Thursday, August 16, 2018
Tahoe CA/NV is more than a blue patch at the bend of California/ Nevada border. It's beyond a rich person's playground and the middle class get-away. The area boasts of workd class mountain biking and hiking. It's the hiking for which I returned. The Tahoe Rim Trail encircles the lake, not but once coming within a quarter of a mile to the blue gem from rugged mountains of the Sierra's from the Desolation Wilderness 15 miles out.
I've kept quiet about this hike as I needed to focus more on personal writing and reflections. A quick synapse of this hike follows.
I arrived early a weekago Tuesday, got my thru-hiker permit from the local forest service office. I made the Spooner Summit trailhead and was hiking by 3pm. Within 1/4 mile I'd superman'd over a pinecone the size of a softball while trying to kick it. I lay as a beetle for a moment before assessing the damage. Right knee and left elbow bleeding but tape able. Bleeding stoped after taping. Left shoulder aching. I'd evaluate all by Kingsbury Grade to see if I stay or go. The lake was encased in smoke haze at South Camp Mountain so I pushed on. I ended with a 7 mile day.
Day 2, I hit the Fox & Hound in Kingsbury for breakfast. The previous injuries healing, shoulder be sore and I didn't sleep much on that side. I made a 20 plus mile day so I could camp near Armstrong Pass.
Day 3, the smoke begins to clear, I drop Echo Chalet and into Desolation Wilderness. I spend a while hanging with a variety of hikers at Echo before heading out. I loved seeing this area without sun in my eyes as it was in 2016. I pushed over to Dick's Lake ending the day with a mentally brutal climb/descend. Went for a swim and got some miscellaneous food from another couple who were getting off a trail the next day. In this region several trails cross.
Day 4 began in the middle of the night with another group of campers getting the full furry of the other hikers I camped next to. The other group lit a campfire. Fires in California and especially the Desolation Wilderness are banded. I didn't check the coals the next morning, instead I made miles. I also got a couple of headlamps in my face from even later arrivals to this area.
Day 4 itself flew by. Err correction, I followed the sunrise for photos then came back a mile to the TRT. I had a 10 mile water carry as two sources were either dry or unusable for other reasons. At Richardson Lake met a couple of other hikers I'd tag with for the rest of the day. Stayed at an overlook of Blackwood Creek with one of them. Another 20 plus day.
Day 5, Made the 13 odd miles into Tahoe City in under 4 hours. Hung out, tried to get a walk in spot at the State Park Campground without luck. Ate an over priced pizza, resupplied, and forgot to recharge my phone. Hiked out of TC at 4pm. Made it a mile past Painted Rocks. I left town with 1 gallon of water. I was entering the dry Northwest side.
Day 6, One of the hikers I met the 2 days before Nero'd in TC and cached water for us at Brockway trailhead. This ment I could push miles without taking the chance of the science experiment known as Watson Lake. I crushed the miles like cans. This is the day I'd dreaded on this trek and in 2016. I made Mud Lake and a spring that came after it with a little energyto spare. I wanted to camp beyond and tried but could not see anything camp able for several miles after going 1 mile or more from the spring past Mud Lake. I ended the dy with over 25 trail miles, 27 with the added. I did not jump into Mud Lake for how shallow it is.
Day 7 I forced myself to nero into Mt Rose Campground. Going over Brockway, Relay Peak, and into Mt Rose area looked vastly different without snow and ice. Sparse on the tree cover, grand on the views, also easy on the feet. At the campground, I walked arund looking for a bucket. I found a group with a large stainless steel basin. I did hiker laundry for the first time in seemly ages. The socks and briefs felt amazing the next day. That evening it rained. After retreating to the tent, I got so hungry when the rain lightened I bugged out to the bear box. Hunched over I sat inside with the canister stove outside to boil water. 15 to 30 minutes later the rain stopped. I enjoyed the view of Reno from my campsite that night.
Day 8 another mile crusher. This next stretch was again sketchy with water info. Some mis-info had made its way around about one of the sources. I carried out a gallon so I wouldn't need to filter from good sources within my first 5 miles. I made good time for the first half of the day then I hit Twin Lakes, still with water in them. My day slowed. I made Marlette Campground in NV State Park around 1:30. This is where the mis-info was centered. The pump is out of action some had said it wokred with poor results. I also checked a near by spring which also was dry. I took photos and posted it where the bad info orginated. I made the drop into North Canyon CG an odd hour or two larer while enjoying views of Lake Tahoe in the distance and Marlette Lake in the foreground. I had to set camp else I'd hike on. NCCG had water. I rounded this day out with just over 20 miles. I had a down hill run to my car but, I was over a day a head of schedule so slowing down was a requirement. Slowing down when I'm in thru-hiker mode is painful. There is something enticing about making miles in the mornings and evenings when the land comes alive.
Day 9, I make my way up to the ridge, trying to beat the sunrise. I wanted to see the colors of morning over Tahoe. The descent into Spooner does not provide many opportunities for big vistas. My chug is now a blend of Carnation instant vanilla breakfast and Starbucks instant. I sit at last big vista of the TRT for over an hour just thinking of many different things. These are the things I wanted my attention to be on, personal stuff so I am not sharing.
What I can say is I want to try to integrate a former way of life into what my life is about now. How or what that is going to look like I don't know. Throughout this particular hike one of my old roommates made contact with me. He is dropping by in late September. I want to see how he will or has done the same. It'll also be good to see him and his family since it's been 15 odd years.
The rest of the 9th day, I got to the car, stashed a jug of water for the hiker a day behind me so she didn't need to go a mile of trail for awful water of Spooner Lake. She drew water from resources I'd posted which lessened ber water carry. Without those updates from the last known viable source to where I'd stayedis about 22 miles.
I drove into Tahoe City, enjoyed a pizza at a different spot, hung out for a while at the only coffee shop. Drove up to Kingsbeach to the Hostel. This is a nice place, quiet in nature with a blend of travelers, very home like.
Tomorrow the big drive home.
Some fast stats
3 1/2 days of hiking
4 20 mile days
2 25 mile days
1 day with any kind of sky moisture
2 days with unbearable smoke haze (and folks wonder why I hate campfires <rant withheld>)
3 days with 12 plus miles of waterless stretches
2 days where my attitude sunk. Thankfully I had some tunes on my phone as I'd left the mp3 player at home.
1 day with injuries that heald during the hike. Actually 2 but, the other superman though a knee skinner amounted to nothing.
I know this is a long post. Thanks for reading through it
Hike on. Hike wise.
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Took the slow boat out of Stehekin yesterday. The Stehekin Bakery is worth the trip but, maybe not the expense. I got a chunk of grass in the RV Park for the night, and rode 4 different buses back to my friend's place in Seattle. I took my first shower in a week at the RV Park. Note to self: bring a pack towell larger than a bandana next trip and a sliver of soap.
Along the way I kept thinking, searching, and in general wondering did I make the right choice to bail a second time? The PCT Association hasn't posted a route around the fire north of Highway 20/Rainy Pass. A thru-hiker who's familiar with the area plotted a route but, it added 3 days on his pace which made for 5 extra for me. Another hiker I know made it past the area before the closure at Rainy Pass went into effect. The PCT Association reports a fire south of White Pass in the Goat Rocks area. A detour is available for that one. Getting to White Pass to come north to Snoqualmie Pass or vice versa is an intense undertaking for the most part. Grief, Washington is burning this year.
Instead of dropping eight days of food in the hiker box, I've chosen to take it with me. That's a bit of stubbornness in me. I don't mind dropping a day or two but, eight is a bit much. I can use most of this on weekend hikes.
I'm toying with several ideas. One is the idea of driving to California for a short section but, with essentially 3 weeks left that doesn't provide much more than 140 miles of hiking. Another, I could squeeze the TRT in and not worry about getting back to the car, however one needs a permit just to enter the Desolation Wilderness. I did the DW in one day last time. The permits are not available at the trailheads if you have any overnight gear with you. With the shape I'm in the TRT is less than 10 days hiking. Parking at Spooner Summit would give me a strong resupply option in Tahoe City. Or, I could go do a fifty mile loop I've wanted to do in the Uinta's for a while. The loop is part of the Yellowstone creek drainage above Duchesne.
My head is a swirl with conflicting ideas for the rest of this time off. I know, one step at a time, examine one avenue at a time, be logcal and off rocker at the same time. Returning to work a week or so early is a strong, slightly less desirable, possibility.
My off trail perspective definitely has taken a different shape as to how people look at hikers. City folks look at me (hiker trash) like homeless yet, when in places where hikers are the norm we attract a whole different kind of attention, people want to know where, how long (miles/days), and any interesting tidbits. I'm still trying to shake off a comment I heard a passerby made to his friends last night as I sat at the RV Park. As a side note, I was inside the RV Park's fence, paid, and I typically hang my bandana to dry off my tent's peak. In midsentence, not even at a logical departure point, he gave a gruff word implying I was homeless. I barked out, "not homeless, I'm hiker." I've had too many stares in the cities that I might be homeless. Folks please don't pass judgement on the down and out or the unusual traveler. I pack my vacation gear accordingly to the conditions I anticipate. You do the same. Is this our normal day to day's? For a few yes, for others, far from so. I can't be sorry I smell a bit, I try to clean up the best I can. My clothes by virtue of the trail life will become permanently dirty. I look for showers every town stop I get. I am harmless. How many times I've longed for someone, this trip, in the city, to ask me my story. If you do pass judgement, please, check yourself with this, 'do I know their story?'
I need another cup of real coffee.
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Even the best of plans have inherent holes. I looked for hiker holes before I left. Holes of water crossings, water availability, miles I should not do, and resupply. I also looked at places I could get off trail if needed.
I missed a few of these holes. I hadn't planned on such a wet trail in places. That is something that just happens. What may be dry in one year may be under water the next. A creek crossing early in the morning and hopping rocks is a possibility may be knee deep in the afternoon.
I also didn't know about the over growth. I've never hiked in the Pacific Northwest. Ferns and other plants push over the trail hiding tripping hazards. Sometimes the overgrowth is so thick it takes effort to push through. If it's wet, it gets miserable being soaked through. Thankfully, I had hot afternoons to dry out.
One of the hazards I plan for but, is hard to predict is fire. Fire danger gets higher as the days get hotter and drier. The last 5 years there is a trend for warmer hotter summers. when I looked into the 15 year average for Washington, 76 degrees is the norm. In the last five years 80 plus is the trend. On my web page, I have a link to one of the quickest fire tracking sites I've found, if you know of another please leave ot in the comments. Most of the word on fires comes from word of mouth on the trail. Cell services is nonexistent along PCT Washington. The Park Rangers are quick to find out info from hikers to update resources in this region.
I will also look into other bailout options next year as there were lots of weekenders in areas that are not otherwise seen. Side trails like Suiattle Junction or Kennedy Creek have access points. Millcreek access however is abandoned. These side trails may or may not be favorable but when the blow up happens as Southbow did yesterday afternoon, retreating may be the better option.
I know I can hike 15 to 20 miles per Uinta weekend day for my local backpacking. On the thru-hikes I am not constrained to driving to/fro the trail therefore I use 20 mile as the planned standard day. Days are then limited by terrain, like Milcreek which makes it hard or Ollaie (Oregon) which made it easy.
Other than that pack weight is a consideration, I hike farther with a lighter pack than heavy. The food and water makes a difference. Psychological hiking a 20 is hard on a full food bag of 5 days. With 2 or 3 days I can cover 25 if I keep hiking all day without many breaks.
The unknown, ugh, what if I have to bailout. I did look for a few options but, did not secure anything in hard copy. My Dad helped greatly with this bailout to Chelan to Seattle. He did the hard digging when I left him a voicemail. Now comes the execution of it. If I were to hard copy plan every bailout there wouldn't be time to plan the hike.
Next year, I'll have other options available in case I want to skip around. I've left gear at a friend's place so I need to retrieve it, otherwise I might skip to the Sierra's. Again a contingency plan left unplanned.
Gear knowns and unknowns, I'm glad for the larger tent to spread out in however the freestanding will give me options to pitch on solid rock or sandy environments. The Sawyer filter needs the zippered water bags so that I can leave it attached. Rhe smartwater bottle approach worms but does require one to unscrew the filter regularly. This action lead me to over tightening the fliter too many times thus shreeding one gasket. I do carry Aqua Mira drops to chemically treat my water. Aqua Mira takes a few minutes to activate and then more time to make the water safe to drink. Nothing tastest better than ice cold mountain stream water.
Injury unknowns, I know I had a stride problem that lead to tendonitis in my right knee. I took gym time to correct this issue. No knee pains this time. Also the gym time made getting up Mt Olympus strides easier. No, I'm not hiking that trail when I get home. I did have a few blister on the feet that aways happen regardless of shoe and sock choice. The blisters were worse with the stride issue.
Three things to keep in mind. One have another experienced (fill in the blank, in my case long distance hiker) look over the plan for holes. They may spot something you missed. Two, don't skip on the small luxury of water/camp shoes. They may weigh ounces but, its worth not hiking 20 miles in wet shoes. Three, drink up. Have a main and secondary water source to keep you going. And a bonus, stay friendly. The individuals I met along the way made this journey a lot more enjoyable.
Shortly I'll be on the ferry to Chelan.
Hike on. Hike wise.
I planned to stay at the Dinsmore's Hiker Haven in Baring. Andrea passed away earlier this year after being diagnosed with an agressive cancer at the end of last year's NoBo season. Jerry enjoys the hiker stories and putting up hikers in his huge yard.
Some of us headed to Cascadia Inn for a late breakfast which meant we needed to fend for ourselves first breakfast. Note to self, send percolator coffee pot, a boil on hot plate kind. It took a bit of ingenuity to make coffee with a broken coffee pot.
Days off are needed to rest the sore muscles encountered during the first long week of miles. I hit 14, 20, 21.5, and 17.5 to clear the section between Snoqualmie and Steven's Pass. Had some huge ups and downs. This is the most hiked section by locals in Washington. The locals take the detours and do low miles. I'd say to the youth, make the thru-hike, note which side trails catch interest, and come back later.
My attitude did recover from the prevous frustrations. Still, I should have... that phrase is a killer for the attitude all around. I need to remember to embrace the lessons of the trail daily with gratitude and thanksgiving even during these weird times.
Looking a head, this next section has more ups and downs but not as rugged. The Sobo's say the trail however is more over grown. Temps are climbing back into the low 90's. This is one hot year.
I head out after a good day off in the morning.
This afternoon after sorting my food a second time, I tuned a guitar and played a bit in the cool of the shade.
Around 6 new hikers, the fast Nobo's showed up. More stories of going around. Someone took pizza orders, surprisingly for a small town it's good.
More conversation rolls. I need to put a final charge on my phone before bed.
Hike On. Hike Wise.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
I did not write a daily blog for this leg of my journey as I was unsure of power outlets available in Stehekin. If I was not able to recharge my phone, I would loose a major navigational aid, the Guthook's Guide app that uses the phone's GPS to put me in precise locations. I do carry the HalfMile paper maps of the PCT. The convenience of the app helped me as I am a landmark hiker, meaning I like to hike from landmark to landmark. My powerbank battery aka brick would have given me the charge I needed from here to Hart's Pass.
I'm getting off the PCT again this time not for issues of self. I am sure by now you have heard on the news there is a wild fire north of highway 20. I am making the choiceto bail here as it is "easier" to get to Stehekin in the future than to Rainy Pass on highway 20.
There is more to leaving the trail than hitchhiking. Stehekin is off the grid and off the highway system. I am looking at options now to get into Seattle. One step at a time, one location at a time. I'm trying to avoid hotels but, if I must, I will.
I did say the adventure is in the unknown. This journey definitely has plenty of unknowns.
Getting out of Hiker Haven/the Dinsmore's took about 45 minutes of effort. It's a highway hitch of 35 miles. Staying at the hostel is worthwhile and Mr Dinsmore is an awesome character. The resupply options are limited on his side of the pass. If I were to redo that section, find a hotel or stay at the KOA in Levenworth. The fellow who pucked me up did so because of the PCT hiker sign.
I climbed out of Steven's Pass motivated, not by miles, but by flies and mosquitoes. Vahala Lake is a redo day hike, if anyone goes to that area, after that not much else to see without overnights. Depending on the resource I eithe did a 25 or 27 mile day. Guthook and HalfMile are out of sync.
The next day came with some views and more miles. I can't recall amything worthy of note except I will forever hate ferns as they hide the trail tread and I did a lot of tripping. Also ferns like to grow everywhere in this State. The worst of the ferns come with step switch backs. Wait this is the day I encountered what the Sobo's called the bog which gave rise to near half a mile of wet to fooded trail. I'd picked up some flip flops which helped keep my feet from slipping and my shoes dry while my feet froze in the snow melt running throught the dense forest.
My day coming out of the Kennedy Creek area took a slogging, brushy, wet 6 mile up hill that took 5 hours. I topped out at Fire Creek Pass to the land of snowfields and beauty. I chose not to take a dip in Mica Lake, which is still 90% covered in ice as i had 14 more miles to hike includ8 g the 12 odd mile traverse of Millcreek. Millcreek not the polite hiking area outside of SLC, rather imagine 8 miles of switch backs from Fire Creek Pass to the bottom anf 5 miles up the otherside. 60 odd switchback which is a kin to hell.
On top I traversed to Molly Vista camp which redeems the hellish switchbacks. Molly Vista ranks in the top 5 campsites ever bucking South Moutain on the TRT for the number one spot. I coud see up the Suiattle Creek drainages, many moutain peaks, and a colum of smoke. Tha colum ended up being a smoky illegal campfire per a hiker I met the following day.
The next day's hike was more switchbacks through the Suiattle rea but, not covered in ferns. Did I tell you how I'll forever hate ferns? The day passed quickly and I made 20 miles by 4 pm. I routed through some incredible basins akin to Broad's Fork BCC but, way more open and a lot more late snow. The final push came with 500ft up that I convinced myself was only 300. The campsite in another large open basin.
The final hiking day, I aimed for High Bridge Ranger Station by 4, which became 3, and ended with as soon as possible. I missed the 12:30 bus by 6 minutes, bawh! This miss lead to other hiker conversations.
The bus stops by the Stehekin Bakery which is a must do as the pasteries are amazing else I'm that hunger focused after 107 miles in 4 1/2 days. Days filled with highs on mountain passes than lows. I hear the stretch I just did is rougher overall than all of the Sierra's. I will admit I pushe myself hard but, did I tell you flies and mosquitoes are great motivational speakers? They encouraged me to move the first two days and the next two days were motivated more by water sources and campsite selections. Ending the day on a mountain top is also a great motivation for one more...
I made quick miles into Stehekin. Missed shower hours but, the lake is wonderfully refreshing. At the most delicious sweet roll ever or was that the miles talking instead? Got an over priced burger but, look at the map and you'll see why it's expensive, no highway or power to this town.
Today's been chilling, looking for info to get off the trail, and being interviewed by one of the Park Service's staff as there are two strikes (lightning) to the south that are being monitored. So far there isn't any closures issed there, correction a Sobo just told me they are not letting anyone leave tonight. Well call me a marshmallow in a s'more, this trek is far from story-less.
I hope this isn't too long to bounce if so I'll share again later.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Into Steven's Pass
The sky filled with stars, the moon at my back. I watched Casiopia rise and set. Ah star gazing.
Made a quick exit, on the trail by 6:15. I enjoyed the views going up and down into the next area.
Met a group of young men at one of the lakes. My standard greeting for groups of youth is, "What troop are you with?" One will shout it back. I'll respond with my BSA Council, Troop number, and the year I made Eagle Scout. It is good to see them out here, young men with adult males. This is what the politicians and Social Justice Warriors miss, boys need role models to develope into thriving members of society as individauls and to see the interdependence of society theough a variety of skills and more. They need mature men to help them with tough questions like hormonal changes, how to deal with bullies and tough situations, how treat others right, and a few other guy only stuff. It's not about privilege or right, it's an inherent need and part of the development into maturity. If you are associated with a fraternal order, civic group, or religious organization that has a BSA troop please step up and volunteer. I am pround to be an Eagle but, ashamed of what the organization has become. I welcome the conversation if you want.
I hit my major climbs and descents before 1 pm. After I had some 600ft climbs to conquer. I sit now at a lake in between these two 600's. The next one takes me into Steven's Pass ski area.
I'm looking forward to clean socks by day's end at the Dinsmore's. I here Jerry is a great host and hikers keep him well blessed.
Petra's Road to Zion is today's brain worm. I actually know the whole song, for once.
How about all those blog posts? Yes, I arrived at Steven's Pass ski area. I've never been so thankful to see ski lifts. No Snowbird this does not mean you can expand into my favorite LCC side canyon...
Time to celebrate Pioneer Day non-LDS style with a pie and a beer or at least a beer.
I got my resupply from the Lodge. Sat outside for a bit then hitched to Dinsmore's. For over 10 years Dinsmore's have put hikers up on their property in a tiny community called Baring, about 15 miles off trail. Baring nor Skykomish is the place to resupply.
No one was around when I arrived but another hiker. I helped myself to a shower out back and in my laundry in the hiker hut. About an hour later the neighbor who lives in an RV on the property showed up. I was good to set my tent up any where.
I sat down to work on food. I haven't eaten very much and carrying the extra weight is tiresome. This next leg is 100 miles. I figure 5 to 6 days. I'm keeping most of te he ProBars. Getting rid of oatmeal and Cliff Bar. Keeping the comfort food and grabbing Ramen from the hiker box. I hate tosing away food but, when I walked in here with enough leftovers to go 4 more days, I needed to do something. I did grab canisters from the hiker box to fix dinner. I used up the dregs of other's. Hiker box find added to my
Eventually the others came back from dinner in Skykomish. I hung in the dorm until after 9 swapping stories of the trail. They tell me this next section has a bunch of brush and brutal ups and downs. I described my ups and downs. Craig's PCT Planner settled the elevation debate. I'll have it easy. They're in for some major climbs.
We moved the conversation outside to the fire pit. Jerry joined us bringing out hot dogs.
Hike on. Hike Wise.
Dragging tail this morning I didn't leave until 7. The others also were a bit late. For me this is day 3 when the inventory of aches and pain sound off. My right knee bemoams a bit but everything else is clear.
Before I stopped for water and whike chug (instant coffee in cold water) was half finished, I heard a sound accompanied by a moose brown butt. The butt stopped but 25 yards from me. I stared eye to eye with a down hilling black bear. He was putting some distance between us. I snaped a photo but like anyother creature spooked in the woods, usesless image.
Tom Petty's song Let's roll another joint us my brain worm again and I don't even know the whole song. My words Let's roll another join [ankle], hike another mile, swat a thousand mosquitoes, and enjoy another view...
Let's hike, 16 miles more today. PS had a doe in camp again this morning too.
Cathedral Rock Pass, just after 1pm, most of the morning's been hiking towards this stone monolith. An easy hike up from Deep Lake. I've met twice the number of Sobo's today than all of yesterday. I must be in between town bubbles. I take quick breaks often and seek shade for my sit downs. Here's my view now.
Either 8 or 12 more miles today. I hear both of my choices are a buzz.
Rounding out Cathedral Rock I heard a crashing stream. After a bit I found my way into ice cold mountain refreshment.
I've named my pack 'the food bag' as 50% of my weight is food. I'm not eating planned. I planned 2lbs per day and eating less than half. When I get to Stevens Pass I'll drop 3 days or more of my leftovers. Sad to be but, I'm tired of carrying this weight.
Well my feet were dry until Cascading Stream. I leave that there except for it was very rush-freshing. Walked until my next camp with wet shoes. If I get a chance to grab some Uglies (Crocks) I am. Stream crossings I hadn't planned on.
A couple mile later I called out my mantra to remind myself who I am. A new brain worm entered, I don't know who sings "tell me once again who I am to you" that kicked in. If ever there is a reason to memorize whole songs, brain worms are excellent reasond. Besides Paul tells one of the churches to sing psalms and holy hymns to one another.
I began to run into Sobo's shortly after that crossing. One called Snow Master mentioned she put on flip flops for another crossing. I found a solo teva. Rushed and hollered back to her, it's not her's. So out it's coming with me.
Around Deception creek met a Londoner. Sat and chatted a bit. Funny, he wore full sleves told me his name but promptly forgot it. He said he's always cold.
Met a few others who were doing 20 plus out of Steven's. I made Deception Lake before 7. Feeling good but, with wet feet I called it a day to clean up. Everyone talks of this place being riddled with hellish mosquitoes, I find the tolerable. Got the head net and sleves but not a worry. Four weeke ders are near by. Still early at 7:45 for Sobo's to drop in.
Dinner is ready, time to do the Uinta pace while I eat.
PS aches and pain inventory, minor. A few small blisters on the feet because of wet shoes and the pack sliding off me bellie, no others...
Hike on. Hike wise
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Mosquitoes buzzed but, it was a black tail deer that caught me making dinner. She'd wander out camp at night crunching on the leaves.
I wasn't the first to rise but, was the first to leave. I enjoyed the morning light at 6:30 am. I breached an over look of Spectacle Lake and broke into singing 10,000 Reasons by Christ Tomlin. Soon I'd descend into Delate Falls where I'd dry out my tent. It got a bit wet from ground moisture last night.
My attitude had sunk while in Seattle. I'm sorry for any frustrating thoughts that came out. I am kicking myself for not breaking down one or two aspects of last year's hike. Mainly, my pack. This one is riding nicely. I recognize I get frustrated easily. I need to find how to release it in a positive light.
Mix of thoughts, if I get to Canada in reasonable time, I'd like to flip back to where I got on yesterday and hike south as far as my time off will allow. This will mean less make up miles in the future and I get to see Goat Rocks. GR is SoWashington's spectacular spectacle.
Rests were not super restful as mosquitoes or flies were in abundance. Today included a lot of down and up and down some more.
I look a long break to air my feet before the last up. Enjoyed setti g in a Uinta's like area a bit.
During the last down I met a few more SoBo's One told me of the awesome camp sites at the river. I set up the tent then got water and made dinner.
I took my dinner for a walk to another camp site. Thankful I'd set up where I did as it ws a free standing tent site only. I require 7 stakes. I just realized, Im on a slope bugger. I talked the Sobo's camped there until a few minutes ago. Great group of hikers all at different paces. Several had done the AT Sobo.
Time to slide around.
Hike on. Hike Wise.
The return to the PCT, may be.
My friend dropped me off in front of a really posh house in Bellevue. Per Google we were at the place a Trail Angle had text us to met them at. As my friend drove away, I got a call from the TA, I described the house and... wrong place. I hoofed it to a near by major landmark, Eastside Foursquare Church at 100 Ave NE and 145.
As I walked here, I pondered how many of us miss things because we get the address wrong, a coma is in the wrong place, or something similarly simple, just stupidly wrong.
So I wait. My fear is getting something else slightly wrong. Oh the minor infraction that leads to major issues. My frustration leads down the wrong path with it. A lesson I need to remember is don't sweat the details but, do pay attention to them. Also step away from the frustration after acknowledging it. I did seek a reset with the purpose of this hike. I'm getting it.
Peter and Liren found me at the church. We got under way after the intial greeting. The drive is about an hour long from where we were. They took me to the summit gas station. My box was number 77 of over 200. The hiker PO is the gas station.
Dean and Persephone both asked, how does this trail angel/ride thing work. The short end, by luck. The long end, it's a lot of work to reachout on 4 or more forums, make a request, search for offers, and try to connect. Waiting and coordinating is the rough part for me. Once the connection is made then time to evaluate the other, accept or decline the offer. For me, what do they show publicly on their FB page, are they honest, ranting, clean, a wide range and mix of others. Like online dating only not as serious. I'm really thankful this ride worked for me. They are a lovely couple.
They went to the trailhead. I loaded up. Later we'd leapfrog. The climb gentle and refreshing, easy to be had water. I'm writing whit on a break near Gravel Lake. I thought Lake Blanche sees a lot of people, there's a dozen tents set up by 3pm. I hope everyone brought ear plugs.
PS I'm looki g for 15 miles today. I finished at 2407. I began at 2390. 17 miles. This is good 57 to Stevens Pass.
I'm camped with 4 other trail side. All of use look like weekenders.
Met many a SoBo: Peach, Taxi, Sky Bird, Spastic, Bear Hair, and several others. I've collided with the SoBo bubble. More to come, I'm sure.
At this spot, the mosquitoes don't know they are to hid with falling temps.
Hike On. Hile Wise.
A chilly morning coffee out on my friend's roof like patio told me to start with a jacket for the day. This ended being a mistake. It got hot in downtown. She was long gone to work when I got up.
I headed to Boeing Field's Museum where I spent most the day gawking at the preserved aircraft. An SR-71 variant, multiple other cold war jets, a few spacecraft mock ups. My dream liner lay in the gallery across the street, the Concorde. The world's fastest commercial airliner. Sleek even on the ground. The cabin felt a bit cramped, I guess this is due to the plexiglass protecting the seats and other hardware.
I headed to Pike's Place Market. Throngs of people, my people meter expired, I couldn't drop any more coins in it to keep me engaged. The Caribbean Mercy, in '99, made a visit to the wharf behind it. No nostalgia hit.
Made my way back out to the suburbs. Chilled on the roof. I may have another ride up the mountain lined up tomorrow. Not as far south as I'd like but, I'll be back on the PCT. My hips are healed. Now, my legs feel weak. I'm thinking about keeping my leftovers from the first leg with me so that I can take the extra days on the trail.
Time to celebrate my B-day. I do remember people help make the adventure special.
A glance at the time put me a rush. Ryan is a 'wake and good to go person.' Me, I need an hour and it takes me longer to warm up, thankfully I took that hour to wake up. I am so grateful for his family putting me up for a few days. A parent may get frustrated with their kids but, they get those little rewards of snuggling and seeing them grow that I'll never experience. I may get the sweeping vistas of mountains hard climbed which another may not, you may see it as a photo but, never know the earned experience. Somedays, as people, we envy the other way of life, however I'd turn this into the reason why we all need to share life together, to have friends of many ages and marital status, kids too. We, as a community, learn and contribute to the greater of the fullness of life. We need each other.
After being dropped off at PDX Union Station, I went in search of breakfast. First coffee of the day is to open the eyelids and the cup of cereal I eat is to keep it from revolting. Found a shop or two but, nothing opens until I'd have to dash to the train. I grabbed an over priced 50 cent danish from the station instead. I'm good now until Seattle.
Rolling out of Portland, I glue myself the looking out the window, a teardrop rolls on the cheek, the right kind of tired.
So I get into Seattle, moments later after getting on the bus to Yale St, it gets cut off. The other driver just tags the bus, no injuries. Bawh, more delays... the bus driver still drops me off at the destination.
So I get to REI, walk in without being questioned like my store would, ask the fellow in the backpack dept if he had any roughly 50 litters by Osprey. He pulls out a black and burnt orange pack. Before I stuff my stuff into it, we check my pack size. I'm in between small and medium torso. I transfer gear from one to another. It rides nicely, the small is a bit scant for the shoulder pads, the medium nails it. I walk a bit around the store, make my purchase and leave. Did I tell you this is the second pack I've gotten while on a long distance trail?
One item down, three to go. Next coffee, non-Starbucks. Check, across the street, and done. Next get out to my friend's place. A fellow at another bus stop told me about the local transit app. I put her address in my phone, followed the instructions, and over shot the stop because I got distracted looking up points of entry to the PCT. Getting the right stop, her place was a quick 5 minute walk. I see blocks on a map and groan. Utah's blocks are on the range of hundreds of feet. Seattle could fit 3 into 1 of Utah's.
She stuck her head out the door. She hasn't changed in 8 odd years. I honestly forget how long it's been. Another shoeless home, no worries, clean, and well kept. We chatted a while. She'll see what can be done to help me get back to the PCT. Being a nurse, she works long hours, to top, a commute of near an hour. She disapears to bed.
I hang, sorting, poking at the purchase, thinking how is this gona hold? It rode well as I walked the streets of Seattle, belt on and off.
Glancing at Craig's PCT Planner, I think if I jump in around White Pass even as late as July 24, I'll hit goal and not have to worry about being short on time. More thought is needed. Now, I'm the babbler of tired.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Zero day in Vancouver WA. Everything is on the table from the biggest of items to the smallest. It's all being taken into consideration.
Yesterday as my ride and I went though Stevenson, a town in the gorge, I pointed out two starters. 'How do you know?' she asked. I replied, 'they are lean as sticks and their packs, the size of day hikers.' These guys have come an easy thousand miles on foot and everything thing in their packs is maximized for going farther. Luxury items are minimized, paired down to a few grams. It might be an MP3 player and ear buds, many just use their phones for music. Clothing is only as worn less an extra pair of socks, a rain jacket, or a light puffy.
How can I pair down as such? I'm still green even with 3,000 miles under foot. I like my extras. My sit pad is new since the AT, may be that's a burden too. My journal will stay. The solar panel is gone for good. The pillow however stayed since I dint carry enough clothes to make a softball if I dry out my shorts and shirt. The food bag gives incline to my feet.
I need to send some stuff off today. I'll comb the pack again and again. How small of an item needs to go? The Sawyer back flush adapter at 8 grams? An extra pen? My pot cozy? Thankfully, I didn't grab an extra spoon. What of my big 4; sleep system, pack, kitchen, shelter? The pack, hello REI, take my money. I'll get there tomorrow, walk in with my remaing gear, and load out in a different ruck. The pack that is comfortable on my still tender hips, is the one I leave with. This'll be my 2nd pack swap on a trail, arugh!
Laundry and the spoon are clean. Out to look for a longer sports shirt and compression shorts.
How do I Casey Neistat this day? What's the need/set up, the pre-conflict, the crux, and resolution? Need: sort gear multiple times and send it off, find coffee, resolution return to where I started. So far so good. I swept a bit of th garage, laid it all out, and weighed everything by hand on importance and perceived weight, the franken boxed what is gone. I walked to the UPS Store and on to two coffee shops, past a Freddie's where I got a new shirt with a longer tail to prevent riding up under the hip belt and more Nuun tablets aka salvation water mix. Next stop, a bus stop. That walk is a long road walk under a Northwestern sun. Mind you it was also in 3 parts of about a mile each.
I must stay away from social media. It's depressing me with gorgeous mountain vistas north of Trout Lake. Where oh where are my trail legs? Doh! confined to a city for a few more days.
First things first in Seattle; REI, Pike's Place, and a coffee - non Starbucks. In '99 I escaped without going to Starbucks. Crash and run somehow. Plotting 2 or 3 days from now is a mystical vapor.