Sunday, July 28, 2019

Oregon/Washington PCT Hike 2019 Part 1

Two years ago, I wanted my hike to be more than a hike.  I told Becky to find some charity about kids and cancer.  Becky has had carcinoid in her liver for more than fifteen years.  Becky found Camp Korey, whose mission is to bring in children with fragile health, or disabilities.  The conditions can include cancer but it is not solely for children with cancer.  These kids have more limitations, more struggles than we can imagine.  Severely limited in what they can do because they are in and out of hospitals, doctors appointments, treatments, etc.

At no charge to the families, Camp Korey brings in children for a week to allow them to be kids.  They ride horses, have food fights (instigated by the camp), sing around the campfire, and do things healthy children take for granted.  And . . . they get to meet other children who have the same condition they have.  This is a life-transforming event.

You have contributed in the past.  Quilts have been made for the camp, monetary donations have been given.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Please consider helping Camp Korey again.

Friday 7/15  Loves Truck Stop Ellensburg
  • Saw a young woman with almost no leg function using hiking poles that wrapped around her upper arms, kind of dragging her legs.  I am blessed to hike for her. 
Logistics for getting on the trail:
  • Caught bus in Ellensburg a little after 3:00 pm
  • Changed buses in Seattle and in Portland
  • Into Medford at 5:00 am.  Two hour wait for local bus to Ashland
  • Hitch a ride to Exit 6 off I-5.
Saturday 7/16 
  • Start at PCT mile 1716.2 by Callahans off I-5
  • End at PCT mile 1699.54 = 16.74 miles at Siskiyu Gap
Felt bad almost from the start of today's hike--no strength, no motoring uphill, slow going all day.  No energy, lethargic.  The general goal  was 1000 miles in fifty days, or twenty miles a day.  Day 1 I didn't even get 17 miles. I kept passing by good campsites to "go just a little further."  In the end, I had to retreat about 1/4 to 1/2 mile to camp along a road of a miserable, exposed site.  You win some, you lose some.  Today I wiffed three straight and never even made contact (baseball analogy).  Almost too pooped to care. 

Ran into several thru-hikers.  All but one skipped the Sierras because of snow.  They have bounced around more than once. Ten days ago, Hikers were using crampons and ice axes in the Mt Jefferson area in Oregon.  

A lot of hikers and trail runners today.  Hikers of several sorts--day hikers, weekenders, several doing all of Oregon a bunch of thru-hikers.  I must have looked like death warmed over, three men hikers asked if I needed some help with anything. 

I got the names of only two hikers--a couple from the Netherlands--Ola and Thresh Level.  He has a high thresh-level, and she has a low thresh-level.  That's what they said, I'll let you decide what it means. 

I hiked through lots of Douglas fir forests.  Also saw Ceanothus, paintbrush, lupine, arnica, kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi or Bear Berry), penstemon, spirea, Oregon grape. 

Why did I hike poorly today? 
  • Last night, not much sleep on overnight bus ride
  • three days ago, Becky said I looked bad
  • For several days before leaving, it seemed I was hungry all the time
  • too much training on flat ground?
Achy and sore as the dickens, especially my hip flexors which want to cramp.  I'll take an electrolyte tablet.  And yes, I have some Gatorade powder in some water.  (Becky's note here--when Kevin prepares Gatorade from powder, he waters it down considerably.)

I enjoyed talking with the thru-hikers today.  Not much fun otherwise. 
I am giving myself until 10:00 am tomorrow to reach the California border.  Maybe I'll hike stronger.

I miss Becky, Abby, and having a shower.  Oh well, buck up, Cowboy.

The dinner tonight--green chile, turkey, rice, and dehydrated refried beans--pretty darn good.  And with Fritos to boot!

Becky here:  I am going to break this down into several posts.  This is the end of post 1











Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Gear for the Trail June 2019

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  Kevin has done the first step for this year's journey, but I thought that you'd like to see what he's taking with him.


Gear List June 2019

Some items are multipurpose and show up in more than one section.

I tend to think of gear in a system approach.  Everything has to work together and to meet what I want

Pack:
·         I am using my ULA pack again.  I call it Old Faithful.  Also have a pack cover
·         I also have a new Hyperlite Mountain Gear.  It is smaller.  After coming off trail I need to spend some serious time trying to make this pack work.  Pack cover not needed; it is waterproof until it is no longer waterproof.  Becky's annotation--The Hyperlite is made of cuben fiber which is lighter weight than ripstop nylon.

Sleep System:
·         Ground cloth – a piece of Tyvek.  Some Tyvek is very slick and I don’t like it so much--It's easy to acquire from a construction site--just ask for a scrap of left-overs.
·         ThermarestZ-Lite pad
·         2-personNemo free standing tent and stakes.  2-person model was only a few ounces more but well worth the room
·         EnchantedEquipment sleeping quilt (I believe it is a 40-degree quilt)
·         Silk liner to help keep the quilt clean.  Also provides a little more warmth

Navigation System
·         Keeping alert for signs is first and foremost
·         Paper maps
·         Silva Range compass w/ sighting mirror
·         Altimeter watch – can track elevation gained or los.  Can also do dead reckoning with watch
·         Cell phone w/ app.  I will use Halfmile app this year.  Guthooks is a better option

Hydration System
·         Sawyer filter and squeeze
·         Aqua Mira drops if I have to use skunky water
·         Water bottles – 2 are Smartwater (same threads as filter), 2 are Gatorade
·         Electrolyte powder (Skratch or Gatorade)
·         Possibly some electrolyte pills or salt

Communication
·         Cell phone and charger
·         Paper and pens for blog.  Send home to Becky w/ pre-addressed and stamped envelope
·         SD card for photos also send home

Sanitation
·         TP and hand sanitizer
·         Sliver of soap, bandanna, small pack towel

Sun protection
·         Long sleeved shirt w/ collar
·         Cap with bandanna covering neck
·         Sunglasses
·         Sunscreen.  I stop using after awhile



Cooking System
·         MSRPocket Rocket stove  in the picture on the website, the stove is the part on top of the fuel canister
·         Fuel canister (stove screws onto canister)
·         Titanium pot.  Note: I do NOT cook in the pot; I just heat up the water.  Food I cook goes into a freezer bag
·         Lighter
·         Spoon from the kitchen
·         Cozy that Becky made.  Keeps the food hot longer

Clothing
·         Hiking shorts.  Shorts MUST have two zippered pockets  Much of his clothing was acquired from thrift stores.  They are a wonderful thing, thrift stores. 
·         Long sleeved shirt with collar.  Taking Ex Officio shirt w/ insect repellent.  My favorite is a Dakota Grizzly nylon
·         Nasty ball cap that has well over 3,000 miles
·         DarnTough wool socks – thin and light for summer.  I take 2-3 pairs.  With lifetime guarantee why would you use any other sock.  Also wool is not as stinky
·         Trail hiking or trail running shoes
o   Brooks Cascadia
o   Ascics
o   Montrail.  No longer made.  I bought several pairs some years back
·         Extra clothes
o   Mont Belle – wind shirt, rain jacket & pants.  Also, VERY light gloves when mosquitoes are swarming
o   Stocking cap and gloves.  Also, silk balaclava
o   Baseball sanitary socks – pretty long.  Sleep in at night.  Helps keep quilt clean
o   NO base layer top or bottoms.  NO vest or puffy jacket

Tools and personal items
o   Black Diamond hiking poles for balance when the trail has loose rock, crossing streams, etc.  Also, to help save knees on downhill
o   Leatherman TINY knife.  Multi-tool
o   Toenail clippers, scissors, tweezers (probably overkill as Leatherman has the last 3 features)
o   Supplements – vitamin C&E, glucosamine, Omega XL or fish oil
o   Paper and pens to do the math – how many miles must I do to get to XYZ re-supply before post office closes on Friday
o   On one sheet some scripture
o   NO Walkman so no tunes, NO solar charger or battery pack so phone is off 98% of the time.  A lot of hikers have phone on 24-7 as it has phone app, tunes, etc.
o   Canon Powershot camera
o   Toothbrush and toothpaste
o   Medical items in a freezer bag
o   New Skin and betadine.  A couple of sanitary wipes
o   A few Band Aids with a little white medical tape, duct tape and some vet wrap
o   Ibuprofen which I use only as a last resort
o   Gold Bond foot cream
o   On a trip like this you are one misstep from disaster.  There are MANY trippers, rockers and rollers that will put you down in a heartbeat.  You WILL have some missteps.  You’d better be prepared walk 30 miles or more if you get hurt.   There is no other option when you hike solo.  You’ll have a great story!

That is all until I remember something else.  Kevin

A lot of the gear can be purchased from REI.com.  I put links on a few of the items so that you'd get an idea of what he's carrying.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Getting Back on the Trail


I will be leaving Friday July 5th to get back on trail.  Originally, I had something else in mind and then I changed locations.  But then in May I found out that the Natural Resources Conservation Service was wanting me to do more work than I had expected and to be done by the end of September.  Ever resilient, I settled into yet another plan.

I am going back to southern Oregon to hike to California border and northbound to the Canadian border following once again the Pacific Crest Trail.  I know, I know, I have hiked all of the PCT.  Why the PCT again?  There is something about the PCT and the trail culture that I just love.  Truth is I could hike the PCT every year.  Last year my son Garrett hiked all of the PCT, all of the Continental Divide Trail and all of the Appalachian Trail.  Garrett says the by far the PCT is the best of the three. 

My general plan is to hike 1,000 miles in 50 days.  Timing is everything.  The weather has been very nice lately but by weekend the temperature will be in the 90s.  Go figure.

It’s Not Just About Me
Though I go alone this hike is not just about me.  Here’s who I’ll be hiking for (and praying for):
1.       I hike for my wonderful wife Becky.  She makes sure my re-supply packages arrive on time and she types my blog from my scribbled notes.  Becky has carcinoid cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes.  I hike for all those with cancer, blood pressure or diabetes issues
2.       I hike for those who have lost a loved one.
a.       Carlos Lopez recently lost his wife Angela.  She had cardio-pulmonary problems
b.       Will Keller lost his wife Jan to breast cancer last year.  Will is instrumental with the Okanogan Community Homeless Shelter.  He said that they need prayer, donations and volunteers
c.       Shiraz and Sigrid Vira lost their son Alex to a diabetic coma two years ago
3.       I hike for Camp Korey.  This camp provides amazing experiences to medically fragile children.  I am also hoping to raise money for the camp.  They provide the camp experiences for free to the campers and depend on donations to keep the camp running. 
4.       Judy Crose recently had three strokes.  It’s been a long struggle for Judy to regain mobility and speech function that we all take for granted.  Her husband Harold is the main care giver.  I hike for stroke victims and care givers of all medical situations.
5.       I hike for various ministries at GracePoint Church – all youth programs, Stephen’s Ministry.  Stephen’s ministers walk alongside people who are sick, lost their job, lost a loved one, are depressed, etc.  Life Groups are critically important.  Elders and Deacons minister to the congregation and need wisdom.
6.       For 40 years I worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Our partners include ranchers, farmers, conservation districts, state and other federal resource agencies.  I hike for the land stewards and those who work with them.
7.       I belong to the Ephrata Athletic Club.   Mike Scellick recently had a hip replacement.  I hike for Mike and anyone else with knee or hip replacements.
8.     There are so many others I hike for that are too numerous to list. 

So, until the next time, see you on the trail.