Miles hiked: 21.9
Total trip mileage: 226.1
Marc wakes up, as usual, to the beeping of his watch at 5:30, gets up, makes coffee and tea and starts the oatmeal, brings me tea in the tent. Maybe this is why I like thru-hiking so much: I get to sleep in and someone else is in charge of the food.
This morning we hike by lots more lakes, through lots more forest. We’ve decided to take a detour to Elk Lake, perhaps to call Jim, maybe to eat at the restaurant, maybe buy a few snacks. We’re getting to that “hungry” stage where the ginormous bag of cashews, almonds and pistachios in the resupply box starts to disappear way too quickly.
Miles hiked: 25.1
Total trip mileage: 204.2
When I prepared for this hike, back in Vancouver, I sketched out a rough plan for how far I thought we’d go every day, based on tent sites and water, in order to send enough food in our resupply boxes. Once we actually hit the ground, however, those plans mean zilch. We hike as far as we want to. At night, I take out the app and look at the water and tent sites ahead of us and we make a tentative plan for the next day. Continue reading
Miles hiked: 22.3
Total trip miles: 179.1
In the morning, Marc wakes to the sound of a 747 flying overhead, only to realize it’s just the mozzies swarming around our tent. Bless him, he gets up and cooks our oatmeal and tea and coffee and brings it to the tent so we can eat unassaulted.
Again today we encounter only one other hiker on our way down to Shelter Cove, a day hiker. She says it’s probably the mosquitoes keeping people away. Ya think? We hike the 9.7 miles without stopping. Here’s what it was like (plus a morning shot of me in the tent): Continue reading
Miles hiked: 19.6
Total trip miles: 156.8
In the end we don’t take the Oregon Skyline Alternate. I’m just not comfortable hiking without a map, and Marc doesn’t like the idea of a shortcut. As we hike up the other side of Windigo Pass, we see a lovely flat tent site right next to the trail after about a mile. Oh, well. We had to have at least one crappy campsite on this trip, right? Continue reading
Miles hiked: 22.1
Total trip miles: 137.2
As we hike away from Thielsen creek this morning, we look back at Mount Thielsen. Marc appears to have reached some kind of critical point of disconnect with work, and suddenly starts paying closer attention to his surroundings. He remembers that he has a camera in his phone and starts whipping it out at regular intervals, taking at least five shots of every pose I strike.
Miles hiked: 26.4
Total trip miles: 115.1
We wake up, as usual, around 5:20. We want to get an early start, but the lodge’s free coffee service doesn’t start until 6:00, so while we wait, we eat the leftover cake from last night. Yum! As I catch the sun rising up over the rim of Crater Lake I meet a woman who is also setting out this morning, with her husband and 8-year old son. They’re “doing Oregon”, too, but at a much slower pace. I’m impressed. That kid is really lucky! Continue reading
Miles hiked: 17
Total trip miles: 105.6
While we were eating breakfast, the tru-thru hiker we’d met the day before, who had camped a couple miles back, passed us at high speed, mosquito net over his head, waving hello. Man, they start early to get those 30+ mile days in. He’d told us he would only pause at Crater lake and continue on around it, heading for a hitch to Diamond Lake.
All day long I’m thinking of beer, ice cream, a shower. It’s really, really hot. The trail stretches endlessly on, the blowdowns a continual challenge to our concentration and patience.
Miles hiked: 24.8
Total trip miles: 88.6
We wake up early and eat our oatmeal looking out over the mist-enshrouded lake. The mosquitoes are not terrible. We’ve done some serious mileage in the last two days – 24 and 26 miles, plus, and Marc is feeling stoked. I’m just relieved I’m managing it without too much trouble. Last year at this time my upper back hurt so badly I thought I had dislocated some vertebrae. Maybe all that crossfit and core work was worth it…
Miles hiked: 26.6
Total trip miles: 63.8
We get an early start today to try and beat the heat. We hiked almost 24 miles yesterday! Woo hoo! The trail started out looking like this — in fact, a lot of the PCT in Oregon looks like this: nice, soft trail; tall, tall trees, dappled sun and shadow.
People complain of the “green tunnel” in Oregon—the miles upon miles of lodgepole pines or spruce. But I find that I love their cool depths. You can physically feel the dip in temperature that occurs when you pass from sun to shade. I love the way the trees whisper to you with their branches, advertising a cooling breeze a few seconds before it arrives. I love the tall silence of these forests. I have the distinct feeling that I am walking in the shelter of a single, great, benevolent being.
Miles hiked: 23.5
Total trip miles: 37.2
I mentioned water in the last post. Namely, that we were carrying lots of it. I think Marc was forever marked by that day last summer when we had to hike 26.2 miles (a marathon!) in order to get to a water source that we weren’t even sure existed. If it hadn’t been for the cooler of Pabst Blue Ribbon and juice left by a trail angel just after Tennessee pass, we might have expired.
He swore that this time nothing like that would happen. We would always have plenty of water on us. Never mind that Guthook’s PCT app has more user input on it , and that the PCT even has a frequently updated “water report” that you can download when you have a cell signal. No, we’d carry lots of water. Burn the grease!