Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day 25 and beyond, off trial

The music of last night's 'concert' echoed into hiker camp almost wrong. Even up near the stage this local band sounded alright.  Hiker clusters murmured with card games, general trail trash, and what of the band.  The singer announced last song and a sigh of relief swept the whole audience.  Up stream a firework show bursts in the air enough to cause me to stir up.  It finishes after the concert.

Dawn glows pops me out off my mat for sunrise.  I spot an osprey with a fish flying along before I change  my horizontal orientation. I get a few photos of hiker camp in this light. In my wandering I find Totes, already to go. We hang out until she leaves for the trail, north bound. I ask Totes what her take away is.  Her reply is 'how good GOD is at providing for her on the trail.'  This is highly unusual, most hikers will say the trail provides as if it is the trail/universe  making the provision out of good karma because one is simply hiking a long distance trail.  We talk some more, she goes to a non-denominational church in SoCal.  She mentions a couple of YWAMers are several days behind. (I check Instagram a day or so later, they are Bamboo and Ungerwear of the Van Clain AT 2014).  We exchange numbers and Instagram tags.  I need to remember her when I do SoCal in a few years since the trail is in her backyard.

Finding coffee meant finding unlimited bowls of cereal and bagels. One last vendor offered samples in the form of specialty oatmeal.  Totes and I find Dory, Boxes [who's getting off trail for Texas,  home], Bones and his girlfriend, and a few others I don't know.  Hook ups are made to raid food bags of those getting off trail by those staying on so that resupply is good arena good food is not wasted at the hiker box at the Ale House restaurant.  

Hiker camp makes quick dispersion after breakfast as hikers head one direction or another.  I grab selfies with a wide range of hikers I've traveled with.  One of my concerns coming into this journey was not being accepted by community of this year's thru-hikers.  I am exceedingly grateful for being welcomed as trail family, be it a one time meeting, on going bump ins, or full on hiking for several days like with the Posey.  Miles not smiles make rougher miles.  The Proverb (Proverbs 27:17) of "as iron sharpens iron so one man [hiker] sharpens [encourages] another."  This holds true for this year.

The festival, over, some hikers wander town.  I sit by the Ale House waiting.  When I got lunch earlier I reminded myself not to eat like a hiker.  In the back room of the restaurant is a hiker room with a scale.  For those wondering, I haven't lost any weight.  I scan hikers who wander by for missing friends like Tripod who didn't show to the festival.  Looking also across the river are cliffs that rise up.  How close does the PCT come to these?  The answer is probably close enough with a manageable grade to hike.  Who's up there now?

I kick around which section for next year, NorCal or Washington.  Then how? SoBo, flip-flop, cyber hike? Joking on that last one. I'll dig out the materials in a few weeks for that.  Now I know what to expect, 20 mile days with water within the 20, food every 3 to 5 days, more or less.

Chris Tomlin's rendition of Amazing Grace echoes in my ears  as does Wonder by Hillsong.

My dear friends from Capital Church SLC now living in Vancouver WA area find me near the post office.   Yes, I smell a bit but, so what.  As we head out we go by Multnomah Falls.  Sarah and I hike to the top while her husband looks for parking.  The falls are super crowded as expected with the events of this weekend [solar eclipse].  The falls are a wonderful sight to see after missing them several times of ages past.

I take a long needed shower, scrubbing my feet from dust encrusted appendages to reasonably viewable.  I am grateful for their generosity to put me up on such short notice.

Sarah and her husband are wonderful hosts.  I'll be here for a day or so before catching the train back to SLC.  

I caught the solar eclipse from a park near by and spend time chilling, yes chilled at Peet's Coffee shop writing and catching up on social media.  Yo! Ya'll are boring else I'm not on the right social media platform.

I pull out my water bottle.  Hum, tastes great where's this water from? Oh yeah from a stream, I haven't washed more than my clothes.  I better treasure this flavor of water as it becomes rarer and rarer in my life.

I catch a bus into Portland.  There is one place I've had on my radar to revisit if I ever came back to this city, Powell's City of Books bookstore.  When I arrive there is a cluster of folks waiting for it to open. I snap arrive selfie when I step on and before I get lost.  The nostalgia is gone as its mostly new books and not old as I remember.  Still, it's massive.  I have no plan.  I begin with general travel, drift to Northwest travel and look for PCT materials which is a scant handful.
  I turn to ham radio which take me to another room and past several historical typewriters.  There are no nameplates with these devices, sadness. I take.phots to look them up later.  I don't see what I am looking for so reformulate my plan.  I head to Christian Doctrine.  Christian literature, less fiction, takes up three isles.  I find a book by AW Tozer, one of my favorite authors.  I also find a volume on Celtic Christianity.  I resist many other works.  I find my way down to musical instruction and give up when distracted by cook books.  In cook books I don't see any backpacking gourmet works.  At this time, it's time to roll out in search of food.  On my way, I find several journals which may work (weight wise) for next year's hike and a few postcards.

I find myself at Stumptown Coffee Roasters with a brew in their walking, limited seating place near by.  Next up, food, and a walk down by the river front.  Crazy to think 20 years ago I was here with the Caribbean Mercy.  I wonder how the river front park has changed.  I wandered down tho both ends.  The far west end isn't a place to hang out at with the homeless.  A block in [from the water front], I see the 'mission' near China Town.  I push my way back towards Powell's.  The park hasn't changed.

Tomorrow's set.  I'll meet up with an old shipmate before heading to the train and from there well, home bound.  I think I'll begin a new set of blog writing for that.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Day 24, PCT Days

Sounds of people chatting late into the night gave way to trains running goods along the shores.  This region always a hub of goods transportation according to the historical sign marker next to the defunct locks.  Freeway traffic a constant hum past this small town.

I awake to a red glow in the morning the Klymit pad I got yesterday did not with stand my tossing and turning.  I lost it sometime in the night.  For Sale once used Klymit Inertia X Lite.  It's great for back sleeepers.

I hung out in the vendor area for most the day.  For a while I took refuge beyond at the small boat marina.  I went over to check out the beach to see if I was tied a swim.  Nope, a little rocky with a chance of small racer sailboats.  A regatta also took place this weekend.

I found a spot shaded from the wind to make a few calls.  I contacted my folks and an old friend from SLC who lives in the greater Portland area.  I've got a place to stay for a few days, Thankyou!  I also called Amtrak.  I can change my ticket home.  Choices, thankfully i-84 is right here and goes straight to Ogden.

On my way around again, Apollo (AT 2014 trail family) yelled out my name. Starbuck sported a youngster in her hip.  Dang, trail family, love 'em.  We chatted a while.  They moved from the LA area up to the Vancouver area a year ago.

I saw a super tiny shelter this morning. Literally, this thing looked like a tube of bug netting with a top of cuben fiber topoing.    I asked about it. Out pops John Plantee himself.  This guy makes his own ultralight packs.  He posts on Instagram and a batch will sell out in minutes.  This tent, err, minimalist shelter sets up with one pole, take the tip out as the foot and the top sections make the head.  Sweet, at 10 oz overall.  I ponder if I coukd create my own.

The rest of today is about hanging out.  Found the Posey and chilled a while. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Day 23, Cascade Locks

Woken by the sound of rustling gear at 5 am, I tossed.  At 6 am gear still rustling, I let air out of my pad quietly by holding my finger over the valve.  I bet myself I could get out of camp before they did.  I made my bursts of noise quickly and spaciously.  They were gone before I however, I was gone within 10 minutes.  Poor Noodle, she's the last to wake in camp.  The noise she's putting up with this mornong.

I sit but 100 yards from.where I turned around last night.  The sun a near nuckle and a half above the local horizon.  Below is the perfect sunrise campsite for 1 maybe 2 tents.  I am glad I chose the other site for the company kept last night though quiet in the evening and slightly irritating this morning.

I sip a little chug and munch on a poptart. Sun in my face, I brave a look to the horizon to see some clouds pushing over distant ridgelines.  Traffic below and bug sounds near by.  What a combo. 7 1/2 miles to go, I empty my thoughts into prayers for the friends I've met in this segment and turn to the return into the every day non-trail life.

Narrow the path is down the wegitation coated cliff side.  Cliffside is what I can think of as to who steep.this drop is with several switchbacks.  Near the bottom a stream originating far above cuts the actual cliffs I skirt.  Small and large drops, each a sound to itself, hiding a train horn in the encroaching distance.  Only a few more miles.

The trail weaves in and out farther away from the steepness through low-lying under brush that vies for light breaking through the forest canopy 10 yards above.  Traffic murmurs grows into individual vehicle sounds.  The trail fades from lush to foot hill and pops out on an unassuming small town street.  I follow towards Bridge of the God's, pause and chose instead to route to the park for PCT Days.

 I see Rubber Ball and his Posey.  I go one to check in and come back the local diner.  At the park I find a spot amongst the few already set up.  People I don't know.  I'm two or three hours ahead of Noodle and the guys she travels with.  I should have just dropped my pack and waited but breakfast sounded better than waiting.  I set up and get back to the diner.

 I chill as I head over to hiker camp at the Island.  Very few hikers are ther early.  I find someone to set up near out of the wind.  I head to the Diner for breakfast.

I see Noodle and Pit Stop later walking in.  I join them to hiker camp to pitch so that I'm near people I know.

Some where I  the next hour I loose my glasses, Suck!  I walked town twice looking for them including walking through the vendor area.

Ah, vendors, vendors who want to offer gear for cheap.  I need to let Altra know of my pronation issue.  My right shoe is definitely healed out.  Mind you I grind my heals.  Got a deal on 

Honestly, I feel a little out of place here at PCT Days as the thru-hikers are only 3/4 done and I've just done 400 odd with the detour I am required to do.  These guys and gals have seen things other day hikers will never see, nor weekenders.  Serras with snow melt looking like highways Monday morning except of torrential waters.  The saddest part is a few who were to be here never will. Five died trying to make it through unknown waters of high mountains.  They have stories others want to ell that may never be told but in journals or sligh conversations.

I mention this to a PCT Association volunteer.  He says something to the effect that it's hard to nail down who is a thru-hiker.  Then he goes on to say that the section hikers tend to have have a more intimate relationship with the trail as they come back year after year to hike more in different seasons, conditions, they see the changes over time.  I must a agree with what he says as the hikers I admired most on the AT were the section hikers as they'd just get their trail legs and may be their stride before they are back in the office.  I feel as if I just got my stride this week and now I'm off [the trail].

I'm here kicking it.  PS I checked in with one of the info boths, someone turned in my glasses.  Definitely makes me appreciate full range of sight now.  I bought a pair of dime store readers just incase which only meet half my reading need.

Hike on.  Hike Wise.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 22, last full trail day

I begin this the evening before, thinking I am headed into my last full day of this trail time.  How many of the 28 miles will I knock down?  Forest Service is letting people get water at Indian Springs but not camp  at Wahtum Lake just above the, err almost within the area that is closed for the Eagle Creek Fire.  I think another option will grant an 11 into town the next day.  Choices.

I woke to a glow, shot out of bed and camp like a bat getting angel's wings this morning.  Morning glow as light dances through the trees is my favorite time of day.  A light  northwestern mist hangs in the air soaking the under brush as I push through it.  My rain gear burried in the pack.  A klydascope of of sensory tickling sounds, colours, at play.   I find a dry view over looking trees and a canyon of some kind, a cloud pushes over the ridge.  This spot not really a smart place for a break, I take one anyways.  PCT mile 2118.8

PCT mile 2124.6. I stop with a view of canyons and two prominent snow capped peaks, planes from Portland International Airport occasionally fly over head.  The mist burnt off now 10.30 am. in the sun I'm warm, in the trees not quite chilled.  At other nameless stops I saw Mt Hood. A few flip floppers tell me of a couple neat campsites ahead.

My clothes are worn, dirty, socks wet from mist.  In a week a daily shower won't be a luxury, it's required.  For now bandana bathing might happen once a day.  Germaphobics cringe at theses words.  Washing of my hands, ha, may be a towelette after the daily scoop.  Yeah, I cringe at the thought of shaking a hand at home when I know someone doesn't wash their hands yet, out here I give no thought to a fist bump in greeting others.

I can't describe this panoramic view I see right here.  Photo do no justice.  And to boot no cell service.  A hiker rounds the bend exclaiming Mt St Helen's.   A few yards beyond I see a third mountain.

At Indian Springs, a volunteer keeps people moving.  No detours into Eagle Creek.  I pull a dead bird out of the spring.  I debate about topping off my water, though others fetch water as I I write.  I wait 15 minutes then get water.

PCT mile 2128, Wahtum Lake.  I dump dead bird water, I've actually used the Sawyer filter with decomposing critters up stream before but the thought grosses me out.  I take time to swap socks and rise my shirt.  Camping is not allowed here incase a helicopter needs to pick up water for the near by fire.  Its a large enpugh lake i can't see how a scoop would grab a hiker.  I dont question the volunteer or the posted info.  There isn't a hint of smoke in the air.  I haven't seen the group I camped with last night either. 

Just in, 7pm: Noodle came into camp, I mentioned the bird. Her reply was something to the effect that she wish she'd known before she got water there. She heard rumor that a bird was plucked from the source after the fact at that time.

As I hike I listen to Hillsong's Wonder album.  They sing of the wonders of God revealed in nature, mountains, wind, etc.  I miss access to a guitar on this journey.  I suck at playing but so what.

I'm camped at a place I can only describe as 'camp ultra quiet' as two tents are already 'asleep' and it's 5.15 pm.  I'm at PCT mile 2136.2.  PS later on 7pm everyone is up and off in their own world, still really quiet less the crunching of food and a bit of breeze in the tree tops.

I actually went to Teapot Springs hoping for a campsite there however, the terrain is too step and instead of going down hill in hopes of camp able terrain I chose to return here.  GutHookHikes App says this site is for 2, there are 4, 3 with two person tents and myself a one person tent.  I've seen only a hand full of hikers pass.

I accidentally went over 20 miles.  My friend's last night talked of doing only 16.  I kept going as I didn't check water or miles much this afternoon.  Just in, they caught me at 6.30.  Not enough room one turned back to head a few others from continuing.

Along the way, got a few or two of the Eagle Creek Fire.  Just a little smoke in a wooded area.  I won't complain that it's not right for the Forest Service to shut the are area down, it's their call and liability.  I do look forward to seeing this area as I finish Washington in the future.  I'll come back and get this side trail

Note to self: 
Don't hang dry inside the tent, wet sleeping bag, now airing out.
Remember poles make good places to dry socks.
Bungee on back of pack is great for small items.
Look at enough tents with gear inside before purchasing.  If not gear then photos of how people use their tents.  The Soloplex by Zpacks is a great tent however for how I use it, I may have a bit too much gear.  Though my Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is 4 oz heavier, it has more room for the same foot print.  Dori uses the Lunar Solo.

Light begins to filter again through the trees.  I contemplate another dinner.  I know I have more than enough.

What thoughts, what ideas, what can I expand upon.  My feet hurt, given, the shoes are done. What shoes shall I try next time?  I want a wide foot bix. My hips are healed.  My back is strong. I will remember the belly fat is where the hip belt belongs.  I can keep going, hiking wise.  Long days hiking?  Who cares  enjoy the people and the views, miles will come naturally.  What do I look forward to at home?  Family and a few friends.  Getting back to the day to day doesn't sound fun however, I know if it east for that then this wouldn't happen.

What gear would in swap out?  A few bits here and there.  Less junk in the junk bag.  Most of what's there isn't used.  I'll forego a solar panel, Oregon is too green tunnel.  I) opt for a bigger brick (external battery).  I'll leave behind the ham held since one must be more ham than hiker to make it worth the weight.  Get more electronics with the same cord, I've got 3 different cords!  One kind of tape for everything.  I think I've got gorilla tape for repairs, leukotape for the feet, and a special tape for text repairs.  I can't think of anything else.

The key is to simplify, simplify, and simplify. I guess that's the secret to life,  simplify so that the things that mater can happen more often like time with friends and family.

Thoughts from the woods.

Hike on.  Hike Wise.

Day 21,

Wind whipped my tent most of the night.  I woke around red sky time, packed, and sat by the lodge for a whike.  The breakfast buffet well worth the time in the morning.

Got on the trail around 9 am. Caught Noodle and a few other around 11.  I made Ramona Falls by 1.30 PCT mile 2104 ish .  Ramona Falls is the site of a recent tragedy, 2 day hikers lost their lives here, from what I can tell they may have done something they should not have.  This place is supper awesome and mellow.  The falls roll down a steep cascades in dense northwest forest.

Making tracks again.

PCT mile 2116, Salvatiin Spring and tent site, down, down, and up down up then a little vibrato thrown in for good luck, PS let's carved a trail into steep as can be mountain several times.  One of those times led to great view of MT Sandy err Mount  Hood.  The mountain is carved by many forces of water from glaciers to run off.

Crossing Sandy River PCT mile 2104, is the most difficult thing of this area.  Raging at low times, I looked up and down the swath of river bed a football field long.   A bit of drift wood served nicely as a bridge, being careful, I used the trekking poles for balance and made safe way.  The river today but 20 ft wide.

I'm set this eveing with a group of thru-hikers and weekenders.  I'm the deepest in the woods, up close to the spring will be lots of condensation in the morning.  I plan to split the next two days, 28 miles, such that I low mile into Cascade Locks.

With the extra food I carry, I've let one other he thru-hikers I know raid my bag for a meal as she skipped her latest resupply thinking the same as i, that we are doing bigger miles than planned, she thought she had plenty but will squeak into town a might thin.  I'm at the point where I don't care about food, it's in the bag.

Time to write a moment I  the other journal.

Hike on.  Hike Wise.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 20, Mt Hood

I guess for this trip anything under 20 is a nero.  I hit a whopping 17.2 into Timberline Lodge.  What an incredible place.  The hike in had 3 bumps and the last one topped with sand.  The view up here is incredible.  The lodge doesn't mind that were are 1/4 mile from their $200 per night rooms.  I made good time today without worry.  Listened to a variety of music.  Got to hiker camp, dropped my pack, set the tent to dry with my quilt inside.  Then went to the Lodge to hang with hiker friends.  Talk about a class of classes up here.   There is the skier/snowboarder, the tourist, the weekender, and then us the smelly ones long distance hikers.  Ah refreshing.  I writing quickly as it is getting chilly, I just have my light puffy on and the legs to my zips.  Tomorrow, I'll hit the breakfast buffet then hit a 20.  No many camp sites near by and a good chunk of tomorrow is down hill with several spots for water.  With it being chilly, I'm not sweating much so the water carry is less.of a concern.  I do want to hit PCT Days this weekend.

Day 19, breaking 30

PCT mile 2054.6 I sit at the edge of logging territory with a view of Three Finger Jack, the mountain. I scooted around yesterday.  The mountain is awesome, the clear cut forest is nit.  I keep thinking can I clear a 30 miler today?  The terrain looks possible.  Why?  I've come close I the past on this hike but haven't broken that barrier yet.  However as I look at today, Timothy Lake will give me a campsite and water.  Beyond that, nothing, so another 25 plus.  Still good for Mt Hood. 

Woke up to a humid tent and chilly morning.  It's nice that it's chilly, less water is needed.  For a moment I take 2nd breakfast and a packet of drink mix, unknown flavor.  A SoBo just passed moving as if he were made for it.

I play tag with Sasquatch.  Every forest twig snap I look and no Sasquatch.  I keep moving.  I make up games to keep from getting bored with looking a trees, rock, and trails.  If anyone asks what did I see on vacation the short answer is, 'I saw a lot of trees.'  Views are hard to come by.  I am fascinated by how the forest grows.  I see downs becoming life again with old tree stumps supporting a micro forest of life.

PCT mile 2062, Warm Springs  River, I've stopped for lunch and water.  I'm airing out my feet and debated about soaking them but decided not to as the bridge is a log with a hand rail.  Miles are melting fast.  I chose to listen to Petra's 40th Anniversary album.

When I bounce from here, I've got a 600 ft up hill over 2 miles.  From there down hill (ish), nothing is truly down hill, and as far as I want to go for the day.  A fair amount of water lay ahead until the base of Mt Hood.

At the horse camp PCT mile 2072, there is a hiker feed aka trail magic.  I stopped and ate a couple of hotdogs.  A few hikers are in as well, a few I knew a few I did not.

The miles continued to be easy.  I looked for a camp along Timothy Lake however I just saw weekenders at all sites.  I moved on realizing breaking 30 miles was in reach.

After 2076.6 I looked for a place and saw two tents, Pit Stop and Noodle.  Yeah, I caught friends.  We are literally in the deep woods of Mt Hood.  We compare teas,  close call, we carry a random variety.

Night sets in.  I turn to the other journal.  I hope I can write in the dark.  PS I never dried my tent from this morning's condensation.  Yeah, wet tet.

Hike on.  Hike Wise 

Day 18, fire detour

The sound of deer crunching along in the woods behind gave way to a drizzly rain on the brush.  I'd chosen to close the tent doors due to blowing black sand which, despite the screen being closed, coated most everything.  I tossed restlessly.  The tent to tent conversation with Bones lasted until 9pm the night before.  Bones had traveled with Dori and Tripod for quite some time earlier.

I woke to more rain and a bit of condensation before 6.30.  I got up anyways.  Breakfast is at 8.15 so the staff can move the campers out today.  Several hikers occupied sections of the trail and the tiniest bits of flat possible out towards hiker camp beach cove.  At the hiker shack, more new arrivals including Tripod for breakfast.  I didn't stay long after 9.15 as someone relayed to me that Mavrick would soon be on his way and I needed to get to Santium Pass.

I made 4 miles, the short route out of BLYC, in 1 1/2 hours.  Now I wait looking for his black rental car which will reek of hiker when he turns it in.  He's running g some hikers around while he also enjoys the last of his summer break before school begins.  In my waiting I got to talk with a few others going both ways into Sister's and around the fire.  A forest crew checked on the trailhead I stood near.

While I hustled, Mavrick encountered vehicle issues.  I had a wrong number for him so we were out of touch.  After waiting near 2 hours, I threw out my thumb, waited for 1/2 hour with a mix of walking I got a short ride to the next hignway junction where my ride turned the other way.  I waited/walked on.  More vehicles passed then I could count and no ride.

The lifts I've encountered have been in vehicles that may not pass the cleanliness of many.  Then a brand new Soul pulled over.  Inside the very apologetic Mavrick with a spot for one left in his ride, he had two other hikers. 

I'm not miffed, I just got impatient and miffed at myself for not confirming numbers.  I'd walked, hitched maybe 5 miles before reconnecting.

As we glide along the forest zips a narrow road to Olallie Lake.  Dense under brush and cool trees, the clouds hang low today.

PCT mile 2046, Jude Lake, I chose to hike out of Olallie as I got there.  I thanked Mavrick and the others who were with him.  Also arriving were JC and his wife along with another couple.  That whole group chose to stay.  For some reason I wanted away from roads and vehicles.  The 4 trail miles slipped by.  I'm camped next to my 3rd Father Daughter combo of this hike.  Keep it up Dads.  She's just a dusted of high school boarding school and wanted to spend time with him before college.

My tentative plan is to get to the Lodge on Mount Hood in time for the breakfast buffet.  Ideally, the night before.  Mt Hood isn't but now 47 miles a head two 20 plus and I'm golden and eating phatt.

Seems cold tonight yet no clouds may be cold but so what I don't have to deal.with that darn black sand blowing.

Hike on Hike wise 

Day 17, rest

Rain burst on to the scene last last night.  I woke, fumbled with the tent door before getting it right.  Woke to a serene scene with four tents on the beach.  The whole area covered in wet for a while as mist rose from the lake, burning off by 10 am.

Summer camp, okay, I'm not participating.  The guys I hiked with got out after breakfast.  I hung with the other hikers that came through.  I chilled all day. My ride came through the to confirm arrangements for tomorrow.

I've decided to carry 6 days of food.  Hit and blast through to Mt Hood so I can get breakfast there.  I want to bounce my resupply forward to Cascade Locks.  I may chose to hike a little of Washington but, I haven't decided.  I'll choose at Cascade Locks.

Tomorrow break camp.  Eat breakfast.  Hike to the Hwy by noon.  Chill at Olallie before hiking on.

Hike On.  Hike Wise.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 16, summer camp

A spitting of rain last night and gone in the morning at crows kaw.  I caught Double D and Give a Hoot at the Observatory on 242.  This observatory is worth driving to if in the area as it sights all the mountains in the area.

We hiked up over Little Belknap Mountain where I took a break and they moved on.  I'd catch them again later on Mt Washington.  The lava fields were warm from the day before, not fun.  I'm getting tired of hiking through burnt forest on lava beds or lava rock.  The tread is a bit sandy.

Had the forest on Mt Washington not burned a few years back, there would not be any views.  We got to the trail split into Big Lake Youth Camp before 11.30 and made it in by lunch easily.  We checked in at the office, following the blue signs.  Lunch, veggie wraps and all the juice one could drink.  We sat outside with some of the staff.  Lunch wasn't calorie dense, it was nutrious.

Inside the hall, other staff busted, serving the teens.  There are about 100 teens at this 7th Day Adventist facility.  I heard speed boats dragging tubes, group activities of different kinds happening, and other things going on.

The hiker camp is about 1/4 mile out on the beach.  They do have good food, good facilities, and a nice hiker hut under construction.  Give a Hoot is cleaning out hi he hiker box again.  I haven't dumped my food in there yet.  I'll do so tomorrow.  I weep knowing I'm putting 5 days of food in there.  I arrived here with 3 days and arrived little.

Why did I plan 15's and not 20's?  Honestly I did not know how easy Oregon was to hike.  I've had days of 25 and low of 12.  12's are nice nero days, like today.  I can clean up, rest up, and chill with others.  If I get back into 15's I'll make Cascade Locks in a week and in time for PCT Days.  PCT Days is not like Trail Days of the AT, everyone says it's mellow and chill, low stress.

Thunder rips open above, no rain, not hot not warm, somewhere inbetween.

I'll send this now since dinner is soon and I'll head to beach camp shortly after.

day 15, Lava what?

PCT mile 1966, I sit at a valley over look before me is a mountain with a double peak of black and red volcanic stone, inbetween forest bisected by a meadow lush green fed by a meandering stream.  I'm about 6 miles into a 20 mile day, moving is slow, hips and heels ache yet, I'm in love with the sweet smell of the wildflowers I encountered around the southern sisters peak.  Sorry I didn't know the true name of this peak.

SoBo's mix with NoBo's who mix with weekenders in this beautiful region.  Unless we break at the same areas the conversations tend to be an exchange of grunts.  I've counted 20 plus SoBo's in the last 36 hours.  I ponder how many NoBo's they've counted?  I avoided Elk Lake detour as I heard it was another vortex of nero and zeros.

Ah the smell of wildflowers is a delight.

2pm at PCT mile 1975.5. I met Badger, the author of Appalachian Trials, around another bend an hour ago.  I just finished a brutal uphill switchback series through a bbq of red stone.  The trail today ales us though the lava fields of the Willamette region.  Quit stunning how the trail weaves in and out of forest however, there are areas where one must be in the bbq.

Badger didn't hang long. He needed miles.  I did note he's traveling light.  The most popular SoBo pack is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa which handles 20 lbs and not much more.  He, like many, SoBo's move easily.  I really need to rethink my kit when I get home, ditch the extras I like so I can just move.

I hear thunder to my south.  I have 4 1/2 miles left on today.  Thunder as of late hasn't produced rain, just noise.

There's been a few areas I've sat with my own thoughts without care of writing them down.

 I passed some more incredible scenery along the way, in and out of lava fields and finally into the forest.  Grateful to be in the forest again with green trees, there wasn't much forest duff to walk on like previous days.  The trail remained sand as it had been for the last 20 plus miles.

I arrived into Lava Lake Camp, PCT mile 1980.1 after 20 some miles today.  I wanted to get here early so I could go for a dip in the lake.  Ha! sign says "Swimmers Itch, don't swim."  Now I wish I'd stayed at Matias Lake Near PCT mile 1977.  Only a scant 3 miles behind.

When I walked up I asked someone if there were other hikers.  He lead me over to a couple with a Subaru and 2 NoBo's.  The couple had just wrapped up their signs as they ran out of food and but a few cokes left.  Game I was.  A farther/daughter sat near by.  They were getting g off trail as he feet were messed up with blisters.  That's not away to start backpacking.  I'm glad he knew right so she will enter the hobby with him later.  The NoBo's took off after a few minutes.

I'm set up in the same area, to lazy to return to a campsite closer to the trail.  Because I'm so far out, I doubt I'll see anyone else today.

A hot meal waits of turkey tetrazzini and leftover beef jerky.  Ah, now a relaxing evening with a few crows and the occasional mosquitoe.  It's threatening rain.  I'll leave one door on the tent closed just incase.

I'll hike for BLYC in the morning before the heat hits the lava beds that I'm  bit worried on,  a 13 mile water carry.  This length of water carry is nothing to me now except my water source is contaminated with duck poop baddies.  At BLYC I'll grab a zero, try to find a ride around the fire, and wash gear like bottles and my spoon.

Hike on.  Hike wise.

Day 14, just moving

I'm at Horseshoe Lake taking a break for water and to rest my feet a few.  It's just after 10 am.  I've come 9 miles since 7 am.  I smell fresh smoke in the air.  The weather frequencies aren't giving any info on the fires in this region.  I'm hoping to catch something on FM radio later. The terrain this morning seems flat with bumps.  Lots of pond like lakes.  Not much is on my mind other than making miles, I want to go another 11 or 12 today.

I've seen quite a few of the old steel diamond embossed PCT markers today.  Many are rusted and being consumed by the trees they were nailed to decades ago.  Typically the ones on the north side of a tree are in better shape.

I just had a skunk cross the trail near by.  I wonder who stinks more, me or the skunk?

1.30 at PCT mile 1948.  I found a nice cold stream to sit at for a bit.  In the next 8 miles I have a 1000nft climb which will come over a 2 mile segment.  This water is refreshing me for that climb.

I haven't smelt smoke for a long time.  The sky is blue with a few clouds above.  The trees, ponds, and trail bits are fading into one blur.  I hike alone today.  One blister morphed into an irritating callus.  The hips are cleaned up, now.

I kept going.  The 1,000 foot climb was a bear.  There wasn't much of a view with the smokey haze.  I got down to Sister's Mirror Lake and saw one camp site which was occupied by a Scout troop.

I pushed on.  Up another rise, but 200 feet, I came I to a Lamar Valley like place, wide and open.  On one side the first Sister dominated the landscape with a devilish rocky slope of lava.

I pushed on.  I came to my first water in a while that was not a lake or pond.  I set down here at PCT mile 1959.6 a flowing seasonal stream with bugs.

I needed the rest. Even before fetching water I set my tent to fend off the bugs, tossing in the pack.

I think I'll be alone t his site tonight but, who knows.  The detour to Elk Lake drew many according to the SoBo's.

I made hot licorice tea to supplement my supper of cold soak sweet and sour mountain house.

Today's mileage: I began alone 1931 and finished at 1959.6, so just under 29 miles.  Not bad since I wasn't keeping up with anyone.  Tired and sore yes, tomorrow should be short across the Obsidian preservation area and into Lava Camp at PCT mile 1980, 20 miles.

The creek babbles, the mosquitoes hum, hum, I hope I snore.

Day 13, 2nd marathon

I got up and moved before 7pm. Dori moved out with me.  I lost her at the PCT junction.  I caught up to Tripod just after that.  The Forest melted under foot.  Around noon thirty I came upon Give a Hoot around my mile 12.  From then I kept up with him through reforest burnt areas full of colour.  We came up to several of the old embossed PCT signs rusting in the trees.

We came up to Irish Lake which did not make the swimming grade and held annoying amounts of mosquitoes.  We moved on to the next lake, Braham Lake at PCT mile 1930.7.

Smoke from the fires of Oregon decorate the air this evening.  A little haze and a little scent.  The sky dances with colour now.

The thing with big miles, my brain goes mush for writing.  I have 4, minus 1, days worth of food with me.  I want to hit Lava Camp in three days so I can go through the lava fields early.

Hike on, Hike wise..

Monday, August 07, 2017

Day 12, Shelter Cove

A day in the life of hiker trash, nah, I wont go I to the derails. Some habits of this clan would disturb some greatly.  Other habits, though would make one think why did humanity ever leave this way of life.

Waking up with the sun to move is one of the most exciting things we do.  Some prefer a lazier way to start while heating water to make coffee.  Some prefer to pack and go, to be on the trail within minutes of waking.

Bedding down is another ritual.  Some will hike from sun up to sun down, eating/drinking along the way.  Others, like myself, prefer to look for a spot to set down an hour before sun down and prepare a meal.

Water gathering can take place at streams, springs, and ponds.  Most hikers have the Sawyer water filter that screws onto many popular drink bottles and some hydration reservoirs like the Platypus brand.  We dip and go, sometimes chill and eat if the bugs aren't bothersome.  I have yet to see the bulky, hosed monsters outfitters want to sell a novice.  Those monsters are heavy, inconvient, and can break.  A few daring hikers chose not to filter, preferring to let nature be.

In town, or at resorts like the one I'm at today, humanity shows up.  For instance at the power strip, one could have a brand new iPhone or Sony camera or multi-cell battery pack, yet none is touched except to make room for one more.  If one is moved, one makes sure that the disturbed remains in the charging mode.

When a hiker gets a box from the gods, err bounce box or resupply, the hiker will sort what's needed or desired.  Once the sorting is finished, the hiker will turn the remains to others.  Hiker boxes at that moment can be god sent.  I've witnessed some hikers resupply right from others leftovers and others turn their nose up at what is left.  Where one hiker sees trash other find gold.

Some will reuse a zip lock bag till it disintegrates.  Funny how we won't reuse one over and over at home.  Even a disposable water bottle will see use until the plastic shows a lot of wear.

Laundry, half a dozen hikers won't fill a full load.  After a load is done then the random who belongs to this article begins.  So far I've managed to keep my socks.  Speaking of laundry, a hiker can be viewed wearing a trash bag skirt, rain gear, or, gulp, hiker box finds.

Picnic tables load and unload with various conversations from water reports, favorite places, and non-table talk including best practices when bitty things are around.  The conversations we have reveal more about a person than years of knowing then could otherwise.  One question I like asking about is  favorite moments on the trail.  I've heard stories of how a days sucked and all of a sudden something cool happened and other times something out of the ordinary shows up to make a good day better.

Another conversation starter is 'how did you get your trail name?' Many this year give insight to the awesomeness of the hike and something fun about the human condition.   I haven't heard an HR inappropriate name yet, and if so it's been modified.  Names like Fluffy Soup - she added to much water to her mash potatoes, Give a Hoot - he kept picking up trash a long the trail, Double - who ordered 2 of several items off the menu, Rubber Ball - who during a shake down did not want to give up a rubber ball.  Trail Names add to the experience of the experience.  It's one way that shapes a hiker and allows them to become whom they want to be.  Some build upon their personalities like Tripod a photographer by trade.

Several reasons I ask these questions as send make these observations is to help folk understand this subculture.  I'll admit this is not a subculture for very many outdoor enthusiasts.  We stink, day after day.  We do things that others would consider counter cultural like eating with very dirty hands, showing dirty feet that even pedicure folks would triple charge for.

Another reason I ask questions of the hikers is from personal experience.  I've re-entered society several times from extreme events of this nature.  I know not many want to hear the details.  Elevator pitched stories can be too long for some audiences.  A quick 3 sentence story is about right for most.  I know my own stores can range into paragraphs.  Many I've met have no less than 1 1/2 months left of hiking to finsh Washington and flop back to the Serras.  For some they will not be able to do so.  Several of the hikers I know are on visas with time lines.  

Hiker stories.
For me today, I'm chillin.  I'll head off tomorrow.  The water reports show good water moving forward and easy miles.

Hike on. Hike Wise.