August 17, Day 118 – A magical day in the forest

Is this real? Did I really just sleep in past 7 and not leave camp until 8? Washington is a magical place. The idea of doing 25 mile days has already altered my sleep schedule. There’s no rush to be anywhere anymore. I slowly made my way down the trail and luckily came across trail magic at mile 5. An abundance of cheese, sparkling water, crackers and salami were waiting for us from a fellow hikers mom. A mile after leaving the trail magic I came across my old buddy Jackson. He had to take time off for an injury in the desert and flipped up to go southbound. We finally crossed paths again. I hadn’t seen him since Memorial Day when I got food poisoning in Tehachipi. He hung out with me in the park. We also had spent some time hiking together near Idyllwild. I decided to spend the rest of the day going really slow. It was a dreary overcast day and the forest was beautiful. There were a lot of mushrooms growing along the trail next to plentiful blueberry and huckleberry bushes. I watched the wind blow through the giant ferns and listened as birds sang to me. Some days blur together out here. But not today. Today stood out for the natural beauty, the change in weather, the new and old friends, and the joy I felt all day. I smile a lot out here but especially today. I think my cheeks hurt more than my feet at the end of the day.

Miles: 25.7 Total Miles: 2219.7

This fungi was still brushing off the dirt when I found it

August 16, Day 117 – Getting a feel for Washington

I, along with everyone else, slept in until after 7. Once up, I was feeling really good and decided to go fast up our first climb of the day. It was only a few miles and a couple thousand feet so I could do it pretty quickly. I then took an hour break at a creek to swim and relax in the sun. A few miles later I came to a road that led into Carson so I decided to stick my thumb out for a few minutes. It only took 3 minutes for me to get a hitch down the road to a taco truck. As I pull up, I see Approach standing there about to hitch back. She joins me for more tacos and churros and we hitch back to trail together. I then fell behind going slow up our next climb. I took a couple breaks to enjoy the views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. I strolled into camp around 7:30 and was falling asleep soon after 9. It was a beautiful day. Not too hot and with a nice breeze on the climbs.

Miles: 26.8 Total Miles: 2194.0

Looking back south to Mt. Hood. It was nice to have a clear day with good visibility. We’ve come to appreciate smokeless skies.

August 15, Day 116 – Washington!

We were in the car by 7:30 and walking across The Bridge of the Gods by 8:30. We got really lucky and the bridge was closed for a 5k run so when the runners got through we had the bridge to ourselves for a few minutes. Usually hikers are fighting traffic to walk safely across. We then sauntered the 19 miles to camp for the night. We have decided to slow down significantly in Washington to enjoy the last bit of trail we have. We aren’t quite ready for the hike to be over. Approach and I hiked together all day and talked about all manners of things from how we hope to work and make money after trail to our favorite Disney movies to how to create the perfect secret handshake. We took an hour and a half break for lunch and watched a couple of episodes on Netflix. We still got to camp before 5 and hung out eating way too much candy. While there, Rambo, Surefoot, Microbe, Fly, Koviet and Taters all showed up at different times and hung out for a bit and chatted about trashy reality tv. It was one of the most relaxing days I’ve had on trail in a while. It was fun racing through Oregon but going slow through Washington is going to be very enjoyable. It’s hotter out tonight than I want it to be but it’s nice sleeping next to a stream. We plan to take it pretty slow the next few days and weeks. By slow, I mean doing 25 miles per day. It’s crazy how easy hiking 25 miles per day is.

Miles: 19.1 Total Miles: 2167.2

Crossing The Bridge of the Gods into Washington

August 13, Day 114 – Finishing Oregon

We didn’t get out of camp until 7 since we didn’t have too far to go. The PCT miles for the day are 5 miles longer than what we actually did. We took the Eagle Creek alternate which is so common among thru hikers that the PCTA had a closure page for it when it was in bad shape. We are lucky enough that it just opened up a few months ago. We got to walk through tunnel falls and enjoy a lot of good swimming holes. We made it into town by 3 and went straight to the ale house for drinks and to pick up our packages. Cheri sent me a box of homemade bread and cookies from North Dakota and my mom sent me a box with cold weather gear in preparation for Washington. At 5, we got picked up by Surefoot’s relatives who live in Hood River. They were letting us stay at their house for 2 nights. We were able to shower, do laundry and eat some home cooked meals.

Miles: 28.4 Total Miles: 2148.1

Headed through Tunnel Falls on the Eagle Creek Alternate

August 12, Day 113 – Breakfast buffet

We all got out of camp by 6:30 to make it to the breakfast buffet 10 miles away by 10am. It’s one of the most talked about meals on trail. The breakfast buffet at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. Timberline Lodge is most well known for being in the movie “The Shining.” We spent 2 hours gorging ourselves then waddled another 23 miles down the trail. Approach and I took a decently long break at Ramona Falls to dry our shoes after failing to stay dry across the Sandy River. We then had rolling hills and a decent climb to get to camp for the night. As I got close to camp I came to a dirt road where Taters and her friends from Portland were doing trail magic. They made me a tomato sandwich with one from their garden and it was delicious. Other than some candy I ate at the falls, it was the only other thing I ate that day after the buffet. I was still feeling pretty full. I did end up eating more candy in camp so that I didn’t wake up too hungry the next day.

Miles: 32.2 Total Miles: 2119.7

No the whole table is not for me, I was just the first to go through the buffet.

August 11, Day 112 – Double zero in Bend

It says below that we did 103.7 miles but really that’s the miles we had to skip due to fires. There were two closures that we had to go around, forcing us to skip some miles. We spent the day running errands and relaxing in Bend before we got a ride to the north end of the closure at mile 2087.5. We camped right at the road and got to bed early so we could get up early the next day to get to Timberline Lodge in time for breakfast. This was the first time all trail that we had to skip miles due to an active fire. Hopefully it will be the last.

Miles: 103.7 Total Miles: 2087.5

August 10, Day 111 – Floating the river

We spent our zero floating the river in Bend and running a few more errands. Floating the river was quite an experience that ended in two popped tubes and several lost sunglasses. It was the most fun we’ve had on a zero since the last one on the houseboat. We’ve started to get a hang of this stuff. We like to have just as much fun off trail as we do on trail.

Miles: 0 Total Miles: 1983.8

Getting ready to float the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon

August 9, Day 110 – First zero in Oregon

We slept in and didn’t get started until 7:15 but we still made it to the road by 9:30, 8.3 miles away. Rambo’s mom was in town and picked us up. Rambo and Surefoot were there waiting for us too with drinks and food. They had done a 24 hour challenge and made it to the road a few hours before us. We then drove into town to stay at Rambo’s great aunts house. It was really nice to be able to stay in a house with a full kitchen and comfy couches. We relaxed most of the day. Approach, Surefoot and I ran some errands and got some things done so tomorrow can be a more chill day. For dinner, we had homemade ceviche and a curry with seafood caught by Rambo’s parents on the coast of Washington State. It was delicious.

Miles: 8.3 Total Miles: 1983.8

August 8, Day 109 – 50 miles!

Approach and I intended on waking up at 4:30 to start hiking by 5 so we could do our 50 miles in daylight but we wanted more sleep and turned off the alarms, eventually getting out of camp around 6:45. The first 20 miles of today was practically flat. It had a lot of blow downs as we went through a small burn area but we had done 27 miles by 3. As we were approaching the halfway point for the day, we got a call from Wiesel Dick asking what we wanted from Elks Lodge Resort. He had been a few miles in front of us since yesterday and was going to bring food to us on trail. We had Mac n cheese, mozzarella sticks, a Caesar salad and some root beer. I’m really thankful he brought us all this but it really affected our pace. I could barely walk after eating so much. The second half of our day had a few more climbs but it was beautiful. We started hiking around the Sisters mountains. They are stunning volcanic mountains that tower over the rolling hills around them. The 3 of us stopped for a dinner break at sunset to regain some energy then pushed the last few miles to get to camp just before 12. The last mile of our day was almost entirely on volcanic rock. It was rough on our feet but we were so close to the 50 mile mark we couldn’t be stopped.

Miles: 50.3 Total Miles: 1975.5

The crew in front of Sisters

August 7, Day 108 – Taking the scenic route

Approach, Wiesel Dick and I got out of camp by 6:15 and made it the 10.5 miles to shelter cove by 9. We were moving fast and wanted breakfast. It was an easy and scenic morning with a beautiful forest and near the end a nice creek. Wiesel Dick only spent an hour at the cove restaurant and store but approach and I chilled until 12. We then tried to take a railroad shortcut and ended up doing 3 extra miles. But we had a lot of fun. We walked along a railroad and though a giant tunnel and felt like kids. We played the game of who can walk on the rail the longest and she won by a lot. We then did lots of weird long steps to stay on the railroad ties. After we realized our mistake of missing the trail, we headed back through the tunnel to the road where we hitched up to the trail. From there we both slowly walked up the trail. We weren’t in any hurry and we passed by a lot of beautiful lakes. We got to camp around 7 at Charlton Lake and were in our sleeping bags by 9. We ate a lot of food, mostly fudge and other candy. It reminded me of being a kid again. Growing up with grandparents with a candy store meant I ate a lot of fudge in my formative years.

Miles: 36.8 Total Miles: 1925.2

Approach walking the train tracks outside Shelter Cove

August 6, Day 107 – Abundant alternates

The smoke cleared up considerably today. When we hit the high point for the trail in Oregon and Washington, we were treated with clear skies and distant views. We hiked pretty quickly today knowing that we would be treated to trail magic at the end of the day. Our goal was to reach a horse campground that is hosted by a couple who loves PCT hikers. 30 miles into the day we came to a road and took a right instead of going straight on the trail. This road took us 3/4 of a mile to a different trail that would take us 10 flat miles to the campground. I caught up with Approach at this junction and we hiked the last 10 miles together. Just like a few days ago, we got distracted as we neared our destination and ended up having to bushwhack again. It delayed our arrival a little bit but we still did 40 miles by 7pm. It felt easy to hike 40 miles. Never thought I would say that in my life. Maybe it was the green tea and brownies we had at the junction. Someone had left a cooler for us.

Miles: 40.0 Total Miles: 1888.4

Mt. Thielsen near mile 1855

August 5, Day 106 – Crater Lake National Park

I slept way better on the trail next to a highway and a generator than I thought I would. However, I did wake up with dew and ash on me. The fires nearby are growing and we are worried about what our future in Oregon looks like. I headed down to the Mazama Village store and started charging my electronics and looking for my friends. I found Rambo and Surefoot at the hiker campground and also got quite a bit of food out of the hiker box there. We headed back to the store to find Wiesel Dick and Approach inviting us over to trail magic by Wiesel Dick’s mom. She had promised pancakes and bacon for us. We ate more than we needed then headed up to the rim. It was smoky and windy but the views were still good. After a break outside the restaurant there, we headed around the rim to get back to the PCT. We took an alternate so we could enjoy the views of the rim trail. As we got near camp for the night we saw a van parked on the side of the road. Trail magic! We had brats and burgers and sodas and beer. It was a great nightcap. We got to camp around 7:30 and went to bed early so we could rest after a short sleep the night before. Haiku and Recon also camped with Approach, Rambo, Surefoot, Wiesel Dick and I.

Miles: 27.5 Total Miles: 1848.4

Trail magic by Wiesel Dicks mom at Crater Lake National Park

August 4, Day 105 – Work hard, party harder

I woke up on a bed, on a dock, on a lake. It was surreal. We got out of bed around 6 then headed inside to be treated to eggs and huckleberry pancakes. The huckleberries were fresh picked from local bushes this week. I was in heaven. We left the house around 7 and were hiking by 7:30. This was a little later than I’d like for a day we planned on doing 48 miles but we love a good challenge. Today presented us with a decent amount of climbing, rocky trail and smoky skies. Most of the afternoon was spent in a burn area. It wasn’t the ideal hiking day but we still had fun with it. Wiesel Dick had just gotten wireless earbuds so we each put one in and took turns picking songs. Approach was in front of us all day listening to an audiobook. The three of us made pretty good time but the last 20 miles were tougher than expected. The burn area also came with lots of blow downs. I ended up getting to “camp” alongside highway 62 at 11:15. Everyone else went into the campground but I didn’t feel like messing with trying to find it and walking more. Work smarter not harder. I ripped a huge hole in the top of my brand new shoes but they should still last me the 4 days and 160 mile to Bend. As I post this, I’m still wearing the shoes, 600 miles later. Hopefully my replacements show up in the mail tomorrow

Miles: 47.5 Total Miles: 1820.9

Sometimes the trail isn’t pretty. It makes us really appreciate the good times.

August 3, Day 104 – Lakehouse party

Approach and I woke up next to a trail angels van. We slept in, waiting for the trail angel to get set up. Once she seemed ready for company, we headed over and started devouring snacks and sodas. We also waited for Rambo and Surefoot to show up. Wiesel Dick was supposed to be behind us too but he got up early and started hiking at 4 so he could get to the road to Lake of the Woods early. Approach and I hiked near each other the rest of the day and when we got to the road to Lake of the Woods, all plans went out the window. We got Wiesel Dicked.

This wasn’t such a bad thing. Wiesel Dick is notorious for doing really fun stuff. The houseboat we went on was thanks to him and now we were being entertained with the offer of dinner and a boat ride at a lake house. We had tried to resist and stay on trail but he is really hard to say no to. I’ve never regretted going on one of his crazy adventures and this time was no different. We went to the restaurant for pizza and root beer floats then headed to a friend of his lake house for more food and drinks. We ended the night with a scenic boat ride and watching Talledega Nights on the dock. We didn’t do as many miles as we originally planned but we smiled a lot today.

Miles: 22.7 Total Miles: 1718.7

Headed down to the dock for sunset. Photo credit to Approach.

August 2, Day 103 – This is going to be fun

I had blueberries, ice cream, carrot cake, kombucha, chocolate milk and cookie dough for breakfast. I needed the breakfast of champions with the hiking plan we had today: 32 miles after 1pm. We got our resupply done, went to the gear store, mailed some packages and got some pastries before heading to trail. Rambo had a car for us to use from a family friend and we were able to get our chores done fairly quickly. She then was able to drive us to trail. Approach and I got off to a hot start and left Rambo and Surefoot in the dust. They showed up at the next 2 water sources right as we were leaving and didn’t see them the rest of the day. With Approach in lead, we averaged over 3 miles an hour for 9.5 hours. The trail was also very flat and the biggest climb we had for the day was under 1,000 feet. Oregon is going to be a lot of fun of it stays like this.

Approach and I bought dresses while in Ashland and hiked in them today. We wanted to mix things up in Oregon and have some fun. We got a lot of laughs out of people. I don’t think the dress will be a consistent wardrobe for me but it’s good to get crazy every once in a while. It was a little interesting having to bushwhack in them after a blue blaze gone wrong. We walked a road for a bit thinking we were saving time until we realized we had walked too far and missed our turn. Lucky for us, we enjoy the scenic route and side adventures. This will continue to happen to us throughout Oregon

Miles: 32.0 Total Miles: 1750.7

Approach caught a frog during our nighttime bushwhack and blue blaze.

August 1, Day 102 – Celebration Sushi!

Approach, Wow and I got to the highway around 11 and went into Callahans Lodge to get a drink and hopefully find a hitch. While Wow and I ate the leftovers off a strangers plate, a kind man offered to give us a ride up the road to Ashland. We needed to get to Medford to go to REI but we accepted so we could at least get closer. Once in the car we convinced him to go all the way to Medford, where Wiesel Dick and his family were waiting for us for sushi. His mom ended up buying us lunch, the second time for me. She’s an angel. I can see where he gets his generosity. Wiesel Dick then drove us back to Ashland after a trip to REI and Trader Joe’s. We ran a few more errands and relaxed in the hotel for the evening.

We also celebrated Wow finishing the PCT. He had hiked most of it a few years ago but had come back to finish what he started. When he got to Ashland, he was done. I was sad to see him go. We had a lot of fun together in the short time he spent with us but he had other adventures to go on, most importantly the Appalachian Trail. I know I’ll see him again on a trail in the future but the rest of the PCT won’t be the same without him.

Miles: 14.8 Total Miles: 1718.7

Wow and I trying to hitch. This wasn’t from our last day together but I felt it symbolized the type of shenanigans we got into.

July 31, Day 101 – Oregon!!!

There was excitement in the air all day today. We were finally entering a new state. Today was bigger than the halfway point for me. We all hopped from water source to water source mostly together. It was a lot of fun running the flats and hooting and hollering all day, common tradition while hiking with Wow. Rambo and I would race Approach and Wow a few times. They are really fast. After crossing the border, Wow, Approach and I stuck together until camp. We enjoyed one of the best sunsets I’ve seen all trail and then got trail magic beers from some off-roaders a few miles before camp. It was Approach and Wow’s longest days on trail and we still got into camp at a reasonable time. We were all very happy to finally be in Oregon.

Miles: 40.7 Total Miles: 1703.9

Myself, Wow, Approach, Rambo and Surefoot at the border

July 30, Day 100 – The State of Jefferson

Approach, Wow and I all got out of bed pretty early with excitement to get into the town of Seiad Valley. It was a 6 mile road walk and the trail took us through the middle of town. It was pretty convenient to not have to hitch or take a side trail. We spent the rest of the day until 5 relaxing at a restaurant that had couches for us. We were planning on getting back on trail around 2 but a storm started to roll in and milkshakes on a couch were enticing. We finally got out of town around 6 and made it 7 miles to our camp for the night. About 12 of us ended up together in a giant campsite along a road.

The State of Jefferson is a proposed state for Northern California and Southern Oregon. It represents the more rural areas of the two states and the abandonment that felt by the rest of the state. The movement started in the cafe we had breakfast at and there were flags, stickers and signs everywhere. The movement started taking shape in the 1940s but has gained a lot of traction in recent years.

Miles: 13.8 Total Miles: 1663.2

Some days we don’t have great scenery or other adventures. I found this tree situation pretty interesting.

July 29, Day 99 – Saying bye to Shasta

We all slept in and got a later start. The clouds made for a nice cool morning with a spectacular view to the south and east. We spent a lot of time on ridges with views of Mt. Shasta. It reminded me a little of the Sierras with all of the jagged peaks and small lakes. Today was the last time we would see Mt. Shasta. Normally, there are spots further up the trail you can see it again but the smoke would prevent that. Wow and I spent most of the day walking together and enjoyed being able to cover miles fast. In the afternoon, we entered Marble Mountain Wilderness and walked through fields of giant marble boulders. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. We finished the day with a long descent into a valley to set ourselves up for a quick jaunt into town in the morning. We got to camp around 9 to find Approach swimming in the river so we jumped right in. We had gotten through pretty overgrown trail and we’re worried about poison oak so I jumped in with all of my clothes on. It was refreshing to feel somewhat clean again.

Miles: 35.8 Total Miles: 1649.4

Looking east around mile 1620