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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'

Friday, August 9, 2019

HE'S MAKING GOOD TIME!

Here are Dick's updates. Many of you are asking how he's doing. In the meantime, I am enjoying my stay here and involved in so many activities. Plus, the added bonus of being with Maggie now and then. 

July 29, 2019 - 9:13 p.m.

Did 29 miles today. Have to do more miles because water is scarce. I’m in my tent texting you. Still a bad phone connection. I head for Crater Lake tomorrow. Hope we can talk. Love you more than mountains.





July 30 - 7:08 p.m.

Made it to Crater Lake, got a shower and will get a bite to eat after doing laundry. Signal still bad here so using their wifi. Will pick up my resupply box in the a.m. and I’ll check to see if there’s a pay phone so I can call you. This place is a ZOO. I stayed in a campsite with 35+ tents. The park has no plan to deal with all these hikers! Everyone is fighting over 75 cent showers that last 4 minutes, and the washers are filthy - the ones that work. Typical National park food - high priced and low quality. After breakfast in the morning I think I’ll work on my foot and haul ass. Oregon is much easier walking so far - much flatter than California. I’m getting in 27 to 29 mile days. If my foot was better it would be 30+ days. Although there is lots of volcanic rock, little water sources, thick mosquito population and very hot. The good news is the smoke has cleared.


July 31 - 6:07 a.m.

Found a pay phone. I’ll call you when you’re up. Got up early and went down to the other campground and found clean FREE showers with no time limit. Wonderful. I’ll be leaving this morning and walking the RIM Trail back to the PCT.

Here’s the foot story. The little bastard rat that chewed my gear is what caused it all! After tying my shoe lace back together, it was too tight, which irritated the top of my foot up into my ankle. The Crater Lake store carried few supplies. Another hiker gave me four Vitamin I. She said she carried too much. The cashier at the store went out to his truck and brought back a brand new pair of boot laces. Old guys rock - Trail Magic! I bought some Icy Hot and it has helped. 
I now keep my pack inside my tent with me and not in the vestibule part. I sleep with my feet elevated on the pack which also seems to be helping. I “RIME” my foot as much as I can (Rest, ice, milkshake and elevate). Can you believe it - Crater Lake has NO milkshakes! I think they should lose their park status for that.

I’ve been hiking in a “bubble” with a great group of kids from all over the world.
I think there must be a factory in Scandinavia that makes nice people. These kids are also very smart and speak better English than 95% of Americans.
Back in Dunsmuir, as I stepped out onto the trail, I fell over the gate. This young girl in the bubble ran over to make sure I was okay. I know they were all thinking, “this old man thinks he’s going to walk the trail and he can’t even get out of the starting gate". Later they all passed me using my umbrella and all thought that was quite funny. They now call me “Umbrella Man” and think I fly like Mary Poppins. Two weeks later they are a day behind me. 

Crater Lake is so deep blue! Unfortunately, the actual PCT was closed near the park because of mountain lion activity. I was going to go through anyway because I’ve always wanted to see one in the wild, but the Rim Trail that goes around the lake is awesome so I didn’t mind the reroute. The color of this lake is so amazing that I kept stopping every now and then to just stare at it. I was told the trail has long stretches with no water but a south bounder told me there are some water caches with gallons galore.





August 1 - Noon - Day 14 on the trail, 358 miles so far!

Everyone else is talking on their phones. I don’t know why we can’t!

From now on I will refer to rodent bastards as FRB’s. I just discovered bigger tent damages! He also chewed the hem and it is beginning to rip up from the bottom. Luckily I brought a lot of gorilla tape and it has stopped the ripping for now. I hope it will last the hike if I don’t get a heavy wind. So upset about it.  I hope there is some California rat constipated from eating rip-stop nylon! 

August 2nd - Shelter Cove RV Resort

A section of the PCT was closed, probably due to an old fire maybe. The reroute funnels all PCT hikers right by this RV Resort. Only $10 to camp here and they have wifi. I took advantage of a hot shower and FOOD, plus I could charge my phone.
I sent a video of a dip I took in a lake today. That was another great thing about the reroute, it went by lots of beautiful lakes. (If you want to see this video ask Gaila to send it to you.)

The girl that waited on me at breakfast just started working here today. She and her boyfriend bought a RV and are working their way around the country. Sound familiar? This is a great place and everyone is so friendly. We must stay here with the motorhome sometime. 
Headed out .......love you more than milkshakes!

August 4 - 2 p.m.

Contacted Hilleberg to see if they could provide me with a repair kit for my tent.
22 miles so far today. Very hot but foot doing well. I’m thinking it was the tied together shoelace chewed by the FRB!!  

8 p.m.

Stopped raining but I still hear thunder in the distance - camped for the night. 

When I hit the cut-off to Elk Lake Lodge today it started to rain and even some marble size hail. Everyone wanted my umbrella. Met a couple hiking in light t-shirts who wished they had one. I told them I’d sell mine to them for $500. They asked if I took Visa. I said, “No, that’s the cash price.” 
Most of my “bubble” went down to the lodge and into the towns of Bend or Sisters. My resupply box is waiting for me at Big Lake Youth Camp so I’m staying on trail. I wonder if I’ll see them again. 
I lost my hat yesterday. I don’t wear it when I use my umbrella so I had stuck it in my pack and somehow it fell out. Fortunately, a guy (trail name Butterfly Catcher) recognized it as mine. I’m the only one out here who wears one like this. I’m not sure how he ever found me. I was off trail up in the woods by a lake having dinner. I only realized my hat was missing for about 10 minutes and I was kicking myself when he shows up with it!! I’m so thankful to have it back. I use it a lot. The flaps hang down and discourage the mosquitoes. It might be ugly, but it’s very protective from sun and bugs.

That night I set up on a bald (hiking term for treeless, rocky summit). It was thundering and everyone was wondering what to do. I was already pounding stakes. Then the sky started falling. I climbed into my tent and they all hauled ass for tree cover. Snickers and Stevie Wonder said if they didn’t see me the next day they would know I was toast!!






August 6

I’ve been hiking with Gaper the last couple of days. A great kid. He’s going off trail for a couple of days but will probably catch me. He moves fast.
I timed Big Lake Youth Camp perfectly. I got up at 4 a.m. and arrived before the rush. Had a shower, did my laundry, had breakfast and picked up my resupply box all before 9 a.m.  The 10 miles of trail before Big Lake was lava rock and nasty - ankle twisting, boot shredding torture. I can’t believe how bad the burn is in this area - Apocalyptic!! 


Gaper




Decided to not stay the night. I’m ready to move on. Made contact with Hilleberg and they are shipping to Cascade Locks a tent stuff bag (mine ripped out this morning) as well as a repair kit for my tent.






August 7 - 6:06 a.m.

Passed mile marker 2000 yesterday! All is well.

(....and that's the last I heard from him except his notifications from the InReach satellite communicator letting me know he's ok. I am so thankful he has this now.)









Sunday, July 28, 2019

TEXTS AND PHOTOS FROM THE TRAIL!

Not much communication from Dick except now and then his texts come through. (I keep pestering him to text me more info for the blog and more people photos). The following is some of what I've received from him: (Photos may not be in order.)

1st day out of Dunsmuir it was very hot. I climbed for about 17 miles and I was just whupped! Lack of sleep and heat convinced me to stop early. Ran into a young Canadian girl from New Brunswick. She said she was ahead of her group and wondered if she could camp with me. She had never camped alone so far on the trail.  I told her I hated to be anti-social but after we set up camp I crawled in my tent and went right to sleep. I was exhausted. I get up in the morning at 4:15 and hike to beat the heat, so I’m sure I’m days ahead of her by now. The next day I met School Bus. He lives in a school bus turned RV with his wife and 5 kids when he’s not on the trail. He grew up in the Yukon. A really nice kid. Everybody's a nice KID out here. I'm the only old fart. 

The trail is really burnt in so many areas, but still very beautiful. It's hot with lots of elevation to deal with. I’m looking forward to Oregon. It’s supposed to be a little more flat. 

July 24 7:18 a.m. - Now I’m in Seiad Valley, California, waiting for my eggs and bacon. I took a bath in the river last night so I wouldn’t smell like a homeless person. The last 12 miles Into town was steep downhill, very bushy and lots of rattlesnakes. The climb out is 8 to 10 miles of Southern exposure with few trees. I'm waiting til late afternoon to leave when it cools down a bit. But I've been able to shower, do laundry, eat twice, get my 1st resupply box at the Post Office, clean my gear, and rest.

I will be here awhile. I am the only one at the campground but I saw a lot of hikers at the cafe. They look hot and miserable with the huge climb out of here to look forward to. One girl told Charlie (the owner who is quite the character) she wouldn't stay here because one of the RVs in his park was flying a Confederate flag. I told him I was a little pissed there was no Irish flag but at least there’s air conditioning and hot showers.

It sure pays to be friendly. When I passed a couple on the trail, I said, “Beautiful day. Sun’s shining, birds are singing, flowers are growing”. That put a smile on their faces and we started talking. When I mentioned you were staying in Chimicum, WA they mentioned they have friends who live there. Can you believe it was our new friends the Wellers? I could have just passed them and never made the connection. 

So far no aches and pains. I'm in better shape than many of these young people with their blisters and assorted issues from long mile days. I sure love my Altra Lone Peaks! Feels like I’m hiking in slippers and my umbrella is a lifesaver in this sun and heat.

I’m sleeping like a baby at night. Sometimes too good. Woke up one morning and found a packrat chewed my shoelace and pack strap. Little bastard.

July 26 - Breakfast in the morning, 5 miles ahead!!

July 27 8 a.m. - At Calahan’s for breakfast. Waitress just said I could have all the pancakes I can physically consume. Filled one leg so far.

At Mile 1741 - Lots of thick smoke. Fire is north of Ashland,OR.  I sure hope I run out of it in a couple days. It's windy, so maybe it will blow away.

So far water is scarce in Oregon - who would have thought!

July 28 - 1:13 p.m. - Sitting next to aqueduct soaking clothes and feet. Having a right foot issue I never had before. Maybe a shin splint. Slowing me a bit. I already have 18 miles in today. I cold-soaked it and that helped a lot. I will doctor it more when I reach Crater Lake. Remember - "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." 
I'm thinking of going to Fish Lake Resort. Free camping for PCT hikers, showers, laundry, FOOD!!














(GAILA) All is well with me. I'm loving my time here in the Pacific Northwest. A beautiful place to be. Weather is perfect. Enjoying friends and everyone here at the RV park is so friendly and helpful. Maggie came to visit once already and we had a wonderful time together.
Blossom Point, one of my favorite spots in this RV park.
So many flowers and birds.
Visited the Marine Science Center with Maggie.
An amazing place. Loved the Octopus most of all.


Kayaking with friends that I met in 2017 at another SKP campground.
They contacted me when they received my blog to say they were in nearby Port Ludlow.
Everytime I take the ferry it's been clear enough to see
the beautiful mountains. Mt. Rainer is amazing.

All is well. 

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