Tuesday, August 21, 2018

More on the End of the Trail

Sat 8/4 (contd.)

  • Pain in my back is pretty sharp when I stand up after dinner, get in the tent, put on / take off the pack, bending over, etc. can be painful
  • Once I am hiking the back rarely barks at me.  When I stop to talk to another hiker, the first step or two hurt
  • I keep Ibuprofen in my pocket.  I haven't taken any yet but it is close just in case
  • It is 215 miles or another 10 days to Cascade Locks.  I am trying not think of the distance but just keep putting in the miles each day
  • I have two different bail-out options in mind

Sun 8/5
  • Hiked from Stormy Lake mile 1932.8 to Sisters Mirror Lake 1956.5 = 23.7 miles
  • I med a SOBO (Southbound) who met Garrett.  His name is Soul_______(I only remember 1st half of his name).  He said Pathfinder was doing BIG miles but stopped to talk. And that he got sick at Hyatt Lake, and went on to say what a nice guy he is. 

10 by 10
  • Many hikers try to do 10 miles by 10:00 am.  I've done 10 x 10 several times because the hiking is fairly easy.  I had 11 miles by 10:00 am today
  • Garrett via Becky gave me a third bail out option depending on how my back is doing. 
  • Realistically, I am in shape for 15 miles, and perhaps 18 miles. Because my timeline here is tight, the plan calls for a cool 20 miles each day.  I've been doing 22-24 miles--two reasons: 1.  To keep me on schedule: to buy the possibility of an easy day should I need one.  Doing 20-24 miles has a drawback--at the end of the day, I am totally spent.  I set up tent, get water, cook dinner, and eat.  Then I just want to lie down and do nothing.  My energy for the blog or anything else is gone.  I hurt all over.  I don't want to tend to my feet.  I just want to lie down and let sleep overwhelm me. 
Mon 8/6  - Tying in my Steps & Completing the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Hiked from Mirror Lake mile 1956.5 to McKenzie Pass mile 1981.3 + 1/2 mile to and from Lava Camp Lake each way = 24.8 + 1 = 25.8
For 25 years or so I've talked about hiking the PCT.  Starting in 2000, Harold and I began hiking Washington and northern Oregon PCT in sections.  In 2016 I completed the last 35 miles of Washington.  Last year I hiked 1700 miles of the PCT from the Mexican border to Ashland, OR.  Fires and closed trail ended my hike some 300 miles short of  McKenzie Pass.

"Maybe, just maybe today will be the day," I'm thinking.  It would take a big day but I was hopeful.  

A few miles into the day I could see Rock Mesa (a lava field).  The map indicated that I needed to cross several lava fields.  The map was spot on.  Lava fields are nothing but a pile of rock.  With each step the lava rock moved, shifted, rolled.  Each step took concentration and a prediction of what would happen to the rocks when I stepped on them.  I had to be deliberate and use my hiking poles to maintain balance.

I had some great views of two of the Three Sisters (volcanic mtns.)

In the afternoon I came to Sister Spring.  You could see where the water bubbled up and watch small gravels move.  The water was wonderful.  Three other hikers were there and had no problem sharing the water.  I told them what was in store for me at McKenzie Pass.  A young woman looked up from her phone, "That's only 10 miles from here.  You'll make it today."

A few miles later I entered the restricted Obsidian Area.  A special permit was required to camp there.  In the next two miles I saw more obsidian rock than I thought possible.  This would have been a sacred area for the Native Americans.  I imagined obsidian rock from Oregon making its way across the continent one trade at a time.

The McKenzie Pass area is a lave field and there is no water.  So, 1 1/2 miles from McKenzie Pass, I turned onto Lava Camp Lake Trail and headed for the lake.  Tonight was to be another "dry camp" and I needed more water to get me through the night and for next morning's hike.

Back on the PCT I entered my last lava field of the day.  One thing about it, the PCT doesn't believe in "easy".  The last mile and a half was a gnarly, jumbled mess of lava rock.  Finally, I hit the pavement.  I walked across the road and found where the trail continued northbound.  Hiking on lava can be much like walking on marbles.

About 300 yards up the pavement and I made it to McKenzie Pass.  It was just before 5 pm.  The hikers I met at Sisters Spring asked, "how does it feel?  You just finished the PCT."  

I was satisfied.  Looking north I knew there was an unbroken line of footprints leading some 650 miles to Canada.  Some of the steps had been taken 18 years earlier.  Looking south there was an unbroken line of footprints, almost 2000 miles of them,  leading to Mexico.  

Fours years ago I had a complete rupture of the quadriceps tendon in my left leg.  The surgeon said hiking the PCT would be "iffy".  Well, "iffy" and I did 2000 miles the last two years.  My hike of the PCT was now complete and I was very satisfied.

The other hikers had told Tony about me.  When he came down from the observatory, Tony asked, "where's the guy who just finished the PCT?"  The hikers points to your truly.  Tony said follow me.   There was a Tecate Beer, chips, blueberries and gorp.  Any beverage you do not have to carry, treat or filter is wonderful.

I could have gone to Bend with Tony right then but I wanted to spend the night at McKenzie Pass.  I also had a decision to make.  Continue hiking northbound or  get off the trail.

After Tony takes the other hikers to Bend, I am filtering water behind the toilet (the only shade at McKenzie Pass).  A guy comes up and talks.  He get real excited about what I've done and says he'll cook a hamburger for me.  His name is Gup, a mountain biker.  When I get to where burgers are cooking, Gup has a third guy with him named Sam.  We're talking when out of the blue, Sam asks me, "How certain are you about going to heaven?"

I said, "100% certain. Do you want to know what I believe?"  They said, "yes," so I recited the Apostles Creed.  I think they were flabbergasted.  I told them about hiking for the kids at Camp Korey.  Sam gave me $40 for the Camp.  Now, I was flabbergasted.

WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY!!  I completed the last steps of the PCT.  There was free food and drink.  I was asked what I believe and I was given money for Camp Korey.

My choices for the night -- pavement, lava rock, or the concrete pad behind the toilet.  I slept on the concrete pad.
Tues 8/7
  • This morning when I started, I'm thinking, "I don't remember this."
  • It took awhile to remember that years earlier we started at a trailhead that was west of McKenzie Pass.  Officially, I completed the PCT this morning (8/7) .
  • Made it to Big Lake Youth Camp.  I spent the last 4 miles to the camp walking behind a gal--McGuyver.  She seems pretty resourceful
  • Big Lake Youth Camp is Seventh Day Adventist, and really set up nicely for PCT hikers.The A-framed hut has refrigerator stocked with pasta dishes.  Just you know, there was not one bite of the pasta dishes by the time I left.  The middle room is where you picked up your re-supply box and did laundry.  At the very back were two bathrooms with showers.  At 1 pm they served a nice lunch of burritos.  I loved the fresh veggies.
  • Unless my back is bad overnight, I intend to push on another 100 miles to Timberline Lodge--5 more trail days.  It is easy to catch a bus to Portland from Timberline. 
  • Hiked from McKenzie Pass 1981.5 to Santiam Pass Trailhead 1998, plus one mile each way to Big Lake Youth Camp each way.  19 miles total
  • I specifically went to the trailhead because of picnic tables - a pace to sit.  I cowboy camped (no tent) next to a picnic table which was near the toilet.

Wed 8/8 Day 14
  • Last night my back really growled at me.  It was very sore and stiff.  Looks like I'm going home.  I am bummed about not making it to Timberline Lodge or to Cascade Locks to finish Oregon.
  • I did hike north another 1 1/5 miles to take a photo of the 2000-mile mark.  Now I can say I hiked 2000 mile the last two years
The Hitch to Bend
  • Santiam Pass is on Hwy. 20 and gets much more traffic than at McKenzie Pass
  • It took half an hour to get a ride.  Car after car did not stop.  I kept saying, "it only takes one"
  • Jim was the one who stopped.  Jim makes carbon-fiber bicycles, each for big dollars  Jim is very active - mountain bikes, road bikes, hikes, climbs.  He was the perfect ride for me.  I wish I had gotten his contact information
  • Jim took me to Bend and dropped me off about 8:30 am where the Central Oregon Breeze bus departs for Portland, right next to Burger King
  • Turns out the bus for the day left at 7 am.  So, I caught the local bus to the bus station.  Had to wait until noon for the ticket agent
  • Met a young woman hiker from Australia.  Her trail name - Bean Dip.  She is a really nice girl.  She said the hostel was pretty cheap
  • At noon the ticket agent told me that the next bus for Portland would not get there until 10:30 pm.  Much too late for an early riser like me
  • I called the Central Oregon Breeze and reserved a seat for 7 am the next morning
  • By now it is almost 1:00 pm, I am getting desperately hungry and desperately want a motel room near where I catch the bus in the morning.  Becky is working with me  and giving suggestions.  She found motels near the bus station and near Burger King (where I would catch the bus next morning)
  • Have you ever seen the Snickers commercials where very hungry people turn into a bear?  That was me!  My hiker hunger had kicked in.  I could not make sense of how to get back to Burger King and whether there was a motel nearby.
  • The third time I asked the ticket agent about getting back to Burger King he said, "You need bus #4.  You catch it on this side of the street"
  • I was out the door in a flash.  I verified I was on the correct bus feeling happy.
  • A male hiker was on the bus.  He just had a haircut and shave.  He showed me before and after photos.
  • I got off the bus at my stop.  Across the street was Burger King.  I turned around I saw a motel, one of Becky's suggestion - Sugarloaf Mountain Motel
  • I had a sinking spell when the clerk told me how much the room was going to cost.  Convenience won out, I checked in.  From there it would be a snap to make it to the bus stop by 6:45 am
  • The clerk told me that Applebees was down the street.  It was just after 2 PM and I almost skipped down the street.  After lime chicken, a salad, a dark porter and lots of ice water, Kevin (Wayfair) had returned and the bear was gone.
  • I had had a shower at the youth camp and only hiked 9 miles afterward.  I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH DIRT CAME OFF THIS OLD HIKER!!
  • Showered, well fed, hiking shirt hand washed and set outside to dry, bus ticket secured.  I was set!
  • At the airport the next morning I would need to purchase a ticket to Spokane
Thurs.  8/9

  • This would have been Mom's birthday
  • Bus ride to Portland airport was easy as pie.  Getting a ticket to Spokane was....frustrating.  To Mom's credit I did not blow a gasket
  • Alaska Airlines has routes to Spokane
  • It took some asking but I made it to the correct line.  The line crawled slowly but I made it to the front of the line.  When it was my turn the agent handed me a paper that had their reservations phone number. Maybe I should have cried "party foul" or "I'm going to another airline"
  • I dialed the number and received, not a person, but a "voice".  Voice said to say things like "reservations".  Seems like every time I wanted to speak, the "voice" interrupted.  After 3 tries I am darn near screaming "reservations" into my cell phone
  • I finally get a real person and reservation made
  • Now to check in via the kiosk.  I just made the reservation, but reservation line and kiosk were not on speaking turns.  
  • Same with 2nd kiosk
  • At the 3rd kiosk a very nice, middle aged Alaska clerk came to my aid.  I think she knows the look of frustration.  
  • We had to go to a 4th kiosk to get checked in.  I think it took time before computer and kiosk apologized and got back on speaking terms 
  • She took me to the correct line and went to get a heavy-duty plastic bag for my pack
  • I was whisked through security pretty quickly.  I may have had the Clint Eastwood look - "Go ahead and make my day!"

  • Flight to Spokane was uneventful.  On the drive home we needed to make several Abby stops.  This was a long time for a dog to be in a car.
  • I am still a little bummed about not making it to at least Timberline Lodge.  5 more days is all it would have taken
  • But I am ecstatic about tying-in my steps and completing the PCT. 
  • Just so you know the PCT is a trail worth repeating

Monday, August 13, 2018

More Adventures with Wayfair

Mon Jul 30

  • Hiked from burn-out campsite to Hwy 62
    • To Mazama and back 
    • Hwy 62 to Dutton Creek/Rim Village Trail  16.1 miles
  • Theme for Southern Oregon:  
    • Hot Days - so, I am not eating much
    • Minimal Water - so, I must carry lots of water
    • Smoke
    • Not much scenic value
    • My pack is always heavy
  • Tomorrow 2.4 miles to Rim Village
    • The next 26 miles--there is NO water
    • Way too many mosquitoes to cowboy camp
    • The plan for Rim Village--quick breakfast, camel up & load up with water, get on the trail
    • A girl from Australia or New Zealand traveling Southbound I met on the trail about a mile from camp.  Went on and on about the smoke, lack of water, and hot days.  "There's no joy in this," she said.  "It's hard making 20 miles in the smoke and heat.  Take plenty of water. Be careful"
    • Girl named Dragon camped next to me
Tues 7/31
  • Left camp by 5:00 am  The trail to Rim Village was mostly uphill
  • At Rim Village
    • Cameled up on water
    • Had my hot meal--shredded Mexican beef, refried beans, Spanish rice
    • Filled up every water bottle, brushed my teeth.  Took only 45 minutes to get back on the trail
  • South portion of Rim Trail is very steep.  Because of thick smoke, views of Crater Lake were almost non-existent 
  • Frustrated by the trail and lack of views, the 2nd or 3rd time the trail came down to the road, I got on the highway for a road-walk instead of staying on the Rim Trail.  
  • Turned out the north portion of the Rim Trail is flatter but I had no idea.  I was not the only road walker
  • I caught the trail again at the intersection of Rim Road and highway
  • Natalie, a girl from Switzerland.  We've been leap-frogging.  I took her photo, she took mine
  • Everyone is tired of smoke, hot days, and big water carries
  • I had a shower yesterday but you couldn't tell it now.  The trail is dust.  My lower legs and feet are filthy dirty 
Wed 8/1
  • Not as smoky.  Still hot but not as hot
  • 8-9 miles to Thielson Creek.  The sound of a creek-- has to be one of the greatest sounds in the universe 
  • 52 year old hiker Yo-Se-Ki (stands for Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks)  He had a hip replacement last year.  Not the fastest hiker, but he hikes long hours, and puts in more miles than the faster, young bucks
  • Made it to Maiden Lake Trail Junction.  Dropped pack, walked 3/4 to the lake.  Cleaned up, filled two bottles with water and walked back. 

  • Taking a break at the trail junction when Lily and Kiki walked up.  They ditched Wander a day or so ago. 
  • Hiked on to mile 1866--found a place to bivvy for the evening.  Not the best site as it was on a slope, but it was the best available site and I made it work 
  • Today 21 miles with pack and 1.5 miles without pack
  • Revelation--at mile 1860 outlined in the trail out of fir cones 3000k.  All along I thought I was walking miles, then I find out I've been walking kilometers from the start.  Holy Kamoley, when did this happen?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  • I'm a little dehydrated.  Nothing you can do about this when you're in one water carry after another--20 miles, 26 miles, 13 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles. I hope these are the last big water carries. 
Thurs 8/2
  • As I travel north, the smoke lessens
  • Left camp at 5:10 am. Great water cache at Windigo Pass on a gravel Forest Service road.  Even had Gatorade and a charging station with a solar charger
  • At mile 1881 campsite at Summit Lake.  Cooked my hot meal.  Left there at 3:30 pm, hoping to crank another three miles. 
  • Between mile 21 & 22 for the day, I caught a tree stub and landed on my nose.  The way I landed I was certain it was broken--but it wasn't.  Now is the time to tell you the real concern from the fall, was my back.  On day 1 (July 25), carrying a beast of a pack with three days of food and more than five liters of water.  I strained my back (muscle on right side in mid-back.  I'd been nursing it along pretty well.  After getting to camp and setting up tent, I lay down for a bit.  Very hard to get up.  Bending over, twisting, turning all very painful. 
  • Tomorrow I have sixteen miles to Shelter Cove for my next resupply box
  • I believe in the power of overnight rest.  My back won't be anywhere 100% but I think I can hike to Shelter Cove. There's also 1500 vertical feet of climb for the first four miles. 
Fri 8/3
  • Hiked from mile 1890 to mile 1909 and three miles to and from Shelter Cove--22 miles
  • I love Diamond Peak!  Reminded me of places in Washington State and the High Sierras.  Even more important I had cell coverage.  For the first time in days I was able to talk with Becky.  Also got to speak with Garrett.  He is having to work for every mile.
  • I made it to Shelter Cove by 1:00 pm and left around 3:00 pm. I hiked back to the PCT and on another 4 miles to Rosary Lake (campsite between middle and upper Rosary Lake)
Joy Has Returned
  • After days of smoke-filled skies, very hot temperatures, zero visibility, big water carries, and heavy pack--Joy Returned!!
  • I saw stars last night!
  • Diamond Peak Wilderness is a real gem
  • Back My back did well during the day.  At the end of the day, the back stiffened up on me, really sore doing a lot of simple moves at camp.  
  • Kiki and Lily beat me to Shelter Cove.  Those two gals can move
  • Will (real name) from Ashland, OR, and I have hit it off.  We've met at Mazama, Summit Lake, and Shelter Cove.  Because of my back toward the end of the day, I cannot lift my pack and get it on.  I have to sit on a stump with the pack behind me, put on the shoulder straps and snap hip belt.  It is cheating or the lazy man's way but is where I am now.  
  • Just so you know, Fish Lake Resort and Shelter Cove Resort do not have outgoing mail so a lot of the posts for this trip may come at once
  • I am at mile 1909.5, I believe Cascade Locks is 2147.  Decision made: I'm not going beyond Cascade Locks.  I am pushing as hard as I can to get home on or before August 15
  • Re-supply box was in Shelter Cove.  So far, all three of my resupply boxes were there when I arrived.  Thanks Becky!!
  • A lot of today's blog was done by headlamp at 3:45 am.  After hiking all day, I am too pooped to do much more than set up camp, eat, and crash. 
  • Including miles to and from Resorts, 200 miles in 10 days
Sat 8/4
  • Hiked from 1909.5 to Storm Lake 1932.8 = 23.3 miles
  • Trail Magic:  The Leeson's (Harold, Karen, and Jeff) from Eugene, OR, provided hot dogs, beer, coke (the drink, not the drug), grapes, cookies, and chips
  • Their son, Jeff, also called "Ducky" (trail name) hiked the PCT in 2016 and the Appalachian Trail this year.  Ducky does not remember meeting Garrett/Pathfinder
  • Cleaned up my legs and feet. Unbeknownst to me, big toe on the right foot has had a huge blister.  I cut away all dangling skin and added two layers of New Skin

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Kevin's Progress

Kevin called from Big Lake Youth Camp, and while it wasn't a through hike, he has completed all the steps on the PCT.  Without further ado, here are the annals of Kevin's hike.

The last couple of weeks were a blur

  • 5 trips to take Garrett his resupply
    • Friday, 7/13 with Becky to White Pass 
    • Monday, 7/16 Becky went to Snoqualmie Pass 
    • Tuesday, 7/17 to Stevens Pass--did not get back home until 10:00 pm
    • Friday 7/20 rode the Lady of the Lake to Stehekin.  Had to put Garrett's resupply box in a "Hiker Box." It was well-labeled for Garrett Guinn "Pathfinder.  
    • Monday 7/23 to Hart's Pass to pick up Garrett at the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. 
    • Tuesday 7/24 getting packed up, wrapping up tasks at work, chores
  • Challenging Tasks
    • Garrett just completed PCT in spite of numerous situations
      • post-holing in soft snow in the Sierras, grueling work
      • had to replace shoes.  The shoes he bought in South Lake Tahoe were great in the store--horrible for hiking.  Feet took a beating
      • hit a "blue period"
      • Food poisoning from bad pizza at Hyatt Lake Resort in S Oregon.  This cost him at least five days
      • Resupply box I left in Stehekin, very well marked, was stolen by Southbound Hikers--there is a lot more I could say about this.  Garrett had to hike another 111 miles on shoes that were shot.  The new shoes were in the well-marked box.  Feet suffered again. 
    • Leanna--on July 16 she started a very intense, one-year nursing program that will give her a four-year nursing degree. She is an excellent student works hard, and is very intentional about getting on top of assignments the day they are assigned.  This will test her will to stay on track  with the fast pace, like a sprinting for a full marathon
    • Becky--sending resupply boxes for not one, but two long distance hikers.  Now she has to keep up with watering the lawn during the heat wave AND getting a lawn service to mow grass once a week. 
    • Kevin--buttoned up my work project on ecological sites, trips to deliver resupply packages to Garrett and catch bus to Ashland to begin my own hike. Weather for Ashland for the next ten days--hot (97-101).  Likely my hike through Oregon will be with lots of company--mosquitoes.  We're not friends as the little beggars consider me fresh meat. 
  • Decisions to Make
    • I have a chain of unbroken steps from Mexico to Ashland
    • In previous  years, I hiked all of the PCT in Washington and the northern third of Oregon
    • To keep continuous steps, I need to start at Callahan's Resort near Ashland. 
    • Two problems 
      • First 16 miles of PCT north of Callahan's are closed due to a fire that is still burning.  A road walk is in my near future.
      • I have talked with a man from Mountain Adventure.  He knows the area and the situation quite well.  The area at Callahans is filled with smoke.
    • My choices--we'll see what I decide tomorrow
      • Secure continuous steps, but suffer from heat and smoke for 17 mile road walk via old highway 99 and highway 66.
      • Walk east from Ashland on highway 66 to Green Spring Summit for 17 miles.  Heat for sure, smoke is problematic. 
Tuesday 7/25
Hitching a ride in Ashland
  • Took 20 minutes to get a ride
  • I kept telling myself, "It only takes one.  Smile, look nonthreatening."
  • Ollie, a Forest Service employee gave me a ride from Ashland to Callahans, south of Ashland.  Ollie has spent work time on the PCT but never on the PCT for recreation. 
Road Walk
  • The smoke was not that bad today
  • Near Callahans there was a few hundred feet of road construction
  • The six miles on Old 99 was downhill, pretty shady and not all that hot
  • 34 miles on hwy 66 and 2 miles on Buckhorn Road were not that bad
  • The 4 miles on Tyler Creek Road were hard--it was very hot 96*+, quite steep, and minimal shade. 
  • The last mile back on hwy 66 was better than Tyler Creek Road
  • At Green Springs Summit, I connected back to the PCT
Italian Group of 5
  • Top of Green Springs Summit--one Italian who is in a group of 5 forgot his wallet at Callahans.  Before I left Green Springs Summit, a man brought the Italian's wallet
  • There are some good people willing to help
Thurs 7/26 Day 2
  • Yesterday 18.3 in mid-90s heat, road walk in the sun--was brutally hot
  • I did it but I paid the price.  I kept pushing to complete the roadwalk because water was unknown.  I really rationed water because I had no idea when I'd hit water 
  • So I was right on the edge of major dehydration and lack of electrolytes.  Like a tightly drawn string.  The string unraveled a bit, but didn't break.  I got lucky.  Three hikers died from heat exhaustion last year on the PCT
  • I started this morning from mile 1735 at 5:30 Just after noon I made it to Grizzly Creek (mile 1748.7). 
  • Now that I am on the PCT, I intend to manage water stops and hiking mostly when it is cooler.  I cannot hike like a thru-hiker until I have 250-300 under my belt.  Yes I did 1800 miles last year, but that doesn't count in 2018
  • Hikers I've met today: Matthew at 2 different bridges and spring, faith-healer, Daryl and Dawson--Father-son team trying to hike Oregon
  • Hiked from 1375.2-1752.7 Not as hot as yesterday, low 90s
    • Pine cones 12" long--Digger Pine?
    • Folks camping with me at Piped Spring
      • Jason from Virginia
      • Group of 3:  Kiki, Lilly from New Zealand (section hikers), Wander--a thru-hiker
    • Little do they know I'll be the alarm clock
    Friday 7/27
    • camped junction of PCT and Fish Lake Trail--2 miles one way
    • Hiking back up from Fish Lake saved me 45 minutes to an hour
    Saturday 7/28
    • The section to Crater Lake National Park has minimal water.  
    • Here's where water is: 
      • 1771--creek-right at start where I don't need it
      • 1782.4--Christi's Spring
      • 1798.5 Creek
      • 1818.4  Mazama at Crater Lake
    • Two choices
      • Hike water to water
        • Day 1 11 miles to Christi's Spring
        • Day 2  16 miles to Creek
        • Day 3 26 miles to Mazama
      • Hike to water--camel up, cook hot meal, hike on to campsite (my choice)
        • Today: left camp 1770.7 at 5:00 am--mostly doable without headlamp
        • Christi's Spring 1782.4 before 10:00 am.  Cooked hot meal
        • Left Spring at 11:00 am.  Hiked on to 1790.2 (195 miles) 2:20
    • Lots of blow down, especially late when I was tired.  The last two miles were hard for this old cowboy.  Actually there is plenty of daylight to hike another 5-10 miles. My get up and go done gone and went
    • Mosquitoes from 7:00 to Christi's Spring at 10:00 am I had to hike with head net and I put bug dope on my legs
    • Matthew and I play leap frog.  He camps a little further up the trail than I do.  I start earlier and pass by his camp.  As I get tired and slow down, he passes me. 
    • Met Shepherd, a female thru-hiker.  She had to come off trail for two weeks to take care of someone.  Was not able to do anything physical and is struggling to regain where she was before. 
    • Perspective depends on where you are standing
    • Day hikers typically do 5-10 miles a day
    • Backpackers may do 8-12 miles a day but they are carrying gear, food, water, so it is harder. 
    • Thru-hikers start between 15-20 miles a day and build up to mid 20 anyway.  (I can assure you 20 miles is a BIG day)
    • Garrett and other hardcore types do 30-40+ miles a day.  Garrett says, "What would I do with the with the extra time if I only did 20 miles?"
    • I get what he's saying.  I completed 19.5 today before 2:30.  I have a lot of time to kill
    • I am trying not to compare myself with this year's thru-hikers.  They have 1400-1700 miles under their belt.  I only have 77 miles, so I cannot expect to hike as many miles as they do, nor as fast.
    • I am competitive, believe me.  If I had 1700 miles under my belt and this year's group of thru-hikers would be saying, "How can we ditch the Old Guy? No matter what we do he catches us or gets ahead." 
    • I have been working on memorizing The Apostles Creed.  About have it nailed.
    Sun 7/29  Left camp 5:42 mile 1790.2    Elevation 6600 ft which is pretty high for Oregon
    • The trail took me to 7200 feet
    • Last water this section -- creek at 1798.5 got there about 9:30 am
    • At the 1798.5 creek, met a young man from the Netherlands named Sassafras
    • Met a man in his 50s with his father who is 76 They carry no weight as Jack, the donkey, carries everything. Jack is quite friendly, he did not balk when I rubbed his forehead.
    • Camped at 1806.4 campsite, pre-selected yesterday.  16 mile day.  The campsite is in the middle of a burn area.  Some trees survived so there is some shade. 
    Mon 7/30
    • I am at Mazama Village on my sixth day
    • I have crossed the 100 mile barrier for this trip and am over 1800 mile mark for last year and this year. 
    • Fish Lake would not take outgoing mail, so this is my first post
    • My journey started with a brutal roadwalk because the PCT was closed for 16 miles starting at Callahan's Resort.  The 17 miles was tough because I didn't know where, or if, I would find water.  And it was hot, 98* on roads with minimal shade
    • Turns out the PCT reopened just before I started the roadwalk.  That would have been lovely, but I had no idea.
    • Smoke from the variable -- heavy in the morning.  Most afternoons, smoke dissipates and it is not too bad
    • Just after 2:00 pm the smoke starts getting thicker
    Thankful, Grateful, and Blessed
    • God has blessed me -- wonderful wife, great son and daughter, 40-year career with USDA, friend, church family, and I could go on and on
    • Serious leg injury 4 years ago and here I am 1800 miles from Mexico  via hiking. Not supposed to happen with my injury
    • I am honored to hike for those who can't -- kids at Camp Korey, etc
    • and I get to walk with God each day.  
    Signing off to make some footprints.