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September 2002 Journal

 Sun. September 1, 2002 – SKYKOMISH, WA & H.B. Marilyn Days on Trail: 129
Destination: Skykomish, WA – Sky River Inn Today's Miles: 15.1
Starting Location: Glacier Lake Campsite Total Miles: 2471.6
(Journal entry written 9/2 @ 2:45pm) (3:35pm Yogi just knocked on my door!)

Knowing I had only 15 miles to hike to town made me slow-play in getting up and ready to hit the trail. Bob mentioned from his tent that he thought it was raining. I didn’t like the sound of that. We finally got it together and started hiking by 7:10am.

It was misting and stormy looking, so I wore my rain jacket and pants over my shorts and my lightweight, zip, long sleeved, long underwear top.

Not long after we started hiking, the mist turned to rain. The wind picked up and I was getting a taste of some of Washington’s wet weather. I didn’t get to see much of the area because visibility was very limited. Bob kept changing out the clothing he was hiking in depending on whether he was hiking uphill or downhill. I just opened up the front of my rain jacket to let some cool air in when I got too hot. I wear the OR rain hat in light rain. When it’s raining hard or blowing hard, I just pull the hood of my rain jacket up over the OR hat.

Even though the weather was bad, the local hikers and backpackers were out on the trail. It’s a holiday weekend. We counted over 20. Two young girls were out on their 15+ mile backpacking trip. I said “If I were out for a weekend trip and it started raining, I’d go home.” One of the girls replied “I’d never leave home if I worried about the rain.”

Bob and I met a backpacker, named Bright Shadow, who was breaking camp on a wet gap up high. She came back to the area for a week of hiking. She’d not had any visibility when she hiked the area in the past and had hoped to see the views she missed. Bright Shadow hiked the AT a few years back.

While hiking we meet a lovely couple that offered us a ride to town if we were up to leaving the PCT and exiting to Hwy. 2 by the Hope Lake trail. Bob’s eyes widened in excitement, but he said, “No, we are true to the trail. Well, she is more than I am.” I laughed. A few days before Bob had been talking about wanting to take a short cut down Deception Creek. He’d been told by some other hikers that he’d save miles. I wanted him to keep hiking with me and I knew I wanted to stay on the PCT. I also knew I couldn’t make him do what he didn’t want to do. So … I said that I’d meet him in town. He’d go his way on the trail and I’d go mine. I let it go. Bob asked me why I wouldn’t take the short cut. I said that I wanted to be true to the trail, not for others, but for myself. And if I took the short cut, I’d have to write that I did that in my journal.

A short while later, Bob said he’d do the PCT with me. He said “Do you know why I changed my mind? Because I knew you’d write about MY taking the short cut in your journal!” So, you see, my journal not only keeps me honest, it keeps Bob honest.

Just as we were passing Hope Lake, Bob noticed a bonfire in a campsite across the lake. A nude woman was jumping around drying herself in front of the fire. Here I was, shivering in full rain gear!

Speaking of rain gear … it’s very hard to pee with all that clothing on. So what happens is I don’t drink much water, so I don’t have to take all the time to stop and undress and redress. I’m going to have to find a solution or I’m going to get dehydrated if it keeps raining.

Neither Bob nor I were happy with the trail and the weather. We were grumbling a bit. There was a detour near the ski runs because workers were doing work on the hills. The trail went up to the top of the ski hill directly under the chair lift. It was very cold and windy up there but then we dropped down for the next two miles and 1,000’ to Hwy. 2.

At Hwy. 2 we hitched. A very nice couple stopped. I couldn't believe they were going to let us get into their immaculate van as wet and muddy as we were. Newspaper was laid on the carpet where we put our feet. Just as Bob and I were about to get into the vehicle, Happy Jo, Jen (his fiancé who will be hiking with him), Little Ewok and Sundance pulled up, got out and screamed “Gottago!” Happy Jo had left an email on my cell phone that he and Jen were staying in Seattle with Ewok and Sundance. He wondered if I could join them hiking. I was going to call Happy Jo back when I got to town. I was surprised to see them all. It turned out we'd be leaving town at different times.

We were dropped off at the very hiker-friendly Sky River Inn. A great place. Rick, the owner, takes care of hikers. He even does laundry for $1.00 per wash and $1.00 per dry.

I met two PCT hikers, Cross Country and Pack Mule + their dog. They had flip-flopped and are now hiking southbound due to the fires in Oregon. Then a while later, I saw Chris (Tapeworm), who I hiked some with in Southern California, walking outside. It was great talking with him. He’d taken a month off in Tahoe because his grandmother had died. He is now hiking southbound (he has hiked from Manning Park down to Skykomish) so he can finish the PCT in one season. He knew he’d have trouble finishing because of the snow that comes in October in Washington if he kept hiking northbound.

I washed all my clothes out in my room. I cleaned my pack out, tossed my old food bags, and hung up my wet rain fly, tent and sleeping bag. Later, Bob and I went to dinner at a new restaurant across the highway from the Deli. The food was good. A salad bar/soup and hot serving of food was a good buy.

Back to my room. I like coming back to a warm, comfortable room. I’d bought extra room food and spent the rest of the evening answering pocketmail and eating more. Too tired to write in my journal.

Mon. September 2, 2002 Days on Trail: 130
Destination: Skykomish, WA – Sky River Inn Today's Miles: 0
Starting Location: Skykomish, WA – Sky River Inn Total Miles: 2471.6
So much for sleeping in. At 7:11am Bob called to say he was hungry. In 20 minutes I was showered and off to breakfast. At the end of our meal, Meadow Ed and Andrew joined us. I enjoyed listening to Meadow Ed. I’d asked if he knew how many thru hikers had started this year. He thought maybe around 400 but didn’t know for sure. He reminded me to visit Bob Norton’s house in town and sign the PCT register. Bob takes the register home every day from the Post Office so that hikers can sign it when the Post Office is closed. This register is what Meadow Ed uses to compile facts on the PCT hikers.

Here are the names of the thru hikers that have signed the register to date:
8/6 Parker; 8/17 Larry; 8/19 Phil; 8/19 Artie & Sherry; 8/19 Smokey; 8/23 Ben; 8/30 Josh; 8/30 Brant; 8/30 Matt; 9/2 Linda J; 9/2 T-Bob; 9/2 Mags; 9/2 Yogi; 9/2 Sam I Am ; 9/2 Dewey; 9/2 Ivan.

Bob Norton has lived in Skykomish for over 50 years. He was responsible for creating the PCT section of trail from Snoqualmie to Skykomish. We found out too late that Bob will pick up resupply boxes at the Post Office and hold them at his house for an after-hour arrival. His phone number is (360) 677-2347.

I called my cell phone number for messages. What a surprise to hear a message from Julie of Julie & John. They were in Seattle having eaten a meal with Bushwhacker, Happy Jo, Jen, Little Ewok and Sundance. My name came up and Julie called to say “hello”. I called her back and left a message.

Tina completed her backpack on the John Muir Trail!! Good going Tina! There was never a doubt in my mind you could do it. Tina joined me for the first 3 days of my JMT trip last year. She also designed the "Gottago" page on my web site.

After Bob and I visited Don’s house, I stopped by a resident’s house, Lindsey, a young girl, who was kind enough to sell me her tiny buck knife. My knife is gone. I don’t know how I lost it. I used it one night in my tent and must not have put it back in my fanny pack. Then when I shook my tent out in the morning, my knife must have fallen out on the ground. Well, I guess I can’t make fun of other people losing things any more ... I’ve lost a tent, a spoon, and now a knife!

Back to my room for phone calls. I kept trying to write in my journal but kept being distracted. Back to the restaurant with Bob and Mags, who came into town for lunch. I had a Reuben sandwich and onion rings! Back to my room. I finally sat down and resumed writing in my journal when I got a knock on my door. Yogi! I was happy to see her again. She's been doing high mileage because she is ready to be done. Her finish date is September 10th. Mine will be the 13th (I hope!).

Yogi was hungry so I went over to the restaurant with her and Mags. Seated in the restaurant were 3 more hikers who had just come into town – Sam I Am, Ivan and Dewey. I wasn’t going to eat, but ended up ordering a dinner salad and roll. Then when I saw Mags order his apple pie ala mode, I had to have one too.

It had begun to rain hard. People say it will rain for the next four days. Great.

I spent the rest of the evening in my room and read the upcoming days’ PCT Guide Book description. Looks hard! Bedtime = 10:30pm. Good night, Gottago.

Tues. September 3, 2002 Days on Trail: 131
Destination: Shadeless Campsite Today's Miles: 15.6
Starting Location: Skykomish, WA – Sky River Inn Total Miles: 2487.2
I’m back on the trail today, but first I had to wait for the P.O. to open at 9am. I woke up around 5am. I showered and washed my hair for the last time for the next 4-1/2 days. I got my backpack packed up a little and laid my stove, toilet paper baggies, and journal baggie out. Once my resupply box comes, I’ll replace my old fuel canister with the new one, add the packed toilet paper and Wet Ones to the baggies, and put my new journal pages and stamped, addressed envelope in the journal baggie which contains my monthly print-out personal calendar from home and a running daily listing of the data I have on the top of each journal entry.

I went over to eat breakfast with Bob at 7:30am. I called Yogi to see if she wanted to come but she was going over to eat earlier. There were about 6 other PCTers already eating when Bob and I arrived.

It’s always a relief to see that my resupply box arrived. I had another large stack of letters! I went back to my room, read my mail, and then sent my letters back home to later be put in the Leather, personally embossed, scrapbook I was given before I left on the trip. I went through my food and made a list of what other food items I needed before I went over to the market.

Bob Norton, the local trail angel, had said he would take any PCTer back the 17 miles to the trailhead. He was waiting in his pickup outside the motel for Bob, Mags and me. I hurriedly packed up and we left at 11am in sun and arrived in the rain. The next 4 hours of hiking were the same: rain, then sun, rain, then sun. Bob and I stopped to change clothes. I think I changed back and forth – rain jacket on/rain jacket off – 3 or 4 times.

The trail was very level starting out. We liked that. We talked about what great condition the trail was in. The footing was a joy and the brush was cleared.

The intro into this section, Section K, in the PCT guidebook states “you will traverse along a very rugged section of the North Cascades. This hike ranks second only to Volume 1’s John Muir Trail section in difficulty. Traversing around Glacier Peak, the hiker brakes down to and then labors up from, a number of deep-floored canyons that radiate from that peak.” Section K goes from Hwy. 2 at Stevens Pass to Hwy. 20 at Rainy Pass.

About 14 miles into our hike as the sun was beginning to set, we ran across Sam I Am and Ivan eating dinner on the west shoulder of Grizzly Peak. Bob and I continued on for another 1-1/2 miles to our campsite, listed as Shadeless Campsite. We put our tents up on the flat grassy area south of the dirt campsite. Bob found water. We were very happy because we were both low on water and needed some to make dinner. The data book hadn’t listed water in the area.

Bob and I talk a lot about the remaining days we have left until we finish. We have 8 more hiking days left and 10 more days until we are done. It is hard to believe. Our packs were heavy leaving town, so we were happy to get 15+ miles in today, especially since we didn’t start on the trail until 11:15am. It’s very cold where we are camped. Sam I Am and Ivan are camped with us. We just heard a sound outside our tents (its dark). It must have been a deer. Now I’m afraid to go out and pee. Earlier we had been talking about the fact that there are grizzlies here in Washington.

Good night, it’s 9:30pm. Gottago.

Wed. September 4, 2002 Days on Trail: 132
Destination: Semi-clear reflection pond Today's Miles: 19
Starting Location: Shadeless Campsite Total Miles: 2506.2
Bob and I were camped in a grassy flat. This morning our rain fly and tents were wet. The bottom of my sleeping bag, where it touched the tent, was damp too. First thing every morning – nature calls. I leave my flip-flop sandals in front of the tent. I hate getting out of the sleeping bag these cold, wet mornings and putting my warm feet in the cold wet sandals. As I walked around looking for a spot, the moisture on the plants fell on my legs and feet. I got back into the tent, dried off my feet and crawled back inside the sleeping bag. Bob’s watch read 34 degrees inside his tent. I wasn’t upset when Bob said “We’re not in a hurry this morning, are we?”

Last night Bob woke me up 2 times talking about some hoofed animal that was munching on something right next to his tent. Sam I Am and Ivan were up and had their headlamps on trying to figure out what kind of animal was near them.

Sam I Am started hiking first this morning. Bob and I didn’t leave until 7:30. We had lots of warm clothing on.

At 10:50am we stopped by some large boulders and a creek. The sun was out and we didn’t know for how long we’d have sun. We took out our tents and sleeping bags and threw them over the rocks to dry. Within 25 minutes everything was dry and we hiked on.

Neither of us had much energy today. We both agreed that we regularly have less energy on the second day after a town stop. I found it interesting when he brought this up because I’d been noticing the same pattern of feeling no energy on, not the first day out of town, but the second.

The trail was good today, good grade, good footing, and not too hard. I don’t like it when the trail is narrow and deep trough. I felt lucky to have had such a beautiful hiking day. There were big white cumulous clouds against the blue sky for a back drop of the snowy/glacial peaks of the Northern Cascades. Midday we entered the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Glacier Peak has been concealed mostly by clouds. But I do get glimpses of portions of the mountain. In every direction I looked I saw terrain that reminded me of the Austrian Alps in “The Sound of Music”.

I’m really ready to be done hiking all day long every day. I count the number of days left. 7 more hiking days to go. I passed the 2,500 mile mark today. Bob and I talk all the time about how tired we are, what we have done so far, and how long ago we started hiking. It’s a good thing Washington comes at the end. If it came after Tuolumne Meadows, I’d probably have said, “That’s enough.”

We heard another storm is coming in. I’m just so grateful I have had a few sunny viewful days. I had no idea what Washington looked like.

We met a PCT hiker who had flip-flopped and had been hiking 8 days. We asked where he had started his 8 day hike and he said “Manning Park”. It then hit Bob & I, we really ARE that close to finishing! The hiker was upbeat and positive. His name is Lyle (Grungy). He’s getting off the trail to go on a promised vacation with his wife.

It gets dark before 8:15pm. I’m concerned about what time it will get dark when I finish up my last 100 miles from Echo Lake north. I’ll have much fewer hours to hike my miles in daylight. I know how cold it gets in the Sierra once the sun goes down. I’ll probably have to stop hiking before 5pm.

I’m in my sleeping bag in the tent with fly on and I have a fleece top on, plus a jacket, my wool hat, and I’m still cold. Dinner was a Lasagna Mountain House dinner. Um-Um good! Tons of cookies, cheese and wheat thins, hot chocolate, and a Rollo candy.

We are camped in a sheltered campsite under trees by a pond. Morning will come too soon. I love being in my tent. It is safe and comfortable. Getting into camp and my tent is probably my favorite time of the day. So I’ll end now. It’s 9:40pm and again, I’m dead tired. The sunset was beautiful. It was too cold for me to stay out very long and watch the color changes as the sun set. Tomorrow and the next day are supposed to be the hardest days of this section.

Good night, Gottago.

Thurs. September 5, 2002 Days on Trail: 133
Destination: Open campsite by a small bench next to Mica Creek. Today's Miles: 21.5
Starting Location: -clear reflection pond Total Miles: 2527.7

This morning was cold again. I wake up and hope it’s not close to 5:30am. It takes me about 1 hour to get ready to leave, so at 5:30 I have to start thinking about getting up and taking care of business. I lay in my sleeping bag thinking about how am I going to get out of this warm bag? How am I going to walk for another 12 hours? But once I stop thinking and just get into action, everything works out. Today I had a great day. It’s a good thing I don’t take action on my thinking.

The good news this morning was our tents were dry. We camped under trees which help in keeping us dry. We left camp at 7:30am and walked on frozen ground, much of it covered with frost. I wore my wool hat and gloves, long sleeved nylon shirt with a fleece top over it, and shorts. I was cold until I started hiking uphill, which occurred almost immediately. If I dress to feel warm, I’m too hot when I start hiking.

I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have the sunny days I’ve had. The views of the Cascades are great. I wonder how many hikers have been in rainy, viewless conditions for many or all of their days in Washington.

Today and tomorrow are hard days. Days of over 5,000’ elevation gains. The losses are big too. Early this morning we dropped 2,200’. That kind of downhill really takes a toll on my body, more so than the uphill. Bob and I hiked down through beautiful mossy forests. I remember when I went on a hike in Alaska when I was sailing the inland waterways with my brother and Colleen. The trail was very wet and slippery. Moss grew everywhere. Today’s hike through the forest looked the same. When I was hiking in the meadows, the Marmots would whistle. It sounded just like a human’s whistle. I wonder if they are alerting each other to an intruder’s presence.

Even though the hiking today was hard, Bob and I both had good energy and felt strong. That was nice for a change. I think the changing mountain scenery helps me stay interested.

We met a number of very nice people on the trail today. Lucy and Long Walker were hiking southbound. We ran into them just after crossing Kennedy Creek (many hikers told me it was a scary ford. I was anxious. It turned out to be nothing. People on the trail said it wasn’t bad at all. Bob was going to take a 3.4 mile alternate route with me to avoid the crossing before we found out from southbounders who had crossed it, that we need not worry.) Lucy was hiking to Snoqualmie; Long Walker was hiking from Manning Park to finish more of the PCT he had hiked northbound in ’99.

Lucy had a headlamp. Bob was very unhappy he didn’t have his headlamp. His resupply box, which had one in it, hadn’t shown up in Snoqualmie. So when Lucy took out her headlamp and gave it to Bob, he was thrilled. I wonder what Bob said to get so lucky?

Next we met Denny, a local mountaineer, who was hiking up to climb Glacier Peak.

Then we met Robert, another local from Seattle, who will be moving to Eugene in 2 weeks. He was doing a 22 mile day hike. He had handsome black sunglasses on. Bob had left his sunglasses back at his motel room. Bob wanted sunglasses as much as he had wanted a headlamp. Within minutes, Bob was paying Robert for his sunglasses! Bob now had a headlamp and a pair of sunglasses!

Around 5pm, Mountain Dew (Bruce Heine), Baja Dave, and Yogi passed us. We all climbed up Fire Creek Pass. 1-1/2 miles down on the other side all of us, except Baja Dave, camped together.

Dark clouds were forming toward the end of the day. I hope we don’t wake up to the storm people have said is coming.

7 days of hiking left! I think I can do this. I think I can finish!

We arrived at camp at 7pm. Its 9:39pm and time to say good night – Gottago.

Fri. September 6, 2002 Days on Trail: 134
Destination: Miners Camp Today's Miles: 20.1
Starting Location: Open campsite by a small bench next to Mica Creek
Total Miles:  2547.8
It’s 9:18pm. I’m in my tent. It’s raining. I’m cold, tired, damp, and ready to pull my sleeping bag over my head for the night. But first, here are some highlights of the day …

There was frost over everything this morning. The temperature was in the 20’s. Geezer Bill, a PCT hiker I know, told me not to camp at Mica Lake. I remembered and passed it up. I hiked down another 300' in the trees, but obviously I was still in a very cold zone. Bob and I were slow getting going. We started hiking at 7:45. We went from 5,430’ to 3,800’ in 3 miles. Then we climbed back up to 6,010’ in 4 miles. Today was one brutal hiking day. This up and down continued all day. At times I wondered how in the hell I was going to keep going. The downhill is very hard on my feet.

The views were fantastic when we weren’t hiking in the forest, which we did most of today’s hiking in. I was excited to get to see Glacier Peak without clouds all around it. The trail crossed many glacial run-off creeks on the north side.

People we met on the trail: 2 male southbound section hikers; Chili who has flip-flopped his northbound thru hike so he can finish; and a local couple – Debbie and (I can’t remember).

The day seemed to take forever. By 11am, we’d only hiked 5 miles, at which time we stopped to dry out our gear from the morning frost. There still was frost on our tents when we took them out. I don’t think I’m cut out for cold or wet backpacking!

The last part of our hike today was a climb of 1,600’ over 5 miles. We planned on hiking 22 or 23 miles, but knew we’d have to hike too late and climb another 1,600’.

One mile before our intended campsite, at Miners Camp, a thunder and lightning storm broke out. We put our rain gear and backpack covers on and continued hiking, trying to find a place to camp. A sign pointed to Miner’s Camp and we followed it. The rain turned to hail. We never found the campsite but made do in a flat area. We were soaked and shivering. This was my first experience putting up my tent in the rain. It was interesting trying to keep everything from getting wet as I pulled things out of my pack. Oh, I’m not very happy right now. I want to be home, dry and warm. The lightning and thunder were simultaneous. The storm was overhead. I am scared to death of lightning. Just not a good night.

My eyes are closing as I write. Why do I have to pee so often? I don’t want to go out and get wet. Hmmm, maybe that’s what this vestibule area on my tent is for?!

Good night, Gottago.

One more hiking day to town. 21 miles to Stehekin and a bed & shower. 5-2/3 more hiking days until the end of the PCT! But who’s counting?

Sat. September 7, 2002 – STEHEKIN, WA & H.B. Colleen! Days on Trail: 135
Destination: Stehekin, WA Today's Miles: 21.6
Starting Location: Miners Camp Total Miles: 2569.4
(Entry written on 9/8/02, Sun, at 2pm)

How grateful I was this morning. It wasn’t raining when I packed up. Actually, I slept well last night considering the harried, cold, wet, setting up of camp. My tent had some condensation, but that was because I forgot and left the vestibule that the rain fly creates, zipped down too much.

Bob and I had 1,600’ more to climb before we reached Suiattle Pass. I’d been dreading the 3,200’ of elevation we had in front of us and was happy we split it up into (2) 1,600’ climbs, one last night and one this morning.

I awoke early but kept falling back to sleep because I didn’t hear Bob stirring his tent. At 6am, Bob called over, “Linda?” We started hiking at 7:05am. We were dressed in rain gear until 2 hours later when the sun started to break through the cloudy, foggy, wet morning. As we hiked higher up the pass, we noticed residual hail still on the trail from last night’s storm. (I’ve since learned Yogi and Dewey had been camped just on the other side of the pass. Once in Stehekin, Yogi showed me video film footage she’d taken while the hail was falling. The video footage also captured the lightning and thunder.) I was glad I had my rain pants on because the plants on the trail dropped all the rainwater on me they were holding as I brushed against them. This section needed some trail maintenance. Although, I believe this trail section to be the best we’ve had lately. The footing was soft, clear of rocks, and mostly good and wide. The grade of the trail made uphill climbs easy.

Hiking into town days always seem to take longer than normal hiking days. We were very ready to get to town. We’d stuffed our wet tents and rain fly into our bags. We had little food left and carried very little water because water was everywhere. Our packs were pretty light. Others had told us it as ALL downhill from the Pass on down. Baloney! I don’t mind hiking uphill when I know I have an uphill ahead of me. But I don’t like hiking uphill when I think I’m supposed to go downhill. Bob and I were talking to the trail makers about ‘why didn't they go around, contour the obstacles, rather than go up and then down so often?’ The longer in the day we hiked, the more tired we got and the more vocal we became about our disappointment in going uphill when we were supposed to be dropping in elevation.

In trying to do 3mph, I was hiking too fast and one of the nasty little concealed roots caused me to go right down on my right knee and hands. Of course, I looked around to see if anyone noticed. No one was near me, but I instinctively looked anyway. I would say I hike in front of Bob 95% of the time, but today he was in front, up 200 yards ahead.

The views over the Pass, particularly while contouring the glaciated headwall of Agnes Creek, were interesting to look at. Good mountain views make hiking enjoyable for me. While looking up at the glaciers, Bob and I heard this loud, thundering noise that just kept getting louder and louder. A huge rock fall occurred way up high, out of sight. We saw the dust from the fall. It was a scary sound. We were glad it hadn’t occurred while we’d been contouring the area a ½ an hour earlier. We wouldn’t have been in jeopardy, but the sound above, not knowing how far the boulders and rocks would fall, was nerve racking.

Much of the rest of our hiking day we were in forests. The appearance of the changing vegetation as we descended was noticeable. My feet, and Bob’s too, were killing us. I don’t know why this section’s miles are so hard on the body. I couldn’t wait to get to town and the comfort of a room at the Lodge. We were hurrying because the last bus for Stehekin left the trailhead at 6pm. We only took one break and a short lunch break all day. We knew it was going to be close in trying to make the bus. For the last 6 hours all we stopped for was to pee and quickly fill one liter bottle with water.

At 5:57pm we saw the bus. We ran the last 100 yards up hill. Jim, the driver, had to wait for the other shuttle to arrive before he could leave, so he said as we approached running “no need to hurry”.

The $6 (with pack) ride to the landing, right in front of the Lodge, was a bargain. Had we missed the bus, we would have had to hike 11 more miles or spend another night out in our soaking wet tents. Jim took us for a look at Rainbow Falls. Oh, the inside top of the bus has been signed by hikers and the date of their hike. Thru hikers sign in black and section hikers in blue. We saw Brian Robinson’s name over the bus door. I liked signing – “Gottago – Linda PCT 2002,”

We arrived at the Lodge to find that there were no rooms. Oh, my heart dropped. I wanted a room! I wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. I would have slept on the floor in the store and paid a room rate. I just wanted to be warm. The man behind the counter asked if I was Linda Jeffers. He said he had a note for me. Yogi had a room and left a key for me. Thank You Yogi! Bob and I slept in her room, as did Dewey, Baja Dave, Mags, Sam I Am, and Ivan. Eight of us in one large room. Yogi let me sleep in the king sized bed with her, Dewey slept in a smaller bed and the rest slept on the floor in their sleeping bags. It was so much fun. There was so much going on I couldn’t concentrate on writing my journal entry. But by 10:30pm, the lights were out and everyone was silent.

It was a long day. I was as high as a kite with the relief that this section was over, that I had a room, from all the FUN we were having in the room, and the excitement of the end of the hike being so near. 89.3 miles to go!!! 4.8 days!!! Friday the 13th … here we come!


Sun. September 8, 2002 – H.B. Linda R.! Days on Trail: 136
Destination: Stehekin, WA Today's Miles: 0
Starting Location: Stehekin, WA Total Miles: 2569.4
Waking up in a room of 8 hikers is definitely a new experience. I was awake long before anyone showed signs of stirring. It was hard to lay still and not be able to get up, turn a light on and write my journal entry, and plug in my cell phone. I forgot to start charging it last night or organize things in my pack for the laundry I needed to do. At 6am, others started waking up. Whew.

We all had breakfast at the Lodge restaurant 100 yards away. A breakfast buffet! Perfect for hungry hikers. Sam I Am, Ivan, and Baja Dave took off this morning. The rest of us will leave tomorrow morning as the P.O. opens at 8am, where we’ll pick up our resupply boxes. The bus leaves at 8:15 to take us back to the trail. Often the driver is late. I hope he’s late tomorrow.

I did laundry and picked up pocketmail email from the only phone in Stehekin. It’s a satellite phone. No cell phones work here.

Next, I finally got a room at the Lodge for tonight. Last night, they had said there were no rooms tonight, so I’d put my name down on a waiting list. I got a suite for $135.00. Mags and his friend, Tim (who came in today to finish the hike with him), Dewey, Yogi, Bob and I will share the room.

Then I visited the small 10’ x 12’ mountaineering store next to the Lodge. I bought a Lipton’s dinner. I needed a little change from the 15 planned meals I’d made up over 5 months ago. I also bought 2 banana Power Bars and a Reese's double peanut butter cup.

At 11:15 the local bus came. I took it to the famous Stehekin bakery where I was dropped off and would be picked up at when the next bus came by in an hour and 15 minutes. Oh my goodness … I went crazy buying and then sitting outside eating. Bob and Dewey bought a lot too. I bought a large croissant filled with pesto, cheese, & sun dried tomatoes, and then ate it outside. I followed eating the croissant with a log-like donut covered with maple sauce. For later, to eat in the room, I bought a blackberry scone. For the trail, I bought raisin apricot cinnamon bread, 4 whole wheat bagels, and 2 very large other sticky sweet pastries. I think I ate about 3,000 calories while at the bakery.

Back at the Lodge, our room was ready for us to move our stored backpacks into. After some reorganizing of my pack and talking to Mags, I started writing in my journal. As Dewey and Yogi or Bob would come in, I’d stop writing, we’d talk and then I’d write some more. It’s 5:31pm and I started writing at 2pm. That shows how many different conversations I paid attention to rather than write.

(8:11pm) Just got back from dinner at the Lodge with Yogi, T-Bob, Mags, Tim and Dewey. The buffet last night was much better. I signed the PCT register in the anteroom of the closed P.O. Now I’m going to bed. It’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow morning.

The next section is supposed to be beautiful. I have much gratitude for the ability to come this far. Without the love and support of my husband Ray, family and friends, I could have never made it.

Good night, Gottago.

Mon. September 9, 2002 – H.B. Sandi! Days on Trail: 137
Destination: PCT trailhead across Hwy. 20’s Rainy Pass Today's Miles: 20
Starting Location: Stehekin, WA Total Miles: 2589.4
I woke up first again at 6:30am. I took my last shower for 4 days and got dressed for hiking. The other hikers started waking up within 10 minutes. I ate one of the sweet pastries I had bought yesterday at the Stehekin bakery for this morning’s breakfast.

The P.O. opened at 8am. It was a mad scramble for all of us trying to get our resupply boxes and mail and catch the 8:15 bus to the trailhead. The driver of the bus, who knew our dilemma with the close timing, arrived a little late and took off a little later for us. We all sorted our food while on the bus. I opened all my mail – threw away all the envelopes and saved reading the mail until after I finish my journal tonight.

The bus driver stopped at the bakery 2 miles out of town for 10 minutes. We all ran in and started buying things as if we hadn’t eaten in a week. I got a very large, heavy, glazed donut and a cheese & sun dried tomato croissant for lunch on the trial. I’d packed my food bags with the bagels, raisin bread and donuts I’d bought yesterday at the bakery.

At the trailhead bus stop, we all got our backpacks from the back of the bus and packed our sorted food into them. The first day out of town, packs are quite heavy. I figured my pack weighed about 40 lbs. I have way too much food. Bob and I were last to take off on the trail.

It was a sunny day. It got very warm as we hiked on during the day. We had a continuous climb for 20 miles. The elevation gain was 3,255’ but was spread out over all the 20 miles. Our hiking day went fast. We started hiking at 9:30am and quit at 7:50pm. When we started hiking today, we had 89.3 miles to go before we were finished with the entire PCT hike. That includes the 8 miles we have to hike after we reach the monument, which takes us to the Manning Park Resort.

We stopped for lunch under a pine tree. Cones kept falling. At first I thought the pine cones just happened to fall on their own. But as we were taking our packs off to sit and eat, the cones fell continuously and quite close to us. The squirrels were active and forced us to move into a better lunch spot.

Later in the day, after we had stopped for our dinner on the Twisp Pass Bridge, we were hiking and ran into a bear on the trail. Actually, Bob was hiking ahead and stopped because he noticed the bushes wiggling. Bob thought it was Dewey or Yogi up ahead trying to play a trick on us by hiding behind the tree, shaking it trying to make us think it was an animal making the tree move. Seconds later, the bear moved onto the trail, turned his head toward us (he was 50’ away) and rapidly crossed the trail, heading for some cover in the trees. We never saw the bear again. He was a shiny black bear about 250 lbs. This was only the second bear I’ve seen the entire trip. Supposedly, we are in Grizzly country. Tonight we are camped at a trailhead in the parking lot. We put our food in the Men’s Room and Bob shoved his trekking pole under the door to keep it from being opened. I just heard noises out of sight by the 2 car in the lot. It’s 9:30pm. Good night. Gottago.

P.S. Bob is sleeping in his bag, no tent. I have my tent up. I told him I wanted the tent up for warmth while writing my journal – but it’s really because I feel safe inside my tent in bear country!

Tues. September 10, 2002 Days on Trail: 138
Destination: Glacier Pass Today's Miles: 21.3
Starting Location: PCT trailhead across Hwy. 20’s Rainy Pass Total Miles: 2610.3
No animals came by the camp Bob and I made in the parking lot of the PCT trailhead. The food we had put in the Men’s Room was untouched. There was moisture in the air so everything was wet. We stuffed our wet gear for drying in the sun later. I still don’t know how other PCTers in past years, during 6 or 7 day rainy periods in Washington, dealt with all their wet gear.

We started hiking at 7:11am. From the trailhead we climbed gently for 5 miles, an elevation gain of 2,000’, to Cutthroat Pass. At the Pass, we laid out all our wet or damp gear to dry. We ate while everything was drying. 50 minutes later we were hiking again, contouring below ridges and around the canyons. The scenery was great. I took a few pictures of Tower Mountain. It’s so unique looking.

Throughout the day, Bob and I talked about how many hiking days are left, how many nights out are left, how many more hours of hiking we have, and we often talked about how incredible it is that we’ve been hiking for X number of days or months. We can’t believe our hikes are going to end in 2 more days. It’s going to be very strange to not get up and start hiking. My emotions are all over the place. It’s hard for me to stay in the moment, on the trail. I continually try to imagine how it’s going to feel seeing the monument, the end. I'd like to finish the trail with Yogi, Dewey, Mags, and Tim, but they hike faster and longer miles than we old folks. Both Bob and I have painful feet that are worse on long downhills. The last couple of sections have had excessive uphill and downhill, which is really taking a toll on my feet.

At around 2pm, our first break since 9:40 when we dried our wet gear, we stopped at West Fork Methow River and put our feet in the cold water. My feet hurt to the point that if I hadn’t stopped to soak and elevate them, I would have cried. It worked. We both felt better and continued losing elevation before we started our climb up to Glacier Pass, our campsite for the night.

As we climbed the last 1,200’ for the day, we distracted ourselves by picking the thimbleberries and raspberries along the trail. In the 2 ponds below the trail, the beavers have been very busy building dams.

At 6:35pm we arrived at a campsite on Glacier Pass. It felt great getting into camp so early. I set up my tent. Bob slept out wanting to have a chance to look at the stars before he went home. We made dinner away from our camp. I’m sleeping with my food (way too much food) and hope the bear whose poop I saw on the trail eats the berries below on the trail and gets full.

It’s 9:09pm. There are 48.4 miles to Manning Park Resort … but who’s counting?! That’s two days more of hiking and one more night camped out.

Good night – Gottago.

Wed. September 11, 2002 Days on Trail: 139
Destination: Holman Pass Today's Miles: 23.1
Starting Location: Glacier Pass Total Miles: 2633.4
Last night there was a group of kids in a valley below where Bob and I camped. Today, when we met Mags, he told us that it was some kind of school wilderness orientation. They were loud and disturbed the wilderness experience of our 2nd to last night on the trail.

This morning I woke up at 6am. I’d put my tent up under a large pine tree and had no moisture on my tent. While packing up, Bob and I saw 4 mule deer within 50 yards of our camp. One was chasing the other in a playful way. They weren’t very afraid of us, but did move away slowly. Then the camp robbers appeared. Apparently Bob had thrown some bread crumbs around and we had a show watching the dark nutcrackers swoop in for the food.

It was cool when we started the 1,200’ climb up to the ridge top. Most of today’s hike stayed high, keeping to the ridge tops, giving us great views all day. As we climbed the switchbacks from our forested pass campsite, we looked back toward the large glacier to the south of the pass. The morning sun brought out the best color in the rust colored mountains. The blue sky above and the green meadows below created a beautiful blending of colors.

We hiked crossing crests and contouring on a well-graded, good footing trail. Views were everywhere. I like having views. They were always changing, keeping my interest. Tower Mountain stands out. We looked back on Tower Mountain and couldn’t believe we’d hiked so far in one day.

We didn’t get water from the water source 3.6 miles into our morning hike because the creek was dry on the trail. We hadn’t checked the data sheet. Our next water source was 6 miles away. It was getting hot and Bob was out of water. He wasn’t very happy about his impatience causing him to pass up walking down to a creek where the water was flowing.

At Harts Pass we met a family. They gave us a little water. Then we went over to the Guard’s House. There was a PCT register out front, which we signed. We also asked Jerry, the guard, if he’d take the food we didn’t need, as well as our garbage. He was very friendly and said, “Of course”. I left behind 3 lbs. of food and trash weight.

A 1/2 mile up the trail, we filled up with water at a nicely flowing creek. I treat all my water with Aqua Mira. Bob just trusts the water sources that look OK.

At a pass above Benson Camp, we met 2 couples that were very friendly. One couple, Jon and Rosemary, from the Netherlands, were here visiting Jon’s sister Tonya and her husband Bryon. After we hiked on, they came by where Bob and I were taking a break looking down Slate Canyon, over at Slate Mountain, and way far away, snow covered Glacier Peak. They wanted to know if they could take a picture of us. We all got in the picture while Bryon took shots with our camera as well. It was fun answering all their questions.

We met another nice couple an hour later. We saw our first view of the Canadian Mountains. I yelled, “Canada, wait for us!” The woman below, camped with her husband yelled up, thinking I was talking to her, “We are hiking alone, we are not your friends.” They thought I was yelling to them to wait for us. As we got closer to the couple, the man, Huck, showed us good maps of the area. He was very helpful since he lives in the area.

A mile or two down the trail, we ran into Mags and Tim camped for the night. Tim’s knee was bothering him, an old sporting injury.

Bob and I wanted to finish on the 12th, so we won’t be finishing with Mags as planned. That was sad. We congratulated Mags and hiked on for another 3 miles to our camp at Holman Pass. Another couple who has flip-flopped their thru hike is camped here. Siesta and her husband and dog, started from Mexico in May.

Bob and I hope to complete the 25.3 miles to Manning Park Resort tomorrow. One more day and we finish our hike to Canada. Next I will go home and then return to the Sierra to complete the 100 miles I missed.

Bob and I both are sleeping only in our sleeping bags tonight. We hope to get a 6am start tomorrow morning. I’m sleeping in my hiking clothes. I’m ready to cross the border. Oh, we noticed a fire to the east tonight. We could see the white smoke coming from a local area.

I’m going to stop writing, turn off my headlamp, and look for the Big Dipper! Good night, Gottago.

Thurs. September 12, 2002 – END OF TRAIL Days on Trail: 140
Destination: Manning Park Today's Miles: 25.3
Starting Location: Holman Pass Total Miles: 2658.3
I didn’t sleep well last night. There were animals moving all night. I felt, through the ground, the vibration of their hooves close by. My sleeping bag was close to a large fallen tree on one side and smaller fallen trees and branches on the other side. I was afraid the deer would get startled by me and strike out with their front hooves.

It was the warmest night we’ve had. There was no moisture on my bag in the morning. At 4:30am I woke up, but couldn’t go back to sleep. I was hungry and ate while reading the last days PCT Guide Book description. I turned off the headlamp and fell back to sleep. At 5:30am Bob asked if I was awake. We left at 6am, wearing our headlamps because it was still dark. It felt good to be hiking early. Bob really wanted to finish on the 12th, his son’s birthday.

From the start we climbed on switchbacks from 5,050’ to 7,126’, enjoying the openness and views of the changing fall colors. I wasn’t in the mood to be climbing though. The day was hot at 8am. I kept thinking about the fact that it didn’t matter if I was going up or down, I was still covering miles and each mile was getting me closer to the end. From the top, by an unnamed mountain, we briefly stopped to admire snow-covered Mt. Baker off in the distance.

Now we had a long descent. After 1,000’ of descending, we took a spur trail to Lake Hopkins and went for a dip. Boy was it cold. But the cold did wonders for our sore feet. The flies were bad. While in the lake, T-Bob swatted and killed 2 flies. He threw them into the Lake and a trout jumped up and ate them. As we rounded the mountain on the descending trail, we kept hoping we’d see Canada’s mountains. Hoping keeps the interest up.

A bird was in the middle of the trail. It wouldn't move off the trail. As a matter of fact, the bird moved TOWARD us muttering something that didn’t sound or look friendly. It might have been a Ptarmigan. I’ll have to find out. I took pictures.

My feet were sore. They felt like someone had taken a hammer and pounded the bottoms repeatedly. I would distract myself by trying to reflect on what I had learned over the past 4-1/2 months, or what I was feeling. I tried to really pay attention to what the last 3 miles of my 2,658 mile hike looked like, felt like, and smelled like. I was aware of the gratitude I had to so many people. I thought about wanting to learn to “be”, rather than to “do”. I want to simplify my life and slow down and be more present.

AT 2:30pm I ARRIVED AT THE MONUMENT! I had my special stone in my shirt pocket right next to my heart. There were 3 other people at the monument. Bob and I gave each other a quick congratulations hug and started talking to the others. Somehow having others there detracted from the emotion I thought I’d have. I felt myself stop my tears from coming once I was distracted from the moment by the conversation with others. The moment, that feeling of the finishing moment, the moment I had waited so long for, was gone.

The couple left. I think they were section hiking southbound. David (Moving Massage) remained. He had just completed a northbound section. He was wonderful and took our pictures in front of the monument. I asked him to take a bunch of pictures, with Bob, and by myself. Yogi had been sent party hats and those party blow-horn favors. She left some for us at the monument. We put the hats on and blew on the horns while having more pictures taken. We signed the PCT register. I wrote about my gratitude to so many PCT 2002 hikers. I said I wouldn’t name them because I knew I’d forget someone important and feel bad. I did mention my gratitude to T-Bob for being my partner for all of Washington. It would have been very lonely hiking solo to the end. I mentioned Coach, who was my inspiration and motivation to finish when I didn’t want to. And lastly, but not leastly, I mentioned my gratitude and appreciation to my husband, Ray, for all the time and energy he spent getting me all those resupply boxes and for sending off whatever I requested.

The flies were bad. I had my headnet on and a ground sheet over my legs while sitting and writing in the Monument register. I had 8 more miles to hike and felt the need to get to hiking. So, I didn’t spend very much time feeling feelings or reflecting. Bob and I took off uphill after having spent 45 minutes at the monument. The finish of the trail at the US/Canada border was somewhat anti-climatic. I don’t know how to explain my thinking……..that’s it? It’s over and now I have 8 more miles to hike. Knowing I had to hike more, kept me in the attitude of…..Gottago….there is more to hike. No time to celebrate, more miles to go.

The last 8 miles were hard. 5 of the miles were up 1,000’. Hiking 8 miles after having reached the monument, took away from the joyous feeling of finishing for sure. We were not happy campers and wondered why the finish was 8 miles before we ended our 25.3 mile hiking day?

At 7pm we arrived at the Manning Park Resort. Dead tired. Ready to eat. So glad to be done.

We quickly washed our face and hands in our rooms and met for dinner in the restaurant. When we checked in, we asked if Yogi and Dewey were there. We were told “no”. (Actually, they were there. They had arrived a couple hours earlier.)

I was so out of it emotionally and physically I could barely get through dinner. I had trouble focusing. My head wanted to rest on the table top I was so tired. But, as tired as I was, I wanted to be at dinner with Bob. I wanted to talk about our hike. It felt weird that the finish was such a quiet, uneventful moment. WE knew we’d hiked from Mexico to Canada, but on one else knew. No one else could understand the feelings we were feeling sitting there in the restaurant. Only other long distance hikers know the physical, emotional and psychological demands of the trail. I looked around the restaurant at the other people sitting together, talking, and eating. Occasionally the other people might glance our way. But they had no idea what we had just done. I wasn’t going to tell them what we’d done but I wanted them to know I guess. I wondered where the applause was. I knew the pat on the back was mine to give myself. So many days I asked myself “Why was I doing this hike?” I kept wondering when the “awakening” about myself or life would come to me?

Well, it’s late and I’m tired so I’ll think about things tomorrow.

[Transcribers Note: As I am a ScarlettWanabe, Linda’s closing statement sounds a little bit like Scarlett’s line “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Hmmm.]

Good night – Gottago.

Wed. September 25, 2002 – ECHO LAKE Days on Trail:  141
Destination: Trail descending west to Camper Flat Today's Miles: 17.4
Starting Location: Echo Lake Total Miles: Made-up mileage 1106.8
Today is the first day of my making up the section of the PCT from Echo Lake to Sierra City. The total mileage is 103 miles. This is the portion of the PCT I skipped earlier because of a foot problem. Now 12 days after having hiked to Manning Park, I plan on taking 5 days and 4 nights to finish this remaining section. Then I will have completed my thru-hike from Mexico to Canada. Before I started this morning, I worried about how I’d feel being back on the trail again. I also was concerned I’d lost my conditioning since I’ve not exercised in the last 12 days since I finished in Canada. My feet were sore and numb (at the same time!) when I ended my hike and they still are. I worried about my feet. Since I’ve been off the trail, I’ve experienced physical and mental fatigue. I worried about whether I’d have the mental discipline to do the necessary mileage. I was just in a lot of self doubt.

I started hiking at 6:45am. I ended my day at 4:45pm. The trail was rocky. My feet hurt most of the day. I couldn’t believe how slow I had to hike over the rocky terrain. I wasn’t acclimated to altitude. After 12 miles of hiking I reached Dicks Pass, which is 9,380’. I felt the altitude. It slowed me down to a snails pace. I’m sure if someone had seen me hiking today on the way up to Dicks Pass, they never would have believed I could have finished a thru-hike from Mexico to Canada.

I continued hiking up to the pass even though I didn't want to. I had to stop and catch my breath often.

It was beautiful on top of the pass. I had a well earned lunch at 1:30pm. Desolation wilderness is one of the prettiest places I’ve seen on the PCT.

From Dicks Pass, I ascended to my campsite on Middle Velma Lake. If my feet hadn’t been so sore, I probably would have continued on to hike the 20 miles I’d hope I’d hike. My legs needed to stop too. It was great getting into camp so early. The sun was up, the wind had died down, and my tent site afforded me a fantastic view of the lake and all the tree filled islands in the lake.

I bathed and made dinner. I’m in my tent and ready for sleep at 8:11pm. I had a very relaxed couple of hours after my day of hiking. Actually, it was hard hiking but I had a great day back on the trail.

Good night – Gottago.

Thurs. September 26, 2002 Days on Trail: 142
Destination: Last spring past North Fork Blackwood Creek Today's Miles: 18.5
Starting Location: Trail descending west to Camper Flat Total Miles: Made-up mileage 1125.3
I woke up at 6:30am and didn’t take off hiking until 8:00am! My motivation is gone. I’m not sure I’ve regained enough strength since I finished hiking in Manning Park. I remember saying to T-Bob on the last day coming into Manning Park that “I was glad we didn’t have any more hiking days left and that this was our last because I didn’t think I could do one more day.” He gently reminded me that I had another 100 miles to hike. Oh yeah.

Today’s hiking felt like work. Right from the start I had to re-tie my boots 4 different times because I had a painful area on the inside of my right ankle … the kind of pain that could mean tendon problems. Finally I just accepted the pain and tried to think about other things. The bottoms of my feet didn’t get sore again until mile 10 or so. I was grateful there was little downhill today. Downhills really cause my feet to hurt.

Hiking this last section, having finished the rest of the hike, is hard. I only did 18.5 miles today and 17.5 yesterday. I don’t know how I ever hiked 25- and 30- mile days.

I only ran into 3 hikers today. But one, Eric (High Plains Drifter) from Vancouver, BC, was a southbound thru-hiker. I could tell he was a thru-hiker the moment I saw him hiking toward me. He had that ‘full arm swing’ going. He’d already been hiking 10 miles and wanted to get to Echo Lake (23 miles away) by the end of the day! I don’t know how I missed passing him on the trail while I was on my way to Canada earlier. He met many other northbounders. He said he’d spent time with Happy Jo and Cyclops. We chatted for a while and I gave him my phone number for any help he may need in the L.A. area. He was taking 5 days off to spend time with his girlfriend when he got off the trail at Echo Lake.

The trail footing was good today. The grade was very comfortable. I hiked through forests without many views, though I did see Lake Tahoe from afar a couple of times. I can’t believe how large it is. The weather has been perfect for hiking. There’s been a breeze most of the time which keeps me from getting too hot from the constant sunshine.

I planned on camping at the North Fork Blackwood Creek campsites but couldn’t find them. I hiked on, finally passing the last spring before I realized I’d have to hike another 9 miles before I found water. I backtracked a 1/2 mile to the spring, got water, and found a flat spot to make camp. It was 5pm when I stopped for the night. 9 hours of hiking and I feel more tired than I did hiking 25 or more miles! It’s 8:16pm and I’m turning off my headlamp. Good night – Gottago.

Fri. September 27, 2002 Days on Trail: 143
Destination: Round Peak 8374 to a shallower saddle Today's Miles: 20
Starting Location: last spring past North Fork Blackwood Creek Total Miles: made-up mileage 1145.3
It was very windy last night and again all day today. I woke up a lot last night but went right back to sleep. At 6:15am, I started getting ready. At 7:30am I began hiking. I left camp wearing my shorts, a sleeveless nylon top with a hooded expedition weight shirt over it, my fleece hat, and hiking gloves.

I started out with a 600’ climb. I like early morning climbs because it’s cool. At the top of what the data book calls “low knoll with excellent views”, I had incredible views while walking along the crest. I used to ski, umpteen years ago, at Alpine Village. As I looked to the right of the crest I saw Alpine Village and Lake Tahoe. It was very windy on the crest and at times I had to work hard to maintain my balance.

After hiking 5 miles, I switchbacked down to the 5 Lakes area. I took a break by the outlet creek. After my break, I had a 1,400’ climb up into the Granite Chief Wilderness area. At the top I could see Squaw Valley. It was fun to see Squaw Valley again and without snow, after 40 years. There were great views every way I looked. I’m back in the kind of Sierra terrain I like.

During today’s hike I saw 2 other ski areas also – North Star and Sugar Bowl.

The last climb of today really took everything out of me. It was an 800’ climb to Tinker Knob saddle – 8,900’. I could tell my legs were near empty on energy. It was so cold and windy on top. I stayed on the top of the crest until I found camp at 6:30pm. I had to put on more clothes because the wind was so strong and cold. Some of the trail is quite rocky so I couldn’t spend much time looking at the views in all directions. But I did see Donner Lake and the town of Truckee.

The land west of the trail is marked ‘private property’. I hiked on the trail to where it leaves the saddle and heads toward Mt. Lincoln. I was afraid I wouldn’t find a level, wind free, campsite. One appeared right by the trail. I’d been looking for Benson Hut, which is noted in the data book. I looked above and below me as I hiked past Anderson Peak where the Hut was supposed to be located. Never found a thing.

I was too cold to make dinner. I set up my tent, got in it and my sleeping bag. I made hot chocolate and ate peanut butter and jelly in a tortilla, followed by 3 Mother’s Taffy cookies.

It’s 8:32pm. I’m ready to get all snuggled up in my bag.

Good night – Gottago.

Sat. September 28, 2002 Days on Trail: 144
Destination: just before … cross a road on a viewless saddle Today's Miles: 20.4
Starting Location: Round Peak 8374 to a shallower saddle Total Miles: Made-up mileage 1165.76
(journal entry written 10/4/02! oops)
I don’t know why I believe I’ll remember a day on the trail 6 days later. I was so tired at the end of my hike on Sat. 9/28 that I told myself I’d write the day’s entry the next night. Well, here I am in Mammoth, at a cabin, 6 days later trying to re-construct my last 3 days on the trail. All it took was giving myself an excuse, once, to not write the journal entry on the 28th and then I gave myself 2 more days of excuses to not write the remaining 2 day’s trail journal entries. When will I learn that it is always easier to write my journal entry on the day of the hike?

So here goes (from notes I’d made) … Up at 6:11am and left camp at 6:45. I had an easy morning downhill hike until I took a wrong turn. I read the trail sign wrong and hiked on Mt. Judiah’s loop trail. I spent a good hour trying to figure out where I was when I had hiked to an area on the trail I knew was wrong. I always get this sick feeling in my stomach when I’m off trail heading in the wrong direction. I was supposed to be traveling downhill … and I was hiking uphill. I was supposed to be heading north … and the trail I was on started to head southeast. I decided to go back to my last known place on the PCT trail. I immediately saw my mistake on the signed trail sign.

Now back on the PCT, I looked forward to coming to Donner Pass. How horrible it must have been for those early settlers that were trapped during that harsh winter.

At the Donner Pass trailhead, I ran into 2 wonderful ladies starting out on their day hike. Betty Brown, 75, and Paula, age 83, had sparkles in their eyes. I could see their love of the outdoors. Paula gave me a big hug when she heard that I was completing the last section of my Mexico to Canada thru-hike. It felt sooooo good.

As I hiked across Hwy. 40 at Donner Pass, I stopped often to look at Donner Lake, the rock climbers, and tried to reflect on the rocky terrain those settlers had to cross.

At Hwy. 80, three miles further along the trail, I stopped to wash up, dump trash, and cook lunch at the Rest Stop just off trail.

I’d been looking forward to seeing the Sierra Club’s Peter Grubb Hut. Within 5 miles of my lunch spot, I finally came across it. There were many volunteers working on repairs, cutting and stocking wood for the winter visitors, and building a new outhouse. On the trail near the hut I ran into a few hunters. I noticed they seemed to be guarded and ready for negative attitudes from hikers about killing animals.

Later in the day clouds appeared. There was a threat of rain for the remainder of the day. Before I camped, I did get a few drops of rain and a few pellets of hail while walking on a ridge saddle at the head of Bear Valley.

I found a campsite up high. I worried about hunters and actually heard one walk by very early in the morning. The hunting season had started the day before. It was very cold.


Sun. September 29, 2002 Days on Trail:  145
Destination: Bridge over Milton Creek Today's Miles: 22
Starting Location: just before … cross a road on a viewless saddle
Total Miles: Made-up mileage 1187u.7
(Journal entry written 10/4/02)
I woke up early because I was so COLD. There was frost on everything. I think this was the coldest night of the entire trip.

I started hiking at 7:30am. I had hoped to finish this 100+ mile section today. I was excited.

Not long into my early morning mileage I ran into 3 hunters, the Anderson’s – three generations = Grandpa, Son, and Grandson. I enjoyed talking to them.

The day was overcast. I thought it was going to rain. The sun would break through for a second and then it looked like it would storm again.

I met another hunter out on his horse. He was smoking his pipe, looking very relaxed. Certainly not in hunting mode. His very friendly dog was in front leading the way.

I ran across 2 runaway horses on the trail. They had saddles and reins on them. The split reins were on the ground in front of them. I never did see the riders. For a long way on the trail as I walked beyond the horses, I noticed marks in the dirt on the trail where the horses’ reins had been dragging.

I was excited because I was approaching the point on the trail where the data book said that the rest of the miles were all downhill. I think I had about 8 or 9 miles left to go before I finished with this last remaining section.

It was at this point, around 2:30pm, that I got off trail again. Damn!!! All I’d been thinking about was “Linda, don’t take a wrong turn, you are almost finished.” I had just enough time in the day to finish the 25 miles before it got dark. I couldn’t afford a mistake and still finish today.

Not to make an excuse, but this section of the trail, just past Jackson Meadow Reservoir, was being heavily logged. The trail was hard to find because of all the detours I had to take around fallen trees and newly dug up logging roads.

I had reached an old logging road and while walking on it, missed the duck-marked PCT trail junction. I continued on the logging road past the PCT and then climbed down a mountain side to Milton Lake. I knew I was lost. After 2 hours of trying to find a way back to the PCT, I retraced my steps to my last known place on the PCT. All in all, I lost 3 hours of hiking time and knew I’d be camping out another night.

When I finally found the subtlety duck-marked PCT trail off the logging road, it was 5:30pm. I hiked for another 2 hours before making camp at Milton Creek, by the first bridge, just 3.8 miles before the end of my PCT hike.

It was dark just before I stopped hiking for the day. The logging in the area caused me to climb over or around trees on the trail for over a mile. It was slow going.

I set up camp in the dark wearing a headlamp. I cleaned up in Milton Creek.

It was interesting doing this in the dark. Thank goodness it was not as cold out as it has been at night. I sat on rocks in the middle of the creek, wearing only my headlamp, as I used a bandana to clean my body.

I got into my sleeping bag in my tent and made Lipton’s noodle soup for dinner. With the extra water I’d put in the pot, I made hot chocolate. I also ate beef jerky and peanut M&M’s while waiting for the soup to cook. What a combination of foods!

Only one more day to go. Only 3.8 miles left to hike. And all downhill!!!

Mon. September 30, 2002 – Last Day on the PCT! Days on Trail: 146
Destination: . Hwy. 49 near Sierra City Today's Miles: 3.8
Starting Location: Bridge over Milton Creek Total Miles: Made-up mileage 1191.5
(Journal entry written 10/4/02)
It’s my last day on the PCT! I didn’t race out of my sleeping bag. I knew I had a short way to go. I was looking forward to breakfast in the town of Sierra City.

All I really remember about this morning’s hike was getting my special rock out of my fanny pack. I wanted to have it in my hand as I finished the mileage, making this a 2002 thru-hike. I got the rock out too early and had difficulty holding it while using my trekking poles on the descent.

Much like I did for the last 3 miles before I reached Manning Park, I tried to get in touch with my feelings, the look and feel of the remaining miles on the trail. I experienced a lot of emotion. I didn’t stop it. I thought of what my mother and father would think of me about to finish the 2,658 miles of the PCT trial. I thought about what I thought of myself finishing the trail I had started hiking on April 25th. I felt pride that I had finished the trail in one year just as I had hoped. I thought of all the people I knew who were proud of me. I teared up feeling their pride. I shared the feeling of my finish with all those people even though I finished by myself.

I came to Hwy. 49, 1-1/2 miles away from Sierra City. There were no monuments, only a trailhead PCT sign where the trail stopped just at the 2-lane Hwy. It was the end of my hike and I felt overwhelmed with emotion, love and gratitude. I cried for a moment, felt my feelings, and started hiking on the road to town and breakfast.

I stopped in at the Post Office. I asked for the PCT register, looked up my entry from when I’d been there 2 months earlier and added the date "9/30" to my entry, with the words “I finished the 100 miles!”

I caught a hitch to Reno. While sitting in the back of the pick-up truck, I relaxed while watching the Sierra Buttes fade away in the distance.

January 26, 2004 Days on Trail:  N/A
Destination:  N/A Today's Miles:  N/A
Starting Location:  N/A Total Miles:  N/A
I did not write an epiloge, however, the first page of my CDT 2004 journal explains why I was not in the mood to write an epiloge. Here's a link: CDT 2004 Journal
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