Friday, September 1, 2017

Why Am I Back in Reno?

  • A week ago, I came home so as to save hiking the Sierras for a friend.  In his heart, he wants to hike the Sierras with me.  
  • Two days ago, this friend said that it wouldn't work and that he was concerned about injury
  • So yesterday, Becky and I put it in gear, and I flew from Spokane to Salt Lake City and then to Reno. 

  • The plan:  get back to Lone Pine and complete the Sierras.  Then complete the section of Oregon I have not done, and thus, complete a hike of every section of the PCT. 
  • I am so blessed
    • On the flight to Reno, Jenna, a young woman, was my seatmate. She was coming back from a 6-week trip to Central and South America.  
    • Jenna asked what I was doing, and became terribly excited about my adventures
    • Then she asked what I was doing for the night. When I said I'd just bivvy at the airport, Jenna said, " That just won't work.  You need to come home with me."  And so I did. 
    • Then entire Scolari Family is so gracious--Joey and Julie (dad and mom), Jenna, Joseph, Jesslie, Jillian.  The whole family is high achievers. 

    • Joey and his brother own a chain of grocery stores in Nevada
    • Ride to Reno Airport and long bus ride to Lone Pine, California
    • Joey has hunted and killed animals from all over the world
    • Met Carsten from Germany.  He has set up a shuttle to Horseshoe Meadow Trailhead. 
Fri 8/25
  • Picked up a fuel canister and lighter
  • Kurt gave Carsten and me quite a tour of the area on the way to Trailhead
  • Carsten and I began hiking about 9:15
  • Made it up Cottonwood Pass (PCT mile 750) and then we hiked another ten miles to Rock Creek (PCT mile 760). 
  • Great day hiking with Carsten.  He is a great guy.  He owns a cabinet-making business in Hamburg
  • 14.5 miles.
Sat 8/26
  • Carsten and I left camp at 5:35 am
  • We hiked seven miles together to the junction with John Muir Trail (PCT mile 767)
  • We took photos, hugged, and went our separate ways
  • I hiked to PCT mile 775.7  15.7 miles, total
  • I am four miles from Forester Pass
  • I have hiked solo for most of my PCT trek.  I had forgotten how fun it is to have a partner. 
  • I did learn that Carsten and his wife Anika had a baby girl who died after three weeks with heart problems. At some point they went to the church to pray--they put the situation completely in God's hands. It's been a hard road for Carsten and Anika, but their relationship is stronger and the families are closer.  All things are for the good of those who believe. 

  • I am not sure if it was the altitude or if I was off my game, but I stopped hiking at 2:30 pm and set up camp.  I NEVER stop hiking before 5:00 or 5:30 pm
Sun 8/27 
  • Left camp at 5:00 am. It was so dark the stars were still visible.  Fall is approaching fast as the constellation Orion is visible in the east.
  • The extra rest did me some good.  I was on top of Forester Pass by 7:30 am and that included twenty minute break for breakfast.  Forester Pass is 13,120 feet, the highest point on the PCT
  • Lots of snow on the north side. One snow bank ran straight down the slope intersecting all of the trail's switch backs.  The snow was hard and frozen, but there was a set footprints going straight down.  I put on my microspikes and had great traction going down. 
  • I took the microspikes off and I continued. I had to work my way around two or three snowbanks that covered the trail. 
  • Several stream crossings, but they were no problem
  • At PCT mile 789, I turned east and headed for Kearsarge Pass. 

  • Before getting to the top of Kearsarge Pass, I came onto a group of nine Sierra Club hikers.  Ride to town secured, I made it to the top of Kearsarge Pass only to find 25-30 people there. 
  • Dennis and Kristen were the leaders of the Sierra Club group
  • I followed them down to the trailhead, Dennis in the lead, and Kristen and me at the rear of the caravan.   At the trailhead at 5:00 pm
  • Today I did something I didn't think would happen--I hiked up and over two passes in the same day

  • Dennis dropped me off at the Courthouse Motel.  My resupply box made it to the post office on Saturday, but the motel did not pick up packages.  I heard they haven't been to post office for about 10 days.  Grrr! I could be on trail early Monday.  But . . . 
  • The motel had no vacancy but they do have a bunkhouse
  • The bunkhouse had four older hikers who were section hiking

    • Joanne Johnson "Foxfire" 
    • Richard Vogel "Hike On" has done 20,000 miles in the last ten years
    • Sandy Sanders "Extra Credit" 
    • Don Davidson "Dog Gone"
  • These four hikers had an incident at the restaurant.  After waiting for an hour, they were told that the cook left and there would be no meal
  • I had burger, fries, and beer at the motel

Mon 8/28
  • The other hikers in the bunkhouse are back on the trail.  I am not good at waiting
  • My resupply box will be available at 10:00 am at the post office
  • My shuttle will get here around noon
  • I hope to be at Vermillion Valley Ranch on Saturday.  It is about 100 miles away. 
  • Thus far, the Sierras have been amazing.  I am excited about the next section.  Garrett says it is stunning. 

  • Hikers I've met: 
    • Virtually no PCT thru-hikers, some section hikers
    • Quite a few are hiking the John Muir Trail--211 miles from Yosemite National Park to Mt Whitney.  These JMT hikers most closely resemble PCT thru-hikers 
    • weekend back packers
    • day hikers


  1. Admire your tenacity!!!! Praying all your steps are safe steps!!

  2. A few thoughts:

    1. Dad has not made this easy on himself. While there were reasons for each choice he made, the combination of them has made for a very difficult trip. Now, Oregon is littered with fires and it will be almost impossible to pull off his plan.

    2. I don't know how, but the PCT makes people act in ways they wouldn't otherwise. Hitch-hiking is easy near the trail when most people wouldn't otherwise consider it. People offering up their homes seems common also even though it generally isn't. Think of all the things you were taught as a kid to distrust strangers and throw it all out the window when on the PCT. That's a reason that life on the trail is so great.

    3. Kurt gave me a ride from Lone Pine. He's retired and one way he makes money is offering to shuttle people to and from the trail.

    4. Double pass days are difficult. In order to pull them off, you have to get high mileage in terrain that tends to prevent high mileage.

    5. Long distance hiking creates a very different mentality than any other type of hiking. Dad distinguishes them because the mentalities are so different. Even JMTers don't have that much in common with true long distance hikers. For everyone else, they are on a vacation from real life. A long distance hiker's real life is on the trail.

  3. Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to climb Mt. Everest. Last year, I did just that and it was an experience I will always remember. Previously, I've been trekking around the country and preparing for the "climb of a lifetime". All my efforts paid off when I was able to reach the top and came back safely. Do you have a bucket list? Find the best hikes in the world in this resource site: