Followers

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

FINISHING UP

The trail is a metaphor for life. It can be hard, tedious and cold. But near the end you look back across the craggy horizon to where you toiled to climb and all you see is joy. The hard times have evaporated in the warming sun leaving only the traces of a life well lived. Dick Mallery



GAILA: As you all know, Dick made it to Canada on September 6. He then hiked another 8 miles to civilization at Manning Park. I met a cat lover in the park that would take care of BOO for 4 days and left the morning of the 7th to drive 6 hours to meet him. We stayed the night at the lodge there. Thank goodness there was a hiker facility where he could do laundry and shower before I arrived. We put his backpack in a large garbage bag so I wouldn't have to smell it on the trip back to Chimicum. Each time we went to eat at the restaurant in the lodge, someone would say, "Hey, there's Umbrella Man." From there we stopped in Chilliwack, B.C. and stayed two nights with good friends, where they began the fattening up process. He lost around 30 pounds overall and now has a long way to go to get back to his normal weight.

A bit thin, boney and hairy!
A resemblance except Sasquatch looks healthier!
His Alta Lone Peak 3.5s got him through 1200 miles!
Our wonderful Canada friends sent along a special treat for our reunion.
Here are his last few texts from the time he left Stehekin, WA to Manning Park, B.C.

The international flavor never ends. I am now in a new bubble for 80 miles to the border with a guy named Shakespeare who looks exactly like Sean Connery. He is from England but lives in Amsterdam. Then there is Metric Ton who, you guessed it, carries a huge pack full of shit. He is French Canadian. There is also Jungle who is Brazilian, Jacob, a 17 year old who is a great kid, and a German that I can't understand enough to know his trail name.

My bubble - L to R: Shredder, Crush, Numbers, JP and Hobbs
Another bubble friend - Karma
I called him Frisbee because he carried one the whole way.
Stehekin means "Way through" an ancient passage into the mountains. It's remote, laid back, beautiful and expensive. Everything comes in by ferry. It's not a bad place to be stuck waiting for resupply, but better planning would have had me in and out of here in a day. I have been very fortunate with weather, only a couple rain days but not a big deal, I'm Umbrella Man! In fact, it started raining the day I finished.

The only way to reach Stehekin is by trail or ferry up Lake Chelan.
The lake is 50 miles long and takes 4 hours from Chelan to Stehekin. 
Thankful for this place. I walked 2 miles each way twice a day from my campsite.
Food is a big motivater. There is a shuttle but it never ran when I was hungry!!
Inside the Stehekin Pastry Company
Shakespeare and Metric Ton
I left Stehekin later than planned. By the time I picked up my resupply box and got everything organized it was 12:30. I missed "trail Magic" this whole trip but was fortunate to run into it twice over these past four days.
Trail Magic at Hart Pass
Met up with hikers section hiking with their 3 dogs.
The dogs took advantage of a break. A breed new to me - Dogo Argentino.
Glacier carved valley
Last climb on the PCT - about 30 miles from the border
When I reached the Canada border it was anti-climatic. Unfortunately, my bubble group was not there. I took lots of pictures, ate dinner and moved on into Canada. PCT - Check ✔

Eating while I waited for Gaila to arrive in Manning Park.
I took lots of video but working on putting it all together.







Monday, September 2, 2019

ALMOST THERE!

My friend invited me to her Private House Concert.
A great evening of entertainment with Geoff Kaufman, from Mystic Seaport, CT.
Maggie's 40 minute ride back to Seattle from Kingston.
Took this photo from my friend's FB page.
I love the beautiful historical buildings in Port Townsend.
The courthouse in the background is an example.
We welcomed the Maiden, with Tracy Edwards and crew, when it made a stop in Port Townsend.
The documentary about Tracy's historic sail in the 1989
Whitbread Round the World Race is a must see!
Hiking in Fort Worden State Park.
Look closely and you will find the lighthouse.




Many have asked me what I've been up to. Above are a few of the highlights. I have probably said this before, but I am so glad I made the decision to stay on the Olympic Peninsula while Dick did this hike. I have had a wonderful summer. Enjoyed new friends, beautiful weather, time with Maggie, a great area and close to beautiful Port Townsend.
I'm writing this on Sept. 2nd and the HAPPY HIKER has now reached Stehekin, WA. He arrived Saturday after the post office closed. So he now, because of Labor Day, has to wait until Tuesday morning to get his resupply box with his food. He says it's a beautiful place to be stranded. The problem is he doesn't have any food so it's a 4 mile round trip hike to the PASTRY COMPANY which serves croissant sandwiches, pizza slices and all sorts of baked goods. Heaven to a hiker.

Dick's message sent from Stehekin via inReach Satelite Communicator

Here are his Texts over the past couple weeks:

August 21: (south of Snoqualmie, WA)
Having a hard time sending my inReach message due to rain, overcast and dense forest. I have about 18 more miles to the Summit Inn but will hike in early tomorrow. Looks like you've been getting quite a few Squirrel Poster orders! That should help pay for this trip - NOT!



August 22:
I'm three miles from Snoqualmie Pass, I-90. An English guy told me about a hostel with dinner at the pass for 20 bucks (not on my Guthook App). I plan to stay there tonight since it's been raining all day.  The first half of the state of Washington has been surprisingly flatter than I anticipated, BUT the last couple days into Snoqualmie pass is an example of what's ahead. The terrain is now going to blow up and I'm going to slow up. My shortest day since California has been 27 miles. Oregon was mostly 30+ miles. I'm thinking the remaining 250 miles is going to be more like 15 mile days. I have several passes ahead that look like 4000 ft. - ups and downs. My boots are on their last legs. Pun intended. I could throw my shirt and pants away right now, they are so tattered and torn. I wonder what trail name they would give me then? I will spend the day at Snoqualmie gluing and Gorilla taping them together. Works better than sewing. I thought I brought enough Gorilla tape wrapped around my hiking poles, but running low.

August 23:
Had breakfast and got my resupply box but I got to the Summit Inn too early so now I have to wait til noon to get in my room. Should have slept in at the hostel but I'm so used to getting up at 4 or 5 a.m.  So I'll just wait in the Lobby since it's raining. I don't smell too bad since I had a shower and did laundry at the hostel (at least I don't think I do). I will need to wash my clothes again here because once just doesn't get all the dirt out.

It's interesting how you meet people on this trail. At first it's a quick hello as we pass, but if they end up being in a bubble with you for a few days or weeks, the conversations get longer. I have met many incredible people from all over the world. It makes you appreciate the human family. I guess our common glue is the desire to do this trek, but I think there is more to it than that.

I am so glad I was told about the WAC Hostel. It was such a comfortable hostel stop, filled with an evening of conversation with an international perspective, in contrast with the night before hunkered down in my tent, under a fir tree in a downpour.

Washington Alpine Club Hostel 


SHREDDER, the girl from Bavaria, and JP showed up here, so the bubble is catching up to me again. I don't take as much time off as these young hikers do. They are faster hikers than I am. They take days off and then end up catching up to me again. It's like the Tortoise and the Hare story. Another interesting kid I've been hiking with is STREAMER. He does contract freelance work and lives on a sailboat in Fort Lauderdale when he's not hiking. I see him a lot. He sleeps in later in the morning but hikes into the dark at night. I get up at 4 a.m. and pass him sleeping in the morning. Now when I pass his bivy tent, I yell "Top O the Morning to ya Streamer." I'm his wakeup call. By noon he has passed me and then we start the whole process over the next day.

August 27: (Stevens Pass Lodge, WA)
It took me 3 days to get here from Snoqualmie. Beautiful, big country and much steeper terrain. With 8 billion people on the planet, last night it was just me and a barred owl sharing a huge piece of old growth forest. Doesn't get any better than this! A bit rocky and rooty hiking tho. I fell into some boulders and landed on the wrist with the titanium plate. That doctor that screwed my wrist back together years ago, did a hell of a job. It didn't even dent it this go round. Then the next morning I walked into a swarm of bees and one stung me on the same wrist! I still have a welt and scab from tripping over a root last week.
I found food at the lodge, not cheap, but it's the only game in town. The problem with slowing down and doing less miles each day, is stretching my food supply.




I have also been hiking with a great kid now and then. Jacob is 16 yrs old and is hiking the Washington PCT.  He is ultra-light which means he sleeps wet, miserable and hungry. If you read all these ultra-light hiking forums, and drink the kool-aid, you too can sleep wet cold and hungry. His mom and grandpa met up with him at Stevens Pass. After visiting awhile, they invited me down the mountain to have lunch with them. Bad timing, I had just stuffed my face. Besides I have miles to go before I sleep.



This little one room cabin is just north of Mt. Rainer Nat'l Park.
It's open to the public. It has a wood stove with a loft.
Candy, myself, a Frenchman and two others stayed the night.
(oh - and one cow elk grazing out front)
Everyone has a trail name given to them by other hikers.
This is CANDY because his food is mostly candy bars.
 He's from Germany and has hiked all over the world.
He speaks English very well (non-stop) and very interesting.
I ran into a kid from Alberta this morning as I was sitting in the trail eating breakfast. When he was passing by I said, "Keep Smilin". He said, "I've heard of you! You're the keep smilin' guy and all this time I thought you were super hero UMBRELLA MAN.

.......TO BE CONTINUED - I should reach Manning Park, BC around Sept. 7.




Monday, August 19, 2019

UPWARD and ONWARD

Ferry from Bainbridge to Seattle 

I am loving this part of the country. It's beautiful here and the weather couldn’t be better. I’ve had lots of mother/daughter time with Maggie. It’s not easy because it’s a ferry ride between us. The ferry system here is dealing with population explosion and sometimes there is a wait of an hour or more to even get on, unless I don’t drive the car and walk on instead, but it's worth the hassle to be together. Also, lots of friends old and new that I've enjoyed being with. 


Here are Dick’s updates. The photos are not necessarily in correct order and I'm not sure what mountain etc.,but they are all beautiful. 


Russell Creek. Looks easy - NOT!
August 10: After Big Lake Youth Camp, I have been doing 30+ mile days. Lots of burn sections with little shade. Again, I’m thankful for my umbrella. I had to cross Russell Creek which is glacial melt from Mt. Jefferson. Hiker Dan, from Newport Beach, OR, helped me out by directing me over the area he’d crossed. It was roaring so LOUD that he didn’t see me trip after I was across and almost roll back into the torrent. 



I camped on a ridge overlooking Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. The next morning, hiking in the dark using my headlamp, I lost the trail since it was covered with snow. I’ve been hiking in the dark most mornings, since I get started before dawn, but this was the first time I’d encountered a snow field. I'm thinking this may be the start of hiking in snow now and then.

Side note: (Before going to bed Dick mixes in his empty water bottle, a concoction of Carnation Instant Breakfast (strawberry) with a pkt of Via Pike Place coffee and one cup of milk made with powdered Nido. In the a.m., he drinks it down before hitting the trail and it gives him that quick energy boost to last him til it's light and warm enough to stop and make breakfast).





Most of the Mt. Hood area was beautiful with old growth trees. Lots of rain and fog. Fire danger was extremely low but the Bigfoot danger extremely high.
I thought I had lost all my bubble people. They decided to do the “24 Hour Challenge” (60 miles in 24 hrs). They all caught up with me at the Timberline Lodge and we enjoyed the all you can eat breakfast. This stop was a highlight of my trip but, of course, I ate TOO much and had to lay low for 3+ hours and let it digest. 


Breakfast with my "bubble hikers" at Timberline Lodge
August 11 - Bummer, sorry I missed Connie's friends!  Too bad they were off trail eating lunch and hadn’t seen me sooner. They were right! That was me for sure - the only old man out here carrying an umbrella. Bad timing. We could have had a fun visit. 

Scary story to share:

I had a little excitement one night in the Mt. Hood area. Coming down a steep ridge I met a couple from Croatia. It was getting dark and I told them there were no camping spots flat enough for a tent for several miles. I mentioned they may want to go back to the trailhead parking area where there would be some flatter ground to set up a tent. They said there was a man there talking to himself and they were afraid of him. I convinced them to go back with me (safety in numbers) and hopefully he would leave. Otherwise we would sleep away from him and I would deal with him if we had to. At 11 p.m. the guy started screaming profanity at the top of his lungs. Every time it rained a little harder he got louder screaming for the rain gods to shut it off. The couple were understandably freaked out. At one point he came a bit too close so I got dressed, put on my headlamp and went out to find a tennis ball size rock and a stick the size of a club. He kept his distance, but I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. After what happened on the AT this year, I was taking no chances.




August 12 - That all you can eat breakfast at the Timberline Lodge powered me up the mountain and all the way to the Oregon/Washington border to Cascade Locks. I left before my bubble friends and haven’t seen them since. There were no rooms available at the lodge so I think after the breakfast they all crawled under a rock and went to sleep. It will be interesting to see when I’ll see them next. Doing that  "Challenge" is a good way to ruin your feet. 





Two miles to Cascade Locks and BREAKFAST. Then crossing the Bridge of the Gods and getting a room in Washington. Rooms cost less on the other side of the Columbia River. 
It took me 17 days (approx. 450 miles) to hike through Oregon! 

The motel I’m staying at will drive me the 5 miles from the bridge to save me the extra walk. It will be great to have a room. I need to regroup big time. My boots are in desperate need of repair so hoping to get some Shoe Goo and hope they get me to Canada. The patch kit sent by Hilleberg for my tent just may do the job.


Shoe Goo and Gorilla Tape should get me to Canada!
August 13 - Did my laundry, but my socks were still full of dirt! I’ve had to soak them in the tub overnight and rinse them about 100 times and still getting dirt out. I guess they aren’t called DARN TOUGH socks just because they never wear out - but because they are darn tough to get clean! I got my money’s worth in hot water at this hotel.

After a day of eating like a little pig, cleaning my gear, clothes and body, I think I’m ready to take on Washington State! But first I need one more super breakfast this morning before I start climbing.

Days later.....(connection very limited. So glad I have the InReach so you know I’m still moving.)



Wow, Washington has been amazing. Old growth forests, massive mountains, glacial melt rivers. Goat Rocks Wilderness is beautiful. Lots of fog though and I’ve had some cold wet mornings. My bubble of people caught up to me but now they have split up. Some hitched a ride back to Cascade Locks for PCT days http://www.pctdays.com. The others from out of the country have VISA deadlines to meet and must hike faster to finish in time. A good group of hikers. I will miss their company.


A room with a view. A beautiful camping spot.
Some camping spots are a bit rough.
Sometimes flat and smooth is difficult to find.
August 18 - Texting from on top of the world! 14 miles to the Kracker Store at White Pass. I have been warned about two bears that have been harassing hikers there, so I will be sleeping with my food. If they want it they will have to fight me for it. 


Later....Made it to White Pass. Paid $5 for a shower, $5 to get my resupply box and bought a pizza. They only sold XL pizzas but (believe it or not) I could only eat half. I was going to hang the other half so the bears didn’t get it and eat it for breakfast but gave it to one of my hiker friends instead. He was so appreciative because he didn’t arrive until after everything closed.









Amazing trip so far but this is my last LONG TRAIL. I'm not giving up backpacking, but I would rather do shorter ones and not be away so long. I miss my wife, I miss my life. I know I've said this before, but I'm ready now. I did the CDT the year I turned 50 and now the PCT the year I'm turning 70. I think that's enough.

That's all Folks. Keep Smilin'

Followers