Saturday, August 19, 2017
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Sunday, August 06, 2017
Started off a Summit Lake, took a detour to Crater Butte which connected the Oregon Skyline Trail (OST). I chose this as to avoid a lot of up hill, have access to more water, most importantly, avoid a 2 mile road walk. The route I took gave me a few views of Diamond Peak.
I got into Shelter Cove around 12.30, hit the kitchen for the Hiker Special of bbq chicken sandwich and fries. I looked for my triad however, not hungry for it today. I think I ate all of 2 candy bars this morning. The mosquitoes came in waves. I could handle the waves as this morning I slathered the lather of non-DEET bug cream. I also pulled out the head net I've carried for years and used only once. Today the head net got more than its share of use.
Looking at my stride and the wear on my shoes, both are crushed on the instep, after 3,000 miles of backpacking, I think I'm flat-footed. Flat-footed would say a lot on why I tire early, hurts with more stride, and gives way to early blisters in most shoes I have. I'm in the woods without a clinic near by so what I view here is just an observation.
I have no dominant hip crest and my butt, small, which adds to the wear and tear on sides. I'm sitting at Shelter Cove thinking what can I lighten my load with today. I'm eating less than a pound of food a day, making higher miles than planned, so food will be on the table, err, in the hiker box. I haven't cowboy camped so I'm tossing in my sheet of tyvek yet, this protects the shelter's bottom. It may stay. I'm thinking a few miscellaneous items as well from the orange bag. Yet, what would actually lighten the load? Choices.
Choices, I'm looking a head on the hike plan. The PCT is closed from just north of BLYC to below Olallie Lake due to a growing fire in the Jefferson Park Wilderness. I just heard a fire got going at Detroit Lake's region. No word on when that fire will close the PCT. I am looking at a variety of options from getting a shuttle around to getting off trail. Getting off trail would be better job wise and I can pick up the northern half of Oregon another time. Going around would be nice as it'll keep me in Oregon for the solar eclipse. Choices. I could go to Washington for a leg up there or dip into California from Ashland, going into Siad Valley. Arugh, contingency plans.
I may zero here tomorrow, I haven't decided. I will head up to BLYC with what ever I decide.
I pushed my first big break 15 miles to mile 1875.7. When I got here some hikers were talking with the forest service guys doing sign repairs. Before they left they gave us all ice cold gatoraid.
My morning began with a mosquitoe buzzing my ear. I swatted it away then another came a few minutes later. I leaned out to see a brilliant glowing sky in the clouds and the smoke below. I made myself ready. What an awesome location. I'm glad I came down from the PCT highpoint a mile away.
The trail flowed smoothly up and down. I chose to skip a water source and hit this water cache I'm at now. Several of the hikers are calling 2017 the year of Ice and Fire. Ice represents the Serras this year. Fire represents Oregon. It seems as if the whole state is burning along the PCT.
Coming into Summit Lake the last 5 miles were mosquito hell. If my my hips hadn't hurt as much I'd put on bug dope. The hike up and over Cowhorn Mountain revealed Cascade beauty. The horn liked ragged and hard to summit. Never saw a summit trail.
As I came into Summit Lake a couple who thru-hiked last year had a small fire and trail magic. Ben hanging here for an hour or two. I've made 27.3 so I'll call it. A whole new batch of hikers with new stories.
I left Spider Bite and Grotto at the OST/PCT junction where the forest service guys gave gatoraid.
Friday, August 04, 2017
My day began with a bit of indecision and I hiked up the Annie's Spring alternate trail with near a thousand foot elevation gain in 5 miles to the rim. I found cell service 1/4 mile away from the trail, the same spot as yesterday. I'll head out in a moment and push beyond Lightening Springs and try for Grouse Hill (PCT mile 1836)where a maintained water cache is near by. And the map sections I grabbed today are for the official PCT route which is closed to fire... The route I'm taking is not in danger today. I will listen for any changes.
Thru-hiking is not beautiful. Everyone and everything is dirty. A true thru-hiker has turkey legs browned with dirt, feet that don't scrub clean with calluses where blisters were. We have sores where the pack rubs and bug bites where, never mind where but, they are there. Honestly, I can't think of any better looking class of folks as the dedication to hiking is a huge drive that translates to other avenues of life. Everyone has an ache and a big smile.
3 pm. I made it around the firezone. Lots of smoke hangs in the air. The Rim Trail follows the road. Small patches of snow on the north west side of a point called the Watchman. Tourists duck to and fro their cars to take photos only to do the same at the next pull out. They don't take hike gulps of air with every step. The smoke is irritating. Swirls of butterflies erupt in several areas. Where butterflies are seen fewer mosquitoes are found.
I rejoined the official PCT route at mile 1836.7. I've stopped at a maintained water cache to refill and nurse a blister. I had to thread a threat through the core calluse to drain it. The skin on the bottom of the foot is tougher than ya think it is but, not in the least bit painful.
I am so glad to be clear of the Fire zone. The air isn't much cleaner. I'm now moving away from it. One of the concerns I have is how nasty the air is. Think about when you last enjoyed a campfire with friends then you forgot to wash the smoke enhanced clothes for a week. Yup, that's what I smell like. I have new respect for hot shots on the fire line.
Okay, 1 mile to a campsite that's 7 miles from another water cache. Err make that in a bit. I'm gona have something major to eat first.
Miles for today since I put these in my journal I'm gona calculate them here first. Mazama Village to the rim: 2.4 + 1.2 (of Annie's Spring trail). Guthook just came through for me, The Annie's Spring alternate trail is 17. 4 miles behind me. So at my rest point: 18.6 plus 1/2 mile detour for cell reception equals 19.1 and then a mile odd for the campsite, 20 plus. I need at least two 20's and the rest being 15's to hit my next resupply 67 miles away. Water and chaffing makes the calls over all. I do use lady grease which helps. I'm surprised the manufacturer hasn't figured out they can rebrand this stuff for guys.
I stopped for the evening around 6pm. If my chaffing wasn't bad I'd go on, my legs have the strength and my heart the endurance. Above me is blue sky. Around me solid trees. I'm a mile in yet, I hear cars passing 100 yards down. So far I'm solo at this point.
Time to just chill with the flies and midges.
For an unknown reason right at 7.15 I decided to up and move a mile. I went from nice green trees and forest duff to a lot of standing dead and dust. I have more flies and less mosquitoes. I'm also farther from the road which is why I think I moved. Per Park regulations campers are to be 1 mile from any road, over 200 feet from the trail, along with other things not pertaining to being outside the caldera. The other location was 1/2 mile from the road and trail side. I'm 1.6 miles away from the road, hidden by a down, and 100 ish feet from the trail.
The trail just clips the Pumice Desert, I cruised in and out in little time. There was a fellow to camped there who wanted to play 20 questions. On the third topic I took off. At that point he was burning he cool of the day.
I got up to hwy 138, mile 1845.3. Trail Magic just inside the forest. Ha! fooled, a cooler full of trash and a 5 gallon jug that'd been kicked a few times as it's bone dry.
It's 9.40, I've knocked off about 7 miles of my day already. I need water shortly. Hopefully Thielsen Creek in about 8 miles will have water.
About half a mile up was a water cache. I stopped for another break.
Mt Thielsen, mile 1849.6 another hiker had stopped in an area with a view. He offered me some m&m"s. A mile and a half to the next water source. I chose to eat a bit here too, also need to rest my hips.
I think my pack has more of my shirt on it than I do. I've tried high and low. I'm still looking for the right balance to have the weight on the hips and not to chaff.
Why do I write so much about the issues? it's something to do. I look at trees all day. I look at Trail all day. I review the maps occasionally to see where water is and hopefully a view. The views on this section are few and far between.
Mile 1853.5 Thielsen Creek, from where I had lunch, view kept getting better. I stopped at a Pass to tend to yesterday's blister. I am awestruck by this mountain. Two different areas produced spectacular views my photos will not capture. Maybe they won't reveal much to you, however for me, wow punch.
Here at this creek, I stopped for water. My goal for today's been reached yet at 3.15 why stop now. As I was putting on my socks after an ice cold foot soak, one sock almost escaped. So I caught in rinsed it and sat back a bit more.
This last leg, I've had the pack low. This is making a difference. I keep thinking what can I loose for the next trip? I brought the eTrex GPS u it to help with bailouts, that can go. I am thinking about going stoveless. The (ham) radio is nice but not used, since it's battery drains when installed, I keep it out, an inconvenience. Less food, yup, 2 lbs maybe to much. Definitely I'm carrying to much water. I hope that the leg about 242 is the last long carry and between here and there, this is also my last long carry.
Time to move. I want to go until I can.
I just passed the OR/WA PCT high point at 7560ft. One could say it's all down hill from here. It's also my 21st mile of the day. That makes back to back 20's. I want to keep moving, 2 more hours of daylight. Looks like some camp able terrain ahead. Next water is in 9 and I haven't even taken a sip from what I got at Thielsen Creek. This air is clear here and the breeze is welcoming.
I'm sending this message now even though the days not done. I did check one of the PCT update pages, Crater Lake was closed this morning. I'm glad I pushed yesterday.
Thursday, August 03, 2017
Fire closures of the official PCT route (longer) was announced around 6.30 last night. I checked this morning and Lightening Springs off the PCT Rim Trail is endangered of being closed as well. I had to backtrack from the Rim to the Ranger Station to get my backcountry permit. I back tracked because at the Ranger Station is near the post office in a different building. I sent some unused gear home earlier in the day. PCT hikers doing more than 500 miles can get a thru-hiker permit which allows camping within the park. I'm doing 425, not quite enough. I know where I can get info in the morning at the Rim, 100 yards down to the right.
I'm lazing around the junction now waiting for another Trolley hoping for a conversation that will lead to another ride since I have an hour to wait. 88 in the park today. I want a shower since I'm sweating while waiting, this doesn't feel like trail sweat which is hard earned. PS the post office lady saw me waiting and gave me a lift down.
Smoke is coming from the Blanket Creek fire in the North Western part of the park. Early in the day, the sky clear then later a column of smoke spewed on the horizon, shortly after the smell of a campfire gone bad reached the nose.
Smoke haze filled the caldera. No longer a nice punchy blue with a view of Mt Theisen, I struck up some conversation and got a lift. The caldera is a wonderful location, lots of exciting views of Wizard Island, crisp blue and unspoiled water, and great for people watching.
I caught the first Trolley up this morning. The Posey on board ready to punch some miles. They're headed to Shelter Cove 80 odd miles up trail. I've hardly meet anyone who's not taking the trolley to the Rim in the morning, it cuts a few miles of up hill. Uphill is a foul word amongst hikers even though it is embraced as without the Uphill there can be no view.
At the hiker camp, I sorted resupply box with what I carried in. Since I pulled 20's in, I reset for 4 days with an extra day. I tossed a repacked Mountain House meal into the hiker box which immediately was scooped up by Double D who watched me sort as we chatted. I put all my oatmeal packets in there too, he didn't get those. Oatmeal seem to be one of the more popular items to ditch. As a tea drinker but, not having used my stove, I put 1/2 my teas in there too. The hiker box is an eclectic mix of, well, almost trash, that which others think others will want. Towards mid bubble, it's full of mystery powder (anything from instant potatoes, to eggs, to oh my that's good or other), worn shoes, a dozen partial fuel canisters, and who knows what else. Honestly, unless someone is watching someone else pack a food load getting something out of the hiker box is riskier than drinking untreated pond water.
I grabbed another shower. Double D and his gal were doing laundry so I was able to get an item or two in, wish I had my socks for that. Chatted it up with the server who chooses to work the parks. I asked when Yellowstone. Her response was a desire to keep away from the party crowd.
Back at the store front, I got talking with a guy called Princess. I mentioned I first smelt my first thru-hiker who carried a lawn chair in 92. Princess goes on to describe this guy who apparently did finish the AT and was known for a few other things beyond his lawn chair.
It's past hiker midnight, no one's camped close by. I should be able to bug out early, catch breakfast, and a trolley ride up the mountain. I've got 5 days of food plus 2 dinners to fill me over the next 80 miles. I'll push for 20's provided I don't rub raw my back.
PS now on Day 8, I've chosen to hike up to the Rim Trail and hike big today.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Taking my second zero to let my aches catch up, also had some ugly chaffing on the back. I found a great spot to chill for a while this morning with cell service.
Up at 5.30 out by 6.15 and an hour break at the seasonal (creek) before Honeymoon Creek then a long stretch of 7 odd miles through forest. There was a long story of burn with new growth as well.
Mile 1896, stopped at Jack's Spring for a while. The heat is building for the day. My back is soaked. I carry 3 1/2 ltr of water, drank 1 for break and have the rest for 12 miles to the highway.
The fellas are talking of getting their resupply and showers. I excited for doing back to back 20 plus (miles) a day. I'm feeling good except for a few new chaff spots. The feet no longer hurt but, the shoes are showing wear early. I've crushed the heels on both pair.
I'm hurting as I climb up this hill into CL like the Boy Scouts I passed earlier. The leaders seemed to enjoy the time almost having fun as the boys go through this trip like a right of passage. Honestly, these leaders are not smart to drag kids, kids!, up a dry trail. They were waterless for 12 miles and some of the kids were hurting 6 to 8 miles in. If this is a right of passage for this group then it's stupid stupid.
I'm stopped for a sports drink to replenish the salts I'm loosing, PCT mile 1809.9. After this I gained a new step which helped me for the rest of the day. When I saw the Posey, I passed after a quick chat. They'd catch up and pass until their next long break.
One of the ridges smoke blew over. There is a fire up off trail that blew in. I know that there is a fire up by Jefferson Wilderness. I found out later there is another much closer.
When I got into the Village around, 4 I sat. I sat hurting. I later viewed my back, it's rubbed raw. Time to take a break to let it heal and find out how I can avoid this rubbing. I got my triad and sat. Eventually, I finished. Other hikers some I've met on trail others elsewhere and some fresh gathered in the sun around three picnic tables talking and talking with others he who came to get water. The water faucets in general are shut off in the campsites.
Hiked to hiker camp, found the Posey and set up next to them. Dancer is with us. She's a new be learning the trade.
Getting into Crater Lake is flat with mosquitoes. Everyone is complaining yet, these guys have yet to see bad. Rights of passage? How about summer camp at Camp Steiner in the Uinta's and the holds of mosquitoes? Okay someone may say that's cruel.
Looking at my pack it's soaked with salt. I found out why my quilt was wet last night, it's on my back dripping wet and soaking through. Next time I load up, I'll use my bag liner.
I just found the PCT is closed on the Rim Trail. Also the trail above Big Lake is closed.
I think I'm rambling at this point.
Last note, got my clothes hanging on my tent to dry, yeah, hiker trash right here...
Hike On, Hike wise.
12 1/2 mile water carry to Christi's Spring. A bit up hill and a few back looks of Mt McLaughlin with snow on the NE side. The hike into the spring felt very home like with the downs that we had to duck, dive, and drive around. Theses downs reminded me of the Uinta's without the horse manure. Most downs had trails around em. Still slowing the speed.
The the day began with a 3 mile detour. I thought why not hitch two miles to the trailhead. However the highway is a mile away, the other way. So I turned around and went back up the side trail to Fish Lake as all I saw pass by was business vehicles.
The trail is definitely sweet to move on. Today I'm keeping pace with the Posey. But more than likely I'll fall behind as they have bigger miles to hit. I'm debating the detour to Stuart Falls yet it has a 1000 foot climate out.
I'm at a stream and camp site, PCT mile 1796.8 on the north side of Davis Peak. A fire burns in the distance. No word on the radio about it. The weather forecast is still hot with warnings. The sunsets into the red sky fading.
I kept up with the Posey all day. At this site I called it for myself. My mileage, an all time high of 29.8 which includes a three mile detour/hike out of Fish Lake this morning. Mosquitoes are homing in on us.
The trail today rose onto some ridges and through some burn areas. Devil's Slide Area step, rocky, menacing and highly entertaining with beauty and views.
I'm tired. Wrecked is more like it. I planned on 3 or 4 days to do this section. I'm doing it I 2 as the miles are easy and the water carry, long. I'm avoiding Stuart Falls this round as I don't want the long climb up.
Gota fetch the repellent out of the pack for tomorro. I'm also thing about ending gear that is not needed home like my bear bag cord, I have yet to see a tree that bagging would work well with. My extra food is going to the hike box. It's one way to give to the trail.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Ah, love a day off to rest up, clean up, and fatten up. I pushed a high mile day on 3, ended up with 25 of which 22.7 were trail miles. Felt great on the miles and heard the call of ice cream, okay a place to clean up. As smooth as this trail is, it is dusty. My feet feel as if I dumped a bottle of baby powder in each sock.
The hiker camp is tucked a way just behind the RV park where the sounds are quiet. Hung until after hiker midnight (dark, 9 ish) swappin stories. We're an eclectic group. A father daughter pair section hiking the PCT in week to two week long chunks for the last 5 years. A Portland fellow (of 62 years young) who looks like he was cornered by an REI sale's rep, two of every article of clothing, heavier than necessary camp stove among many other items. His pack this morning looked more like Wild's beast. Thankfully he's only doing Oregon however, I give him until hwy 242 before he bails or calls his wife to drop every un-necessary item.
The Posey showed up and headed to the beach. I thought they were a day a head of me by now. Nope, they dove into Hyatt Lake for pizza. They were drying out gear first thing this mornin. So much for beach camping. I've learned a lesson from them, don't camp close to water.
I've chilled at the counter chatting it up with Chance the cook, the waitress, and Double, a thru-hiker who skipped the Serras. Double got his name as early on he ordered double with out thinking at a restaurant in Southern Cali. He's into info security and was interested in my little SDR (software defined radio) ham radio, thinking of what one could do with it or something like it, then how to prevent malicious uses.
Everyone is a walking story.
Before breakfast I did a food invetory. Two days of meals plus a full day or more of snacks. Wreck, I hate you, why did you make me Carey so much? My resupply box here contains 3 days. It will not take me 5 days to reach Mazama Village at Crater Lake. Choices, how much do I toss into the hiker box. Right now the hiker box is a dream come true for the tight budgeted hiker, quality goods. Then I toss on my load, teas will go, some cliff bars, and any nuts. I've been eating from the same 1 lbs bag of almonds for 4 days, ugh.
Hiker midnight, I'm finishing the day.
After sorting food, I chilled at the restaurant for a whike, came back to camp as the Posey came over. They flipped a coin after 11 and chose to stick around. They set up. I tuned the radio from weather to a local 80's. Someone rolled a (multiple smoke able plants) and pulled out a deck, okay, half a deck cut in half. We played rummy for several hours.
The Posey as I call them are a collection thru-hikers. Rubber Ball, a young lad seems to be the ring leader to whom most people connect with first. Kuma, restafarian, is next. I thing he's a Veteran as we spoke of plasma donations, he mentions some stuff he has. The fellow with the cards is Mellow and he is just chill. The fourth is Grim as he kept finding dead stuff early on. Like the others he's lain back. They have an attitude of if we finish we finsh, we are doing as the flow happens. At first I likened them to Wiskey's Crew from the AT however these fellas are at the opposite spectrum not even close to a frat boy, drink, party, and be loud as Wiskey's was.
Met a teacher from Bountiful by the name of Mavrick. His pack is 8lbs, tarp, no rain gear, a light puffy, and a 40 degree quilt, no stove. Dang, his list of sections include the Arizona Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Continental Trail, a list of hikes up to 2 months as that's the time he has for summer breaks.
On my way back from supper, I chatted with two RV couples who come up to this area for 2 or 3 months at a time.
I'm finding this travel is about the people. People and not the trail. I may say otherwise later. As for this zero, it's been less about me and more about the other.
Sun filters through the trees in the evening of day 2. I think about how the aches and pains tend to show up on day 3. Tonight, my butt is sore from sitting on rocks. I need to add a sit pad to my next quest.
It's 10.45 at PCT mile 1757. I just crossed an un-named dirt road. Coming down from Old Baldy Mountain, I met 4 horses. The last horse was too friendly and wanted to be petted. I spoke briefly with the riders.
At Big Springs, a note stated that the pump at South Brown Mountain shelter is broken, the next reliable water is at Fish Lake. For me that put me at 3 ltr to do 13.6 miles. hum? Do I take the challenge or call it short in hopes of a trickle of a stream near the shelter? PS glad I didn't rely on that water as it was right next to a road, a dirty road but still one of the worst places for inorganic contaminations.
Aches, yup, both feet ache a little today. The hips where the pack weight is carried does too. Where the shoulders meet the neck, I'm experiencing a little rubbing. The neck is also a little sore with the pack weight in the shoulders and a little to much looking at my feet. All this is expected. Of looking at my feet, I've noticed Oregon Trail maintainers have put white diamond flags near the ground below the PCT crests to help the NoBo zombies stay on trail.
This morning when I got up two hikers passed by. I talked with one at the spring. An Israeli, he's done the full including the Serras and a side trail into Yosemite. I asked why was the other guy's pack so light? The Israeli replied he's sent home the thermal base, the puffy jacket and a few other items of which he deemed not needed. The Israeli continued that he's chosen to retain those items for comfort when it gets cool.
I guess this hike I'm right in line with selection of use. I figured if I pack for a comfortable Uinta hike, I'll nail this one in gear. Okay, I've got a canister and an alcohol stove. The can is my primary and have yet to fire it up, too hot in the evenings.
I review my gear. I think of the use and value each item carries. So far I haven't used any of my cool weather gear, my stove, or gps unit, the phone is working fine with the apps. What my phone does not have is the full US Geological Survey maps incase I need a bail out point. I did listen to the weather radio last night, no news of the fires up north. Maybe I'll get info from South bounders or at Fish Lake. PS the SoBo's had water reports and malicious info on mosquitoes - prepare for eminent attack.
South Brown Mt shelter, PCT mile 1760.8. I've seen a lot nicer trashed out shelters on the AT. It's 1.15, I'm moving on. The water pump here is broke. It slides but being one person to catch water if it came is nigh impossible. There is a stream just beyond here. I'll fill there and stay at a camp 4 miles beyond, or I may just push it into Fish Lake which is 10.7. or 5 hours, 7 pm not bad. Let's do it.
3.10. I'm in the middle of lava fields and trees at PCT mile 1764. 5 miles to go to Fish Lake. It'll be a esay the rest of the day as it's flat. PS or so I thought it was flat, quite a bit of gentle up hill.
The trail teams of Northern Pennsylvania need to take note of the trail teams of Southern Oregon. This trail through the lava fields were almost handicap accessible, almost. It flowed so smooth. The teams integrated lave local lave rocks to bridge the dips while importing red lava to pave out the rough. The trail dipped in and out of trees, in and out of fields. Ah glorious, I can't describe how awesome it is. There were a few camp able spots a long the way if one were to push the limits near dak, they'd miss them.
I pushed it. I hit the highway at 5 pm and headed to the resort. Ah beer thirty. I grabbed a spot on the bench with the Posey and then headed into the camp store for ice cream, power aid, and beer. Ah, awesome sauce guilty pleasure of the trail.l, I can make a junk food junkie envyious.
I rallied another hiker and we found the hiker camp on the lake. Three tents already there. It's been a blast swappin' stories of trail, one and off. It's tight in here with 5 or 6 of us.
Ah the sun fades into glory. I look forward with a day off. Aches and pains yes, but who cares. I nailed a 25 mile day with off trail detours. So much for a nero for the day in. Breakfast in the morning.
Hike on, hike wise.
The ticks win. I put myself under cover. Slept with the tent zipped and in the sleeping bag liner most of the night. Some deer pranced in the meadow during the late evening.
I was up to see several stars periodically yet, not brave enough to sleep out. Ticks carry some nast stuff. I'd rather see a bear than know ticks are present. I woke around red sky time and got out by sun ray time. The old saying of 'Red sky in morning take warning, red sky in evening take delight' no longer holds true with all the pollution we have.
3 miles to the pond. Yup it's a pond. A faucet looking thing is on the otherside. Nope, it's a US Geological Survey marker. Don't be fooled. I have 2 and a bit litters so I'm pressing on to a seasonal spring 2 miles hence, else another creek 6 a head. My use is 1 ltr per 4 miles, with 1/2 for a meal. Hyatt Lake faucet beyond at 10 for me today.
The sound of I-5 came I to view as I rounded a contour. I could see the distinct green roof of Callahan's. Soon Ashland came to view. And they were both gone.
It's 9.45 I take another break. I'm lulled by the sound design of Little Hyatt Lake spill way. Jumping in sounds incredibly refreshing so does a beer at Hyatt Lake Resort 3 miles away. Choices, I don't see a path to a shower on either side. I'll pass. I'm sure to jump into a lake further down.
I got to Hyatt Lake junction by 11. Took a look a break at the spigot including a soak of the shirt an bandana, fore went the beer. Met a fellow from Scotland north bounding. He too skipped the Serras. I keep mis-spelling that mountain range for some reason.
It's 1.30ish and taking it easy. Apparently Oregon is experiencing a heat wave. Monday is expected to be 100, arugh. I've stopped for a view at mile 1744. There is a short side trail for a view. Not much of a view however, I can see two lakes and two giant volcanos from here. A breeze in the trees draws my eyes to relax. Actually time to Hike on.
I'm thinking water at Klum Landing and camping a mile or two beyond. A 17 mile day from me.
Klum Landing is a around the bend to the right. I went to Sugar Point group camp visible from the dirt road. I dropped my pack at a three tent site off a dirt road about 3.30 pm, walked down, had a clothed swim to rinse all my sweat and dirt off. I didn't rinse the socks. I'll wash them in a day or two. So far they aren't standing by themselves. The feet look nasty as can be yet, not a sign of any blister or other abstract mess. I have a bit of sorness in the right foot which som massaging takes care of. This lake is rather large, Howard Prairie Lake. I haven't lake swam in years, feels great to walk a bit without the pack.
While I'm waiting for clothes to dry, I'm looking at Guthook Hikes and Halfmile apps planning tomorrow. I have a piped spring 5 miles down and South Brown Mountain shelter with piped spring 8 miles beyond. Fish Lake therefore is 10 miles beyond with no water in between. Today wasn't an issue with long stretches without water. I should have plenty and still be fine. I just looked at today's map I stuffed it in a semi-detached pocket, it'll last tomorrow (Oregon Section B page 5 & 6). Write in rain, yes but not very durable when moistened.
Last night ticks, tonight ants. I can deal with ants, except the kind that bite. 5.20 no other hikers, I doubt they show until just before dark. This campsite is on a quick dirt road. Thankfully this is a weekday else I'd move on. It's surprisingly clean for how close it is to a major county road, weekend partiers haven't found it.
I read 'Faith Based Travels' by Nicki Jefferies on my kindle app. I Glace at the PCT everytime I hear a stepping sound or click of what may be a hiking staff. Nothing, I watched a doe in a near by cluster of trees. I set my tent so I could un-pack. Also the tent supports my quilt. It's important to air out the sleeping quilts/bags if one sleeps in single walled structures like I do, condensation drips on to foot and head I'd not vented well. I got bored. Will anyone join me tonight? If so when? If not so what, by myself is fine and I don't need to worry about being loud when I leave.
I got up around late sunrise, packed, washed up, and went looking for coffee. The lodge's restaurant didn't open until 8. I sighed, resigned myself to poptarts, and headed out.
I traced the old hwy 99 to the PCT crossing, took a photo and headed down the easy dirt path. Down is a misnomer, I went up, up, and up. First landmark of the day Pilot Rock. From the side I approached, not very assuming. From the other side it looked like a climbers paradise.
At that point I met 2 weekenders. These ladies and I would play leap frog for and while. I'd loose them at the first spring.
The next spring had campsites and was 10 miles into my day. By this point my feet screamed for mercy. I sat with a 4 pack of starters. These guys had the air of keep moving about them though from conversation great guys. They skipped 200 miles of the Sierra's. Most thru-hikers have. Run off made small streams into screaming rivers. Several hikes lost their lives this year, many more had close calls. I rubbed my feet, filled my containers, and pressed on.
The next source is 7 miles at that point. I chose to monitor myself and decided after 4 miles a broad grassy meadow looked enticing. I stopped. I lay back on a log for a break, fell asleep. Waking shortly thereafter, I looked around for around un-lumpy place.
I have plenty of water for the morning even after soaking Curry in a Hurry. I laid out my tent to dry from the wet grass of last night. I also laid out the quilt as condensation got the foot and head wet. Long since dry, I ponder clear sky and meteors shower with a potential inclusion of ground and grass insects or set the tent and advertise I'm 50 feet from the trail and not 200 as per leave no trace principles. I've walked the meadow and this looks to be the most comfortable.
Limited cell service. I did check the weather. Ashland is climbing towards the 90's which means up here will be high 70's. The temps suck energy from me. I've given myself 4 days to reach Fish Lake.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Arriving by multiple methods to Ashland, I decided to walk the touristy area before either going to the Hostel or getting a ride to Callahan's Lodge. Ashland, think Park City Main Street only flat one way and both one way areas full of artsy coffee shops, restaurants, and spendy places. I decided not to find the hostel, I already annoyed myself. Later I heard they were full. I got my start up supply.
I doubled back on my walking, spoke with a local, also walking, a moment later he beeped his Subie and I had my first ride towards the destination out of town. Where he dropped me off was at another area conversations could be had and minutes later my second ride, also in a Subie (Subaru). He dropped me off at the lodge.
I grabbed a hike al a cart deal, lawn camp and a clean up. Later I folded for the all you can eat pasta. I caught up with someone I'd met as I got of the train, Asghar, from Afghanistan been a resident sine 75. Cool fellow, section hiking now after a knee injury. We seemed to run into each other periodically throughout the day.
Also at Callahan's are a few 'starters' my term for those who started in Campo CA and not skipped sections. A small tent city lines the back fence. For me default, that area wasn't being watered when I got in, others followed suit. Bad positioning has a few of us under the back light.
Tomorrow, I am on the PCT. The updates will become few and far between. I hope ya'll are enjoying this adventure to the trail. Now it is truly time to Hike On and Hike Wise.
Got bored sitting at $-bucks, I looked a Google maps, and spoke with a fellow who looked local, not loco. This fellow said the pathway to Old Town ran behind the train station and was but 3 blocks away. I did as he said and found myself next to some old trains, miscellaneous railway and harbor stuff. Pretty cool, I thought.
Before long I was at the Yellow Bridge and kicking myself. I literally was 3 blocks away from the spot I stood which is 6 blocks from the train station, arugh! I wandered a while, grabbed a fish & chip from a local joint, and watched the sunset next to a different bridge.
I'm outside airing my feet in front of the train station. My pack turned to air the back pad, my socks off, pew, I already stink. A few travelers pass by, yet it's the homeless that want to talk. One fellow, I thought he was a traveler with his new tee-shirt and hip jeans, said he was hoping he gets a call from a janitorial employment agency. He passes half a cigarette to a bare footed guy with a dirty blanket shuffling by looking for butts. This clean fellow sounded solid however, the more he spoke the more I wish I had an 'out.' He finally move on.
What I don't see here is a taxi waiting zone. I take that back, it's on the other side of the building next to the local transit area. The side I sit at is next to the I-5 and I-80 entry ramps. An Uber driver just pulled up and picked up a passenger.
It's quiet again. It's cool enough to be comfortable and not yet needing the zips back on my legs. I'll get them on for the train as the train is slightly cool as not to smell people like me who've explored an area whike on long layovers or who've just been traveling a while. I'm already looking forward to a shower in Ashland.
Shehalf, filled her water bottle at the drinking fountain. I waited as I needed some too. Her accent sounded German however her name is not, so I guessed, Israeli. A few minutes later we headed out of the station in search of food. We found an open bar in old town, grabbed some fries, and headed back. This knocked off another hour of waiting.
Back in the station, we struck up a conversation with a Turk. The three of us, bound for different stops off the same line, each, a different purpose of travel.
I crashed for an hour while they talked. Gone, Imust have been as I woke when I heard a scuffle. The scuffle, nothing to worry about, it was people seeing a conductor scanning tickets. I brought mine up on the phone, then woke Shehalf, who was also asleep at that time. The Turk worked on his laptop near a power outlet.
A moment later, I felt as if the walk to the train platform looked like a zombie movie, half asleep passengers shuffling then resuming crumpled sleep on gear. Yet another wait, 20 30 minutes, time stood still as other trains hissed and screached, our line empty.
Different stops, different boarding cars, a huge part of traveling is meeting people for the briefest of times, making that fast connection of life, and parting. The train, north bound arrived, we parted company, then briefly reconnected on the train. Sleep and power, my concerns were. I heard the call for her stop, the Turk already off. I gave a paring good bye travel well, and retuned curled up with my tent as a pillow.
Now I watch Northern California slip into Southern Oregon, not knowing when or where my stop is at with Klamath Falls for the bus connection. I hope the train isn't late for the connection.
Nerves for the hike growl like my hungry stomach. I brought food for the journey but, chosen to eat elsewhere along the way. Cheep hot coffee from the lounge car this morning is supplemented finally with a Pop tarts from my food bag. I mentally rummage the white kevlar Ursack (bear bag, not Bear Vault container) for what I need to get from the grocery store this afternoon as Northern California gives way to Southern Oregon. Dotted hills laced with out croppings of volcanic flows and crystallized columns, we dip into expansive valleys.
About an hour later,it's my turn to get off the train. I meet Azguard, the Afgan, who's been in the US since pre-Soviet Invasion days. He hasn't returned to his home land as it breaks his heart. We get on a bus that drops us off at a different business and finally Ashland.
Ashland, a quaint upscale mountain town with a main street full of artistic coffee shops, upscale second hand shops, and other tourist catchers. I've grabbed a burger on the far side of town as I headed towards a hostel. On second thought, I'm gona catch a ride to Hikervile of Callahan's.
This leg is over, now it's time for trail, Thee Pacific Crest Trail.
Hike on. Hike Wise.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Why so many mistakes in my writing? I'm on a mobile device and don't always catch the alternative auto correct. Please read the mistake in context to reveal the correct word. Grammer Police, take off, I know, I know, tell it to my device, not me. If I ever publish my work in a book as a colleague at work wants me to, I'll convert these errors. They actually drive me crazy, (English Minor/Rhetoric Major).
Rain, what, in Salt Lake? Yup, my adventure began with standing in the rain waiting to load upon the California Zephyr. "It's only bothersome for the first 5 minutes, " I remarked to another who waited as if it were nothing, while others ducked as if they melted. Thankfully the rain came after the Pioneer Day fireworks for those who enlightened themselvles for Utah's 2nd biggest celebration.
On the train I found out my power cord is faulty. I borrowed on for a while from a fellow with two young inquisitive boys. The ride is as expected. The USA has the worst rails on the planet, quiet and bit bumpy but not as bad as the interstate stood system. Sunrises as we're some where near Pilot Peak NV. Benefits of the hair cut, it's a mess I don't need to restrain.
Coming into Reno NV, snow remains on Mt Rose (TRT hike milestone ).
As the train climbed Donner Summit climing out of Truckee, I pulled out HalfMile Map's app. I watched the app count down the miles to the PCT. The trail runs understand the trail in a tunnel. A thought crossed my mind, Northern California by way of Ashland SoBo (southbound) to Truckee next July. It's a thought. I'll look at later.
I've got a 10 hour layover in Sacramento. The only other time I was here, I was with the Caribbean Mercy when she was in Stockton on a public relations tour. I came up in a mission owned vehicle with one of our Korean crew to pick up another shipmate. I convinced her to let me drive in to see the Capitol building. We drove around the block and then on to the airport. Today, I headed to the Capitol, walked around for a bit then decided to head to the yellow bridge, a major landmark. I stopped to ask for directions from a local who wondered what was on my pack, my hiking poles in a case of disposable water bottles. She told me not to proceed, that I was headed into a homeless jungle, that I'd not be safe. I took her advice. I wish at that point I asked for directions back to the train station. I could have saved my feet 2 miles and at near lost in the city experience. G [e got me turned around. One could say I got myself Googled. A friendly cabbie pointed me in the easiest direction.
Now I sit in a local $-bucks (Starbucks, I prefer local coffee shops). This is a block from the train station. I can't get Googled here. I still have a few hours.
An update on the faulty power cord. I asked a different passenger as we pulled into Sacramento if there was a near by electronic store. She said no, and gave me here power cord. Which we tested to see if it worked, and it did. So if Trail Magic happens on the train is it still Trail Magic? TO is someone doing the unexpected for a hiker on the trail.
I'll write a part 2, possibly. The next leg is at midnight.
Hike on. Hike Wise.
PS my wireless SD card didn't like my phone. This image is a phone pic of the camera, cropped.
Monday, July 24, 2017
While ya'll are getting into that commute thingy this morn', I'm sitting outside drinking my coffee, lookin at my sunflowers, thinking. Thinking, 'oh $#|7 I haven't actually packed my ruck in 3 weeks, I guess I should do it now, naw, I have a few hours yet.' Rays of gold split the clouds. The hum of traffic mixed with coolers kicking on, one or two various sounds adding value to the moment.
'The time has come to pay the rent, to pay our share' lyrics from the 80's.
3 years in the making. $#|7 holy $#|7 let's do this. 3 years since I set my mind on doing this trail while hiking the AT, though the thought kicked around much longer than that. This is not the AT that I'm headed for. This trail presents a whole new set of challenges , goals, and high points. <takes another sip of coffee, ponders taking a photo & decides not to> Everything is in place, well, in theory it is...
Hike on, hike wise.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Escaping the heat of the Valley and the last minute to do's, I headed to the greatest wild flower area I know, Alta. Sure I got up there around noon but, so what. I watched to see where the majority were headed and went opposite. Most from the lower parking lots caught the free shuttle to Cercet Lake trailhead. Cercet is the correct spelling as established when Alta boosted 5000 residents in the gold/silver mining days. The lake is a family friendly hike across Albion Basin.
I chose to head up Grizzly Gulch. This leads through a maze of abandoned and sealed mines. It's not so family friendly with the steepness. I took the trail split a mile up to the west. The upper west end pops out above Silver Fork easilierly accessed from Big Cottonwood. I chatted with one other, a bloke from Bristol. I passed a few others but didn't chat.
All of 4 miles today round trip. Had I gotten the gusto to go early I'd have dropped into Brighton via Twin Lakes trail and returned by Catherine Pass. The loop is about 8 miles and more if you take detours like where I went or up Mount Wolverine.
Ah a nice e quick get away for the day.
Hike on, hike wise.
Maps, guide books, online resources, retail reps etcetera how does one plan a journey greater than a weekend in length? This is not a definitive guide. This will be how have I done it, what I've done differently over time, and how I think I can improve on it.
Some of my starting points is why or how come, why do it. I know many who turn a nose up on sleeping on the floor yet alone on the grass in a park so would they be interested in spending a month or even a night on the ground, in the dirt, far away from any man made structure? Yeah, let's not go there. Rather enter my world, I was introduced to it at a young age. (Mom if you can find one of those first camping trip photos please add it to the comments.) I first entered backpacking as a Weblos Scout (image hidden in May 2014 postings) young, lacking experience, with only 11 miles to hike, down hill over 2 nights. It sucked. The before and after photos show why, also buried in another post. Though it sucked when offered to do it again, I jumped in. A neighbor/Scout Dad offered to take a few of us up into the Wasatch and Uinta's years later. Every trip, every hike, a learning experience. Even carrying a wet sleeping bag for 2 days because of poor tent placement was fun, after the fact. That trip I also decided never to share a tent again as my buddy had the tent and I got to camp first, found a spot, placed my pack there, went fishing, came back, and another tent was set where I'd wanted to be, <insert frustration comments>. Now poor placement is my own fault, no one elses.
I did some weekend backcountry overnighters when working in Yellowstone NP with borrowed gear. I did a few sleep under the trees in Shenandoah NP. Shenny holds a special place as that's where the seeds of thru-hiking was planted, even though I heard about the AT while in the Everglades. Do you see about theme yet? Even when serving with Mercy Ships I got out hiking, maybe not camping but once on Cheju Island, Korea.
About 15 year ago, with plenty of weekend available and mountains near by I resumed hiking which lead to backpacking which lead to saving money/spending money for gear. The seeds planted in Shenny grew into a thru-hike. What started out as a day dream became a plan which gathered Internet searches and books.
The AT, honestly, does not need a map. I didn't carry one. I left the wall maps with parents and friends for them to follow. I did carry the Appalachian Guide Book by David "AWOL" Miller so I knew when and where the next shelter, town, and water sources were. Knowing I could cover up to 15 miles a day in the Uinta's, I placed my logical day at 15 miles a day. I looked at resupply as being 3 to 5 days apart with an extra day in the food bag. Truth is, on many resupply days, I walked into town with 2 or more days of food remaining. I held this as a constant for the majority of the way since Rodeo, another hiker, had run herself short on food even before hitting the NC stateline. I carried her worry with me as a fear I'd run out too. Mentally, I approached the AT as a series of weekends strung back to back. Knowing the completion rate, I didn't even plan the New England section or how to get home. Food planning, I didn't learn the gallon bag trick until after hitting Virgina. I learned this from CT another hiker who failed the AT the year before, yet had the PCT already under his feet. CT said he put all his rations in one bag for each day this way when he got to town he knew exactly what he needed to get. Once I started doing this, I got a handle on how much of each product I got. Previously there were times, I had way to much oatmeal or way to many not power bars (of which I'd overload again) or a few to many pasta sides while vine bags of instant spud mix. When I set up my meals, today for weekends, I do the same, everything for a day in one bag. On the TRT last year I ran out of coffee because I robbed the next day's rations for coffee once or twice. Now I have a separate bag for the daily drinks, spices, and wet one wipes.
So far I've covered how I got into it, what I think I can hike in a day, and how to get a handle on my daily food. I haven't hit which foods or how do I chose the next journey.
There are vast opinions on food, hiker nutrion, etc online. I know being out of shape my body will consume more calories out of inefficiency. Once in shape my body will consume less. Initially, I'll burn 6000 calories per day, efficiency of calorie burning will hit about week 4 and at that time will drop to around 4500 per day. With a weight budget of 2 pounds of food per day, I try to pack as much punch as possible, not only in calorie count but in nutrion and a few extra salts, not sodium. Insert disclaimer, I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST, I have no dietary training background. I've found nuts and nut butters to pack a punch for me. Peanut butter packs the most calories per ounce than any other food. I carry sport recovery drink mixes, first to add the unusual salts back into my system, cramps suck but in hail most drastically in the backcountry, second to add flavor to pond scum water like Spooner Summit Lake on the TRT.
The problem of 2 lbs per day is I max out my calories around 2000. I count each snack, I have 5 per day, at 2 to 300. Dinner I look for 450 up to 600. Breakfast is around 300. I personally don't carry olive oil, bad experiences with that on the ships going bad in a hot cargo hold, I've never gotten over the rancid smell of it. Also carrying oil is begging for a messy impossible mess to happen in the ruck. If you look at my AT prep entries one will find an entry with a resupply lain out. That entry still holds solid, even before the gallon bag trick. The gallon bag trick helps so that come resupply day, I don't have to lay everything out before deciding what I need. This journey, I've chosen to repackage Mountain House meals from the big cans as I purchased them on sale over the last year. I scooped 2 cups into vacuum seal/boil in bags. Meal prep is easy, add water, hot or cold, and wait, longer if cold. Stirring is essential to avoid dry clumps which tend to be more prevalent with hot water soaks.
Coffee in the mornings is either hot or chug (cold). The difference is whether I have enough fuel and or time. With the alcohol stoves, I plan 10 minutes to boil 16 ounces of water at 2 ounces of fuel used. For a weekend trip, that's a no brainer, I carry 8 ounces. The canister stoves the time to boil is around 6 minutes or less depending on my flame setting. I typically get 10 per can, I however have not pushed that limit and have and stack of partials and home. Reading Backpacking magazine highlights fresh coffee via drip or French press, not my style. I also don't want to know the weight of the packs carried by the BM's writers. I tried the Folger coffee like tea bags in the past and would rather suffer without. Starbucks instant is my go to. I do carry an 8 oz sized bottle which makes good for chug and tend to drink mixes. Call that a luxury item if you will. I had a 500 ml Nalgene on the AT, weight wise way to heavy now.
Town stops, or for the PCT, camp stores are where the calorie deficits get balanced out. I can devastate an AYCE (all you can eat restaurant) I'm surprised they don't charge thru-hikers double. The convenience stores (c-stores) offer calorie filling ice cream, candy bars, and nutritional supplements known as fruit at elevated prices.
Funny, the first leg of the TRT and the AT, I hardly ate. The second leg of the TRT I ate and ate big, I guess 'cuz I was already in shape for the hike. I ponder will the lack of hunger effect me this time?
The more one reads, the better. Even better than reading is getting face to face with someone who is experienced, even if they hiked a different trail than the one being planned. I met a LASH (long @$$ section hiker) for coffee and picked his brain for tips, tricks, etc before leaving for the AT. However, his hiking style was not mine and on the trail I found myself reverting back to my known comfort. Some of his advice held true on nuances of that trail: don't pet dogs (if like dogs but don't have one of my own) as they run through poison ivy; every other person is hiking for a cause, this got old fast (Puzzle, yes this is a dig on you but, some how I found another reason to befriend you; GAMER get back on the trail and hike not for Wounded Warriors but for you); shelters are for the social and for the sharing of germs (if someone gets the abundance of brown blazing avoid them and the privy, move on); finally, don't over plan it, let the trail flow.
Maps and spread sheets; there are several good resources like Craig's PCT Planner and PostHoler's websites that will provide estimated resupply points per one's variable hiking time over the terrain of several different hiking trails. PostHoler offers the PCT, the AT, and a few others. Craig's is only the PCT. Most PCT planners base themselves off of HalfMile Maps. Each trail has a different preferred set of maps,. My two cents, include finding out who the standard is and commit to that standard supplementing into it with additional info. One of my TRT mistakes was I cross referenced one work into another of which each work had different milage between the same points, Arugh! All my PCT miles are from HalfMile.
My miles per day are based on 15 miles per day with 3000 ft elevation gain/loss. Over such terrain I average 2 miles per hour with a 40lb pack. Note average, not dedicated, no min or max. The AT threw some curve balls. Pennsylvania is flat even in the North however, the flat was map flat, not realistically flat. The rocks in PA all stand at pointy side up for everyone to dance upon. The rocks of PA ate my time. Yet, in Virginia's roller coater region which is 13 miles plus up and down, none over 500 ft change, was side walk hiking, easy to move. I think I cleared a 20 mile day with an hour at the Bear's Den Hostel that day.
The PCT is not the AT. The PCT is not the AT. The PCT is not the AT. That repeat is intentional. The guide books, forums, and other thru-hikers make it clear. Anything therefore is fair game, even mileage. Many say if you did 15's on the AT 20's won't be an issue. I'm game.
For me, knowing my hiking style is my plan. I know by the second or thrid day the trail is already off plan. The plan is mainly for the ground crew at home. For me it helps to see the miles beyond the map as to figure out the resources, mail drop resupply, etc. In the Uinta's, many fish, I dont. Side excursions play into the plan. What's cool near by? What's a gota see? What's a detour for a resource that might not be in the next block of trail miles? Not planned, for this year's hike until late June after my vacation time was approved, is the Solar Eclipse. I picked Oregon for August last year after meeting PCT'rs on the TRT. Their advice helped me choose, easy, beautiful, kind weather.
Kind weather, I'll have rain gear mainly for the chilly times and wind. Oregon is said to be dry (ish) in August. The tent is is a shelter from the crawlies. Beatles, not the band, are weird, ants a nuance, and mosquitoes, blood sucking, they are the only sound I know that penetrate ear plugs which add to their blood suck. The hiking sticks for the arm stretches, my hands swell while hiking, this helps alleviate that.
Get back on tack, TRAIN.
What would I do differently? Get a gym membership and stick to a healthy plan, put a limit on much processed food. I'll get a better food dehydration unit so I can create my own meals, or even ask friends if they want to help prepare meals for drying. Though I cooked for years on the ships, I've lost that signature touch. I'll explore other places for camping/backcountry when the Uinta's fill with snow. Differently, may be throw in with a Meet Up group or two (against my will, also I like the solitude) to meet and see how others do what I do too. Differently, schedule my panic day for a week before take off day to avoid last minute grabs... disable auto complete so that im responsible for my errors and not that he vice for very rating what I write.
Hike on, hike wise.