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August 2002 Journal
|Thurs. August 1, 2002||Days on Trail:||98|
|Destination:||Summit Lakes South Shore||Today's Miles:||33.2|
|Starting Location:||Thielson Creek||Total Miles:||1888.9|
I left camp by Thielson Creek at 5:45. At the creek I stopped and got water, took my pills and brushed my teeth. By 6am I was hiking.
I started out gaining elevation. I passed the Sawtooth Range and a point listed in the data book, .8 of a mile from Tipson Peak, as the highest point in the Oregon-Washington PCT segment. That elevation was 7,560’. I was surprised that I won’t be going higher in the Cascades.
The next segment of hiking was level or gentle uphill or downhill, the kind of trail that makes for fast hiking.
The first people I talked to were 2 couples from Oregon who get together each year and hike a section of the PCT for one week. Then I met 2 very nice young men, Mark and Sean, who are section hikers. They were going from Bridge of the Gods (Washington/Oregon border) to Ashland. They were very helpful with information I can use up ahead. Next, 2 men, also section hikers headed southbound, stopped for a brief chat.
I stopped soon after I passed the last 2 men and had dinner at 1pm. I wasn’t that hungry but knew I needed to eat my dinner.
Sean and Mark had mentioned the terrible mosquitoes at Summit Lake, so I thought I best cook where I had no bugs.
As I was just packing up from having had my dinner, 2 horseback riders rode up. Cindy and Brian, they live in Crescent City and own a restaurant call Mohawk. They were friendly and very nice. Brian thought I was putting him on when I told him I was hiking from Mexico to Canada. He asked me if I was ever scared. I said, “Yes, often!” He was concerned about the cougars. I really didn’t need to hear about his concern. I couldn’t stop thinking about the cougars all afternoon. I probably looked behind me 4 times thinking I’d better check to make sure one isn’t stalking me.
After I left my dinner spot, I had 14 more miles to go. I went from 5,820’ to 7,100’ up to the southwest ridge of Cowhorn Mountain. Like Mt. Thielson, it was colorful, and distinctively unique with its shapes on top. They are both the kind of mountains you stop and look at a number of times.
After the climb, I had 7 miles of downhill. Many downed trees that hadn’t been cut up were all over the lower trail. It made slow going, which of course, the mosquitoes loved. As soon as I slow just a bit, they are all over me. I was not happy.
I found one of those magical campsites by chance. It’s out on a little jetty in Summit Lake. I am here all alone. I quickly set up my tent, treated water, very quickly threw everything inside my tent, and then went into the lake to get clean. I wore my mosquito head net because the mosquitoes were out in full force. I got into my tent quickly, but never quickly enough with mosquitoes around. I ate a bunch, looked at tomorrow’s plan and wrote this entry. I’m done, I’m tired, and I’m cold from the lake. I want to get down into my bag and pull it over my head.
Good night – Gottago.
P.S. Got to camp at 8pm. It’s 10:22pm now.
|Fri. August 2, 2002 – SHELTER COVE||Days on Trail:||99|
|Destination:||South (Lower) Rosary Lake||Today's Miles:||22 (+ 2.8 to and from Shelter Cove Resort)|
|Starting Location:||Summit Lakes South Shore||Total Miles:||1910.9|
I watched the sun come up. I just laid there taking in the water, pine trees, no mosquitoes yet (it was still too cold for them to be up). I didn’t move fast this morning. I knew I only had 18 miles to Shelter Cove where I had my 6 day food resupply. At the time I packed the resupply box I didn’t know I’d be stopping at Hwy. 242 in Sisters. Or maybe I just didn’t think about why I’d carry 6 days of food. Since I’ve learned from others that I don’t need to carry more than 3 days of food and that I don’t need to carry more than 2 liters of water, I think differently now than I did before the trip. Also before the trip, I planned my food box quantities based on doing 20-mile days. So for most of the last food resupply boxes, I’ve taken out a day or two worth of food. Anyway, I’ll only carry 3 days worth to Sisters (I left 3 days of food in the hiker box at Shelter Cove Resort) and then before I get back on the trail, I’ll buy what I need to get me to Olallalie. It’s getting easier for me to figure out what I need and the number of days it will take me to get somewhere.
I left my campsite at 7:08am. Within 2 miles, I began to climb up the lower slopes (7,100’) of Diamond Mountain. It’s a beautiful mountain. I had great views all day. I don’t have the smoke any more. At a certain point going up the slopes, I looked south and couldn’t believe the view I had of where I’d been the last few days. I saw Summit Lake, Cow Mountain, Mt. Thielson, and McLoughlin. I like seeing all the territory I’ve covered.
As I got higher up Diamond Mountain, I kept trying to see if I could get phone reception. At one point I was able to retrieve my messages. The messages left the earliest were garbled. I couldn’t even tell who was leaving the message. But at least now I know my phone works. Getting reception is a real problem though.
Hiking on the north side of Diamond Mountain gave me early views of the Sisters Mountains, Jefferson and maybe Bachelor. It was exciting to have mountain views again. I don’t much care for forest hiking. One particular purple bushy flower was blooming all over. There were many ponds along the trail, some with blooming lily pads. My hike went fast because there was much to look at. I even had to wake up a snake, which was thin, small, and black with yellow lines from head to toe, to get him to move off the trail. It took my touching him on his tail two times before he snapped awake, looked at me, and slithered off the trail back under his log.
I arrived at Shelter Cove Resort and was immediately greeted by Hana, Courtney and Chris, all section hiking. The young girls are from Seattle and Chris (Cyclops) is from Texas. The girls hitched to Crescent City for supplies (for me too) and were back in record time. They are quite beautiful and had no trouble getting rides.
Brian (Ancient Brit), I met him when he found, and returned to me, my washed socks that had fallen off my pack while hiking down from Evolution Lake where I’d washed them, pulled up to drop off supplies. He rented a car in Ashland and was taking some time to resupply himself at some towns along the route.
Then Ben hiked in. He picked up his food resupply box and sat down at the dedicated PCT hiker picnic table, off to the side, away from the tables in front of the store on the porch. I was asked to please use the table off to the side to do my food resupply organizing. I was happy to be told what to do and grateful there was a table.
I really didn’t feel like staying the night a Shelter Cove. I was in need of a shower and laundry, which they had, but felt like hiking to a camp a ways up the trail. When I said I was going to leave around 5pm, Chris asked if we could hike together.
He & I left and hiked the 4+ miles to our campsite right on lower Rosary Lake. It’s beautiful. I cleaned up in the warmish water and got into my “cave” to eat and write. We got here around 8pm. It’s 9:51pm.
I have 72+ miles to where Celine will pick me up three nights from now. 3 into 72 = easy!
Well, good night – Gottago.
I forgot to mention that I met Todd and Randy, PCT hikers, who started May 6th. They were hiking by our campsite, headed for the middle Rosary Lake for the night. They said that they had hiked with Mark. Mark went to Shelter Cove for his resupply box.
|Sat. August 3, 2002 – DAY 100!||Days on Trail:||100!!!|
|Destination:||Snowshoe Lake Trail 33||Today's Miles:||30.7|
|Starting Location:||South (Lower) Rosary Lake||Total Miles:||1941.6|
I woke up at 5:30am. As I was getting out of my tent, I noticed Chris stirring in his bivy bag. I told him that I’d be ready to leave at 6:30am.
At 6:30am he was ready and we started hiking. We passed Todd & Randy who were almost ready at their camp by the next Rosary Lake, to start their hiking day. They are young, energetic, and high mileage hikers. Chris & I leapfrogged them all day.
We all ended up at Charlton Lake having our lunch. There were two other groups of vacationers there fishing in boats. I made a dinner for lunch which gave me energy for hiking.
I kind of like having Chris as a hiking partner. He’s very considerate at junctions. He hikes fast but always waits at the junctions. He’s very quiet and extremely agreeable. Can’t ask for more.
Today, I entered the Sisters Wilderness area. I hiked in forests most of the day. There were ponds and lakes along the trail. It was nice I didn’t have to carry much water. I hiked through about 3 miles of burned forest. That’s always weird. I feel sad for all the life that used to be.
Chris had never hiked 30 miles. So I had a goal. We hiked 30.7 miles and he was happy. We actually stopped our day at Tadpole Lake but soon realized the mileage was only 29.1. I said, “We’ve gotta go and hike the full 30.” We did. The mosquitoes, by the way, were the worst yet. I’d been warned by Sean, a southbound section hiker, that the mosquitoes were terrible until I got to Mt. Hood. The mosquitoes were driving Chris and me mad. I got into my tent at camp as quickly as I could and still had to kill the 12 mosquitoes that got in.
Nice day – uneventful. We got into camp at 8:15pm. It’s 9:37 now. I’ve stuffed my face – finished this entry and good night. Gottago.
And to my son, Lane, I’m thinking of you on this special day.
|Sun. August 4, 2002||Days on Trail:||101|
|Destination:||Clear lakelet with good campsites||Today's Miles:||25.5|
|Starting Location:||Snowshoe Lake Trail 33||Total Miles:||1967.0|
It was the coldest morning yet. I couldn’t get warm for the longest time while hiking. It was overcast. It looked as if it could rain at any moment. We hiked in forests, just like yesterday. I was craving different views. Chris would hike ahead and then wait at junctions and then hike on ahead again. So I was basically hiking alone. I’d go up, and then down, the forested slopes. I try not to think about how I’m feeling. I try to think about something interesting with the hope I’ll get lost in the thought and the uphill will be over.
But today, I couldn’t help but think about how I was feeling. I had no energy. I know I need to eat more. I did eat a Snickers bar an hour after my granola breakfast. Then I needed to eat again, so I had some Cheese-It crackers. Two hours after breakfast I sat down and had some cheddar cheese and tortillas. An hour later I finished off Ray’s golf mix of nuts and fruit. Then 1-1/4 hours after that Chris and I stopped to make our dinners for lunch. I never stop eating. Next, M&M peanuts.
Climbing up Koosah Mountain I got my first close up of the lower Sisters Mountain. I was happy to have the change of scenery. From this point on, the area got prettier with each mile we hiked. The wildflowers were out and I had lots to look at. There were carpets of blue lupine.
We had crossed the Wickiup Plain, had descended and were ascending from Mesa Creek headed toward our campsite at a lakelet on the east side of the PCT just past dry Separation Creek, when a man who was stopped and talking to Chris up ahead of me said, as I approached, “You must be Gottago?” I was surprised and confused. He appeared to know me. Well, it turns out Steve (Road Runner) has been following and reading my web site journal. He also has been reading Lady Leaper’s, Scott’s, Yogi’s, and Cupcake’s. Steve intends to thru hike the PCT in 2007 when he will be retired. He and his wife, Peggy, live in Eugene. It was so neat for me to meet someone who has been reading my journal. He told me my husband’s name, he told me I used bleach in my white shirt I hike in, he told me he now carries wheat thins when he hikes since he heard I carry them, and then he pointed to my biking gloves that he knew I wore from reading my journal. I had so much fun talking to him for the hour we spent together. I took pictures of Steve and he took them of me. Meeting Steve made my day and gave me a renewed interest in writing my journal entries. He said that what interested him was that he was around my age. That’s what caught Coach’s eye too when he first saw my web site. You know my head tells me that ‘no one will be interested in your site’. I look at the other PCTers like Yogi and Cupcake who are REALLY GOOD writers and I’m embarrassed that my entries are online. So, Steve made my day. Someone I don’t know is actually reading and enjoying what I write.
We got into camp at 7pm. It’s now 9:47pm. I am going to see Celine tomorrow! Yippee, and I’ll see Jane and Jack too! I have 17 miles to hike in the morning. I told Celine I’d be at the trailhead at 8pm. Well I’ll be there by 1pm or 2pm so I hope my cell phone works. I suggested to Chris we leave at 7am tomorrow. He liked that idea.
That’s it for now. Good night – Gottago.
|Mon. August 5, 2002 - BEND||Days on Trail:||102|
|Destination:||Hwy. 242 at McKenzie Pass||Today's Miles:||17.5|
|Starting Location:||Clear lakelet with good campsites||Total Miles:||1984.5|
Chris and I found a nice tree covered campsite with a fire site on the south side of the lakelet. There was a couple we didn’t know camped higher up on the north side overlooking the lakelet. It was such a comfortable site I didn’t want to get up this morning. Neither did Chris. I knew we didn’t have to hurry because Celine wasn’t picking us up until the evening. So we didn’t hurry. We left camp at 7:20am! The latest departure time yet.
Our hike today was beautiful and varied in terrain. We were climbing gently through forests, hiking by Obsidian Falls where we marveled at the shiny wet-looking black rock all over. We enjoyed all the newly blooming wildflowers (I had Chris take a picture of me lying down in a blue field of lupine), and we went through moon-like lava terrain. Chris said that this area would be a volcanist’s dream.
I was anxious to get cell phone reception and stopped at most of the high points to try and call Celine to let her know we’d be at the trailhead around 3pm, instead of 8pm.
I kept changing my clothes on top because the weather kept changing. There were clouds above that made you believe it was going to rain any moment. The wind would pick up and then subside. Later we found out it had been raining in Bend earlier in the day. I was very excited to see Celine so the days’ 17.5 miles seemed to take forever.
I finally got through to Celine on my phone and yelled “at the trailhead at 3:30.” I was afraid I’d lose reception as I had many times before. She said “OK”. The called ended. I felt better knowing I’d connected with her and relaxed for the last hour and 20 minutes of the hike. Well, that is until I realized that the last mile of hiking was over lava fields. Without hills, I usually hike a 20 minute mile. I planned on hiking the last 4 miles in an hour and 20 minutes to make the meeting time of 3:30pm. Twenty minute miles weren’t gong to happen. It was slow hiking over the lava. The footing was quite unstable and irritating. I was hiking over big broken rocky pieces of lava.
Chris and I ended up on Hwy. 242 at 3:40pm. Celine wasn’t there yet. I was glad I hadn’t made her wait.
I walked up the Hwy. 1/4 of a mile to the observatory just to make sure she wasn’t up there. While walking back to where I’d exited the PCT on Hwy. 242, I saw her green Camry pass right by me. Obviously, I didn’t look like the Linda she knew.
Maybe 15 minutes later while I was sitting on the side of the infrequently traveled Hwy. 242, which runs through miles of broken lava, Celine drove by. I yelled “Celine!” She stopped and we hugged for the longest time. It was as if no time had passed since the last time we were together. Chris was now walking back to the car from the observatory and we drove to Sisters on the way to Bend. I had to get a Dr. Pepper and something to eat. Back by where I was getting my drink, a very nice man behind the Chinese food counter starting talking to me. “Did I care for any food?” Well, why not, I thought. As he was serving me we talked about my hike. He’d like to do the PCT also.
We got back in the car. Celine stopped at the Sisters P.O for Chris’s boxes and mail and we drove to Bend. Chris didn’t want to stay in the campground, so Celine drove him to the Alpine Hostel in Bend. As Chris was unloading his belongings at the hostel, Mark (Bushwhacker) walked out. I’d wondered what had happened to Mark. The last time I saw him was when I hiked off up to Mt. Thielseon while he took a rest at Hwy 138. Mark said that he was about 3 miles behind me for the next few days.
I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to Celine. She catered to my every need for the rest of the day (and the entire 2-1/2 days I’ve been in Bend). We went to Ray’s Market where I picked out some things I’d like to eat while at her home. She surprised me and picked up the bill! We went home. I showered and did my laundry. Oh how good that felt to be clean and have clean clothes.
Her home is immaculate and beautifully decorated. I had my own bedroom and bathroom. I’m treated like royalty. She anticipates my every need. I think I’ll move in for the rest of my life.
She ordered and picked up pizza and salad while I did whatever. We ate and chatted for a long time. I love her so much. I wish I could be as giving as she is.
Getting into bed was heaven. I lay awake for a long time though … too much soda!
|Tues. August 6, 2002||Days on Trail:||103|
|Starting Location:||Bend||Total Miles:||1984.5|
Here was my day:
- Early phone calls.
- 10:00 – nails and toes (Celine ran to buy my battery).
- Looked at a pen (Kinko’s).
- Bank – cash.
- Visited 2 mountain supply stores (bought a Marmot Dry Clime jacket, Patagonia rain pants,
new flexible Nalgene bottle, and a new MSR tub for water bladder).
- Glasses repaired.
- Celine bought stamps at P. O. for me.
- 12:00 Meeting (met Jane and Priscilla).
- Lunch with Jane and Priscilla, Mexican food.
- Hair color and cut at Jean’s home (Gina – she did a good job!).
- Urgent Care – bad blister looked at on right foot (1-1/2 hour visit).
- Home briefly.
- 7:00pm Tuesday night meeting.
- Office Max – got erasable pen.
- Wild Oats – for my hiking food.
- More phone calls.
Some day off! It was a productive day and Celine deserves a badge of honor.
Jane broke into tears when we saw each other at the morning meeting. Of course, Celine and I followed suit. We all needed hankies. It was great being in a meeting with Jane on my right and Celine on my left. I clung to Jane like a baby does her mommy. I felt great being in a meeting. It was a good one. I think it must have been fun for the others to see the love and gratitude we 3 generations of “passing it on” had for each other. I was full when I left. It had been the first meeting I’d attended since the end of April.
Lunch afterward with Priscilla, Jane and Celine was great. I will look forward to us all having lunch again after a meeting whenever I come to Bend.
Jean, who did my hair, was referred to me by Jane. What a good job she did on my hair AND we connected and become instant friends. What a kick she is. Now I have someone to do my hair when and if I move to Bend.
At Urgent Care I met Laurie, the nurse. A very special lady. She took a lot of interest in my hike. While waiting for the doctor to come in and look at my blister, another doctor (I forgot his name) popped his head in to briefly express his awe at doing the hike. I feel like a celebrity and must admit, I don’t mind it a bit.
We had such a full day. I’m sorry to say we didn’t get to visit with Cliff. I was sorry it didn’t work out.
Celine’s Tuesday night meeting was good. There were two speakers this night. The second speaker, an older man who is mourning the recent passing of his wife, closed his pitch by singing in his operatic voice, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning, Oh What a Beautiful Day”. Celine and I had tears running down our cheeks.
I have to get going now. Dinner at Jane’s tonight. She’s making the rib-eye steaks I requested.
Bye – Gottago.
|Thurs. August 8, 2002 – passed 2,000 miles!||Days on Trail:||105|
|Destination:||Rockpile Lake||Today's Miles:||31|
|Starting Location:||Hwy. 242 at McKenzie Pass||Total Miles:||2015.5|
At Hwy. 242 I started hiking on the lava rock and kept hiking on the hard, sharp pieces of lava for an hour and 20 minutes. Then I hiked in the forest and them some more on lava rock.
Much of the morning I climbed the forested slopes of Mt. Washington. Later I climbed Three Finger Jack and Mt. Jefferson.
I was having a lunch break just across Old Santiam Wagon Road when Frank (Satellite) came by. He sat down and we shared the turkey and Swiss cheese I’d brought for lunches. Afterwards we hiked together. His pace and mine are almost the same. He hikes long hours, like I do, to get the high mileage in during the day. I enjoyed having each other for company on the trail. We passed the 2,000-mile point today!
There were more people day-hiking and backpacking the trail than I’d seen so far. I didn’t see any thru-hiking PCTers though.
I enjoyed being able to see the views when they appeared through the mostly forest hiking. The smoke from the fire is gone around Sisters. The mosquitoes were a problem later in the day when our trail passed melting snow on the north slopes. I had my long pants and shirt on, so putting my head net on kept the mosquitoes from getting to my skin.
Satellite likes to get his miles in, so we didn’t stop much. Hiking with someone else is so different than hiking alone. I don’t stop as much when I’m hiking with someone else.
Our day lasted long. We had elevation gains for the last 3 out of 4 miles before we stopped. We planned on stopping at Rockpile Lake and did. We found a site, but Jen and Shea were in it. They are thru-hiking Oregon north-to-south. They invited us to share the campsite and we did. They knew me when I introduced myself as Gottago. Billy Goat and Cheryl, up ahead, had made mention of me to them.
We got to camp at 8:15pm. It’s 10:05pm now. Everyone is asleep but me. So I’m going to say good night.
|Fri. August 9, 2002||Days on Trail:||106|
|Destination:||(past) Cross South Fork Breitenbush River||Today's Miles:||20.5 (+ lost 4 mi.)|
|Starting Location:||Rockpile Lake||Total Miles:||2036|
Around noon, Satellite and I reached Russell Creek, which is a glacial fed creek. By noon it was flowing strong. I was in shock when I approached the creek. It looked more like a raging river. Satellite told me to wait and watch him cross before I tried to cross. Waiting was not a problem for me. I saw nowhere I felt safe crossing. (The PCT guidebook suggests you cross the creek before 11am because it gets full fast as the glacier melts over the day.)
Satellite had no trouble crossing the boulders he found in the creek. He is over 6’2” with long legs. He suggested I follow his crossing. I said, “No!” I knew I couldn’t safely cross where he did. We spent 40 minutes trying to get me across. My memories came back of the scary crossings in the Sierra. I had no idea how I was going to cross this raging creek. Finally I hiked up creek about 100 yards and noticed 3 logs that made crossing easy. Whew!
After the crossing, maybe a mile on the trail, we took a wrong turn and ended up having to back track the 2 miles we had traveled in the wrong direction. The PCT is not signed very well in this area.
My back had gone out earlier today and was very fragile. I knew it wasn’t in good shape for the past 3 or 4 days. Earlier, while packing up this morning, I felt it starting to go. I had to have help putting on my backpack. Leaning over to get anything from my pack caused my back to spasm if I didn’t move carefully. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt like a burden on Satellite. I told him he didn’t have to stay with me. I was afraid I was holding him back. But his feet were killing him and he was tired, so he stayed with me. I can’t believe how much he helped me. While hiking, once my pack was on, I was fine.
After we got onto the wrong trail, we both knew our day would be a short one. I had very little energy left when we got back on the trail and were going up the 9-mile 2,500’ gain to a viewpoint. I let Satellite know I wanted to stop before we got to the top. I know he didn’t want to, but we did camp 2 miles short of the top. We are camped in a highly populated mosquito area by Breitenbush Creek. We stopped around 7:30pm. It’s 9:12pm now.
Olallie Resort is only about 13 miles away. I have a resupply box pick up there. I may take a cabin and rest until the next morning. I’ll see how my back is. I can’t believe how inconvenient hiking is with my back out. But at least I can hike. Tired – very tired – good night.
|Sat. August 10, 2002 – OLALLIE LAKE RESORT||Days on Trail:||107|
|Destination:||Lemiti Creek||Today's Miles:||21.6|
|Starting Location:||(past) Cross South Fork Breitenbush River||Total Miles:||2057.6|
At 5am Satellite came over to say he was taking off. I’m sure he wasn’t happy I wanted to stop short of the viewpoint at the top of the 2 mile elevation gain we were headed for last night, but I was glad he felt comfortable doing what he wanted. At 5:45am I started hiking. I was glad to be hiking my pace, timing stopping & breaking. I tend to worry about the other person’s needs when I hike with someone.
The hike to the viewpoint didn’t take that long. I was sorry I wanted to stop short. The view of Mt. Jefferson to the south was spectacular. At the top of the Cascade Divide, I left the Jefferson Wilderness and entered Mt. Hood National Forest. There were large semi permanent snow fields all over. Walking over the snowfields covering the trail was a little eerie all alone, but very easy. As I descended I hiked by many shallow lakes and ponds.
I eventually passed Breitenbush Lake. I remember Susan talking about going to stay at a place in Oregon called this name.
As I continued hiking, I passed a point where a sign said ‘viewpoint’. I hiked out on the rocks where 2 men were standing. I got to see Mt. Hood standing high and alone behind and to the left of Olallie Lake. One of the men took my picture with snowy Mt. Hood in the background. I had 2 more miles to go to Olallie Lake.
When I arrived at the Olallie Lake Resort, seated on the bench outside were Chris (Cyclops), Satellite, and Brant. Brant told me that no one was leaving until I got there so they could see what I was leaving behind from my resupply box! Brant said that he has been eating out of my resupply box for a long time. He also told me that the people at Crater Lake at Mazama Campground had started a hiker box with all the food I left behind. Initially, when I asked the managers of the store if they would take my food and start a hiker box (where other hikers know to look for discarded food items) they thought about it for a second, said that they had never heard of that before, that it was a good idea, but no, they wouldn’t start one. I was glad to hear they had changed their minds.
Josh and Harley showed up at the resort too. I ate potato chips, ice cream, a chocolate muffin and had a Gatorade. It’s no surprise that around 4pm I started to feel nauseas while I was hiking. I stopped hiking early, 5:10pm, because I felt so sick in my stomach. I also thought it would be good for my back to have a short day. I like where I’m camped. It’s near a water source where I washed myself and my clothes. Not long after I bathed, Tamara and Ron appeared. They decided not to hike any further and are in the Lemiti Campsite with me. They are the couple I saw at the clear lakelet with Chris the night before Bend. They are a married couple thru-hiking Oregon. Their kids are resupplying them.
I cooked dinner, ate the great cookies Ray sends, had tea, and love that it’s still light while I’m writing. I hope I can stay awake until the Big Dipper comes out. I had no phone reception at the Lake Resort. I thought I would. Bummer!
Good day. 7:46pm. Gottago.
|Sun. August 11, 2002||Days on Trail:||108|
|Destination:||Little Crater Lake||Today's Miles:||26.4|
|Starting Location:||Lemiti Creek||Total Miles:||2084.0|
It was cold when I started hiking but I’ve learned to just take off wearing my regular hiking clothes. If I put extra clothing on to start, I just have to stop, take my pack off, take the extra clothing off, and put my pack back on. Too much trouble for 5 minutes of warmth. I just walk faster to get me warm. I probably should wear gloves though. My hands hurt from the cold.
Since a couple miles past Olallie Lake Resort yesterday, I’d been hiking in what is called the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. All morning today I was still in it. Its lots of viewless forest. Good for getting lost in your thoughts without too much danger of getting lost. I stopped at 11:15 at Warm Springs River for lunch. 20 minutes later Tamara and Ron showed up and stopped as well. I had a nice chat with Tamara. In the afternoon, I crossed into Mt. Hood National Forest. Except for about 2,000’ of gain, today was very flat.
Seeing Mt. Hood for a quick look was exciting. Timothy Lake was also a nice scenic change. Tamara and Ron were going to camp there. It was over-run with vacationers. The PCT goes by the east side of the large lake. I stopped for a quick dinner. There were too many people going by in boats for me to bathe. The camping on the east side is difficult. The shore is steep. So I hiked on another 3 miles to Crater Lake. It’s a spring fed lake, fenced off from the local cows. They say it’s about 40 degrees. I stepped in and sponge bathed. Even I thought the water was too cold. The book said ‘no camping’ around the very small lake. They suggested the Crater Lake Campground 1/4 mile away or camping at the trailhead to the lake where I am now. There are cows loose. There is a fence separating the area where the lake is (where my tent is) and near the trail. There are cows on the lake side of the fence far off mooing to the cows loose on the trail side, where I’m camped. I hope cows are afraid of tents. At one point, a little while ago, one big black & white cow was calling to the cows inside the fence. The black & white cow was moving in my direction. Thank goodness one of his cow friends called from behind him, away from me, and he followed that moo. It’s time for them to settle down now; it’s getting to be bedtime. I hope they don’t moo all night. Cows must sleep too, right?
I meet Leila, my sister from Portland, tomorrow. She may hike on some of the trail, or come meet me as I hike in to the Timberline Lodge, where we will stay. She has to leave the next morning early. I’m thinking I may take a zero day there. They have a Jacuzzi and great food. A fancy resort. A REAL Resort. Yes! Leila will also meet me at Cascade Locks so I’ll have to see if taking a zero day will affect her meeting me at Cascade Locks.
Ray, I forgot to mention how much I loved all my goodies you put in my resupply box. I love that pumpernickel bread. I ate all the jelly belly’s today while I was hiking. They were so heavy. I stopped tonight at 6:10pm. I love stopping early. It’s 8:07. Bedtime – Good night – Gottago.
|Mon. August 12, 2002 – TIMBERLINE LODGE||Days on Trail:||109|
|Destination:||Timberline Lodge||Today's Miles:||18|
|Starting Location:||Little Crater Lake||Total Miles:||2102|
I took my time again this morning getting on the trail. My tent and my bag are soooooooo comfortable. My thinking on not hurrying off this morning was based on when my sister, Leila, will arrive at Timberline Lodge and when our room will be available. Leila said that she’d probably arrive around noon. She also said that she’d start hiking on the PCT toward me. So I was trying to arrive around 2:30pm. I hadn’t looked too closely at the data sheet listing the almost 3,000’ of elevation gain I had over the next 18 miles. I had to hike faster and take shorter breaks than I wanted to. Halfway through the miles I realized I wasn’t going to get to the Lodge until 3pm.
Within the first couple of miles I started to climb some through the viewless forest trail. At 6 miles into the morning I met Tyler, a high school graduate, taking off for an unknown amount of time, hiking southbound on the PCT. It was exciting listening to his enthusiastic approach to being out on his own. He had his food (rice & beans, and a little gorp). I offered him some of my food, since once again, I will be arriving in town with leftover food. “No”, he had all he needed. His mom was thrilled about his taking off on his own. He told me he had just as much of a chance dying at home as he had out in the wilderness. [Thought: How come I didn’t have the courage and desire when I was 18?] I gave him my used section of the PCT guide, suggested he might vary his food a little for future resupplys, and to talk to the other PCTers he’d soon meet to learn a little from each one. He said that when he’d go camping with his family, they would want to rest when they arrived at camp. But not Tyler, he wanted to begin exploring. I know he’ll have a great time. I’m envious of his willingness to “go for it”.
The last 5-1/2 miles from Barlow Pass (4,155’) to Timberline Lodge (5,940’) were hard. The last mile was a nightmare. The first 4-1/2 miles I climbed the switchbacks along the lower slopes beneath Mt. Hood. Then I broke out of the forest and walked on a deep, fine, sandy trail. What made the difficult-to-hike trail bearable was the majestic view of Mt. Hood I had the rest of the way to the Lodge. I was at almost 6,000’ and Mt. Hood stands 11,235’ tall. The terrain was grey and barren except for a few wind blown trees and the white glaciers all over the top of Mt. Hood. One minute I felt like I was on the moon … then next minute I felt like I was in Switzerland. Except for the hard-to-hike-in sand, I loved the new and exciting terrain. I was anxious to meet Leila. Where was she? I figured she wouldn’t want to walk back up all the elevation gain she would have lost hiking down to me. Once I experienced the sandy trail, I knew she’d be waiting up at the Lodge.
I was huffing and puffing, out of water, hot and dry, but ready to be at the Lodge and see Lee. I kept walking, except when I pulled over to let the 20 guests on horses go by. I pulled my bandana up over my mouth to protect myself from the dust. They all wore bandanas over their faces. The lead horsewoman asked if I was the one who was meeting my sister. When I said “Yes”, she informed me that my sister would be waiting for me at the Lodge.
I walked upstairs, downstairs, and back upstairs again after I picked up a note left for me at the Registration Desk. After 20 minutes or so Leila and I ran into each other in the lobby area. There were many trails leading out from the Lodge toward the PCT. Leila was afraid she’d miss me if she walked out on one of the trails I wasn’t coming in on. She also only had sandals on. They didn’t handle the sand well.
It was good to see Lee. We hugged while quickly exchanging explanations about where we have been looking for each other. I ran into Josh on the pay phone. He said that others on the trail kept saying that I was 15 minutes ahead of him all day. Josh said that Brant was here too. I think they are sleeping somewhere for hikers here.
I wanted to drink something icy cold and eat. We sat and talked before going to our room. Lee had brought me the food items of cheese, tortillas and cookies. Lee and I did my laundry, I showered, and then we went to the 7:15pm dinner reservation Leila had made. I always love spending time talking with Lee.
She laughs at how I get up in the middle of the night to eat. I’m always hungry and can’t eat large quantities.
I’d had too much Pepsi and at midnight I was just turning the light off. Lee went to bed at 10pm.
Ray sent me my pocketmail composer. I’d never used it and was trying to figure it out. I can write emails on it, send the emails when I have service on my phone or from a payphone, and receive emails too. My address is: email@example.com (all small letters). I dial up pocketmail’s 1-800 number, put the device I’ve typed into up to the phone, push a button to begin the receiving and sending, and surprise … I can get and send email. Some of the hikers have and use this device. I’ll write to them with the hope of learning the news on the trail ahead of me and behind me. (1/24/04-pocketmail address has changed to Gottago@pocketmail.com)
The other day I heard Scott, who had been hiking with Cheryl, had left the trail. I also heard Lee & Ann left the trail right after they got back on again. I’d love to hear from Ann. If anyone knows her email, please let me know. Katie’s (Raven) Tom (Spunky Edison) had to go back to work (he’d always planned to only do so much of the trail). I’m sure Katie’s sad. I know how I felt when I lost my favorite hiking partner (3 different times!!).
Well, Gottago and write today’s journal entry now.
|Tues. August 13, 2002||Days on Trail:||110|
|Destination:||Timberline Lodge||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Timberline Lodge||Total Miles:||2102|
Lee had her wake up call at 6am and left to go home by 7am. I spent the next hour or two getting my pack and food repacked. The Lodge employees were moving me to another room. When I decided to stay another day, the large room Lee and I had wasn’t available.
I went down to the main dining room for breakfast. I haven’t spent much time traveling or eating out at fine dining restaurants in years. It felt wonderful sitting in this earthy, wooded, elegant dining room looking out the window: left to Mt. Hood or right to distant views of Mt. Jefferson. The food is delicious. I brought my pocketmail manual to read over breakfast.
I went back to my room until I’m moved to another room. Lee had only reserved our room for one night. I made phone calls, wrote emails and was then moved to new room around 1pm.
I walked around outside. Took the extra food I wasn’t taking over to the hiker box at the store in the ski area. On my way back into the Lodge I noticed and called to Tamara, who I’d met on the trail before with her husband. She is a special lady. I feel good around her. She joined me while I had lunch. She is an RN and mentioned that she’d been concerned over how thin I was becoming. Her concern was mostly for when I get back. If I gained weight back fast, it might put a strain on my heart muscle (which has probably had muscle loss like the rest of my muscles). She recommended I see my doctor. She talked about treating my re-entry to eating and physical activity with the same planning and caution I did to train for this hike. I thought that was a good idea. I hadn’t considered having a plan to come back from the hike. I finally got her and Ron’s address. I figured running into her 4 times now means I might want to have the ability to stay in touch.
It’s 4:30pm. There is still more of the day ahead but I don’t know what that will be yet.
The rest of today I spent writing emails, picking up a shrimp salad, including bread/butter and cheesecake from the Ramshead Bar in the Lodge and eating it in my room, was on the phone with Dennis (Leila’s husband) trying to decide on a resupply meeting place on the trail to break up the 6 day carry from Cascade Locks to White’s Pass, and read over my next 2 days of travel. AND … I spoke to my son, Lane!
It’s 10:31pm. Where does the time go? Good night. Gottago.
|Wed. August 14, 2002||Days on Trail:||111|
|Destination:||(just short of) Reach abandoned OST||Today's Miles:||27|
|Starting Location:||Timberline Lodge||Total Miles:||2129|
I started hiking at 6:45 (I ate fast)! I saw more people over the next 4 hours on the trail than I’d ever seen. I liked Frank and Rayann. They were doing a trail 22+ miles, or maybe more, that goes all around Mt. Hood, with their 3 girls. They had both hiked a lot when they were younger. They were very friendly, a nice couple. Then I met Jonathon. He was just out overnight. He gave me some good information for what was to come. He’d met and hiked with Satellite yesterday. Satellite had taken the wrong trail and was retracing his steps when he met Jonathon. So Jonathon told me how to go and what conditions to expect. There were choices around Ramona Falls for the official PCT, and 2 other alternate trails that the author of the PCT guidebook recommended. I wanted to see Ramona Falls. The water cascades from way up, over moss covered rocks. The water falls what seems to be 300’. I had lunch at 11:30 right in front of the Falls. I decided not to take the official PCT when posted signs stated over 200 trees had fallen. The trail was covered with debris. I also heard the Muddy Creek crossing was a wet crossing. I didn’t want to cross in bare feet and I didn’t want my boots to get wet either. I heard from other southbound hikers that Satellite had taken the official PCT trail and told the hikers not to. It was a mess.
After lunch I met two nice men out for 2 weeks. Gary and Terry (or was it Jerry?). Their wives were picking them up in 3 more days.
Today’s hike was more uphill than I’d been led to believe I’d have. The black flies swarmed me every time I stopped. Their bites are worse than mosquitoes. I put deet on but the flies don’t care what I have on. I had to put my headnet on later in the day when the gnats and mosquitoes joined the flies.
The trail, 5 miles before the end of my day, needed work. It was overgrown and reminded me of Section O. But I eventually ran into work crews that had cleared the trail the last 1-1/2 miles before I pulled off to the side of the trail to camp for the night. My right hip bone is raw – like a bed sore. I’m glad I stopped when I did at 7:45pm. It’s very windy. It’s not a cold wind, it’s just balmy. I have 21+ miles tomorrow to get to Cascade Locks before the P.O. closes at 5pm. I’m tired. It’s 9:30pm. Good night – Gottago.
|Thurs. August 15, 2002 – CASCADE LOCKS||Days on Trail:||112|
|Destination:||Cascade Locks||Today's Miles:||22|
short of) Reach abandoned OST (Oregon Skyline Trail)
I had a great nights sleep. I was up and hiking by 5:50am. I don’t know what it is but I’ve noticed on my second day hiking after a town stop that my muscles and body don’t feel strong. Maybe the extra food in towns give me more strength so that on the second day out, by comparison, I feel weaker. I’ve noticed too, I’m only drinking about 3 to 3-1/2 quarts of water a day. Maybe I need more. Stopping for water always feels inconvenient, a waste of time, and carrying more water isn’t a thrilling option. Also, the more water I drink, the more often I stop to pee. My sister Leila says I should mention the reason why I love the black shorts I wear while I hike. They are baggy and loose around my thighs, unlike hiking shorts. Loose enough that I can easily pull them and my underpants to the side, stand and pee like a man without having to take my pack off. If I’m well hydrated before I begin my hiking day, I pee 7 or 8 times in the first 2 hours. See how much time I save not having to take my pack off, not to mention the energy expenditure?
I chose to take the Eagle Creek alternate route trail. Tunnels Falls made it worth the very rocky trail hiking. It was slow going for about 11 miles watching each foot plant. As much as I loved all the waterfalls in and into Eagle Creek, I wasn’t happy today. My right hip bone is raw and terribly sore. I was constantly readjusting my pack to relieve the pain.
I met 5 ladies, whom I stopped and talked to. They were locals taking a 12 mile day hike. I had fun talking to them. I asked them to let Ray know I was OK when they signed the Guest Book on my website.
I’ve been dreading some of the upcoming hiking today. I had to pass up jumping into Wahtum Lake for a swim. It looked very inviting. I was trying to get to the P.O. before it closed so I could get in another two full days of hiking in order to meet Leila & Dennis with 4 days worth of food. I didn’t want to carry the full 6 days worth of food on the next leg to White’s Pass. But once I got into Cascade Locks, I decided to carry the 6 days and not meet Leila and Dennis. It’s too hard on me to have a schedule to meet people. I also was going to meet Marilyn, my Outward Bound Instructor, whom I’ve stayed in touch with. She lives in Portland and had said she’d like to join me. I’m going to call her back and let her know it’s too hard to plan now on where I’ll be in a day. I’m tired, have a big climb ahead of me, and really want the freedom of a loose day where I can stop any time I want. Happy Jo wants me to hike with him. I’d love to but he is too fast and energetic. He told me where he’d probably camp. That’s good. If I can make the 21 miles, I will. If I can’t, I won’t.
At the Post Office I read the PCT register. While reading John and Julie’s post and Mark’s (Bushwhacker), I became sad and scared. John and Julie wrote that they will be leaving the trail. Julie mentioned that she was tired. Of course my head said, “So am I”. Then Mark said that he was taking a week off to visit Northern California.
I’m in a different place with the trail. I don’t have anyone else to look forward to meeting. I have a long 6+ day hike ahead with no town stops. My body is weaker. I’m ready to be done on one hand, and not happy to be ending in 500 miles on the other hand. I don’t know where I am with my thinking. I don’t know what I want. “No Man’s Land!” In the past, this feeling of being the whole in the donut has always preceded a big change in me. I don’t know why I don’t like hearing people are leaving the trail. I just don’t like it.
Last night Chris (Cyclops) and I took a room together. What a great surprise when Happy Jo, Josh and Martin came back to the room with Chris. It’s so much fun sharing our thoughts while on the trail. We talked about the “self talk” that keeps us moving forward, not wanting to take many breaks, not wanting to stop and swim.
Chris and I hung out in our room too long. We walked the boulevard looking for a restaurant that was still serving. We were too late to get into any of the four restaurants in town for dinner. They all close at 9pm. We bought burritos, potato chips and donuts at the convenience store, and ate them back in our room. The Best Western was full, so we were driven by one of the Best Western employees out of town to a nice place. It had no phone though and I couldn’t get reception on my mobile. I hated that!
Well, I better stop procrastinating. It’s 11:17pm. I have 2 calls, a P.O. visit, and then I have to start hiking. Notice the word “have to”. Food for thought. Speaking of which, my bag is very heavy with all the extra food.
Enough blah, blah, blah.
|Fri. August 16, 2002 – Milly’s birthday||Days on Trail:||113|
|Destination:||Climb to a saddle & cross it, first view of Three Corner Rock||Today's Miles:||11.7|
|Starting Location:||Cascade Locks||Total Miles:||2162.5|
Chris carried the extra food that I didn’t want and deposited all of it in the hiker’s box at the P.O. I’m getting so tired of my food. Well, my dinners any way.
It’s sad because Chris has finished his section hike of Oregon and will be taking a bus back to his home in Texas so he can be ready for school. He is a teacher. He really enjoyed hiking with the thru-hikers for the last 4 months and will miss the bond he felt he had developed. Chris had read many of the journals of the 2002 hikers, so he knew some of the hikers, including myself, before he met us on the trail. I will miss Chris.
After a fun breakfast, I marketed for tortillas, extra large bandages for my raw hip bone, a large jar of Jiffy Peanut Butter, Mother’s Taffy cookies, and some antibiotic cream. I made a few phone calls and went to a picnic table by the P.O. overlooking the Columbia River. Chris was with me there too. I wrote my journal entries. When I finished writing, Chris and I headed out. He was going to walk over the Bridge of the Gods with me to where I picked up the trail in Washington. We were like kids walking across the bridge. We didn’t have to pay because we were PCT hikers. There was no sidewalk for pedestrians, so we walked on the bridge right next to all the cars. It reminded me of long ago when I was 9 or 10 years old and would sneak on the bridge to cross over the Passaic River in New Jersey to go to the pony farm.
When I saw the big sign that read “Welcome to Washington”, I got teary-eyed. A good emotional feeling of having made it so far with so little left to go. It was special having Chris walk across the bridge with me. We both took many pictures of each other. We said goodbye and again, I felt sad going off on my own. Not long after I was back on the trail, I was happy to be hiking again. Up, down. That’s the way it goes.
I’d eaten a lot in town. When I’d first arrived in town yesterday I went to the P.O. I was told by the Postmaster that all the hikers go directly to the drive-in down the street for ice cream. Well, that was my next stop also. I had a cheeseburger, Dr. Pepper & fries before my very large soft ice cream cone.
As I mentioned in an earlier journal, I decided to carry 6 days worth of food instead of having Leila and Dennis meet me with more food. I also decided to pass on meeting and hiking with Marilyn. I just couldn’t figure out what my mileage and timing would be and I began to feel too much self imposed pressure.
The last 6 of the 12 miles I hiked were hard. I had a 3,300’ elevation gain. Brant came up the trail while I was treating water. Terry, a southbound Washington section hiker, told me Josh and his Dad (who is hiking the 6 day section to White’s Pass with Josh), were up ahead of me 1/2 mile and that Happy Jo was ahead of them. We had all left town separately.
I got to the saddle around 6pm. I stopped to make dinner and see if Josh and his Dad would camp here as they had said they would. They didn’t show, so I just put my tent up after I finished eating. I was done. It felt good not needing to go on when I really didn’t want to. I don’t have any more commitments from now on. I’m on my own time schedule, free to do as I please. I’ll be interested to see how I do with this unstructured time frame. To be continued …
I wanted some moral support earlier in town and got it from Chris. This is weird…. my emotions and moods around wanting to or not wanting to hike. Then I had a little talk with myself. Just hike. It really doesn’t matter what I think or how I feel, I’m here to complete what I set out to do.
How did it get to be 9:30pm? Oh well, good night – Gottago.
|Sat. August 17, 2002||Days on Trail:||114|
|Destination:||Panther Creek Campground||Today's Miles:||24|
|Starting Location:||Climb to a saddle & cross it, first view of Three Corner Rock||Total Miles:||2186.5|
There was a beautiful sunrise and color show as I was taking off at 5:50am. I wanted to get some mileage in so I’d feel comfortable about taking breaks. By noon, I had only gotten in 13 miles and had taken two breaks – each about 20 minutes.
Today was rather uneventful and very viewless. There was a big elevation loss for a couple of hours that took its toll on my feet. They get sore on the bottom. The bottoms of my feet feel like someone had taken a hammer and repeatedly beat away at them.
I thought about Tina today. She is just beginning her John Muir hike and I tried to imagine how she was doing and what she was thinking, by replaying my trip last year. I can’t believe that my JMT trip was only last year. It seems so long ago. Oh, what I’d give to be hiking only the 12-15 miles a day like I did then.
I spend a lot of my time thinking about how miles I need to hike each day and how many zero days I can take so that I am able to reach Manning Park by September 10th. The end is so close that I have trouble staying in the now. I did stop, on Stephanie’s suggestion, at the Wind River for a swim. Felt great! I rinsed out some clothes too.
Infrequently I see a view north. I’ve seen Mt. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainer. But most of the last two days I’ve been hiking through a forest of very dense shrubbery and lots of ferns. There’ve been a few times I’ve had to carry extra water. I actually carried so little that I ran out. A first! I know some people would find it hard to believe that Gottago ran out of water. I’m known for carrying extra water weight.
I got to the campground around 6pm. I wanted to be in a campground because there weren’t places to sleep. I wanted to be around people too. The campground host, a young man (whose name I’ve forgotten) let me camp free. When he told me the cost was $13.00, I said “$13.00!” I was thinking I could just walk 200 feet away and camp for nothing. He motioned me close, because people were around, and told me he’d let me stay for nothing.
I have 4,000’ of climbing tomorrow. I’m not happy about that. It’s 8:17pm and I’m going to sleep now. Good night – Gottago.
P.S. There were very few bugs today. Tomorrow is supposed to be terrible around Mt. Adams. Yesterday the black flies were worse than the worst mosquitoes I’ve had. AND, 2 days ago a bee or wasp stung me on my calf. I screamed when it bit me, it hurt so much. My entire leg for 3” around the bite is swollen and very itchy.
Sun. August 18, 2002
|Days on Trail:||115|
|Destination:||Blue Lake||Today's Miles:||22.7|
|Starting Location:||Panther Creek Campground||Total Miles:||2209.2|
I ran into some kids camped by a road on the PCT with a campfire.
I smelled the smoke before I saw them. I always get excited when
I think I’m going to see someone. I chatted with them. The
older boy told me about Skaquash, who lives deep in the forests.
Then he told me that Grizzly bears have been spotted in Washington.
He said I should never hike into dusk (cougars!). Gee, I felt GREAT
after I left them! (Not!)
Atop a saddle an hour later, I stopped for breakfast. Not too long after I stopped, Yappie & Yippee, a husband and wife team who hiked the PCT in ’96 and the AT another year, hiked down the trail heading south. They are going to go as far south as they can. Places like Vermilion will be closed by the time they would arrive there, making resupply hard. But they’ll see how far they get by Tuolumne Meadows before they decide what they’ll do. They were such a joy and wealth of information; I ended up almost taking an hour breakfast break. They were hiking with the cutest dog. I noticed Yappie and Yippee’s very muscular legs. I wish I had more muscle in my legs. Meeting people like these two make my day. I got 2 candy bars from Yappie! I’m not doing the kind of mileage I’d planned on doing so my food is getting low.
I met a young couple hiking southbound who told me about the terrible mosquitoes near the lakes before Mt. Adams.
Then I met a Boy Scout Leader with his scouts waiting for their van pick-up. I remembered I had trash and asked if he’d carry it out for me. Ounces count!
On the way to Blue Lake, I had another climb. At the top I got intermittent cell phone reception to send/pick-up pocketmail. It’s hard to keep a connection and also get a connection, even if I have full signal strength. I spent too much time trying in vain and running my battery down to send/receive pocketmail. It takes a while for the process of sending and receiving from the pocketmail and I’d often lose the signal 2/3rd’s of the way through the transmission.
I put the device away; I put my phone away, and hiked the last 1.2 miles to Blue Lake. There in the first campsite were 2 men and their 13 year old boys. I asked if I could join them. I enjoyed being with people.
I’m taking each day as it comes. The mileage seems harder for some reason. It’s not harder, but I’m having trouble getting in much mileage with all the people I talk to and breaks I take.
My right hip bone area is totally raw. It hurts all day. Trying to find a way to wear my pack, so I’m not hurting there, is a day long struggle. Everything else is pain free.
The families I’m camped with at Blue Lake are asleep. All is quiet. It’s 9:41pm. I arrived at this camp around 6pm. Good night – Gottago.
|Mon. August 19, 2002||Days on Trail:||116|
|Destination:||Swampy Creek||Today's Miles:||25.1|
|Starting Location:||Blue Lake||Total Miles:||2234.3|
Greg and Bill and their 2 sons were asleep when I left camp at 6am. It was cold. I wore a wool hat and my Marmot Driclime over my hiking shirt.
I climbed through more forest to Bear Lake and all the other lakes nearby. No mosquitoes. I got lucky.
I keep replaying in my head how many miles do I have to do to get to White’s Pass in 6 days. I think I came up with that I’d have to do (3) 30-mile days. So today I had it in mind that I wanted to do 30. By 10am I’d done 9-1/2 miles. By 2pm I’d done 18 miles. Then I came to the Huckleberry Fields. I saw a truck load of people with buckets get out and head into the fields on the north side of the dirt road. A posted sign on the south side read “Fields on this side for Indians only” (or something like that). So after hiking a while, trying to get in as much mileage as possible, I kept eyeing the huckleberries along the trail. Huckleberries or mileage? Not a hard decision. I stopped to eat some huckleberries. Then I hiked on and eyed some more berries and stopped. This ‘stopping to pick and eat berries’ went on way too long.
I tried something I haven’t been able to do yet. On the 900’ ascent ahead, I didn’t look at my watch for the time or the altitude while going up the steep slope. It was interesting, because my mind wasn’t on “how far have I gone”; “how much farther do I have before this levels off”. I was free to have other thoughts. Where my mind went instead was to all the people I want to thank who had something to do with my success so far on this hike. The uphill climb went by much faster and with less pain because I was having positive thoughts.
I needed to stop and eat dinner. I had a 1,900’ climb coming up. I decided to go to Swampy Creek and eat, and then begin the climb. When I got to Swampy Creek, there were 4 other male hikers camped there. I went right over and said, “Hi!” and basically invited myself to camp in the campsite they had. Once I saw the people camped, I knew I’d stop there and not go on for the night.
I set up my tent, bathed. Not long after I looked up and noticed a hiker on the trail. I screamed. It was T-Bob (Teacher Bob) who I’d hiked with along with Don & Leslie! Yesterday, when I talked to Yappie and Yippie, I told them if they saw T-Bob, to tell him to hurry his ass up, that I was slowing down hoping he’d catch up to me. He said he’d been following my boot prints (Lowa boots leave distinct imprints) for weeks. He knew I’d probably camped at Blue Lake last night, but he was too tired to hike the 2 extra miles. We talked about finishing the hike together. We’ll see. It’s so good to see him. He left Don & Leslie because he had to finish sooner than they would finish if he kept their pace. It’s funny. Just when I was dreading hiking alone, a hiking partner shows up. I’ve been counting the days until I could finish. Wouldn’t it be great to come to the close of this long hike sharing the excitement together.
I stopped today at 5:15pm. It’s 8:25pm now. Good night. Gottago.
|Tues. August 20, 2002||Days on Trail:||117|
|Destination:||Cross Midway Creek||Today's Miles:||23.2|
|Starting Location:||Swampy Creek||Total Miles:||2257.6|
The day was overcast. Because we had slept low and next to a creek, none of the clothes I’d washed were dry. I hiked in my long underwear top and bottom and hung my wet clothes on the back of my pack using 2 safety pins to attach the clothes.
We left camp and said goodbye to the lawyers from Alaska, who are out for 3 weeks of hiking, that we’d camped with last night. Our 2,000’ climb this morning was supposed to afford us some great views of finally, Mt. Adams and all its glaciers. However, the higher we climbed, the denser the cloud cover became. We had no visibility. Here we were, finally close up to Mt. Adams, Mt. Helens and distant Mt. Rainer, and couldn’t see anything beyond a 1/2 a mile or less. It was very frustrating. It started to mist, then drizzle, and finally rain. We put on our rain jackets and pack covers. It was quite cold.
We talked much of the day and I found the time to pass a lot quicker than when I hike alone.
Stopping for too long caused us to get chilled, so we didn’t stop to rest except for a brief lunch break. We got to camp around 6:45pm. We were going to hike another 2.8 miles but changed our minds because of the rain.
We would have gotten to camp earlier but couldn’t resist picking and eating the huckleberries/blueberries (we don’t know which they are - Bob thinks they are blueberries and I think they are huckleberries). We’d say, “That’s it. Let’s get to our campsite.” Then one or the other of us would start picking more from a bush that had bigger and riper berries then we’d seen previously. Bob got the idea we should pick and bag some berries to eat with our breakfast cereal in the morning. That was a GOOD idea.
We passed two horseback riders two different times today. Later, we passed a day hiker with a dog that wouldn’t stop barking at us.
Finding ‘the adjacent campsite’ to Midway Creek wasn’t easy. We walked past the meadow and came back to the meadow. There was a fire pit, which probably was part of what the book called ‘a campsite’. We were wet and very muddy. I’m not sure I like camping in the rain. Trying to keep the few clothes I have dry is nearly impossible. I don’t want to experience 3 or 4 days of wet weather. I made dinner and ate it while laying in my sleeping bag in my tent.
Dinner was Top Ramen and a packet of Tuna. It was hot and warmed me up. I had crackers with peanut butter and then a tortilla filled with peanut butter and jelly. Cookies were my last course. I took inventory of my food.
I have almost enough food for the next day and a half. I’m lacking a dinner for tomorrow night, but Bob has an extra dinner for me. It’s 9:33pm. I can’t believe I have to pee again. Now I have to put my wet boots on to go out of my tent AGAIN. Good night. Gottago.
|Wed. August 21, 2002||Days on Trail:||118|
|Destination:||Bleak, Alpine Campsite||Today's Miles:||25|
|Starting Location:||Cross Midway Creek||Total Miles:||2282.6|
The black shorts I’d washed the day before still hadn’t dried and putting them on this morning was a shock. T-Bob (short for Teacher Bob) and I finally packed up and took off around 6:45am. It was foggy and cloudy, and off and on misting or raining, for the first 3 hours. We were walking on a part of the PCT trail that was barely a foot and a half wide, where the rain covered shrubbery encroached on the trail’s narrow path getting us wetter with each step.
We had entered Goat Rock Wilderness, supposedly a remarkably beautiful area. For the first few hours in the morning we couldn’t see more than 100 yards because of the fog or cloud cover. We wore our raincoats and wool hats to stay warm. We tried to walk fast to warm up too.
Around 11:15 the sky really started to lighten (we’d been
saying all morning that is was beginning to lighten up) and we stopped
for a quick lunch. I took out my rain fly and hung it over a trail
sign to dry.
We met a botany teacher out gathering a few of the wildflowers he couldn’t identify so he could look them up at home. The wildflowers were in full bloom and a constant joy to look at.
We were trying to do 27 miles so we’d only have 13 miles to White’s Pass tomorrow. We had a big pass ahead of us, Elk’s Pass (7,060’). Around 3:45 we started climbing. Neither Bob nor I had any idea what kind of weather and terrain lay ahead of us.
(The following entry was written on 8/22 at 10:30pm) I don’t remember what time it was, maybe 3pm, when we’d hiked to within a mile of the Yelverton Shelter (7,040’) and met a very happy, friendly, helpful, group of hikers. They were very impressed and interested in our thru hike. Not long after we’d been talking, the heavy rain and wind came. We heard thunder off to our right. (We were heading left toward Old Snowy Mountain to Elk Pass.) I hate and fear lightening storms, but especially when I’m heading up to a high alpine pass. We continued ascending, Bob and I, both wearing shorts and rain jackets. We were cold but didn’t want to stop to put long pants on because it was raining so hard that everything in our packs would have gotten soaked. Also, when I’m very cold, I have to keep moving or I get so cold I have trouble warming up. Where we were was probably the most dramatic, beautiful, place I’d ever been, excluding the High Sierra of course. We were traveling north on narrow rock scree or talus trail, and over snowfields. Here's what the PCT Guide Book says about this section we were traveling: “This Egg Butte Section of the PCT, constructed in 1953-54, now continues along the jagged ridge, contours around it’s “teeth” and provides alpine views across McCall Glacier toward Tietan Peak (7,768’) due east of Old Snowy. You reach a small saddle from which the trail makes a precarious descent across a steep slope as it bypasses summit 7,210’. You can expect this narrow footpath to be snowbound and hazardous through most of July.”
Bob and I had passed 2 men on our way up who were coming down. They said something about not being able to see because of the hail and that they couldn’t find the trail. Then they turned and said to me, “If you don’t mind my saying, I think you should put long pants on.” They sounded quite frazzled. We thanked them and continued on wearing shorts.
The storm had passed when we got to the top. We saw Mt. Rainer and many other breathtaking views in every direction. We both screamed with joy when we saw Rainier popping through and towering above the valley of clouds below. We were above the clouds and what a picture that was. Can you tell I was very excited?
We crossed the snowfield, a long talus portion of trail, and then came to a junction up on top of the world with no idea which way to go. It was getting late; we had very little water, and knew we had at least another hour of hiking to get us down off the ridges. I started to get nervous. I don’t know why. I just told Bob that I wanted to get down. Bob led the way and an hour later, just as we lost our sun, we found a campsite with glacial run-off water nearby, just beyond Elk Pass.
We both were grateful the day was coming to an end. We had a beautiful sunset and ate our dinners settled in our tents and sleeping bags. We congratulated each other on a very hard 25 mile day.
|Thurs. August 22, 2002 – WHITE’S PASS||Days on Trail:||119|
|Destination:||Naches, WA||Today's Miles:||15.5|
|Starting Location:||Bleak, Alpine Campsite||Total Miles:||2298|
We had 15.5 miles to go to our resupply in White’s Pass. Both Bob and I were very ready to be in town. We had no more food. Last night Bob gave me his extra dinner and today I gave him snacks.
It was clear and sunny. Waking up in my tent with the sun on me was wonderful. It was a first. We passed 2 different groups camped below us as we hiked down the McCall Basin.
Then we met Angela, an Outward Bound Instructor, out with a group of inner city kids. I couldn’t believe that she knew Marilyn, the Outward Bound Instructor I had with Lamont 6 years ago. I had just talked to Marilyn. Angela was great. We had fun talking and she was quick to pick up on my reference to being out of food. She opened her pack and gave us Luna bars! Thank you trail angel Angela!
For the rest of our hike we raced on the downhills and talked about how town days are the longest days while hiking uphill.
Bob pointed out 2 elk on the trail. The first I’d ever seen. Very cool. No antlers though. We were walking with a man named Dick that we had just met as we started our 6 mile descent into town. He is retired and backpacking from above Cascade Locks (in Carson) to Manning Park.
White’s Pass consists of a Store/Post Office/Laundry Room combo, one Motel, and a ski run. The people who run or own the store, Kracker Barrel, are very, very nice. Marilyn is so easy going and accommodating.
Bob and I went crazy buying extra food (candy and other not-so-great food). We didn’t want to have to ration our food on this next section. Ray sent me my favorite cookies-Mother’s Taffy, the pumpernickel bread I love, and then he threw in some new types of candy he knows I like. Happiness is! Thanks Babe!
Bob and I each got a room at the motel and took care of getting ready for our departure tomorrow. We did laundry, dried tents and flys, aired sleeping bags, and met to share a frozen lasagna dinner before I went back to my room for more packing up. I finally finished with my backpacking chores, made phone calls, and read ALL my great mail. I thank you all who write me. I have a ball reading your letters. Thank you for your birthday wishes.
Oh, my goodness. I just looked at my watch. It’s Midnight! Good night. Gottago.
Fri. August 23, 2002
|Days on Trail:||120|
|Destination:||Anderson Lake||Today's Miles:||24.5|
|Starting Location:||Naches, WA||Total Miles:||2322.5|
I got up at 5:05am. Bob and I planned to meet at 7:25am at the store when it opened. I had some things I needed to send home. We finally started hiking on the trail, after a walk on the highway to the trailhead, at 8:15am.
It was sunny and cool. We hiked in the forest with no views, ascending gently from 4,405’ to 5,520’ in 5 miles, passing lakes, many ponds, and dealing with black flies and mosquitoes.
We stopped for lunch around noon at Snow Lake. We put on mosquito repellant. I wore my mosquito head net while I ate a salami and cheese sandwich with mustard and relish on the pumpernickel bread Ray sends me in every resupply box. The bread is heavy, but it is good. I like my comfort foods. Bob asked me to stop moaning as I thoroughly enjoyed every bite I ate under my mosquito netting. Our lunches are a 1/2 hour. An agreement was reached today between us. Bob doesn’t like to stop for breaks, and I like to leave earlier in the morning. Our compromise is: he’ll take some short breaks if we can leave camp at 6:30am.
Our day passes quickly. We talk lot – or rather I should say Bob talks a lot. We briefly chat with people we pass on the trail. Today we had a great exchange with a bow and arrow hunter who’s out one week before season scouting the Elk locations. He was most interesting. He told us where and when to look for the Elk as we hike. He also told us where we could find bald eagles.
Most people are impressed with PCTers who hike from Mexico to Canada. Today a father (Alan) and son (Steven) who are out for a week together, made us feel special. They wanted to take our picture. I’ve been telling some people I pass, the ones I’ve stopped and talked to, about my web site and guest book. I ask them to sign it and remember to remind me where we met. Now I’m glad I spent the time and energy and work with the computer guys I hired to get the web site up and running.
We had more incredibly beautiful views to the west of Mt. Rainer covered in snow.
Our day ended when we reached Anderson Lake at 7:30pm. We were both every tired. We set up our tents – collected lake water to treat – and washed up a little. I cooked in my tent tonight for the first time. Bob had given me one of his meals, Fettuccine Alfredo, by Richmoor. It was a large helping, but I ate it all, plus 6 Mother’s Taffy cookies and a Rollo candy roll that Ray had thrown in as a special treat. My appetite has increased. Today I carried a very full pack out of town. I bought a large jar of peanut butter, wheat thins, 8oz. of cheese and salami to supplement my packaged resupply box. Because water was everywhere today, I fortunately could get away with carrying only a liter of water.
It’s 9:31. Good night. Gottago.
Sat. August 24, 2002
|Days on Trail:||121|
|Destination:||Spur Trail to Arch Rock Shelter||Today's Miles:||22.8|
|Starting Location:||Anderson Lake||Total Miles:||2345.3|
As I started hiking I wondered “How in the hell am I going to do 25 miles today?” Bob and I are both feeling run down. Yesterday and today seemed like all we did was hike uphill. My body just keeps going. I daily give thanks for the energy and willingness to continue to put one foot in front of the other.
The views of Mt. Rainier, when I see them, give me energy. I get very excited seeing this majestic, snow/glacier covered mountain. The wildflowers are in full bloom. Their color displays also keep my interest up.
Today I saw more people on the trail in the mountains than any other day. The PCT was a freeway. Lakes within 2-3 miles of a major road had every campsite filled. Many people were on horseback. Bob and I met 2 men and a child riding on horses up the trail toward Dewey Lake. We stopped and talked with them. The older man told us we had just hiked through Grizzly country. He said that 30 miles back a Grizzly and her cubs lived. He also said that just up ahead, on the north side of Hwy. 410 near Chinook Pass, they had introduced a few more Grizzlies’ into the area. GREAT!
Bob and I took a break at Sheep Lake. It was so over-crowded with weekenders. After having sat in the sun for 20 minutes, hiking up the steep trail was brutal. We did much ridge walking today.
Looking off into a valley we saw the dark clouds and rain falling from them. Where we were was still sunny. Bob didn’t think the shower was going to move in our direction. I did. Not long after this discussion, I felt drops of rain. The sun was still shining but I decided to get my rain jacket out and put my pack cover on. As soon as I got my pack cover on, the rain came, followed by a hail – thunder – and lightening storm. We walked in the hail and rain for about 4 miles. I got cold. We had about 3 more miles to go before we reached camp. We were headed for the shelter mentioned in the Guide Book. When we turned on the spur trail for the shelter, there wasn’t a shelter after all! But there were great campsites under trees where the ground had stayed dry in the storm. Hal, who we’d been hiking with in the storm, camped with us also. My boots got soaked. This is the third rain storm we’ve been in during our week in Washington.
I love being in my tent. I was very cold. I sent my puffball jacket home and have only a lightweight long underwear top and an expedition weight top. I lie in my tent inside my sleeping bag and cook. Tomorrow I will get up and wonder, again, how I will hike the miles. We have 53 miles to go before town.
We got into camp at 6:50pm. It’s 9:15pm now and again, I’m tired. Good night. Gottago.
|Sun. August 25, 2002 – Happy Birthday Don||Days on Trail:||122|
|Destination:||Seasonal Creek past Sheets Pass||Today's Miles:||24.2|
|Starting Location:||Spur Trail to Arch Rock Shelter||Total Miles:||2369.5|
Bob and I hiked slower than usual. We saw 2 Elk. I spotted the first one, a female, and Bob spotted the 2nd one. The Elk had a full rack, a "4-pointer" Bob called it. I was thrilled to see this beautiful creature. The Elk ran downhill and hid behind a tree. The Elk apparently thought he was hidden, but we could see him. Hunting season starts next week.
When we stopped after 5 miles at the Urich Shelter, I could see that Bob needed to get off the trail and rest. We hiked on from the shelter and stopped for lunch by a campsite and spring around noon. Bob couldn’t wait to lay down and nap. He can't even eat all the great food he bought. Hal showed up while we were taking our lunch break. All three of us took off together.
Fifteen minutes later we found our trail diverted to a road as a temporary alternate because there had been so much logging work done on the PCT. It was lucky we were on a road because a truck drove by and I told Bob to stop them. Inside were 2 hunters out looking for cougars and bears. Bob told them he needed to get to a doctor and they offered to take him to a town where he could be checked, but not until the two men were through hunting. Bob got into the jump seat behind the front seat and, I guess, would sleep until the men decided to call it a day with their hunting. Poor Bob. He looked uncertain about the upcoming adventure with the hunters.
I felt better knowing he didn’t have to hike feeling as bad as he did. He’ll check into the Best Western in Snoqualmie and I’ll see him tomorrow night. I think he is going to take one of the giardia pills (one pill, one time) tonight.
Hal and I continued on and finished the day together. I like hiking with Hal, but missed Bob. Hal and I will hike 27 miles tomorrow to get to town.
It was foggy most of the day. I like hiking when it’s cool. I’m ready to be in town again though. My body needs a rest. So does my mind. I’m picking up a new phone Ray is sending me (same number). I can’t wait. Now that I have my pocketmail composer, I look forward to sending and receiving email.
I don’t know what I’m thinking or feeling about hiking every day right now. I think I’m a little scared of the Northern Cascades. I don’t know why. I really don’t want to hike them alone. Hiking in Washington is different than any of the other areas I’ve hiked. The land, the forests, they all seem so wild. The rain, the fog and clouds are different. I don’t think I have warm enough clothing. I worry too that I won’t have dry clothing, that everything will get wet. Hiking here in this wet state requires a new and different mindset with regard to precaution and preparation. I haven’t had to set up my tent in the rain yet. That will be interesting. I’m cold often. I don’t like being cold and I hate everything being wet.
I can see the Northern Cascades - maybe 40 miles away. I’m curious and scared at the same time. The rest of my hiking from Snoqualmie is supposed to be much harder. Great. I’m feeling weaker. I have been eating much more food and getting more sleep. Speaking of which … it’s 9:26pm. We got to camp at 7:10pm. Good night, Gottago.
P.S. Another thing I don’t like … being this dirty. It’s too cold to swim.
P.P.S. I have now lost 4 toenails (they just get in the way anyway).
|Mon. August 26, 2002 – SNOQUALMIE PASS, WA & Happy Birthday Ray!||Days on Trail:||123|
|Destination:||Snoqualmie Pass||Today's Miles:||27.1|
|Starting Location:||Seasonal Creek past Sheets Pass||Total Miles:||2396.6|
I asked Hal to wake me in the morning when he got up. I let him know I need about 50 minutes from the time I wake up until I’m ready to hike. We were camped in a dark, wet, forest on a little section of dirt in a 2 person campsite, about 20 yards below where a section hiker, Art, was camped. It hadn’t rained today but the moisture in the air and on the trees wet everything. My pack should have had a cover on it last night. It was soaked through. I have my sleeping bag and extra clothes protected in garbage bags.
It is REALLY getting harder to get moving in the morning. We left camp at 6:40am. Within 1 hour, my boots were soaked by the moisture brushing up against them. I decided to put on dry, clean socks instead of putting on my wet ones from yesterday because I’d be in town today and could do laundry. They were wet in an hour also.
It was cold on ridge and crest tops in the wind, so I’d put my expedition weight shirt on. Lately I wear this shirt doubled over and tied around my waist to protect my bruised and raw, meatless, protruding bones from more abuse from the backpack hip belt. The shirt thickness is just enough to give me a comfortable carry.
Hal and I have trouble passing up the huckleberry bushes that have large huckleberries on them. We stopped often the entire day. Huckleberries grow in the clear cut.
Hal stopped often for breathers while ascending. I have a feeling he stopped more for me than himself. He is a very kind and considerate man. For the most part, we didn’t see sun. On the uphill, I’d take off my expedition weight shirt and wool hat. Off/on – all day long.
We had lunch by Stirrup Creek. I shared the last of my pumpernickel bread and peanut butter and jelly. He also received a small bag of mini-Oreo’s from me. Basically, I came in with hardly any food. This is good!
The days I hike into town are always long. The miles seem to take forever. This day was no different. Hal had re-injured his ankle the evening before and was in pain.
The last 4 miles before town we saw and heard Interstate 90, which was 1,000’ below. Climbing higher before we descended, as it was growing darker, was frustrating. We wanted to get off the trail before dark. We arrived at the Best Western at 8:30pm. It was dark. I could not wait for a hot shower and warm bed. Our day was long and I was very tired.
I called Bob to see how he was. He was doing better. I called and left Ray a birthday greeting. I wanted dinner so I went down before they closed at 9:30 and ate ‘big time’ by myself. I went over to the gas station store and bought donuts and Cheetos for the room. And lastly, I showered.
It was midnight when I finally put my head down. The Mr. Pibb with dinner was, knowingly, a bad idea. The caffeine really keeps me up. Do I care? I guess not ’cause I keep believing “the next time will be different”.
|Tues. August 27, 2002||Days on Trail:||124|
|Destination:||Snoqualmie Pass||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Snoqualmie Pass||Total Miles:||2396.6|
I woke up at 5am this morning. Why? I don’t know. I made a small pot of coffee and ate 2 of the chocolate covered donuts I’d put in the fridge so that they'd get hard like I like them. I looked over my upcoming PCT Guide Book section.
Ray called early and we spoke before he went to work. He’s been very busy at work, but he never forgets to take care of my needs. I received my fourth pair of boots (my last pair smelled so badly from all the water I couldn’t stand them), a newer version cell phone (with the same number) and lots of candy and cookie goodies in my resupply box. Thanks Babe. I appreciate you and all you do for me. Ray says that all my resupply boxes have been sent off now.
Bob called. We did laundry and went to visit with Hal and Theresa. Theresa, Hal’s wife, supports Hal on his attempt to section hike the last of the PCT for him. 900 miles worth! We all went to the Grocery Store/Post Office. I got my boxes and lots of mail. Everyone helped me carry the boxes back to my room.
Breakfast was next on the agenda and afterwards we all (Hal, Bob, and myself) went to REI in Seattle (Theresa had a car). I sure enjoyed my shopping spree. I bought, just because: new socks, a larger rain hat, a new white shirt, a warm hooded fleece pullover top, warm mittens, new towel, 2 more tent stakes for the rain fly front end, and a sit pad I’ll cut up to wear under my pack on the sore parts of my body.
After I was done shopping (I want to shop but tire fast), Bob and I went next door to Marlene’s Market. The best specialty market I’ve been in. I bought lots of good food. So did Bob.
Hal made a stop at a bank for Canadian currency and I got some too. Back around 4:30pm, Bob called and let me know we’d all (all the PCT hikers in town) be eating dinner at the restaurant next door. There were 8 of us: Matt, Josh, Bub, Theresa, Bob, Art, Taro, and myself. We all really enjoyed getting together. I had a great time. I over-ate, got uncomfortable and tired. I was back in my room by 8:30pm.
I got a call from Bob. We may not be taking another day off as intended, the holiday weekend will cause the Post Office in Skykomish to be closed causing us to stay over longer than we wanted to. So tomorrow morning we will meet and discuss a plan. It’s 10:49pm. Good night. Gottago.
Wed. August 28, 2002 – LJ #15!, PY #27!
|Days on Trail:||125|
|Destination:||Snoqualmie Pass||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Snoqualmie Pass||Total Miles:||2396.6|
I started getting and making phone calls around 6am. It felt great lying around in bed with an entire day ahead of me with NO plans. I was in touch with feeling lots of love and gratitude this morning and made calls to some very special people in my life that are directly responsible for my good life and being able to fulfill this dream of hiking the PCT. There are many more people I didn’t get to call, you know who you are, that I thank for also being responsible for my happiness and peace of mind. I’m missing my family and friends, but enjoyed taking time this morning to remember you all.
Bob came down to my room and we walked over to the store. Bob picked up a package and we both signed the PCT register. Josh and Matt were there getting ready to take off. Art now called Thereyago, and Taro, also walked over to the store. Someone took a group picture of us.
Hal offered and took Bob and me to North Bend, 15 miles away, so Bob could buy some things. It was a quick trip. I was tired and went back to my room. I received a call from Geezer Bill who I had hiked with in the beginning from the Mexican border. What a nice surprise. Coach had given me his email address and phone number and I left a message saying “hello”. He called back and sounded great. We had a good chat. He told me he’d read that Donk (Phil) had reached the end of the PCT, the monument that is near the U.S./Canadian border. I assume Grasshopper and Larry finished also since I believe they were ahead of Phil. I could be wrong. I heard Phil did 35 miles the last day. The end of the trail for me is only 262 miles away now.
I received more phone calls and got my food & pack all ready for tomorrow’s departure. We’ll leave after Bob picks up a box that hasn’t come yet, which contains a fleece top his wife sent.
I tried to nap because I was falling asleep with a highlighter in my hand as I read the upcoming description of the trail in the PCT Guide Book. I couldn’t sleep though.
At 6pm, Bob got the restaurant to heat up 2 pizzas’ we had bought at Marlene’s Market in Seattle. We ate the pizzas with salad we’d bought from the same market. I’ve been eating all day, hoping to store up some calories for the climbing I have in front of me in the Northern Cascades. I’m bloated and sleepy.
Mags checked into the hotel tonight. I heard Yogi is not far behind. She and Cupcake are not hiking together right now. Cupcake had an event to attend for 4 days in Bend.
I’m ready to get back on the trail. I’m trying not to think of the end. I was starting to feel pressure with plans I’d made for getting home before I leave for the Big Book Seminar on September 19th. I’m leaving my options open. I may not even go home before I go to Sacramento to the seminar if time runs out because of the trail's demands. The trail comes first right now. When I finish the PCT, I’ll decide what next to do. I’m staying in the now … and the now is 9:15pm ... time for bed. Good night. Gottago.
|Thurs. August 29, 2002||Days on Trail:||126|
|Destination:||Near Parks Lake||Today's Miles:||15.7|
|Starting Location:||Snoqualmie Pass||Total Miles:||2412.3|
We didn’t start hiking until 8:30am. Bob needed to wait for a package. It was lucky I went to the Store/Post Office too because the mail arrived with a card from Jamie and I would have missed it. Mighty Mouse, another PCT hiker, came into the store. I introduced myself and he said that he’d heard of me. However, I didn’t ask WHAT he had heard.
The climb out of Snoqualmie Pass was a gentle 2,500’ gain. The trail was good. Both Bob and I had been dreading the ascent, but the 2,500’ went by fast. The views of Red Mountain and Snoqualmie Peak made the hike interesting. I felt relieved that Bob seemed to have no difficulty hiking. Climbing in shade was nice.
We had lunch on a narrow spur ridge, looking over Alaska Lake and across to the Chikamin Ridge. This part of the Cascades looks more like the Sierra. I brought a tomato with me, and using it, made a very tasty tortilla wrap with some Swiss cheese and mayo.
I enjoyed hiking and wondered why I had been anxious about the remaining sections. After lunch, the trail did get very rocky. It was slow going for the rest of the day.
We counted 13 people on the trail. I enjoyed talking with a Dad and one of his 3 sons, who were out hiking from Stevens Pass (Skykomish) to Snoqualmie Pass. Bob and I were very impressed with the man’s youngest son. As we passed him and his Dad, the boy initiated a conversation, in a very grown up way, by asking where we were going. We told him. A little later, the Dad made the comment “you might not be able to reach Spectacle Lake”. The son interrupted and said “Dad, they are thru hikers!”
We passed a man and his dog. We asked the man if he’d been whistling for his dog because we heard whistling. He said, “No, the Marmot’s make the whistling sounds.”
It felt good to hike as leisurely as we did today. We decided to stop at 6pm, and did. Wow. We leisurely ate and enjoyed the early camping. Two hikers just passed by. I said to Bob that I was glad we were already in a campsite, comfortable and fed, and not out there still hiking at 8pm.
Bob and I each have our own tents. We set them up with the fronts of our tents facing each other, separated by 3 or 4 feet, so we can talk to each other while hiding from the mosquitoes. When I read this paragraph to Bob, he added … “and you (meaning me) always get your dinner cooked faster.”
It’s getting dark now, 8:15pm, so I’ll stop writing. I couldn’t believe how fast today’s hiking went by. The beautiful scenery makes such a difference in my attitude.
Good night – Gottago.
No stars tonight – the clouds are moving in fast.
|Fri. August 30, 2002||Days on Trail:||127|
|Destination:||Waptus River||Today's Miles:||21.7|
|Starting Location:||Near Park Lakes||Total Miles:||2433.4|
We began hiking at 6:50am. Shaking the tents out and trying to wipe off some moisture caused us to leave later than we wanted to.
After climbing 400’, we descended 2,100’ to Lemah Creek. Next the trail begins a 2,200’ climb to the top of Escondido Ridge. Later, a 2,200’ descent placed us at our evening campsite by the Waptus River. We arrived at camp around 6:30pm.
Now I know why Ray Jardine, in his 4-1/2 month plan to do the PCT, has suggested doing 20 or 21 miles for this segment. Bob and I were both hurting by the end of the day. The trail is hard. You can’t hike fast because the rocks on the trail and talus rock require cautious footsteps. There was quite a bit of overgrown brush on the trail also, and that slowed us down. I couldn’t believe what a toll the last two days on the trail have taken on my feet and leg muscles. The downhills cause the most pain in my feet.
There were quite a few hikers on the trail. Derrick, a south bounder, stopped for a chat and gave us some info on the trail up ahead: The Postmaster in Skykomish will let you use his washer and dryer at his home. We’ll need cash in Stehekin. Try to stop at the yurt (sp.?) in the section from Stehekin. In Stehekin there’s great food at the Ranch Restaurant and, of course – be sure to stop by their famous bakery.
We took an early lunch once the sun broke through the fog and clouds. Our sleeping bags and tents were layed out to dry in the sun.
Tomorrow we are not going to stop and talk to people like we have been doing. We probably could have gotten into camp 45 minutes earlier or hiked 2 more miles. Tomorrow we’ll try to get 23 miles in. That will leave us 15 miles the last day to get to town. We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to pick up our resupply boxes, as Monday is a holiday (Labor Day).
I’m loving the glacial covered mountains. The scenery is beautiful and takes my mind away from all the big elevation gains and losses. We talk a lot on the hard parts. Today Bob asked questions about 12 step programs, and more specifically, “What ARE the 12 steps?”
It’s getting dark earlier. By 8:11pm it was almost dark. Now at 9:06pm, it is very dark. I’m dead tired. So good night. Gottago
Sat. August 31, 2002
|Days on Trail:||128|
|Destination:||Glacier Lake Campsite||Today's Miles:||24.4|
|Starting Location:||Waptus River||Total Miles:||2457.0|
Everything was dry this morning. It’s so much nicer packing up when my tent isn’t wet. We’d camped in a site next to the Waptus River. I expected there would be a lot of moisture in the air getting everything wet.
The major elevation gains, not counting uphills under 300’, totaled 5,000 feet today! It was a very hard day although the footing on the trail was better than yesterday. I’ve noticed a decline in my energy lately. I don’t know whether it’s because my body is getting weaker or that these last three sections are that much harder than what I’d been hiking before. I keep thinking “How much longer can I do this”? I want the hike to be over, but I don’t want to leave the trail. I go back and forth thinking about how great I’ll feel at the end of the hike when I reach the monument, and then I get nervous thinking I won’t be hiking any more once I reach the U.S./Canadian border. I try to bring my attention back to the now. I don’t want to race through my last 2 weeks. I hope I can stay in the day.
Bob and I had lunch at the top of Cathedral Pass. I was happy to finally get cell phone reception and spent most of the lunch break time ignoring Bob (I was told) while I tried 3 times to collect my emails from my pocketmail composer. A helicopter flew directly over us and circled, making a few passes over us. Bob figured out why the helicopter was up there, when later we found a sign on the trail north of Cathedral Pass saying "the regular PCT was closed due to a lightening fire." We took the closed trail anyway and saw a little smoke at the top. But the helicopter was probably checking out the status of the fire.
We had a stream ford, called by the Guide Book “potentially treacherous stream”. Well, Bob had no trouble crossing, but I was afraid to make a leap without Bob’s assistance. I probably could have done the leap, but with rushing water and rocks below me, the leaping distance doubled in my mind.
Today is Saturday and you can tell on the trail. We probably saw 20 people hiking.
I’m going to include this poem Pat wrote and sent to me by email. I love it and hope you enjoy it too.
“She took a hike one sunny day
She started out quite slow,
And now she’s walked a long, long way,
How far can this gal go?
One thousand miles, a thousand more!
This really can’t be true!
This hike has made our spirits soar,
For us, the home based crew.
Though, now she’s tired most every day
And thin as she can be,
Our prayers are sending strength her way
She’ll finish soon – you’ll see!”
Thank you Pat. I love your poem.
We ended our hiking day at 7:38pm. After 3 days of hiking with no bathing in water, I didn’t care how late it was when we arrived in camp. I had to bathe and clean up before I got into my sleeping bag. I didn’t care about the mosquitoes biting any exposed skin and I didn’t care how cold the glacial water was on my body.
I’m clean and in my sleeping bag. It’s 10:34pm. We have 15 miles to go tomorrow before we reach Hwy. 2. From there we will hitch 17 miles west into Skykomish, our resupply town.
200 miles to go before I reach the end of my hike. I can NOT believe it! Good night, Gottago
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