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.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Sorry, I lost count. The day 4 on July 17 is actually Day 3. The original plan on day 2's account was to zero at the campground.
Hike on, Hike wise
The house befalls to silent as my hosts slip into slumber. I remind myself the adventure is in the unknown.
I tenderly tossed and turned. Trying to be careful on my sides. The forest canopy played with the stars. My thoughts wrestling with the morning. Sure my hips were trashed last year which I forgot about when it came to breaking down the hike. I also was at a place hikers gathered so holding up a day or two made no difference. Here, at a forest service campground, the story is different. I have no camp store with over priced foods to purchase. There are very few hikers coming as there are campsites closer to the PCT. My mind danced on wrong things.
I was wide awake when I heard Stanford rustling. She's hiking on, on into the heat. I got up when she went to the table. I forced my stove onto the canister. It worked, hot coffee or bust. We talked a while. She's debating taking the next out and yellow blazing to Trout Lake. I guess you can't call getting a ride around if you are sectioning. The heat murdered us both over the last couple of days. Our first two days. She had a climb of 1300 foot without water for 13 miles a head of her. I can see why she's not looking forward to it. Expected 90's again.
She planted a brain seed, an idea, in my head to skip a head. Rest up, regear, loose the weight, and move on.
Before 7 she left. The pack hovering in the forest. As she left, why not Light-a-Foot as a trail name? She's tiny comparatively. Trail names are names we can choose to take or not. They often come by something done, said, or other. Other, mostly around the stupid stuff we all do at some point. I've tried to look beyond the stupid and find the good. Even mine started as something less than.
I went back to bed. I mulled the possible. What's in my pack? What's in my scope of do able? More so, what's not? I don't want to walk the walk of shame back to work. This is not the kind of humiliation I want. What I didn't have is cell service. That's a key role in the next days a head.
The plan hatched. Though I got this campsite one more evening, I don't care, let somebody else have it. I talked with the campground host. They were heading down the mountain in a few hours, one way. If I didn't have a round trip avail, I'd go with them and drop a group text when cell scervice landed.
The campground host asked me what's my story and the conversation built from there. People are the story. She dropped me off near the Pizza Parlor Chi and Sarah treated me to last year. As we parted, I thanked her not only for the ride but for keeping me talking, enjoying a coffee etc. For me as a rider that is driver safety, get the other talking and holding something as one has a hard time with going devious if the hand and mouth are active. Mind you, that's not fool proof. There is always inherent danger in giving and taking rides from someone you just met.
A text or two later my gracious hosts of Saturday and I made contact. I also got a hold of my friend in Seattle. I have a month.The plan: heal a few days, send someone else's fear far away from me, get into a pack that will not irritate my skin, and hike the PCT on. Both of the passes outside Seattle have boxes waiting for me. I don't mind skipping a section or two, that's why they call section hiking, section hiking, you skip around so that eventually you hike all the parts.
Though I am a section hiker of the PCT, I am a thru-hiker. Thru-hikers don't come this far just to encounter a problem and turn around. We, like other classes, find ways to get through the tough sections of life.
The adventure continues.
Hike on, hike wise
No one came down the road last night. I got on the trail before 6 and met Stanford at her camp at the next flowing water source by 6:30 ish. I love a cool morning hike. We met on FB Wednesday when she posted she was leave from the Bridge the same day as I. I Private Messaged, I was too and gave a brief intro. She was elated to met. She thought I might arrive last night.
We enjoyed breakfast there and gone by 7:30 odd. Hiked together for a chunk of the moring then I went on to natural break areas. Our goal, Panther Creek (ice cold river with a bridge). Breaks were long and at Trout Creek we met Airborn and Bones, two starters who are a head of the bubble. We tagged with them for a couple of breaks before we turned towards the campground. They were making miles even in 95 temps.
Along the way today, I kept checking my hips. The belt rubbed two giant holes. There isn't enough time or food supply on me to sit to heal a few days here. I alottted the extra time in my vaction to be used in the North to get to Seattle. The humidity ate by chaffing another area as well.
Her decison to buy* a picnic table for the night turned into a blessing for me. This campground is full of friendly people. I'll zero here and post a note "PCT hike looking for ride into Portland or any place near there. See unit 3."
Months of planning, years of dreaming, and like ice on blacktop in July, gone.
These two days include just under 40 miles of hiking, several dry water sources, a lot of sweat, and now tears as I drop out by injury. I will return but, I dont see when. Then again maybe I skip a head.
*camp at the local developed campground.
Last night I slept in a comfortable bed. Tonight I'll be somewhere on the forest floor. Ryan dropped me off at the Bridge of the Gods Oregon around 9:30. I choked up in tears as I crossed. I am back on the PCT. The Columbia River swept under me.
I wove my way around and up along side Table Top Mountain. Met a novice section hiker who was struggling. I saw him at the next water, haven'tseen him since. Some where along the way I pulled a muscle, arugh. Every time I stubled from then on I cursed a moment.
I stopped around my mile 8 about 2:30 still climibing. I drank a Nuun tablet to rehydration and crashed out for a nap. Refreshed I carried on. I had 2 1/2 ltrs of water.
PCT 2161.8 I stoped for dinner at 6:30. A near by spring is dry. The next water source is 2.5 miles. I have 1 ltr left after making dinner.
I've come 17.8 miles today. Not bad for day 1 but, I'd like to clean up. My legs scream stay. I sit at the edge of an od clear cut. Young trees crowd together. A wood pecker raps on one of the few old standing trees. Plenty of day light left and its down hill to the next water and camp sites. I'm gona take a first day 20.
For those watching my SPOTs, yes, I did sleep on the side of a well groomed dirt road. Had the stars for company and the heat as a blanket. Eventually, I did slip my feet into my quilt. The water was scarce and the campsites even more so from where I stopped for dinner, hence the road.
Hike on, Hike wise.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Delaying the finale literally to the last minute, I panicked over one item. The only item that hadn't passed through my hands last night. "Where's my spoon?" Every long distance hike knows the anxiety that comes with the missng spoon. More than anyother single piece of gear this one feeds the hungry hiker thus preventing hangry from erupting. A hangry hiker with a missing spoon is the last creature you want in the woods.
Thankfully I'd seen it in the food bag a few days ago. I'm using the food bag as my carry on to Portland. I left my coffee to make a quick search. Yup, I have it. Holding it up like the Precious, I relaxed,a little. Psalm 139:23 "Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." It's amazing what little things will create an anxious thought.
I've found that packing the last minute prevents me from throwing excess weight into the pack. This does not mean that I haven't packed my ruck. It means I know my gear and I know it well. There's thousands of miles in my pack. The gear list is precise to what I expect and adds a little safety. A midnight FB jump, someone reported that a section north of Snoqualmie having icy snow and they needed traction aids of which they did not have. Last minute weight but, a Mt Rose experience I do not want repeated. Gear Lists make a difference.
There however, remains little decisions. I've been two tents for the last week. The decision broke as I spoke with another hiker, of a different style. He recalled my frustration over the tight floor space of last year and remarked on the convenience of the slightly heavier tent, heavier by 6 odd ounces. The extra weight isn't going to matter when it comes to good sleep. Bad sleep however, will matter on big mile days making them harder. The decision is cut, the Six Moon Design's Lunar Solo, aka the Green Beast, is home, err shelter upon my back.
I told another friend I wasn't going to bring a book. As I replaced my long distance hike planning journal in the bookcase, I saw John Stott's "Basic Christianity" a book I started to read this summer while in the Uinta's. A last minute grab and I hope the only one, it now sets on top the food bag.
I double checked my electronics and their cords. All is good no PCT/OR experience this round. Time to relax a little more. Overwhelmed, by Big Daddy Weave, rests on my guitar case. I'd rather be overwhelmed by the things of God than the little things of man. I play my guitar one last time while waiting for my ride.
PS thankyou for the birthday wishes
Another iShipment email hits my inbox. My food is hitting the trail before I do. Yet, doubt lingers behind the veil of excitement. Kingsbury Grade NV, along the Tahoe Rim Trail, the PO said my package arrived. In reality as I went to the shop that June, my food was down at the post office in Stateline. I didn't eat much on the first leg and made a quick breakfast grab at the grocer in Tahoe City thus I didn't need much to get me through the next section of the TRT, Kingsbury Grade to Mt Rose.
My doubt is strong but, I refuse to call as last year many of the shops I've sent resupply to are small proprietor, Ma/Pa type places and a phone call from potientially hundreds of hikers confirming addresses can eat into their limited time to make a buck, a living. I trust the info from the resupply guides as accurate. Yet, what if my resupply is sitting in a different town like what happened on the TRT? I don't have the luxury of time to get to a grocer. I'll resupply with what is avail then move on.
Doubt of the plan and info is the one part of the plan that really makes me nervous. At the sametime, with the unknown comes adventure.
A late night chat the other night opened or rather forewarned me of the possibility of lingering snow in some areas that may present issues. How can this be? I see eleven thousand foot peaks outside my door that are snow free. The Northern Cascades however, the Wasatch are not. Washington receives lots more snow than Utah does. The also have tree cover that shades it longer. This chat lead me to put an extra pound in my pack with foot traction aids known as micro-spikes.
I made the mistake of leaving the micro-spikes in the car as I headed up Mt Rose of the TRT. Enter type 2 fun, not fun to do but fun to look back on. Call type 2's learning experiences.
I'd rather send gear home or carry the weight than not have it when I need it.
Also in the late runnings, though not set in stone, I may have a place to stay at the end of the trail.
Focus, focus, I reminded myself at work. There is a time to be on the trail but that time is not yet. I worked on my list of prep to do as I could.
At home, things came together. Not only is the pack there awaiting, the house is clean too. The list is well enough done.
After dinner it was time to reset the pack from travel mode to hike mode. I dumped out the contents of the food bag, the box of food sent a head to my friend's, and the rucksack across my friend's living room floor. Their boys asked about many pieces of gear. I explained what it was and why I carried it. I'll admit, it's a bit heavier than I want. I erred on the side of safety. Once loaded, Ryan hoisted it up on their shoulders. Probably the most fun I've had for a while watching youngsters with packs on.
I met Mercy eons ago before they dated. She helped with the m/v Caribbean Mercy, of Mercy Ships, pubilic relations tour in South Korea. He served with the deck department on a different vessel with Mercy Ships in England where they met. They kept in contact after leaving that vessel, later married, and had a family.
I was the cook on the Caribbean Mercy for many years including the public relations tour to her home nation. Mercy and I caught up as I left the PCT last September. She offered a place for me to stay when I came back to their area.
In the morning the trail begins...
One thing about the trails, it's about the people along the way that make it even more special.
Hike on, Hike wise
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Since August, Mt Hood's been my phone's home page image. She came into view, nostalgia hit with excitement of putting another PCT section under foot. A few more minutes, another 12 hours...
First hang out with some fellow shipmates of 20 year ago. A shower and solid breakfast to boot too.
But first landing...
Sunday, July 08, 2018
Trying to tie the last bits and pieces of this year's section hike together almost is like herding cats who are chasing mice.
It wasn't until July 4th that I finally finalized my resupply and taped the boxes shut. I mailed them the next day. That debate revoled around the first leg of the journey. Do I do an 8 day carry of food or take the chance on a forest service road hitch thus dividing that weight up? I'm doing the later, which now means there's another delay or hustle I will encounter to avoid a Sunday arrival at a Post Office.
I'm also debating the tent choice. Do I take the ultra light Z-pack tent which in 18 ounces yet has tiny usable space inside. The grey Six Moon tent seen in this year's photos with its floor-less design and awkward zipping bug screen. Or do I return to what I dub the Green Beast which hasn't seen the woods since I mailed it home in Damascus VA from the AT? The Green Beast is a Six Moon designed tent weighing in at 24 ounces, lots of floor space, and a good to zip bug screen. I suffered condensation issues in the humidity of the East 4 summers ago hence sending it home. My concern is weight and bugs. My choice of going to Washington at this time is based on the least likely hood of being caught in the notorious down pours of the Northwest.
Speaking of the Northwest, NorCal/Southern Oregon shut down the I-5 due to wildfire. Callahan's Lodge, south of Ashland OR, evacuated a day or so ago. The fire season is taking a toll on hikers and communities, again. So far nothing is being reported in Washington. The Facebook forums are popping up with rides wanted, not urget calls to bail out at rhe next exit trail. When I'm on the trail Facebook is one of the last places I go as battery life is connection and navigation juice. My folks know how to reach me.
I will have my SPOT satellite device with me but it's one way communication. Public gripe to that company and their competition, release the new versions in the winter not in the middle of the thru-hiking season. You forced my hand to commit to an antiquated device. The new devices, which are just releasing this month, provide 2 way com's thus alerting hikers and other users to the immanent dangers that happen and where cell services are not available. Yes, folks there's a lot of territory in the West without coverage contrary to the advertisement maps. Complaint over.
I am fortunate this year to be at the forefront of the NoBo bubble with so many skipping sections and encountering the SoBo bubble as they just started this past week or so. With so many, I project, to be on the trail communication with travel rapidly. Another reason why I chose this season for this section.
I sit outside this morning enjoying the cool of the day before the Valley gets hit with another tripple digit day. Where will this day lead? Not on a hike but most likely to the gym for an hour or so amongst the to do list of today.
Hike on, Hike Wise
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Scratching my head while sitting at Pinto Lake in the High Unita's I tried to remember if this was one of the places my Scout Troop had camped. I've been here plenty as a mid point on a hike but, remembering back 30 plus years is a stretch. l camped along the end this weekend.
I got off early Friday. Drove longer than expected towards Hanna to get to the Grandview Trailhead. As a side note, don't do the final 6 miles in a 2 wheel drive car. It's step as, never mind, and has drop offs, yeah may be no. I made good time to Pinto Lake where I called it a day.
Saturday, I made slow miles and visited another point I haven't been in a while, Rocky Sea Pass. 10 years ago I spent my first night alone in the Uinta's here. The other side is, um, not pass able for me. I sat a while staring into the next basin full of lakes.
From here I returned and dropped into 4 Lakes Basin for a bit and then on to Grandaddy Lake. For a while I thought about going by way of Rock Creek and up. After setting camp, I wandered a bit. I went down the trail I would have come up. It was abandoned or did I take a wrong trail.
The mosquitos are out at this spot, arugh. I donded the bug net to keep my sanity until one decided to have my tea after supper. Needles to say, I didn't finish that mug. One does not know the trouble of sleep until they've shared a tent with a few pesky mosquitos.
Sunday will be a hot coffee before heading over the pass to the car. Hopefully an uneventful drive to the main road and home.
I typically like doing day by day on the hikes however I am using a broken device now in an Otterbox case which I'm not a fan of. However had I had the device contained last week it wouldn't be broken.
Ah making of memories.
Hum, I hear rain.
Going down the road to Grandview is a lot easier. I may drive up there again.
Rain, light and sparse, just enough to wet the tent. Since I get up and go this means drying out later in the day.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Exit days are a mix, sometimes I've got miles to crunch, others are lazzy. This exit day fell into lazy. I woke up rested, warm, refreshed. The lower elevation, trees, and the wind dying out added to solid sleep. I like to try to be up and gone in 15 minutes as a goal. This being lazy, how does 25 minutes sound?
After packing, I boiled up some water for coffee, walked Duck Lake's beach before heading out.
I wandered to Weir Lake, down a side trail to Majorie Lake. At Majorie Lake I fixed a mug of mint tea and played the guitar a while. I really need to memorize some music. I checked out a few spots near by before returning along the flooded trail. Wet feet, suck it up, walk through the water. The modern materials need no pampering like the boots of old.
I was back at the car by noon. I had a lazy time. What did I learn? Keep the phone in a case. I dropped it a few times too many. Also a tent is warmer than sleeping under the stars but, I wouldn't exchange sleeping out under the stars when I can for a little warmth.
Hike on, Hike wise.
At hiker midnight (after sunset) I slipped into my quilt. Still not dark, I rolled over. When I tossed next the stars were casting shadows. Several hours later the Milkyway Galaxy appeared. I stared in wonder. How can anyone choose a tent on a night like this? No wind, no moon.
Around the third watch of the night, 3 to 5 am, I got chilled. I left the bag liner home, thtat would make a bit of a difference. The quilt is 30 degree rated, meaning that's the low end comfort range. I shrugged the chill off.
Day break came. I didn't aim for 15 minutes to gone but, I did pack quickly. I stuffed things such that I could dry out my ground sheet and quilt with minimal intrusion and get coffee at the same time.
I hike up to The Notch, stuck my head over the pass, came back, found a place in the sun for a while. Laid out the gear to air out, fixed a hot coffee, and jamed a few tunes until the wind kicked up. Did you know I hate wind... wind is good for kite flying, sailing, and cleaning out the Salt Lake Valley air. Arugh, I'm chilled again. Time to step away from this cliff band and the great view to a place a bit more sheltered.
No mater how many times I enter a basin in the Uinta's I find magic. Each time is slightly different though the terrain does not change.
I wandered towards Divide Lakes, no trail just going between the different small lakes until I got there. I talked with a fellow a spell at a camp site I've used before, before moving on.
I dropped into Cliff Lake, spun a hard right but before I proceed I spent a few minutes chatting with climbers headed to Cliff Lake. One gal knows a someone I met last year in Oregon. What a small world.
I went up to Long Lake, took a nap. Went to Island Lake, went off trail to Fire Lake, a small lake one can see from the Big Elk Lake Trail above. It's easy to find... follow the water. Got back to Island Lake, passed down to Duck Lake.
At Duck Lake I sat a bit too long and decided the wandering is over for the day. I'm writing at 7pm, been here since 4. Yeah, I've got a few miles to pull to get to the trailhead in the morning but, so what.
With the wind, I've set my tent to help keep me a bit warmer and also using a big downed tree as a wind block.
Ah a weekend of relaxing...
Crystal Lake trailhead was in overflow mode by the time I got there after work. I chose to find a quiet place above Wall Lake long before sunset. I'm sure I could have found another spot higher but, eh so what I'm up for fun this weekend. I don't have much of an agenda just wander, camp, and play a little guitar, pun intended.
I'm hoping with my position I'll get a sky full of stars and a great sunrise.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Looking at Red Baldy as I drive each day to work, when the mountain gets almost clear of snow, it's time to hike across snow fields into White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon.
I put my sights into Saturday. I headed to the trailhead before 8. The weather, clear until afternoon, awesome. I started one layer chilly as I know my hiking style will warm me up quickly. The trail ran wet in places, muddy in others, no snow until the last odd mile, which is all snow. From experience, modern shoes need not be pampered, they often are all synthetic, dry quickly. I don't mind stepping in water unless it'll create erosion issues. Reguardless what time of year, this trail is always wet in areas as it crosses several wetland type areas, just give up on keeping your feet dry all day on this trail folks. If you desire dry feet, wear Wellies.
I made quick time up. Pausing a moment here and there to view the budding spring and to gaze into the basin a head. Several camper groups passed me heading down. I regret not asking where they camped as I know the area well enough tp know camping is limited at the lake.
Tracks headed into the basin before the trail jumps out of the trees. I followed suit. The snow, softening, yet, no post holing. I spotted tracks going towards the dam. That's a wicked steep route. I chose to stay towards the east and down below the summer trail. Two wet slides from the day before didn't even come close to the road. I aimed to be on the road about 100 yard before the rocky pass into the lake well out of slide danger zones.
Tracks crist crossed each other. High above me two skiers descended a chute. My poles, with small baskets, punched through the softenng crust. My microspikes bit effectively on the slope. Before I head to the Sierra's, I'll come here to train for the passes and practice self arrest, I thought. That won't be for a few years.
I stopped at the pass for a few photos. Made my way lake side, wrapped around to the dam, not much of a trail here. I kept looking for a large campsite. The only thing I found was a hot campfire ring with glowing coals. I shoveled snow bare handed and stired. I know fires are allowed up here however, when they are not out out, cold to touch, they become a major fire hazard. Coals can be carried on the wind into tinder else where. This fire ring, on the dam, a view of tinder a short mile below.
I scouted the area. I'm always looking for another spot to camp. I returned to the dam, set my BRS stove up for a hot lunch. Shielding it from the wind took a trick. Then when I wasn't looking it flash boiled, well that's a Ramen mess.
The dam seemed to be the place to come up, several groups made that way as their choosen route. Personally, nope, too step.
I returned the way I came, enjoying a long butt side off the summer trail. Note to self: don't forget the trash bag, burr. As I slushed a long at the bottom, I looked up. There were two more wet slides since I headed up. They too, did not pose any danger however, the later one is in this area the danger rises. The danger is not only from above off of Red Baldy but from the snow itself. Not being on the trail puts one into a rocky region, post holing into a void is to be avoided.
As I highlight the danger, I can't say enough about the beauty this area is blanked in snow, a lake of ice rimmed in turquoise, barren peaks rising another 800 plus feet.
Salt Lake Tribune put this as one of the 5 must do spring hikes. I agree, so do the dozens I passed must agree too. 8 miles round trip with 2400 ft elevation gain. I count is as strenuous for the out of shape for the distance then the snow. Once the snow clears, the rating dips. The snow is replaced by a mix of wet trail, rocky tread, and the occasional atream crossing. Mostly, its good hard pack dirt. The White Pine trail is an old jeep road. It's not wilderness so mountain bikes are allowed. Please be respectful of all users.
If you have not reviewd Leave No Trace Principles, please do so. I try to promote this as possible. I believe we are all responsible for keeping the land in pristine condition for the enjoyment of others. This includes not blasting music on portable speakers; to hiking with one ear bud out so that the other ear can be alert to sounds around or other hikers (I'm light on me feet, I'll surprise an unsuspecting zoner); watcjing where breaks are taken; scaring of the land with the use of campfires; etc. Leave No Trace is located at https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles
I found myself back at the car, parking lot over flowing to the highway, sky still clear, thinking how lucky Utahains are for the mountains so close to the metropolitan. Let's protect and preserve this resource from development for money while helping backcountry users better manage access and mitigate ruin of trails and basins but, how? Save Our Canyons (http://www.saveourcanyons.org) is one organization adressing these qurstions. For me, it's about treading lightly, picking up trash, and breaking up those pesky fire rings, fires long cold out of course.
Hike on, Hike wise.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tossing and turning happens, with the anticipation of sunrise I make sure the last toss puts me inline for the sun peaking into the basin. I saw the first pink of new day on Dromedary Peak. I sat up. Sitting in a quilt is much like that of a mummy bag except the back can get cold. I snuck an arm into my puffy down jacket. After a bit, I flashed to pack with the intention of having coffee and breakfast on the rocks.
The fellow who camped near by was surprised that I was packed so early. A late night six pack of 20yr olds pitched a huge dome tent on the rocks and one had a 2 burner propane stove out cooking bacon. Where was their mule? No mule, they all took a chunk of group gear and time to get up here. PS they got in just after dark.
I laid out my quilt and ground sheet to dry in a light breeze. I struck the canister stove to boil water for an overnighter treat, mountain house sausage & eggs, followed by coffee. Not like what the kids were enjoying but, a treat for me. They missed out on the coffee.
Light blasted the Sundial. Day hikers made there way in. The morning, clear, perfect for a hike there and for myself, down.
Before I split, I took a look for trash. I found a cache of crushed beer cans, empty cigarette packs, and a bottle of ketchup. I didn't have a very big trash bag with me. I chose the near full bottle of ketchup since it's a food item and will attract rodents. I also kicked a part an illegal firepit. Why, oh why do people do this? There are multiple signs saying Pack it in, Pack it out. Also there is a permanent fire ban in this basin. Hundreds will hike this trail. Thousands will pass between Mrmorial Day and Labor Day. We all need to do our part of keeping pristine, pristine. End Rant.
I sit drinking more wake up juice in the afternoon, the gear is sorted and put away, clouds roll across the SL Valley. Rain follows.
Call this a micro-adventure (less than 24 hours) or call it a mock-overnighter. Call it a major event for some like the kids I met. The important thing is to get out there, get comfortable with the gear. Find an experienced friend, hook up with an outdoors group, or rent some stuff from an outfitter. Quit dreaming, go.
Liz Thomas, an established long distance hiker, writes an article on the how and why short adventures work... http://www.eathomas.com/2018/05/09/backpackingmockovernighter/ you'll need to copy and paste that line.
I also want to encourage all to be mindful of the trash (pick it up), respect others, and be wise with sharing online adventures. I'll highlight that one another day.
Micro adventures abound near SLC. I debated abound hiking up last night but, I held off, more on that later. Today, I debated when to go. I decided to skip Capital Church's afternoon and evening services. I stashed the pack from the bin, drove to the over flowing trailhead of Mill B or D. I'm forever getting these two mixed up.
I huffed and puffed a while, yes, I'm in shape but not the best of shape yet. I passed many a group going up and coming down on their day hike.
The Sun Dial came to view, dozens lounged on the rocks over looking the lake. I split to a camping area just out of sight. Lots of wet but, I did find a spot that is dry. I threaded my tent stakes into the ground with a given view of the peak.
As I set up another fellow asked where he could set up. My question of him is do you have a free standing tent. He does and he's in view of the masses and thankfully his tent is of muted colors. I hate the sight of bright tents up here, they make the place look crowded when it may only be one or two people.
I wandered a bit thinking of where I'll make my morning brew. Last night I found my way into the most expensive cup of coffes I'll ever enjoy, all of the cost for a conversation. I headed to one of my reading spots, finishing up, I took someone else's pate to the counter, struck up a conversation with another regular and the staff. He offered me a mug of private brew. The staff brewed it for him. This stuff is mellow, smooth, and nutty. A light roast with a unique processing, the coffee berries are fed to a particular kind of cat, then gathered, cleaned, and then roasted. Yeah, now when somome says coffee tastes like **** I'll respond if you have that kind of processed coffee I'd like a cup.
I'm set upon a rock watching light escape this basin, chilled, and enjoying sounds of waterfalls, birds, and the occasional passing plane. Snow covers most the high basin, Lake Blache's ice is spotty, doubtful it'd hold a fox any more. I ponder will I see moose in the morning?
Time to bounce to camp, grab the jacket. Time for a hot tea.
Hike On, Hoke Wise.
Friday, May 11, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Sunday, April 29, 2018
The shear number of hikes I've gone on over the last few months is reaching an all time low. The motivation to get up there, isn't. Since October I've dove into reading as if reading all of a sudden became life. My preferred genre balances between biographies, several different styles of self help, and philosophical topics. The lack of hiking and increase of reading does not negate the desire to section hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
The SnoTel, PCT Water Report, and NOAA Weather sites see almost daily visits from me. The plan is loose, hike another major section with a 125 mile per week goal. Yes, you read and calculated that right, 25 miles a day 5 days a week or 20 miles per day for 6 of 7. Let's not forget that I need a full day or two in places for resupply, hence part of the higher mileage requirements. This goal is do able with training. I'm in the gym three days a week now. My focus isn't loosing the gut. Yes, I have one. My focus is building leg strength and cardio.
Though my base weight (gear carried less consumables) hovers near 15 pounds, I still refine what I use each hike. Last summer, in Oregon, a 20 degree quilt proved too hot at night. This summer, I'll try a 30 degree quilt. I should be comfortable most nights and push a little discomfort on the coldest. Stove wise, I'm going to the tiny BRS canister. At 1 ounce it is the lightest on the market, though not the most durable. I plan one or two hot meals a week, the rest will be cold soaked. Cold soaking is just that, pour water into the meal and wait. Typically it takes over twice as long to reconstitute a meal over the hot water method. Clothing, nothing is changing except I'm getting a new red shirt, maybe not red, how am I going to tell the difference between hikes?
The location I'm headed towards tends to have a lot more water and a lot more ridgelines or skirting the tops of the mountains. Water won't be a major concern this summer, watching the fires will (sorry Mom, I have to mention this). Fires are popping up as a major concern for Oregon in the hiker forecasts already.
Lack of, hiking but not of preparation.
Hike on, hike wise.
Friday, January 12, 2018
For sure the trailhead is packed, I thought driving up Little Cottonwood Canyon at 9:30 am. Moments later, all of 5 vehicles were there. I noted one guy preparing his skis and another with snow shoes on his pack just leaving. I took a few minutes myself to ready up. I hate driving in snow boots, so I put them in. I too, put the snow shoes on the pack. Why wear them when I'll be on hard pack?
Rounding out of the trailhead I saw a family group posing for a family portrait. Beyond them, no one and no fresh snow. There's just enough packed snow to cover the rocks. Then I stumble over one, bawha.
I make good time to the trail split of Red Pine and White Pine. I caught up with the skier. He takes the White Pine trail. I look at the snow bridge. Hum, do I chance it? It's all over 10 inches strong over the creek. I do it. At this temperature and time of day, it's not a problem, later in the day it may present an issue. Noted on the way down, others cross the snow bridge, at that time I take the real bridge which hardly has any snow on it. This time of year of years past there is 2 to 3 feet of snow on the real bridge. This is a sad snow year.
I take my time but still push a good pace. I stop for a few minutes about 1 1/2 miles from the trailhead where the trees open up for a good view down Little Cottonwood for a view of the valley. I don't see any haze. This is good. In times past there's been a wall of yuck at this hour.
Turning into Red Pine Canyon the slope is decorated with ski turns through the trees. From here I have a mile odd to go.
The next trail split is to Maybird Gulch. The trail crosses another bridge. This one too has very little snow on it.
45 minutes later I'm at the lake. Someone cleared snow for a tent site. 18 inches is all they needed to go down. Looking at the mountain before me, a field of rock from the ridge to the lake decorated with a bit of snow. I can see why I hardly note any ski tracks near by.
I share a bit of time with another hiker while I pull out an alcohol stove. I set my pot/stove on an over turned snow shoe. Even with a windscreen and peice of aluminium under it, the cold prevents my water from boiling in what I think is a reasonable time. The other hiker and I share a few tips and tricks about hiking in the Wasatch before he leaves.
I'm alone at the lake enjoying a hot meal, if one calls ramen noodles and tuna a hot meal. I also take time to steep a mug of tea. The clearness of the air, inviting. The lack of snow, disappointing. I debate heading to the upper lake but, since there is no one else here I chose not to. I typically would go if I felt crowded out.
I keep an extra layer on as I head down. A long time ago I learned I sweat on the way up and I freeze on the way down so I layer accordingly. I don't see another hiker until I get well below the bridge to Maybird.
Near the main trail split, I see plenty of folks. The route down from there is packed with families sledding in the trees and along the trail.
Heading down Little Cottonwood Canyon I enter into the rising haze of the day.
*This post was started on January 1, 2018 but not finished until recently.
Interesting enough, I looked at my blog posts and the last blog was also about Red Pine Lake.