One thing I’ve learned is that I know being away from my daily life and routine affords me the time, freedom and exposure to newness so that answers to the above questions can come.
Later in my day, 2 men approached me who are section hiking southbound. Mark and Ewan are two long time friends who, each year, meet up to hike some of the PCT. They were helpful in alleviating some of my concern over the fires. The fires are not near the PCT. Mark and Ewan also brightened my day with their enthusiasm over their 2 day section hike. I got grateful for the freedom I have to do the entire trail. They also shared their love of some of the Oregon cities. I can’t wait to come back and check out Ashland. Again, it felt good to hear their amazement about my hiking solo. I do need other people in order to be able to see myself. We spent about 15 minutes talking. I felt more energized as I hiked on.
The hike into Hyatt Lake Resort was NOT downhill. I was ready to stop hiking about 2 miles before I arrived.
A little less than a mile before the resort, I met and talked with a man who was camping nearby. He told me how to get to the resort by a side trail instead of the road.
I arrived at 5:30pm. I found the owner, or manager, right away. In his golf cart he took me to pick up my resupply box, fuel and letters (thank you for your letters – they light up my day!!!). When I first approached this man, he’d asked for my name. When I said my last name, he then said “Linda!” “Boy, you have a lot of mail!” Yippee.
I got a cabin and began resting for the evening. It’s beautiful here but I stayed inside, getting myself clean, my clothes clean, sorting out old food, repacking new food, eating all the junk food I bought at the store that really has nothing except candy, sodas, chips and ice cream. It was fun for me because I had a complete food resupply. Thanks Ray, for the massive bag of your golf mix of nuts and fruit. Even though it’s heavy, I’m carrying it. I’m getting tired of my protein bars, crackers and cheese/peanut butter, and candy bars. I hope to eat more nuts, fruit and beef jerky. I still love my Mother’s cookies though.
I reread and reorganized my maps and books for my upcoming days. I think I’ll take a 1/2 day on the 27th at the resort.
|Sat. July 27, 2002||Days on Trail:||93|
|Destination:||Cross a closed road||Today's Miles:||16.7|
|Starting Location:||Hyatt Lake Resort||Total Miles:||1761.8|
At 7am I walked over to the Campers Cove Resort, a 1/4 mile down the road, but they didn’t open until 8. I walked back to the cabin and wrote the last two days of journal entries. I showered, packed up, and put my backpack and poles in the work shed. I went back to the restaurant and ordered steak & eggs, hash browns, biscuits, o.j., and pancakes. I ate a lot and wanted to eat more but my stomach had no room. Mary, the owner, gave me baggies for the leftover steak and biscuits. She threw in a couple of homemade chocolate chip cookies too. I was set for dinner later.
Mary, and Cathy the waitress, asked me lots of questions about the PCT and my doing the trail alone. They are most interested and very friendly. Mary’s husband, Bill, sat at the counter and their grown son, Billy, hung out too. Billy showed me how the squirrels will come inside the restaurant and eat right out of his hand. They all are very friendly and go out of their way for hikers. You can send resupply boxes there (541) 482-1201.
I didn’t want to have to walk the 1-1/2 miles off trail on the road, so I begged a ride from this man, Sean, who happened to start a conversation with me. He started by saying “You’re Linda.” I said “Yes. How did you know?” He said that he’d never seen so much mail for one PCT hiker. Sean is the manager at the Hyatt Lake Resort. We started talking and then I asked Sean if he’d driven over from the resort. When he said “yes”, I asked for a ride. He agreed, and I picked up his tab.
At 12:42pm I was getting out of his car at the trail head, and I said to Sean, that it’s always hard to get back on the trail after town stops. Today especially. The big meal helped. I felt strong hiking. I did something different. I just hiked. I didn’t look at the mileage or time myself so I’d know where I was. I didn’t look at the map. I just hiked. I was deep in thought. The time went by fast. I looked at my watch and an hour and a half went by.
The trail today was gentle. Gentle ascents and descents. This is one of the lower elevation gain sections. It’s also not visually very appealing. There are lots of fallen trees, logged areas and little views because I walked through much forest. But, the miles went by fast.
I hiked above Hyatt Lake and then past Howard Prairie Lake, both man-made lakes. The trail took me almost to the top of Old Baldy Mountain, passing through the Rogue River National Forest as I descended on the northeast side of the mountain.
It was closing in on 7:45pm. I’d been looking to find a campsite since 6:45. So I stopped as soon as I got into some flat ground before Dead Indian Road. It’s 9:16pm now. I ate my steak and biscuits and cookies around 4pm. I had peanut butter and jelly in a tortilla before I began writing. I’m trying to eat more because I’m still losing weight and I’m ugly this thin.
Good night – Gottago.
|Sun. July 28, 2002||Days on Trail:||94|
|Destination:||1/2 mile before Red Lake Trail 987||Today's Miles:||27.4|
|Starting Location:||Cross a closed road||Total Miles:||1788.9|
I heard sounds last night after I turned my head lamp off. I had my head on my pillow (my extra bagged clothes) so it took me a while before I realized the big bad animal sounds outside my tent were really the sounds coming from my stomach!
Today I hiked in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Forest service land. Last night I had wanted to make it to the 12-foot square Brown Shelter. I found out this morning it would have taken me another 1-1/2 hours to get there. That would have put me there last night after 9pm. Seeing the shelter today was a thrill. It was a beautiful log cabin, all open on the front side. It housed 5 people, had a wood burning stove in the middle, a few supplies (matches, soap!, candles, ax, shovel, etc.). Outside were a picnic table and a pump well. I signed the PCT journal that was also inside the cabin. I saw that Sam I Am and Smokey had signed it 2 days earlier. I also thumbed back in the PCT journal and saw many trail names I recognized from 2001. Brian Robinson’s entry said that it was his 40th birthday and he wanted to do 40 miles.
I didn’t enjoy today’s hike. I hiked through very dense, all brown forests most of the day. This morning I hiked on a lower rock path through the lava fields all over the lower slopes of Brown Mountain. I had to pay attention to my footing. There was a lot of rolling ups and downs as I seemed to traverse forever.
Just past Highway 140, at Cascade Canal, I met two people and we talked while I was waiting for my Aqua Mira water treatment to sit for the required 5 minutes before adding it to water. Glenice and Michael asked about my solo hike and also talked up the Rogue Valley as a great place to live. I got Glenice’s phone number for when I come back to check out this neat area. They were going for a bike ride in the area. As always, I enjoyed the human contact.
I can’t believe it but I lost my spoon. I gave Coach such trouble for forgetting to bring his spoon. I asked Glenice if she had a spoon, but she didn’t.
My left foot is great. The last two days I’ve not had any problems. I’m very happy.
After Highway 140, I hiked in more forest, this forest was greener because it wasn’t so dense. I climbed very gently much of the afternoon. I stopped at Christi’s Spring and got 5 quarts of water. I have water alert areas coming up. I have 36 miles left before I hike 1.3 miles off trail to Mazama Campground at Crater Lake National Park. I wonder if I’ll try to do the 30 miles tomorrow. I’ll have to wake up and get going early. I miss my hiking partners. I’m getting lonely.
Good night. 9:04pm. Gottago.
|Mon. July 29, 2002||Days on Trail:||95|
|Destination:||McKie Camp Trail 1089||Today's Miles:||0.3 (plus – ended up going 6-8 miles on an alternate PCT route. Oops)|
|Starting Location:||1/2 mile before Red Lake Trail 987||Total Miles:||1809.2|
Right now I’m trying to write this entry while holding my photon light on in my left hand. It won’t stay on like it’s supposed to and my regular head lamp's battery went dead.
I awoke at 4:17am. I started hiking at 6am. Guess who couldn’t get out of her sleeping bag? It was dark at 5am when I wanted to leave and I had no head lamp. I was in a forest too, so I thought I’d wait for some light!
You know what, I’m too tired and way too uncomfortable right now. This journal entry will have to wait until tomorrow night.
(entry made on July 30th at 9:18pm) The PCT guidebook had lots of alternate routes for the Sky Lakes Wilderness area starting around the Red Lakes Trail. The alternate trails were recommended by the guides’ author as a way to avoid the PCT’s “essentially viewless traverse”. The alternate trails traveled by many lakes. I didn’t want to get lost on one of the alternate routes (I like the PCT’s symbols (a diamond shape) on the trees of the official route). I also remember my one other experience on an alternate that went by lakes. It was the first alternate listed out of Sierra City. The lakes were nice but the extra elevation gain and loss to them cost me 10 miles that day that I could have gained by staying on the official trail. So today I chose to stay on the PCT. I passed on the second alternate route on the Sky Lakes Trail. On the PCT, a couple of miles north of the junction with the Sky Lakes Trail, on the ridge, west of the Dwarf Lakes area, I got confused in all the fallen trees on the trail. I’ve never seen so many. I lost the trail, walked around trying to find it and got disoriented still more. I tried to go back to my last known trail and couldn’t find that any more. But, I didn’t get crazy, I didn’t cry, I just methodically went to the top of the ridge crest and walked perpendicularly down to where I had to meet that “mother f…” trail. I hate the feeling of being lost. I love the feeling of finding my way.
I hiked on confident and comfortable. Too comfortable. I started to daydream and not pay attention. I ended up unknowingly on the Divide Trail. This trail descended west, not north like I was supposed to be heading, nor was I ridge or crest hiking like I was also supposed to be doing either. One third of the way down the trail I knew I was heading in the wrong direction. But I kept going, not wanting to climb back up the elevation I’d just descended. I figured I’d find the alternate route that would take me back to the PCT. I was eventually on the Sky Lakes Trail but passed by without seeing the junction that goes to the Snow Lakes and back to the PCT. 200 yards past this junction, heading SOUTH on the Sky Lakes Trail, I turned around. As I walked back I finally noticed the junction sign to Sky Lakes Trail North. I was not happy. I went to Lake Marquette’s lakeshore right off the trail. I wanted to jump in the lake but couldn’t give that to myself because I’d fallen so behind in my mind. Instead I ate something quickly to give myself the needed energy to get up the “torturous” trail to Snow Lakes.
I passed 2 forest service men. I told them my mistake. They said I should go have a break at one of the Snow Lakes. I did just that. I took off all my clothes and rinsed them out and hung then on bushes to dry. I swam and sat on the rocky shore for about 20 minutes while my clothes were drying. It calmed me down. When I started hiking again, I had renewed interest and energy.
I stopped at a level spot along the trail around 7:20pm. I didn’t need to do any more today.
What will tomorrow bring?
Good night – Gottago.
|Tues. July 30, 2002 – CRATER LAKE National Park||Days on Trail:||69|
|Destination:||Mazama Campground||Today's Miles:||16.1|
|Starting Location:||McKie Camp Trail 1089||Total Miles:||1825.3|
The mosquitoes have been bad the last couple of days. I’ve had to put my mosquito netting head protection on at times when I’m hiking and especially if I stop to get water. As soon as I stop, they are on me. I put the deer repellent cream from 3M on my legs. I also caught a few small flies in the back of my throat. When I’m going uphill, breathing heavily, my deep intake breaths just suck them right in. Isn’t hiking fun?
I had an easy 16 mile hike into Crater Lake National Park this morning. Except for about a 1/2 hour of hiking over and way around many fallen trees, I cruised. I went through what they call "the Oregon desert", a dry looking forest. It was exciting crossing into Crater Lake National Park.
The smoke was very bad today from the fires. I couldn’t see much.
I arrived at the Mazama Campground around noon. I received my boxes, one had the cell phone in it, which got no reception here. I got all my food organized at a table in the back of the Camp Store. They were very friendly and allowed me to spread out all my food to see if I needed to buy some things. There wasn’t much to eat in the store and I was hungry. I had a hot dog as I was getting my pack set up.
I took a room for the night. I liked the idea of having my own shower. After I showered in the room, I went back to the laundry room next to the store and washed all my clothes. I made some phone calls and noticed Mark (Bushwhacker) hiking up the street.
He got a box of chocolate donuts and a large milk. I did the same. I ate 5 donuts and still feel sick. I invited Bushwhacker to stay in my room on the floor. He went back and showered while I made phone calls to Celine (Janes) and Jane (White). I made plans to meet Celine at the trailhead in Sisters on Monday, August 5th at 8pm. I’ll spend Tuesday and Wednesday with Celine, Jane, and Jack. Jane will drop me back at the trailhead at 6am Thursday morning.
Jane is making me an appointment for a hair color treatment. Celine is making me appointments for a manicure and pedicure. I plan to go to Celine’s meetings Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Jane is going to cook me up a big rib-eye steak, make a salad, garlic bread and a strawberry shortcake. I have a feeling I’ll be very pampered.
Mark is asleep (10:08pm). We plan to hike the West Rim Trail by Crater Lake and have breakfast at the Crater Lake Lodge. I can’t wait. I hope my ailing stomach settles before morning. I can’t believe I sat there and ate 5 donuts within 10 minutes. Monkey see – monkey do!
It’s late. I had a good day. I like the town stops. I ended up talking to lots of people in the store when the manager, Art, told them what I was doing.
Good night – Gottago. It’s always a relief to get my journal caught up when I get behind. Whew.
|Wed. July 31, 2002||Days on Trail:||97|
|Destination:||Thielson Creek||Today's Miles:||4 (+ 1.3 miles from Mazama Campground)|
|Starting Location:||Mazama Campground Crater Lake National Park||Total Miles:||1855.7|
The hike up to the Rim Trail was steep. Mark wanted to have breakfast on the rim and I didn’t mind the least bit. We took the Dutton Creek Trail (6,080’) to the Crater Lake Rim Village Gift Shop/Cafe (7,075’). Seeing the Lake took my breath away. Of course I was all out of breath from the climb, but ... The Lake is huge. It must have been the biggest mountain ever before it blew over 5,000 years ago. There is no incoming water source, no springs, creeks, nothing … yet it maintains its own water level within 3’ all the time by rainfall, snow melt and evaporation. The water is very blue.
At 8am there weren’t many tourists up and about. We ate a “just ok” breakfast and started hiking the Rim Trail and sometimes the road when there wasn’t a trail. It wasn’t fun walking on the narrow road once the tourists in their cars and buses started coming by. I kept my eyes straight ahead when I walked by people in the pullouts gazing over the edge. One woman and two men did ask me where I was going and we chatted for 5 minutes. But I wanted to keep moving since I now have a schedule to meet Celine at the Sisters trailhead at Hwy 242, on Monday, August 5th, at 8pm. I know she’ll be there by 7pm or earlier because she’s always early. I’ll be staying in Bend August 6th & 7th, and then leave for the trial Thursday morning. (I can’t remember if I wrote this last night in the journal entry I already sent off.)
Mark was ahead of me all day until Hwy. 138. I notice him lying down when he takes his breaks though. It was nice having company off and on during the day.
It took me until 1pm before I reached the junction of the Rim Trail I was on and the lower equestrian PCT trail. Prior to this joining of trails, I had been hiking and gaining elevation up to 7,600’ at a saddle on the crater’s rim. For the next 10 miles after I left the rim of Crater Lake, I descended or walked on the nearly level desert forest trail. At Hwy. 138, after the 10 miles, I climbed for 5-1/2 to 6 miles from 5,900’ to 7,370’ up to the Mt. Thielson Trail. Mt. Thielson is a very imposing mountain with unique character. Our trail descended at the junction where you could take the trail to climb the peak.
I had dinner at that junction. I had a great view of Mt. Thielson, views north to the Sisters, to smoky, hazy Diamond Mountain & Lake, and to the west where the fires are.
Mark had taken a break at Hwy. 138 and said that he might camp short of Thielson Creek where there was water after having been on a 25 mile water alert (means no water on trail).
I’m camped 2-3 miles north of the junction trail to Mt. Thielson, near the creek, at a campsite.
I had a good day today. I charged up the 5.3 miles to the Mt. Thielson trail junction from 5,920’ to 7,370’ because I was excited to see if I could get cell phone reception. My dumb phone had plenty of reception, but I kept getting message codes when I tried to dial out, pick up messages, or receive a call. I have no idea what is wrong. I guess I’ll have to wait and call Motorola when I get to Shelter Cove. Bummer – now I have to carry a phone charger that doesn’t work!
I’m probably going to do some good mileage until I meet Celine. I want to make sure I get there on time.
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