A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: walkinman

In Review

Reflecting on my trip

Well it has been a little bit over three months since I have been home and have been really taking my time adjusting back to real life here in Seattle. In case anyone has not seen it already, you can go to http://pcta.org/about_trail/miler_list/ and you can see my name where it will be for history for all to see my accomplishment of the previous months this year.

When I started out on the trail, I honestly had a pretty big head about what I knew from my Outward Bound trip in 2003. I thought I knew what it took to go out back packing, and maybe I did, but I had no idea what it really took to be a thru hiker, definitely not for any trail similar to this 2667 mile behemoth staring me in the face. When I left though, I had a plan of only averaging near 15 miles a day, putting me home on October 4th, 2012. My third day out I was having to buy gear because I did not pack for anything that could happen, I was losing gear on the trail, I was hurting, I really was not ready for what laid ahead of me. It was a scary time for me looking back at it now. My 4th day of hiking I heard that my grandmother, the last of her generation in my family, was put into the hospital with pneumonia. I pushed myself far too hard that day and hurt my feet a lot.

I was very fortunate the next day to meet 4 guys that really made the beginning of my trip possible for me, and are a huge reason I was able to do everything that I did and not just give up in the first section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Voices, Salt Monster, Rubs, and Southern were the most influential people I met on the trail. Having Voices and Salt Monster with me for the first 200 miles, then Rubs and Southern with me all the way until Rae Lakes at mile 767 really helped me through the desert and through adjusting to thru hiking. It was completely unexpected, but was definitely just what I needed for me to be able to thru hike this trail. I owe so much to those 4 guys. Having people to camp with every night made things so great. But I knew that part of the reason I came out on the trail was to spend time alone in solitude to find myself and to reflect on my life, my past years, and to contemplate what was to come in my life and where I wanted to go, so I left Rubs and Southern to go out and find myself on the trail.

Heading away from those guys to hike on my own started off just fine the first day, but as I continued to camp alone every night, it got to be a little tough to be alone and not camp with people nearly as often. It made me really cherish every night that I was able to have people around. I became adjusted to hiking alone all day, but found that I really wasn't alone. I would spend a couple hours a day, literally, just talking with God. Thanking Him for getting me to where I was, for healing my body every night, for giving me the strength to push on, everything. I would thank Him for all the people in my life, my wonderful supportive girlfriend, my amazing family, my girlfriends fantastic family, all the hikers I met on trail. I loved being able to spend that time with God and be able to really feel Him in every step I took. I could have gotten hurt very easily out there, but that wasn't Gods plan for me. He called me to go out and hike that trail and I felt Him there with me the entire time.

God really showed me through my hike just what I can do! I never could have believed that my body could do all the things I did while out there on the trail. I still have a hard time believing it, and I walked it all! But to be able to adjust over time to walking all day long every day with 25-40 pounds on my back is amazing. By the end, walking 35 miles in a day felt like nothing, it was easy. It's something I'll try to never forget, that with constant training, a human body can adjust to anything and become very good at it, it just takes a lot of discipline!

I also came to realize that I can complete anything I put my mind to. I am a Gervais, and we are pretty steadfast in completing what we say we are going to do. For the rest of my life, I'll never forget this hike, and will always tell myself that I can make it through anything. I can make it through 3 years of school. I can make it through all the rough nights that will come once I have children. I can make it through so much. I really am so blessed to have God in my life, and also to have Corley in my life. I especially love that she was able to be the one who supported me through my hike. Having a girl like her who can be so supportive while I was away and being crazy like that is something I could never imagine finding in someone. It really shows me how much she will stand by me through anything in the future. She had hardly gotten to know me when I went to do this hike, and she still stood by me. I thank God every day for her.

While I was out on trail I spent a lot of time thinking about my future and what I wanted to do with my life. I have always known I wanted to be married and have children, but as far as work it has always been a tough decision. With all day long every day for 134 days, I had a lot of time to think about things. In the end, I have found that I want to become a teacher. I loved getting to teach swim lessons as a lifeguard, and have loved any time that I have been able to spend working with youth. I have found enjoyment with Chemistry and loved taking those classes in both high school and what I have completed of college so far. With this, I want to obtain my bachelors in chemistry and a secondary teaching certificate to teach chemistry. I've still got at least 3 years of school to go through, but it will be another journey for me to go through.

So I really grew up a lot on my 2667 mile journey, walking across the united states of america from mexico to canada and am so blessed to have been able to complete my hike, have met so many wonderful people on trail, and to have such amazing people in my life to support me in anything that I do. Thank you all for your support and your prayers! Now on to more journeys!!

Posted by walkinman 09:58 Comments (0)

In Summary

Putting it all together....

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

In the last 134 days in the mountains I :

-spent 1 day hiking Mt. Whitney
-spent 22 days not hiking at all
-averaged 24 miles a day, not including days off
-averaged 21 miles a day overall
-saw 5 bears in CA, 1 bear in OR, and 0 bears in WA
-saw 1 mountain lion
-saw numerous deer and rodents
-got a couple hundred mosquito bites over the course of OR and WA, hardly any in CA
-read 5 books
-was caught in 4 storms
-set up my tent 20 times in CA, 1 time in OR, and 2 times in WA
-hiked in rain 2 times in CA
-got 45 minutes of rain in OR and WA total
-carried an average of 30 lbs on my back
-carried 7 liters of water at the most
-carried 8 days of food at the longest stretch
-ate between 3000 and 4000 calories every day on trail, probably close to 10000 each day in towns
-showered 13 times over the entire trail
-rinsed myself in 5 lakes and quite a few streams
-did real loads of laundry 6 times
-climbed to 13,200 feet on trail at the highest point
-climbed down to 130 feet at the lowest point
-hiked 700 miles with Rubs and Southern
-hiked a few days with Dan, Kambucha, Hawkeye, Joker, Sampson, and On Time
-had two siblings join me on trail, Fry Pan and Not So Iron Feet
-saw my supportive girlfriend at 5 different stops
-wore through 4 pairs of shoes
-wore out a pair of pants
-carried the same pack, shirt, bandana, solar charger, pictures, and Nalgene bottle on the entire trail
-never cut or trimmed my facial hair or the hair on the top of my head
-lost 21 pounds
-walked 42 miles on my longest day
-had very little snow in the high sierra mountains, but caught up with some in central Oregon
-fell or slipped into water only 4 times
-tripped on trail once
-spent $3300 while on trail
-climbed to the summit of only 2 mountains while on trail, Whitney and Baden-Powell
-walked across three states from the US/Mexico Border into British Columbia, Canada
-hiked 2667.5 miles, not including anything off trail
-thru hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in one year

Posted by walkinman 16:24 Comments (0)

Home stretch!

Hiking across Washington State

After two thousand one hundred and fifty five miles of hiking and 5 days off, it was time to start hiking across my home state, which was very exciting from the beginning. My parents, Corley and I drove to Cascade Locks and got some delicious lunch. Then they all walked across the Bridge Of The Gods with me into Washington and got me to the trailhead at about 1300 for me to be on my way. Goodbyes are always tough, but I knew that WA had many chances for me to see family and my girlfriend, so I knew I would see them again soon! It was a very hot afternoon, and being at such a low elevation of 130 feet, the temperature was just so high! My dad told me later that in Cascade Locks it was 97 degrees and in Portland that day it was 100!! So it was pretty hot and all I did was go up and down a lot. At that time, I did not realize that this was just the beginning of Washington, there were tons of big climbs and descents to come my way. At the end of this day, I made 21 miles to Rock Creek and camped with a very nice guy out for a few days with his dog. Great first day back on trail.

I woke up feeling a little sore for the first time in quite a while. I assume it was all because of taking so much time off that my body was starting to adjust to home life again. My lower back and shoulders had so sores and rashes from the pack rubbing against them and my calves were feeling sore, but those have never been things to stop me from hiking this trail. So I was off and on my way in the morning with more ups and downs slowly working my way back up to the elevations I enjoy hiking at, moving from 1000-3000 and up to between 4000 and 5000 elevation. It was a decent day of hiking and I met many section hikers, some I had passed in Oregon and had gotten ahead of me while I took my time off. It was nice to see them again. I met a group of guys who were on the last night of their backpacking trip and offered me food, which was wonderful since I tend to eat more than I plan! I was happy to get more snack food and trail mix! I hiked on just a little more past Green Lake, which made me miss the Green Lake in Seattle, the Seattle Green Lake for the 90's when no one swimmed in it. This Green Lake in Southern Washington was pretty gross looking. But that was okay! I went a half mile past that and made camp away from most of the bugs. Moving right along through Washington!

Well, I was woken up at 0415 with rain falling on my face, my first rain in WA! I pulled out my tent real fast and just opened it up over me to figure out what I would do. Serves me right for cowboy camping every night, but the rain only lasted for about 45 minutes and was done for the day. I dried things a little and got hiking by 0515! Starting so early I made great time and was able to just move all day long and get to where I had hoped earlier than I thought. It was really a rather uneventful day in Southern WA. I would pass some roads and catch glimpses of Mt. Adams which was coming up close! I got to the road that heads down to Trout Lake, WA and took a good long break before the last couple miles of the day. I made the climb up until I was just below the start of snow on Mt. Adams and made camp with some cell service to chat with my girl and call my parents. It was a great day.

Now it was time to hike through the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Staying just under 6000 feet, the snow never really got that bad. There were some football field long stretches of snow, but nothing bad! Only lost my way once, but found the trail quickly. I met some south bound section hikers who mentioned that there wasn't anymore snow on Adams, but there was a sketchy part at Cispus Pass, which would come the next day. They also warned of a bunch of mosquitoes to come, but I've dealt with plenty of them before! Near the end of the day, I caught another thru hiker, On Time, who I had met a few times before. We hiked the afternoon together to a saddle just above Sheep Lake. I got there a little before him and started to make camp, but decided I should put up my tent because as I looked around, clouds were rolling in all around me, better to be safe than sorry at this point.

We were up early and could not see more than 200 feet away from out faces, the clouds were so thick around us. It did not rain on us at all, but the clouds were pretty thick all around. After only half an hour of hiking, we crossed to the other side of a ridge and the clouds were breaking away! It was beautiful. As I hiked on around the bowl, I could look back and watch the thick white clouds rolling over, down into the valley below from the point where I crossed the ridge. It was gorgeous to see the white clouds with the bright blue sky as a back drop. Then I got over Cispus Pass, which was just as I had heard before, but I took my time and crossed safely. I met some people camped about a mile after this. As we chatted, I looked up into the hillside above their camp and saw a group of what looked like at least 50 mountain goats! I was very excited, but then got on with my hiking! The climb up to the knifes edge was a very tough climb on loose rock. But as i came to the top and had a view of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and then the view of the huge Mt. Rainier, it was so gorgeous and was amazing to see views of a mountain I could see from my doorstep at home. It was amazing to be hiking in Washington and really hit me here. The Goat Rocks wilderness was absolutely astounding. Then it was the long climb down and along the ridge line, followed by a long descent down to White Pass. I went to the Kracker and Barrel store and got my package with food to make it to Chinook Pass and got some snacks. I went back to the trail and camped at the camp ground there with a few volunteers out with WTA beginning a log out trip the next day. They shared some fresh food and were great to chat with!

I left a little bit later today and got on my way towards Chinook Pass to see my family! After only a few miles I came across some Llamas resting in a small meadow near a lake and chatted with the family out with the llamas, headed for Chinook Pass as well. It is always nice to get to chat with people and share what I have been doing out here! But then I was on my way again! As I walked, I began to hear some thundering around me, but could not tell where it was coming from. It was a few Elk beginning to run the other way from me, but they are so loud it was impossible to tell which way they were running until I saw them. Later in the day I met an awesome Forester Service crew who were on the last of 4 days out, heading out for their day off. They shared food with me and it was a great break to chat with them a while! Then it was off and I came to a sign signifying the edge of Mt. Rainier National Park!! This made me so happy to be so close to home! And the view of the mountain was amazing from what had to be less than 30 miles from the snow capped mountain! I loved it, but kept hiking to get to the pass. After some gorgeous lakes and my last climb of the day, I came down to Chinook Pass and hiked off trail down to Tipsoo Lake to stealth camp and wait for my family! I was very excited to get to see them!

I made an attempt at sleeping in, but just couldn't stay asleep or fall back asleep. All I could do was to relax in my sleeping bag and read for a while, but that was okay. I eventually got up and rinsed out some of my clothes. My mom, Corley, Jacob and Alex arrived at about 0940. It was wonderful to see them! Then my sister Danielle and Genny got there, followed not far behind by Uncle Ned, Aunt Peggy, and Uncle Dave! It was so awesome to get to see them all, and especially see my Uncle Dave! It had been so long since I had seen him, it was great! Then Glenn and Debbie showed up eventually and we ate a delicious KFC lunch! Then Glenn and I were off to keep moving along the trail. He was joining me from Chinook to Snoqualmie Pass, about 70 miles. He borrowed a bunch of gear from friends and had a 27lbs pack with food and water. We started off moving pretty fast! He kept a fast pace as we made a big circle around Crystal Mountain. I could tell his feet were beginning to ache. He fixed some duct tape on his ankles and we kept moving. We made our goal to Government Meadows at Camp Urich, but Glenn's feet were aching a lot! It was a lot of miles to do in under 8 hours. We made 23 miles, which was awesome. We set up camp, Glenn in a tent and I was on the deck of the cabin and got some sleep!

In the morning, Glenn's feet were doing pretty well as we got off to a great start. Once we began to have some more significant climbs, they started aching more and more, but Glenn pushed on. We hiked along, hearing gun shots and logging going on in the hills around us. We took our time, took some good breaks, and just kept moving along as much as his feet let us. We made it to Tacoma Pass and he was able to call Debbie to say he was doing okay, but hurting. We climbed up from there and by the time we got to the ridge, his feet hurt so bad that when we got service again he called Debbie and asked to be picked up at our next roaded pass, Stampede Pass. We still had a ways to go, but he was motivated to get there and just kept on moving as much as he could! I stopped to chat with some day hikers and he kept moving. We made the Pass to find Debbie and Jacob hiking in to meet us. We got his shoes off and they were looking bad. Check Glenn's twitter if you can to see them! I got my food to make it to Stevens Pass a little early, but was happy to have my food and maps for a while! Debbie brought a burger from Snoqualmie Pass and after eating, I was on my way to get a few more miles in as they drove Glenn off to relax and try to let his feet heal up! I hiked another 5 miles and found a great spot to sleep out under the stars and watch the Meteor Shower!

I woke up at 0515 hearing someone hike past me! I had heard that Scott Williamson was out on trail and figured it was him, as he was hiking south. Later in the day I saw that his name was in a register and it confirmed that he was the one who passed me in the morning. I was very sad that we must have camped only a tenth of a mile apart. It would have been amazing to camp with that guy! He's a PCT great! But I got on my way to Snoqualmie Pass. It was awesome to finally come across a view of I 90 from up above it, then hike down the ski slopes with obviously no snow around anywhere! I enjoyed it a lot and loved hiking into a pass I know so well! I relaxed in the pass by the little store for a while, eating and relaxing! Then it was off into the Alpine Lakes wilderness! So many people do the first few miles up that it was packed on a sunday! I met a very nice couple from Issaquah and hiked with them. It was great to chat even though by the end of the day I realized how much time it cost me. But it was all okay! I caught up with another thru hiker friend of mine, Justin West! I hadn't seen him in a while so it was great to catch him! We ended up camping together about 15 miles out of Snoqualmie Pass near Parks Lake. It was much less miles than I thought I would have done, but it was all okay and wonderful to get to camp with a good guy!

We were up early, and I was off hiking. He is writing a Field Guide to the PCT, so any new plants he comes across, he stops to record and examine them, which can cause him to have some low mile days if he comes across a lot of plants! So I said goodbye and was off. Today was the first day of just how intense the up and down of WA can be! I started off climbing 400 feet, then down 2200 feet. Then it was back up 2300 feet to a gorgeous ridge. The lakes and views of the cut mountains were amazing and so beautiful. But then it was again going back down 2200 feet or so. It was followed by a pretty mellow climb back up 2500 feet. The last high point of the day. I made a couple calls from Cathedral Pass, but the mosquitoes were so bad that I couldn't stay long. It was back down another 1000 feet to cross the Mt. Daniels river, which was so sketchy! I was jumping across rushing river with my pack on, throwing my pack across the river, and jumping and grabbing onto wet rocks to keep from falling in the water! It was intense. It was then back up a few hundred feet to Deception Pass and my camp for the night. I set up my tent to get away from the bugs for a good nights sleep, which I had not had in a few days due to bugs.

I was up early and on my way to make it to Stevens Pass! It was still plenty of up and down to get there, but the lakes I came across were so beautiful! It was an amazing hike and I continued to meet many people out doing the Alpine Lake section hike, it is a very popular section. I made pretty good time and was at the top of the Stevens Pass chair lift around 1400. I got down and relaxed as I waited for Corley to arrive to take me back to civilization for a night. I was so happy to see her pull up and get to spend a little time with her! We drove down to Monroe and got some lunch and a dinner for later that night, and even stopped at DQ for me to get a blizzard! Then it was off to her house to relax, get me a shower and get some laundry done! It was great. I slept out on the couch and was so happy to see her family and just relax for a while with a good nights sleep!

We slept in a little bit and Heidi made a wonderful breakfast! Corley and I started driving back up to the pass after a while to get me back on trail. It was so wonderful to just spend some time with my girl! There would be no cell coverage for the rest of WA so it was great to just have some time together! She hiked in the first 3 miles with me! She did great! I loved having her with me and cannot wait to be home and go out hiking together. We said our sweet goodbyes and I was off to continue hiking. I came up to having some wonderful views of the well hidden Glacier Peak, a cascade mountain that can only be seen from the back country. Not from any road or high way, so that was very special! I made it to Pear Lake and hiked off trail a few hundred feet to get water and found Justin West there setting up his camp! With me going down from Stevens, he had jumped just a little ahead of me. It was great! We got to camp together again and I figured it would be one of the last times on trail I would camp with anyone. It was a great first day out of Stevens Pass!

We were out a little early and hiked the first mile together until he came across a plant to catalog and I was off. It was a pretty great day hiking, with great views of Glacier Peak every now and again, and some beautiful lakes out and about every once in a while. I kept moving pretty well all day and it was great hiking, still full of lots of elevation change though! I made it up to Reds Pass, which the backside was still pretty snowy, but nothing to bad! It was good hiking and nothing super steep. Then it was a good climb back up towards Fire Creek and up to Fire Creek Pass. I heard it was snowy on the back of that too, so I had planned to hike over it, which would have been a 38 mile day, but met a group of guys in the pass who were setting up camp and decided to set up with them! It was nice and a beautiful sunset. One of the best camps I had on trail. I was glad to have that little bit of extra climb finished and knew I had snow in the morning to come!

The snow was a bit steeper than I had thought it would be, and more frozen than I expected in the morning. The last few nights had been pretty warm, but not last night. I took my time and moved pretty slow making my way down, but I wasn't worried about it. After making the low point, I had the most intense climb of the entire trail to do. 2000 feet over 2.5 miles up to the Vista Ridge. It got me and I did not move up the mountain very quickly at all. I eventually realized how slow I had been moving and knew I really had to pick up my pace! I was on my way down to the Suiattle River, which the old PCT crossing was washed out. So instead of the 2 mile old PCT, there was the unexpected 6 mile new PCT with the new bridge over the Suiattle River, which was flowing very strong. I was happy to have such a stable crossing, but the 4 extra miles bummed me out. I pushed and kept moving pretty quickly! On my way up to Suiattle Pass I met Anish, someone I had been looking forward to meeting for a long time since she used to work with my brother Glenn in Bellingham! After a quick chat, I made the pass and hiked another 5 miles down to the very nice Hemlock Camp to settle for the night. I was 2 miles short of where I had wanted to get that day, but was pretty pleased with having made it this far!

I got hiking nice and early to hike down the long valley towards to road into Stehekin. It was a nice and easy hike down at a very nice grade. I got to the road at about 1000 and took a great break with some boy scouts who had just been out and hiked down from Harts Pass. They were headed out and gave me some food! It was awesome. My brother Glenn with Jacob and Alex were going to be meeting me tonight just a few miles from Rainy Pass and would have my food for the rest of the trip, so I did not have to head into Stehekin this trip. I was out on my way and actually met a friend of Glenn's! He was actually the guy who had lent the light weight pack to Glenn, so that was really funny to meet him! I was on my way along the long gradual climb up towards Rainy Pass. It was really very easy hiking and very pretty hiking along the Bridge Creek. There were lots of beautifully made camps along the creek and I eventually came to find Jacob sitting alongside the trail waiting for me! I hiked over to find the camp that Glenn and the boys had been giving a permit to camp at. This was such a fun night camping with them. We played some cards and ate food and just relaxed around camp with each other. I was very happy.

We woke up pretty darn early to give us plenty of time to hike up hill back to their car! We made it much quicker than we thought though! So I was able to get my food and get back out on trail at a very reasonable time! It was great to hike with them and was sad to see them go, but I was so close to being finished! I was back into hiking and moving towards Canada! I made great time and it was very beautiful country. There were few trees so the views were amazing. This section is really very nice hiking. A good climb up, followed by a long ridge walk, then down a bit to go do it all again. It was very nice and I met some very nice people out hiking this section. There was some good cloud cover my last few miles, but cleared up as I came to the apex of the ridge. I ended up camping with 5 other guys tonight and it was just so nice to still have plenty of people to chat with. We were also joined by some very tame deer! It ended up being a beautiful night!

I was up at my usual time and off hiking to get my last full day of hiking in! I came along to Harts Pass, the last road before Canada! It felt amazing to have made it here and could just feel how close I was to finishing! I just kept on moving and continued to come across people out in this section. After Harts Pass I had thought I wouldn't really be meeting many more people, but I was wrong! I just kept on moving and kept looking back over my shoulder, searching for where I had hiked during my outward bound trip when I was 14. I found the mountain I remembered, but never quite found just where I had a picture of us hiking on the PCT. I bet the trail has just changed a bit in the 9 years since I had been there last. I caught a couple of people out doing section hikes and we ended up camping together at Hopkins lake. There were few mosquitoes around and it was a lovely last spot to make camp! I still cowboy camped and just enjoyed having company on my last night. I rinsed some clothes in the lake, since I was to be meeting Corley and her dad at the monument in the morning! I wanted to clean up a little bit! Only 7 miles left in the USA to hike and no more climbs!! I was so excited!

I was too excited to sleep that I woke up at about 0315 and couldn't really get back to sleep. I laid around for a while and did not get hiking until 0730, since I only had 7 miles to get to the monument. I got hiking and had it all downhill to the monument. Corley and her dad had 8 miles from the road, so I hoped we would meet up near the same time! I came to a switchback in the trail and looked across the valley to see the tree line cut out to signify the border! I was so excited! I let out some loud shouts of excitement and kept on going to find the PCT northern terminus at the 78th border monument! I had made it! I was done with hiking across the United States of America. I had hiked 2659.5 miles to get to this point. It was amazing! I was so happy and could hardly believe where I was! I got there about 0930 and had beat my girl there. So I relaxed and waited. After about two hours of waiting, I decided to hike out in hopes of meeting them on their way in at 1130. It was a gradual climb up and I never came across them. I was worried about them and hoped they were okay and not lost out here! I began the descent down towards the road and began to think they maybe just weren't able to drive out the night before so drove out in the morning and will be meeting me closer to the road. I made the road in Manning Park. I was officially done with the PCT. I had hiked all the way from the Southern Terminus in Campo, CA to Manning Park in British Columbia Canada, but there was no sign of Corley and her Dad where the PCT hit the road. I walked down to the Resort and their car wasn't there, nor had they stayed the night at the resort. A park ranger told me of another trail head 3 miles down the road. I began to get scared thinking that maybe they had the wrong day and were not there at all! And with no cell phone service I was very worried I was stuck there! I got a ride down to the other trail and was so happy to see my girls car parked there! I dropped my pack and began to run down the trail about a mile, then decided maybe it was a better idea to wait at the car, in case they did make that monument then take the real PCT back. I waited another hour or so and eventually the two of them came hiking in off the trail!! I ran up to them, so happy that they were there!!! It was quite a last day out on trail, but we found each other and I was finished! Done! No more hiking all day long day after day! And I was right where I belonged, with my girl.

Posted by walkinman 21:39 Comments (0)

Surprises are fun

5 days off!

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had made it to Cascade Locks earlier than expected and was able to make it a big surprise for my family. My wonderful sister, Renee, got up early on Monday the 30th of July. She made a good drive to Cascade Locks and picked me up. Then we drove together back to Seattle, got a few supplies and were off to our annual Gervais Family Campout up at Wenberg County Park. We pulled in there and while she was buying her parking pass for the day, I got out, grabbed my pack, and let her drive to the camp sites. I walked up once she had pulled in, or maybe I should say that I hiked up. My family was so surprised, especially my Dad. It worked out so well and my mom was able to keep it a big secret so that no one but her and Renee knew I would be there. Dad, Glenn, Debbie, Jacob, Alex, Danielle, Dave, Genny, Marc, and Meegan were all there and had a big surprise. It was so fun to be able to just spend time with family after such a long time of not being able to see them.

The next day, my mom had invited Corley and her parents to come out to the park and join them for dinner saying it would be a good chance for my dad and her dad to meet and for them all to be able to meet more of my family. Corley and her parents had no idea I would be there. So once we saw Les pull up in his truck, I hid in my parents camper and waited for Corley and her mom to arrive. Then, with a red rose in hand, came up and surprised Corley and her parents. I was so happy they made it out for dinner and it was so fun to surprise them all! Later in the evening after dinner, Corley's grandma Joan and grandpa Neil showed up! I pulled up the hood of my coat with my back towards them and let my mom introduce them to everyone that was there. Then came to me and I was able to surprise them as well! It was just loads of fun! I was so pleased the surprises worked out so well!

Posted by walkinman 18:50 Comments (0)

Oregon down!

437 miles out of Ashland

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

After a couple of wonderful days with Corley and her mother in Ashland, OR, they dropped me off at the trail at about 1230 for me to get back to hiking! It was great to be getting back to hiking in Oregon, although the affects of being in a town for a couple days was hitting me, I still made great time. It was quite a change from the Marble Mountains and Russian Wilderness I had been in just a few days before in Northern California. Many more dirt mountain roads, powere lines, and people around than I had expected, and quite a bit more dry, but it was still a lovely hike. I met two people after crossing Highway 69 who own property on the PCT and are trying to set up a water cache, information board, and campsite there at the road crossing and wanted the advice of a PCT thru hiker. :) It was nice, but then I was off to finish my day and make it to Hayatt Lake, just a bit further down trail from the camp ground.

The next day was my first full day of hiking in Oregon. I could tell hiking today that this terrain in Oregon would be much different from what I had been hiking in. Rolling hills with much less elevation change than the previous few months. It was wonderful and I was making great time as I hiked on. I hit the very cozy Brown Mountain Shelter and got some water before heading out to cross the lava fields. Without knowing what was to come, I pictured the lava fields you see flowing down in hawaii, cooled and solid for hundreds of years, but that flow of lava was what was in my minds eye. Instead, it was massive piles of lava rocks with a sandy path cutting through. It was an interesting hike and unlike anything I remember hiking on before. I made it to Highway 140 and still had plenty of day light to get a few more miles. I hiked on and hit the McCloughlin trail, but missed the junction back onto the PCT. Up until this point, I had not talked to a single other person today. But missing the junction, I met two people coming down from the summit who helped get me going in the right direction. I was pretty bummed. I have yet to have a day where I have no talked to a single soul on trail. I look forward to having at least one of those, but may not have any!! I made camp and actualy set up my tent, a rare moment, but the mosquitoes were too bothersome. It was a good choice.

I was off the next day, still being bothered by mosquitoes. The morning was quite full of them. I made it to Christi Spring and the slow flow coming down made me have to stand still for minutes to get the required water and I tried to keep on moving to shoo away the mosquitoes. I got my water and left as quickly as I could. I eventually met a guy coming south bound from Cascade Locks and asked him about trail conditions to hear that I would find plenty of snow through OR. I wasn't too excited to hear that news, but will take whatever the trail throws at me! I got to cross over Devils Peak and found my first Oregon snow. It wasn't much, but the view from up there was gorgeous and it was fun to boot ski down the snow a little bit. I always love the downhill with snow! I find it a ton of fun. :) Later on, after a half mile hike off trail to get water, I ran into Sampson, who I had not seen since Castle Craggs Park. I had hiked 32 miles so far and he had gone 19 that day. We hiked on a little further to where I felt like making camp and he hiked on. I am moving along right through Oregon so far!

This morning was all about making it to the Mazama Village Camground to pick up my first package in OR with food resupply! I made it there plenty early in the day and caught Sampson again and met another thru hiker, Eagle Eye. I ate some great food and was off the get to Crater Lake! Once there, the lake looked so gorgeous, a very vivid blue on such a clear day! The place was loaded with people on the sunny sunday afternoon, but I was off and hiking the Rim Trail after getting a little more food and mailing out some postcard thank yous! The rim trail is not part of the true PCT, but the lake is so beautiful that it is not something to pass up! I was very surprised by how steep the sections of the rim trail got. Easy to tell why they do not want horses on this trail, not only the steep terrain, but the abrupt cliff edge down to the lake too. I finally hit some good patches of snow as I began moving away from the lake, and was off and on snow for a while until a few miles away from Crater Lake. Then it was a long flat walk over to the base of Mt. Thielsen where I caught On Time, another thru hiker I had not seen since Siead Valley. He kept my pace for a while until there was some up hill to do. I made it through all the up before stopping to make camp at the trail junction to the summit of Thielsen. I had been going over patches of snow, but not much yet. I looked at the north face of the mountain and could tell I would hit plenty of snow in the morning, but for that moment, it was time to rest!

So this was to be my first real snow hiking ont he PCT. It was a good amount of snow there on the northern face, but down at Thielsen Creek was where I first got lost. Instead of wrapping around the creek, I kept heading up and thought I would find trail eventually, but never I did. I climbed up to the other bank of the creek and hiked over, hoping to find trail with no luck. I made my way back to the creek and stayed up above it to head back to where I knew I got off trail. Fortunatly, I met a hiker who was camped near by and he pointed me in the right direction. Then it was a climb up to the high point of OR and WA, 7560 feet. Not very high compartively speaking. After crossing this point, I really lost trail. I was searching around making circles back to where I had lost trail for nearly 45 minutes. Following old tree blazes and just trying to make sense of my map when I had no points of reference around, as I was surrounded by trees. I decided to hike further backwards and eventually found I had just completely missed a turn off the trail and was back on my way. I then found out the Cowhorn Mountain was pretty sketchy with snow having some steep drop offs on both sides of the 2 foot wide and 6 foot deep snow bank. I was glad to make it through that and be headed down to Summit Lake and out of snow range to make camp. Still plenty of mosquitoes too.

I was off in the morning to make my way around Diamond Peak. The trail stays pretty low around the basin, but a huge avalanche had happened months before, covering everywhere with lots of snow. It was really quite beautiful to see. All the trees were bent down the mountain and you could just see how much destruction power an avalanche carries with it. I got off trail, but never felt lost today. I hit a frozen lake, which appeared on my map and was able to see I was 300 feet above trail and had a steep face to traverse down, but eventually hit trail and the excitement of finding my way made me yell out in happiness. I was happy to be on trail and continued on crossing large patches and finding short segments of trail to know I was on the right path. I got down to Shelter Cove Resort to pick up my most recent package. At this point, I had hoped to make Cascade Locks on Thursday the 2nd of August, but after the past few days and making such wonderfully large amounts of miles unintentionally, I did the math and saw I could make the Locks on Monday morning, in time to make some of my annual Gervais Family Campout. I called my sister Renee from Shelter Cove to see if she would be willing to pick me up, and she said yes! I hiked out at 1445 to get another 18 miles in my 2030! From here I called mom and asked her about it all too! She was very excited about it and thought we could keep it a huge surprise for everyone, including my father. So I said I'd give it a few days and see how my body handles it and will confirm the new plans then.

I was off in the morning, and having looked at my maps for the day, saw that the elevation today was quite mellow, so I planned to go for a VERY long day and moved fast in the morning! I met 4 section hikers headed north this morning, but had my goal in mind and moved through after short chats. I had a great morning, seeing an Elk, a fox with a snake in it's mouth, and my first black bear in Oregon. It was a scruffy guy too. It's amazing how quickly they turn and run through the forest the opposite direction, nothing being able to slow them down. But nothing slowed me down today! I went past the Elk Lake Resort and began my climb up to Sisters. After the Wikiup Plains, I hit the snow I had heard lots about, but also found another north bound hiker, Kairos. We found our way around some snow, but he was moving slower than I. After taking lots of time to slowly move through huge patches of snow and attempting to following some prints, I found a trail headed west down the mountain. I knew it wasn't headed where I wanted to go, but also knew there were a couple trails headed down to a meadow between the Husband and the Sister mountains. So I found a spot that had a campsite and decided to end the day there, a mile and a half short of where I wanted to get to, but it was still a 41 mile day! My longest day on trail. :) I set out my map and triangulated my position to find an idea of where I was. I realized that at the north end of sisters was the Younger Brother, which had a ridge coming down that the trail wrapped right around. I figured in the morning I would give up trying to find trail and just head right for that!

Once the mosquitoe alarm clock got me up, I was out and making my way towards the ridge, still feeling like I was making good time, but when I finally hit 7 miles at 1000 I realized that the snow had defnintely slowed me down, but that was okay! It was beautiful hiking and seeing Obsidian Falls and hiking in the lava fields. I made it down to McKenzie Pass and was off to get to Big Lake Youth Camp for my next package! Much more lava fields and burn areas filled up this hiking, but I made it through and had plenty of water. I got to the trail marker for the Youth Camp and headed that way just to find another trail junction which was unmarked. Long story short, I chose the wrong way. Instead of walking a quarter mile just up to the camp, I walked 3 miles around the lake. I was quite upset at myself for the one. But I got my food and left as soon as I could. I made it to Santiam Pass and gave mom a call to let her know the plans were going to go on and the surprise should be kept as good a secret as we could. I hiked out and made another 4 or 5 miles for the day.

I had heard that a thru hiker I had been following not far behind for over a 1000 miles was pretty close ahead of me and looked forward to catching him, which I did by 0900 this morning. His name is Dan and he is doing about the same miles a day as I am. today was another very snow filled day, going over Mt. Jefferson. We hiked off and on for the morning, getting lost a couple times and choosing different ways to find trail again, but we did the climb back up to Jefferson Park and over the high viewpoint together. It was very helpful here to have someone to find trail through so much snow with. We made it up in great time, and had a lot of fun sliding down the huge snow field on the back side of the Buttes. It was great and we got back on trail pretty easily. We weren't far from getting to Ollalie Lake Resort, but camped 7 miles out at Breitenbush Lake. We even went over to the campground to find some conversation. It was a great choice because we were able to get pizza and baked beans. These two guys even offered us some ancient Mountain House meals from the 80's. We acceted and it was just a great night with a fire and conversation.

The mosquitoes were up in the morning and I was off a little earlier, hearing the call of food calling me! I got into Ollalie Lake at 0830 to find they had no ice cream, which made sense after I found out that they didn't have any power but power to get water from the lake filtered and up to their holding tank. It was a great little place with just a dirt road to get too and a few cabins with hardly even running water! Dan caught up and after a nice break and buying a few snacks to make it to Timberline Lodge, we were off and hiking together to chat. He hikes much differently than I do. He will hike at 4 miles an hour for 3 hours then take a break to eat and everything. I go at 3 miles an hour all day long, eating as I walk. Now you wouldn't think that the 1 mile an hour difference between us was much, but it really is! A couple miles from the end of the day, my left quad seized up on me and made it difficult to walk. It made me quite worried after hiking with Running Wolf in the beginning of the trail, who in 2010 had made it to mile 2006, where his quad seized up on him and was drastic enough to get him off trail for the season. He had been there too late to take some time off to let his leg heal. But for me, I was glad we only had a couple more miles. We made it to Timothy lake and went to get water from the lake and found a great camp. After a rock gave way and I slipped into the water, soaking my feet, we decided to make camp. I was relieved and was sure to take a few asprin before bed, hoping the leg pain would heal by morning.

My leg still felt stiff when I woke up at 0500, so I decided to get an earlier start to the day. Come to find out, a 50 mile trail run event was going on and all morning I was being passed by runners. They were very nice though, impressed with what I was doing, giving me donuts, and encouraging to keep on going. I made their final aid station as there were cleaning everything up. I was lucky with my time and got a PB&J sandwich, a banana, and gatorade. :) It was great and got me going for the climb up Mt. Hood to the Timberline Lodge! It was beautiful coming up to Mt. Hood. I really think it was the most beautiful mountain in Oregon! I made the lodge at about 1330, with plenty of time for their all you can eat lunch buffet. :) I ate lots of very good food. Dan made it in about 45 minutes after me. It was a great break in the day and so good to fill up on food! After letting the food settle a bit, it was off to the trail again, which out of the lodge was hard to find. There are so many trails around up there that I had no idea if I was on the PCT or not. But I found my way and it was a tough climb down. Quite steep down for a few miles, which is never easy on the knees! I got to just before Sandy River and met a few very nice people out doing the Timberline Trail around Hood. They had a great campsite and I camped with them after chatting for half an hour. They offered me some food and it was nice conversation. Dan got down after a while, he had eaten too much food and his stomach was hurting a lot as he hiked. I'm glad he made it. Only 39 miles to Cascade Locks!

I was out very early, not being able to fall back asleep after waking up at 0515, so just decided to get hiking. It was a good climb up to start the day, and after the climb I just began to get the feeling of wanting to be in town very badly. It's what will usually happen the day hiking in before a break. I'll just be caught up on thoughts of wanting to get there. Thankfully, the mp3 that Corley had bought and filled up for me came in very handy for this situation! I just popped an ear bud and listened to music. It was wonderful help and I was able to just hike and not think about town too much. I made it to the Indian Spring trail junction down the the Eagle Creek Trail, this is how to get to the notorious Tunnel Falls! So I went down this, which was VERY steep. I think I must have dropped 1000 feet in a mile. Then it was a wonderful, but very populated hike down Eagle Creek. All the falls were so beautiful though! It was worth it. I made it into Cascade Locks at about 1830 and went right for pizza!! Dan got in eventually and got pizza too. I wanted to go get a milk shake before the place closed so I asked for my check, but they told me someone had paid it for me. I couldn't believe it! I didn't even know who or get to say thank you! I love trail magic!!

I spent the night at the Post RV park, near where the Sea Bird would come in to Cascade Locks. They let PCT hikers camp there for free and have free showers! It was a wonderful way to make the last day in Oregon! Now it is time to surprise the family, take a few days off, and then get back on trail and finish up with Washington! I look forward to the snow melting some more before I get back out on trail!!! 2 states down!

Posted by walkinman 11:16 Comments (0)

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