Manning Park, Canada

Day 148 – Friday, September 5

I made it to the northern terminus of the PCT or the Canadian border on Friday, September 5th right about 5 p.m. to finish my thru hike. It was a pleasure to spend the last couple of weeks on the trail with Red, Daniel and Timberline.

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From White Pass I entered Mt. Rainer National Park and had some wonderful views as I hiked along the trail. I ran into a guy with a team of Llamas which was pretty cool. He was a super nice guy and he was giving thru hikers Hershey’s Bars for trail magic. I stayed at the Urich Shelter on my way into Snoqualmie Pass.

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It’s always great to see so many folks out volunteering their time to do trail maintenance. A BIG THANK YOU to all those who give their time!

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Timberline and I both took the Goldmeyer Alternate out of Snoqualmie Pass to go to the hot springs for some R&R. It was well worth the trip! The alternate trail passes by Snow Lake…what a beautiful site!

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As I hiked further north into the Northern Cascades, the scenery just continued to get more and more awesome. However, I did miss some great views of Glacier Peak due to the clouds and rain.

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The North Cascades National Park and Stehekin were great! I stayed two nights at the Stehekin Valley Ranch. The food and the property were just super awesome! It was a great place to relax some before finishing the trail! It’s also super cool because you can only get to it by hiking in, taking a four-hour ferry or a float plane ride.

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The Bakery in Stehekin was not to be missed either. It was amazing how good this place was to be in the middle of nowhere!

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Here’s another story that I didn’t tell you about coming out of Cascade Locks. I met Matt, the guy in the photo below, center, hiking shortly after entering Washington. Matt is from the U.K. and I found him to be a super enjoyable guy to be around. Carlos, Paul the Frenchman and I were camping with him on our second night out from Cascade Locks. The next morning as I was packing up to leave, Matt stuck his head out of his tent and told me that he was really sick. I went over to see what was up and he went on to tell me that he had gotten up in the middle of the night to throw up and that he somehow blacked out and couldn’t find his way back to his tent. I could immediately tell he was in really bad shape. Paul had already left camp that morning before Matt had found his way back to his tent. Matt had slept out the whole night in the woods, lost, with no cover on a very cold Washington night. He was probably pushing hyperthermia. The man was very sick!

I called Carlos, who had camped on the other side of the trail and was just leaving, over to explain what was going on with Matt. We quickly figured out that we had a forest service road five miles ahead and that we needed to help Matt get there and off the trail somehow. After a pretty long process, Matt got packed up and we all headed down the trail together. As we started down the trail, I called Mrs. Whitewater (Mary) once again on a very weak cell signal and was able to tell her our location and what was going on and that once again we needed help. After that brief conversation, we totally lost any further cell phone service.

Carlos and I had gotten Matt down the trail at least three miles when I suggested to Carlos that I thought one of us needed to go ahead and head down to the forest service road to see if any help existed, drop a pack and come back and take Matt’s pack the rest of the way. Carlos told me he thought that was a good idea, so I took off for the forest service road. When I got there, I was glad to see that Mary had made contact with Stevens County and we had an ambulance and two EMTs waiting. I dropped my pack and went back up the trail with one of the EMTs to help get Matt the rest of the way down. We met them about a mile out, I took Matt’s backpack and we slowly made our way to the forest service road. Matt went right into the ambulance and off he went. Neither Carlos or I had any contact information for Matt.

After a long recovery, Matt skipped forward to where he thought he should be on the trail, which turned out to be Stehekin, where Carlos and I ran into him again. It was great to see him and that’s when we found out that he had spent five days in the hospital and seven additional days in Portland recovering from a bad case of Giardia. Carlos and I were both glad to see Matt was back and we had a great time visiting.

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Below are a few additional photos from my final three days on the trail. We all decided to finish at the border with a thirty mile day just for fun of it.

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We had a pretty good group of thru hikers who ended up at Manning Park at the same time. Pictured below is Wasabi, Lucky Strike, Carlos, Timberline, Whitewater and Quiet-man. Some of the others around (but not in this photo) were Red, Daniel, Tarzan and Asswagging.

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Thanks again for everyone’s support! Once Again Another Great Journey!

Posted in Trail Updates | 22 Comments

White Pass

Day 131 – Tuesday, August 19

These days I’m working hard to slow my pace down and enjoy the last several weeks on the trail. With the miles I have remaining it’s beginning to feel more like a short backpacking trip in the woods. I’m still doing some thirty mile days, basically because I don’t exactly know what else to do during the day except to walk. So I’m finding myself taking lots of pictures and enjoying many more nero’s and zero’s around the small towns in Washington. At this point no matter how many miles I do in a day, I still plan to finish on September 9th, meet up with the family, spend some time in Seattle, and fly home on the 13th. This schedule gives me lots of time to burn along the way.

After leaving Timberline Lodge and the Mt. Hood Wilderness, I found myself in what must be the waterfall capital of the country. They were absolutely beautiful and I only saw a few of them. Tunnel Falls was my favorite.

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From the Mt. Hood Wilderness, I ventured north into the state of Washington and the Mt. Adams Wilderness.

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After hiking out of the Mt. Adams Wilderness and making a quick stop in the town of Trout Lake, I entered into the Goat Rock Wilderness. What an awesome area! I would put this area way up there on the my list of suggestions for a weekend backpacking outing. It’s a fairly short section that reminded me of being back in the Sierras. The Goat Rock area is beautiful with Mt. Adams to the south and Mt. Rainier to the north. Heavy clouds moved in on me as I crossed over what’s called the Knife’s Edge. Photos just can’t capture the views I pass everyday. After arriving at White Pass yesterday around noon, I hitched a ride down to the town of Packwood and I’m enjoying a day off from the trail.

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From here, I will head into Mt. Rainier National Park, on north through Washington to the Canadian border,  and then to Manning Park in British Columbia to complete my journey.

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Mt. Hood

Day 121 – Saturday, August 9

I only went into the Sisters / Redmond area for a short afternoon and evening to visit with some old Yellowstone friends from 1979 knowing that when I made it to Mt. Hood I would return and visit for a longer period of time with Mrs. Whitewater. That evening I had a great time with Loren Hall and his wife Jeanene along with Kerry Quimby-Zenich and her husband Henry. We had a great dinner and a long visit at the local Mexican restaurant in Sisters. The next morning, after doing a quick resupply in town, Loren put me back on the trail so I could make it to Mt. Hood to meet Mrs. Whitewater who was flying into Portland and driving over. I got back on the trail mid morning and shortly after beginning my walk, I turned the corner to find Coppertone sitting some 1,500 miles north from the last time I met him doing trail magic once again, but this time in Oregon. What a great guy!

That wasn’t my only surprise for the day. Shortly after setting up my tent for the evening, I turned around and there was REI (pronounced “RYE”…that’s what he thought REI read). REI is from Germany. We hiked together for several hundred miles way back in the Southern California desert. It was great to see him and we ended up hiking together to Timberline Lodge / Mt. Hood. The good thing is even though I’ve taken several days off with Mary, I’m pretty sure I’ll catch back up with REI again in Washington since his wife from Germany is coming to hike with him for several weeks.

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Some really cool scenery and lots of lava rock between Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson.

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The Mt. Jefferson Wilderness was beautiful and we found ourselves once again hiking across snow.

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Entering the Mt. Hood Wilderness.

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Timberline Lodge and the great lunch buffet. The best food on the trail so far!

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Mary arrived and picked me up at Timberline Lodge. We drove back to the Sisters / Bend area for a longer visit with Loren and Jeanene. We had a great time and even visited several breweries on the Ale trail in Bend. Later that same evening, we went out to Kerry and Henry’s home where they hosted a BBQ for us, complete with my newly discovered favorite trail dessert . 🙂 It was another great visit along the PCT with folks from those old Yellowstone days.

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Quickly heading towards Washington.

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Sisters / Bend

Day 113 – Friday, August 1

I crossed over into Oregon on Monday, July 21 and ended up doing another very long day into Ashland (35.8 miles) to the Callahan’s Mountain Lodge off Interstate 5. It was raining so that was part of the reason why I just kept going. I got there in time to get my first mug of beer free (offered to thru hikers) and of course moved right on into the restaurant for dinner. It continued to rain so I went ahead and got a room there vs. the camping that they offer PCT hikers coming through. The next morning I had breakfast and I met a couple from Portland who offered to take me to Ashland so I could resupply. After lunch in Ashland, I caught a shuttle service back up the mountain to Callahan’s and I finished packing up and headed right back to the trail sometime around 2:00 p.m. It was a fairly quick town stop and the lodge where I stayed did not have a business center for me to get  a blog update out during that town stop. So I’m way behind on the blogging but making good head way up the trail.

It took me about a day to get into the rhythm of hiking again after getting back on the trail from getting rattled.

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It’s still always amazing to me how much thru hikers can eat. Here “Patches” takes on the Seiad Valley Pancake challenge after already having a Root-Beer Float for a starter.

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I created a new camp dessert that’s out of this world!

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I really enjoyed hiking through Crater Lake!

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I found where Cheryl Strayed, author of WILD, signed the log book back in 1995 at Shelter Cove Resort.

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Here are some additional photos from the past couple of weeks.

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Etna and One Ugly Snake Story

Day 96 – Tuesday, July 15 Well, I was hoping that my next blog update would have been from Ashland, Oregon but it’s not. I’m in Etna, California right now and I technically still have +/- 40 more trail miles left to do before getting here. So here’s how I got here, believe it or not. Monday had been going just like any other day on the trail. I got up and packed up my gear, eat some ultra healthy food for breakfast and start walking for the next ten hours. I was having a great day and planning to do about 31 miles (which I did do). A large number of the water sources along the trail seem to be dry these days, but the last spring before crossing Highway 3 had some running water. I’d been hiking most of the day by myself, as usual, but when I arrived at the spring, Freedom was sitting there enjoying the wonderful taste of water after about an 12 mile stretch with none. Within just a few minutes, other thru-hikers began to show up: Washpot, Willem, Gram and Ridge Runner. After all of us” camel upped” (drank a large quantity of water), we decided that we would all camp at a campground down by highway 3, about 2 1/2 miles further down the trail. The campground had no water so we had to take enough down for the night as well as enough to get us about five miles north the next morning to the next water source. I got my water and decided I would start hiking down towards the campground. I think I was busy getting my pack strapped on correctly when all of sudden I realized I had something going on beneath me. Let’s just say, I was jumping before I ever really knew what was happening. By the time I quit jumping and got a few feet more north on the trail, I turned around to see one very large rattlesnake (somewhere between 4 and 5 feet and as big around as my arm)! I knew right then what had happened…it bit me on the ankle. I just remember shouting out “I just got hit” and that’s when all the other hikers at the spring came running down the trail to see what had happened. I remember hearing Graham’s comment “that’s the biggest snake I’ve seen!” My brain was just saying “No Shit and he just bit me!”  Due to the encounter, my photo is a little out of focus! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA All of my fellow hikers were great! Washpot’s background as a ski patrol EMT kicked in. He immediately told me to drop my pack and suggested that we walk down to Highway 3 as calmly as possible. To my surprise, I was able to call Mary and briefly let her know what was going on before losing our connection. She was able to pick up on two key points: I had been snake bitten and I was 2 1/2 miles from Highway 3. She immediately researched where I was at and called the local fire department here in Etna. By the time I got within a half mile of the highway, we began to hear the sirens and quickly figured out that Mary had called for help. Wow! It was the big event! By the time I got down,  I felt like I had folks helping me in every direction and it did feel like a relief even though I was already hoping that it was just a dry bite. A lot of folks always say if you get bitten,  you want to get bitten by a big one, because they can control their venom much better than the young ones. The big guys don’t care to waste their venom if they can’t eat you! Lucky me! They even had a helicopter ready to come and get me.  At the time I was already beginning to feel like that I didn’t get a dose of venom. The EMT and paramedic  finally decided that they would transport me by ambulance to the Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka, about an hour and a half away. The team of professionals I had could not have been any better! I was loaded up in the ambulance and off towards the hospital I went. I tried to keep a sense of humor about what was going on.  We were joking around in the ambulance. The female paramedics kept me talking and said that they loved my southern accent (that’s what they told me anyway!).  Upon arriving in town, we passed by a McDonald’s and I happened to make a comment on how good it would be to make a stop there. After getting checked out by the doctor who quickly determined that it was a dry bite, I was released and my ambulance crew was more than willing to take me back toward the trail. They even let me run into the McDonald’s to grab some dinner. The EMT and her husband (Heather and Clint) invited me to their home that evening and our plan was to get me back on the trail early the next morning. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Upon waking up this morning, my ankle was pretty swollen and very sore, so I decided to just lay low today and give it some rest here in Etna. My plan now is to return to the trail in the morning being much more careful about what may be laying out in front of me. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’m a very lucky hiker for the following reasons which are all pretty rare for hikers on the PCT:

  • I was very close to a pretty major road.
  • I had some cell phone service.
  • I had other hikers close by for help.

Below are a few additional photos from the past several days. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA All is well now, but what an adventure to say the least!

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Mt. Shasta

Day 93 – Saturday, July 12

I’m currently in Shasta City in the very north end of California and things are going great on the trail! This past Thursday I broke my personal best hiking day.  I hiked 34.5 miles in a single day with an 1,800 foot climb at the end!

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Shortly after leaving Chester,  I entered Lassen Volcanic National Park where I visited Terminal Geyser and Boiling Lake. It’s a pretty cool thermal area especially considering I was nowhere close to Yellowstone.

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Part of the trail I went over this past week is an area called Hat Creek Rim. This section of the trail brought back memories of the Mojave Desert days in Southern California. It’s a stretch which is very hot (99 degrees when I went across) exposed, dry and waterless for 33.4 miles. Thank goodness Cache 22 and the Wild Bird Cache were fully loaded with water! Those caches made it much easier to cross. I could see and hiked towards Mt. Shasta for four days. If you look hard enough in the Hat Creek Rim photo below, you can see Mt. Shasta from about 100 miles out. The snow on it looks more like a cloud and the mountain itself blends in with the sky since it was such a hot and hazy day.

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The trail passes through Burney Falls State Park on the way north to Mt. Shasta.

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After living in California now for the past three months, I’m planning to take my backpack and move on to Oregon here soon. 🙂

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Chester

Day 85 – Friday, July 4

Happy 4th of July to all! I’m in Chester, CA right now and I decided yesterday afternoon to take a zero here today and just enjoy what’s going on in small town America on the 4th. They’ve already had a big parade today down Main Street and I understand a nice firework show is scheduled over Lake Almanor this evening.

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My shin issue seems to be getting well after about three weeks of some pretty tough times, pain, and a doctor visit while in Tahoe. I feel fortunate that it appears to be getting better every day while still covering lots of trail miles.

I crossed a huge milestone yesterday, the PCT midpoint, which gave me flash backs of when I hit the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail and caused me to remember how fast the second half of that journey went by. It’s kind of scary.

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Since leaving Bridgeport, I’ve been pretty much hiking out of the Sierras into Northern California and visiting towns like Tahoe, Truckee, Sierra City and Belden. It seems like I’ve hiked through every ski resort north of Tahoe. I even camped one night under the chair lifts in Squaw Valley.

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Just before Carson Pass, I ran into Steady and her hiking partner Cliffhanger slack packing south and heading back towards the Sierras. Steve, Steady’s husband, was at Carson Pass with trail magic. That Subway sandwich went down great! It was fun to catch up with Steve and Steady since I last saw them some 900 miles back. Also at Carson Pass, I met back up with Roi & Sarit. They are the couple from Israel that I began the trail with in Mexico.

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I stayed in one of the only huts along the PCT, Peter Grubbs Hut, shortly after Donner Pass. It was also the first evening that I’ve seen rain since leaving the Mexico border. It’s pretty cool how that worked out. I enjoyed not having to take down a tent in the rain!

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Below are a few additional photos from the past couple of weeks.

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Best swimming hole so far – Middle Fork of the Feather River.

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Moving on towards Mt. Shasta.

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