Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 109 - 128

Day 109: PCT miles 2007 to 2030

I was amazed at how easy it was to hitch in and out of Bend. On the way there it was just a matter of talking up a couple guys at the trailhead. DC and I had no idea how we were going to get back to the trail. We were walking with our packs this morning, looking for a place to hitch from, when a random guy asks us if we were hiking the PCT. After answering that we were he asked "Do you need a ride?". He couldn't take us all the way but he took us the 20 miles to Sisters. After getting huckleberry smoothies (totally awesome!), we didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes to get picked up. Jen, from Jen's Garden restaurant took us the next 22 miles, going totally out of her way to do so.

The air is pretty thick with smoke from wildfires. None in the immediate area and the PCT is open to the north of us. There are a number of fires to our south and it sounds like many hikers have to skip from Etna to Ashland. Just hoping to keep ahead of the fires.

Day 110: PCT miles 2030 to 2058

DC and I passed by Mt Jefferson today. It was cool to see the glaciers and there were some nice river crossings. Reminded me a bit of the Sierras. We stopped at the Ollalie Lake store, which just recently reopened after the fires in the area were contained. After that begins a 21 mile detour (road walk) to avoid the area still closed.

Mt. Jefferson in the distance

Road Walking

Day 111: PCT miles 2058 to 2086

The road walk today was not bad. Despite how much thru-hikers hate road walks, this one was OK. There were many kinds of berries to taste along the way and the walking was fast. We only have 21 miles until Timberline Lodge and our next resupply. After that, it is just a couple days until Cascade Locks and the end of Oregon. If we play our cards right, DC and I can hit up the last day of the Portland International Beer Festival which is happening this weekend. That would fit perfectly with our brew-hiking goals.


Day 112: PCT miles 2086 to 2107

The 21 miles went really fast into Timberline Lodge. Nice place with lots of people. We are camped out nearby, looking forward to an all you can eat breakfast buffet tomorrow. 

Timberline Lodge

Day 113: PCT miles 2107 to 2132

The breakfast buffet was amaaaazing! I stuffed myself silly and it was glorious. We got off to a late start but still managed to put in a decent day. I have also learned that my recent change in body odor is due to not eating enough. Apparently I have burnt through all my reserves and now my body is starting to use my muscle as fuel. This causes an odd ammonia smell. The good news is that it will go away when I eat enough. The bad news is that it is really hard to eat 5000 calories a day. I think this is about what I am burning on the average day and I have trouble eating that much. But it is a good excuse to take a day in Portland and visit the food trucks, as well as the beer festival.

DC doing a river crossing

Day 114: PCT miles 2132 to 2155

DC and I cruised down the eagle creek alternate route and into Cascade Locks. The waterfalls were impressive, especially tunnel falls, that was cool! There were so many people it was a bit overwhelming. I thought that would mean an easy hitch into Portland but alas we had to suffer a bit. It seems that our magic PCT powers to get rides right away do not work everywhere. After standing by the side of the road for a bit and getting some dirty looks we changed locations. On the way I texted Red, who is in Portland for the weekend if he would come get us. I was mostly joking but partly hoping, and he says OK! Cool, we were saved and so we celebrated with a beer (or two) at the new and only brewery that is actually on the trail, Thunder Island Brewery.

Tunnel Falls

After that, Red picked us up in his red pickup and we are now in Portland. Staying with DC's brother-in-law's sister, I don't know if there is a word for that relation, but she is very nice to let us dirty thru-hikers stay in her place. Thanks Cari!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Portland Beer Festival and the Mecca of all hipster brew-hikers. I think I am going to get people overloaded.

Day 115: PCT miles (0)

I really like Portland, it has cool neighborhoods, interesting shops and places to eat as well as great people watching. The International Brew Fest was not spectacular but was enjoyable and a must-do on any brew-hike. I got a little overwhelmed by the choices but my favorite was probably one of he sour beers I tried.

Afterwards, we rested for a while and then out to the food carts for dinner. I got an excellent cardamom milkshake to go with my crepe. Temperatures are hot, sweating it out in the apartment tonight.

Day 116: PCT miles 2155 to 2168

Cari dropped DC, Red and I off at Cascade Locks. We finalized our resupplies and had a last beer at the brewery. Thunder Island Brewery is very hiker friendly and is a great spot to chill for a while. The day was hot as we crossed over the Bridge of the Gods into Washington. There is no pedestrian walkway on the bridge so we had to walk against traffic to cross. My pack felt quite heavy with 6 days of food (about 20lbs of food) and I think this is the heaviest the pack has been on the entire trip. We were all sweating profusely as we climbed the hill in the afternoon, seemed like the most I sweated on the entire trip as well. Fortunately, we only planned on hiking 13 miles.

Day 117: PCT miles 2168 to 2191

Today was muggy as we hiked through really lush vegetation. Really starting to feel like the Pacific Northwest. A light rain cooled things off and was very nice.

Day 118: PCT miles 2191 to 2214

The weather has finally cooled off. We hiked through clouds and mist which I really enjoy, it adds a mysterious feeling to the forest, it is also much more pleasant to hike. I met Scott Williamson today, he is a legend among thru-hikers. He has hiked the PCT at least 15 times and was the first person to yo-yo the trail (hike the entire trail, then turn around and hike it again in one season). This year he is attempting to beat Anish's unsupported record and is headed southbound.

Scott Williamson

Day 119: PCT miles 2214 to 2243

Today started out cool and misty. Sometime in the afternoon, a gentle rain began to fall. My combination of umbrella and rain wrap kept me dry and was perfect for the conditions. Excepting my shoes, which would get wet no matter what I did. I love the weather, it reminds me of my time living in British Columbia.

Day 120: PCT miles 2243 to 2266

Another overcast and cool day, perfect for hiking.

I thought I would share a little bit of what I have been listening to while hiking the trail. In the past I have not brought music or any audio device on my hikes but I thought I would appreciate having something on this hike. I use my phone as my mp3 player and music really helps to motivate on difficult days or during difficult sections. But what I have found most entertaining is audiobooks and podcasts. For the first half of the hike I listened to all 5 books of the Game of Thrones, which was fantastic (except book 4 which was a little off). I think each book was around 30 hours and really helped keep my mind occupied. After that was over, I was turned on to a podcast called Hardcore History by Dan Carlin, totally awesome! I highly recommend this podcast if you have any interest in history and especially if you are interested in military history. If you like the zombie apocalypse genre, then I recommend We're Alive, very well done and entertaining. I also have been listening to The Nerdist, This American Life, a number of science podcasts and other more mainstream stuff. Although the purist part of me thinks I should not listen to anything while hiking, the rest of me really appreciates the mental stimulation.

Glacial silt in the river

Day 121: PCT miles 2266 to 2291

We entered the Goat Rocks Wilderness today. I have been looking forward to this section since the beginning of the hike. It did not disappoint, I even saw some wild goats.

This is the trail...

The Knife Edge

Day 122: PCT miles 2291 to 2303

DC and I cruised into White Pass by 11:00. We were able to take showers (Thanks Red!), eat some food, drink beer and organize our resupply boxes while waiting for Kerry to pick us up. She is a friend from Davis who now lives in Yakima and is a winemaker. She took us to a brewery and then headed back to her place for dinner and some excellent wine.

Mt. Rainier

Day 123: PCT miles (0)

Kerry took us to her family vinyard and winery (Du Brul) for a little tour and wine tasting. This was a great zero day for DC and I, a chance to get some calories back in us. We drank more wine and had a great time.

Kerry at the winery

Day 124: PCT miles 2303 to 2317

Kerry dropped us off at the trailhead around 11:30. Thanks again Kerry! We did a half day and camped next to a nice river.

Day 125: PCT miles 2317 to 2343

Today was a great day, cloudy and cool.

Marmot in the Mist

Day 126: PCT miles 2343 to 2365

Today went by in a blur of clearcuts and huckleberries. The weather has been fantastic and DC and I are camped on a  ridge with a nice view of Mt. Rainier. I have almost 900 miles on my current pair of shoes, impressive but the cushioning is totally gone and my feet and legs get sore quickly.

Day 127: PCT miles 2365 to 2391

This is the last full day that DC and I will be hiking and camping together. I need to take a week off for my sister's wedding and DC has some time constraints and must keep hiking. It has been a great 1200 miles hiking together, much more enjoyable when shared with someone. I did not expect to hike for so long with anyone and it has been really cool. I think it will feel strange to continue hiking solo again but that is the way it goes sometimes. Good luck DC, I'll see you in Mendo!

Day 128 PCT miles 2391 to 2402

We hiked towards Snoqualmie Pass in the morning and met my Dad and Stepmom with some of their friends at Beaver Lake. We had a nice little lunch there before hiking to the trailhead. I am looking forward to seeing my family and participating in the wedding. It is very rare for so much of the family to be together in one place, we are spread out over two countries and this is a great opportunity to catch up. I am also very excited to get some more calorie reserves built up (fooood!) before the final push.

This is probably the last blog post until I finish the trail. There are only two more stops before the border and I don't think I will have time to find a computer at either of them. So, it will be a few weeks before the final blog post and no need to worry about me.

I have also updated my weekly selfie page as well as the Portraits from the PCT page, so check them out too.