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. 

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