Sunday, December 07, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
foothills. When I showed this picture to a jrhi boy last night, he
asked, "That's not Jane's real hair, is it?"
"Of course not," I said.
"Oh, good," he responded, "it looks bad."
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I've never been here before. So I'm walking down Michigan Ave, trying
to stay warm and taking in all the downtown sites and beautiful
buildings, and who should I see walking toward me - none other than
Meg Loomis, who was in our youth group several years ago. She
graduated from college last June and is now working at the Ritz
Carlton here in Chicago. I didn't know she was living here, so both of
us were rather surprised.
I guess you just never know who you're going to run into on the
streets of one of the biggest cities in America.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
P.S. I like to pretend I'm Erik and do fancy food photography, but my little iPhone doesn't quite compare to his fancy digital SLR.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Doctors Without Borders educational camp today.
The experience is quite sobering and remains in town for the next few
Contrary to real refugee camps, however, this one has views of five
million dollar homes.
Carlo says, "It's so freakin' hot in San Franciso today. Imagine what
a North African refugee camp is really like."
Luke retorts,"That's a fake quote."
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Dave and Patty were hurting for some tourism fun, so on Saturday we took a tour around the great city, stopping at such sights as the fish hatchery, the suspension bridge and riding a gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain where we watched a lumberjack show and saw the grizzly bear habitat. On suggestion from our tour guide, we ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant downtown - probably one of our best meals since being off the trail.
On Sunday, Dave and Patty dropped us off downtown and we began our departure home - via a 3 day cruise to LA. We decided we might as well travel home in style, and with a bit of relaxation, and what better way than a floating hotel/casino/restaurant all-in-one.
It was fun, but we also felt too lazy - hard to adjust from 25 miles a day down to just relaxing and eating.
Wednesday we came into port in Long Beach. Jesse was nice enough to pick us up and take us to the LB airport where we could rent a car for the remainder of the trip home. During our drive he told us that he ended up getting "the giardia," and it was pretty bad. But he was on his last day of medicine and feeling much better. Both Steve and I were very lucky to have never gotten sick, since we were getting pretty lazy with our water filtering toward the end.
We took our rental car, drove up to Ventura where we spent the afternoon with the grandparents, and made a surprise visit to Andy, Lisa and family. In the evening we had dinner with one of our dearest Westmont friends, Kelly, and her husband Jake, and then we headed up to Santa Barbara for one last night away.
Even though Steve's parents still weren't home, we stayed at their house, packed all our hiking stuff that was at their house in the car, waited for lunchtime so Steve could have his El Sitio (Mexican food) that he had been dreaming about, and then drove home.
It is very weird to be home. Good, but weird.
Friday, September 26, 2008
ever imagined and then some (except a bear attack).
After a night of rain, our group of seven marched to the border
yesterday morning under a clear sky. You can see the border clearing
going up the mountain behind us. It was quite emotional to finally be
there, and we can't quite grasp that we really are finished.
Thanks to Tony and Laura for sending Occasion the elephant (Okie for
short) - he has helped us celebrate birthdays, a wedding, and now the
completion of a thru-hike. He's a special guy.
As a wise hiker recently said, "we have thru hiked and now we are
through hiking" (at least for a couple of days).
Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement over the last
five and a half months. We are looking forward to seeing you all very
Monday, September 22, 2008
morning the temperature drops enough for snow to be falling, you look
for a way to get warm & dry.
From Stehekin, yesterday we hiked to Rainy Pass on highway 20. When
we got there, four new friends and old thru hikers had set up a trail
magic station with shelter from the rain and plenty of food. Thank you
Toby, Brandon, Casey, & Desiree.
We greatly appreciated their kindness, and exploited them further this
morning when the Seven (today's name for the group) awoke to wet
everything, snow, and a projected high of 34 degrees. We got rides
into the town of Mazama.
When the first car left the pass, it shortly encountered a man waving
them down. He had just rolled his car in the slushy road conditions
and completely totaled the Subaru. He walked away, got passed by many
cars, but our crew of hikers and trail angels picked him up to get him
to a hospital.
Then Reid, the lucky survivor, offered us a place to stay in his new
cabin. And, not wanting to disappoint a potential head trauma victim,
we said, "ok!"
Reid drove himself to the hospital in his other car, and we lazed
slothlike, drying out all our gear and discussing options. We are very
close, but the cold, wet, high elevation days ahead may be the hardest
(but final) challenge of our trip.
Reid arrived home after 8 hours of giving strangers free rein over his
(beautiful) cabin. He is very lucky - everything is ok, but he's going
to be sore tomorrow.
We made a quick trip to the local market and cooked a feast fit for a
king tonight. Tomorrow we head back out to the mountains, with plans
for making a run for the border before it snows on us again, so we can
finally call this trip done!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
the PCT and destroyed bridges on about 10 creeks/rivers between
Skykomish and Stehekin. For several years the trail was detoured
through this section. In 2006, when a few bridges had been rebuilt,
more floods swept the progress of restoration away.
For five years, very little trail maintenance occurred and hundreds of
trees fell over onto the trail. None but the most adventurous have
seen the Glacier Peak Wilderness via the PCT for a long time.
But then 2008 came around, bridges were built, and a large log spanned
the breadth of the Suiattle river. The downed trees, known as
"blowdowns," were mostly still around, but it was the river and it's
log that everyone cared about.
Yogi, the author of a key guidebook said that scooting on her butt
across the log in 2007 was the "scariest thing she's ever done in her
life." She's hiked the Continental Divide Trail, which is five times
scarier than the PCT.
Since we entered WA, to do or not to do the original PCT has been
nearly as frequent a conversation topic as bodily functions (the #1
topic of the trail, hands down).
So it was that we left Skykomish with most of our crew and the intent
to brave the blowdowns and the log...
Before getting to the frightening stuff, we encountered: two hunters
who said they had just seen a mama grizzly with two cubs an hour
before meeting us, thousands upon thousands of vertical climbs and
descents, several black bears eating berries in the distance, the
beginning of what looked like a forest fire, the coolest sunrise of
the trip, and Rapunzel, a friend who we haven't seen since Agua Dulce,
2000 miles before.
Unfortunately, our chance meeting with Rapunzel was marred by the
returning pain in her knee which had kept her off the trail for three
weeks and which was now keeping her from finishing altogether. She
turned on the jets in Agua Dulce and was a month ahead of us by the
time she got to OR, but her stories of stopping only twice a day for
ten minutes each because of the terrible mosquitos through ALL of
Oregon, made us grateful to infinity plus one for being slow and
taking this trip at the pace we have.
But I digress. How was the log? Well, first you've got to walk through
two miles of trail that takes about 2.5 hours because of blowdowns.
These obstacles can be a single tree, several trees splayed out in odd
angles, or in a few instances, a 6 to 8 foot tall old growth behemoth.
It was an obstacle course that sapped our energy, but was actually
better than we thought it would be. It also made us appreciate
maintenance volunteers who keep the rest of the trail clear - the PCT
would be impossible without them.
At the end of the blowdowns is Vista creek without a bridge. Vista's
log crossing had all its branches sticking up and out and the trunk
was barely a foot wide. I watched Clearwater walk across without
trouble and said to myself, "ok, if he can do it, I can do it."
We both made it with only a minor pause in the middle. Only 2.4 miles
to the big one, now.
The old bridge across the Suiattle river was 50 yards long, I'd read.
The log was 8 feet off the water, I'd heard. If it was wet, it would
be twice as frightening. The forecast in Skykomish said rain on
Thursday. We arrived at the log on Thursday.
So we get there. The log is 8 feet off the water. But the sun is
shining, and the log is only 30 feet across. I hand the camera off to
Jane, and before she had time to worry about me, I just walk across.
She almost didn't get a picture.
Everyone else crossed successfully and we congratulated ourselves at
imagining something so terrifying that the real thing was easy. I was
more scared at Vista creek.
Now we're in Stehekin, which you can't get to in normal life by road,
and the steak I dreamed about was enjoyed thoroughly last night at
Lorenzo's birthday party. After dinner, he treated everyone to
birthday cake, champagne, beer, and wine in one of the hotel common
rooms, which we filled with laughter late into the night.
Rain is coming. Since we haven't seen rain for three weeks in WA, we
figure it's about time.
Presently, my parents are flying to Seattle and will make the long
trip to Stehekin tomorrow, by which time we'll be gone. Oh well, we'll
see them in Canada.
I almost forgot, for those of you unfamiliar with the Pacific
Northwest, this picture is an example of what passes for a creek up
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
one wifi signal! We're fine, feeling good, enjoying the company of
other hikers, and plotting our days to Canada. This shot is looking
back at mountains we climbed the day before. That day was as scenic
as any in the Sierra. And that's all I have time to report...sorry.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
free of freezing hands. We're about to hitch out with (from the left)
Jesse, Hoffa, Don't Panic, and MoonPie. We've been hiking with them
since Cascade Locks and having lots of fun.
We arrived at Kennedy Meadows with Hoffa (mile 702) and haven't seen
him since Mammoth (mile 900). He's hilarious! But out of everyone,
MoonPie is in charge.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
After we fueled up with the buffet and took Dangerprone and Hawkeye's
extra food, we headed out with them and MoonPie to do some big miles
before calling it a day. At the top of a brutally steep climb,
Lorenzo joined the party. The poor guy took an alternate route and
had to walk an extra 7 miles because that trail was washed out.
In spite of MoonPie's protestations, we hiked into the dark and after
much searching and discussion, finally found a large campsite for all
of us. It's fun to be in such a big group.
Friday - 22 miles
This picture was taken today on our way into town with Mt. Hood in the
background. It's dark, but you get an idea of what Jane looks like
after 6 days without a shower.
On our way into Cascade Locks, we took the Eagle Creek alternate trail
(which every thru hiker takes because it's way prettier). We passed
about 20 waterfalls along this trail including Tunnel falls - this
200+ foot fall has a dynamited tunnel behind, so you get to walk
underneath the fall. Pretty cool!
We got to town around 5:30 and immediately proceeded to the town pub
to meet up with about 15 other thru hikers.
And speaking of other hikers, we ran into So Far today! He had hitched
north and was walking south back to Sisters for a bluegrass festival.
It was really great to see him. We met him at about mile 22, and
haven't seen him since mile 720, so seeing him at mile 2,143 was a
One final note: we're excited for WA because we've already begun
enjoying wild berries. According to Lewis & Clark freshman and youth
group alum Gareth, the berries are waiting for us in WA. Thanks for
scouting the trail for us Gareth!
We are waiting for MoonPie and Hoffa to return from their visit to
Portland, then this afternoon thr four of us will walk over the Bridge
of the Gods and enter into Washington.
The Knotts family dropped us off at the trail after a quick stop at
the bakery (Sisters Bakery is amazing if you're ever in town - the
apple fritter is big enough for three people or one LandShark). They
walked us half a mile up the trail (Travis ran most of it), and we
said our goodbyes. The weather was good and while there were a few
climbs, it felt good to be back on the trail.
Around dusk we joined a camp with two section hikers. They told us
that just two weeks ago this upcoming section had 90% snow and now
it's down to 10-15%. While we are feeling a bit behind on time, this
was another reminder that we are where we are for a reason.
Shortly after our friends got in their tents, the thru-hiker
convention showed up... Lorenzo, Clearwater, Mark, and Jean joined our
party. The clouds weren't looking so friendly, so we weren't all that
surprised when it rained that night.
Monday - a whopping 11.5 miles
We woke up and it was cold and raining. We tried to keep hiking with
minimal breaks to keep warm. But it just wasn't our day. At one point
I ran my head straight into a fallen tree and fell on my butt (again).
Our new "weatherproof" gloves proved to keep our hands dry for about
an hour. We stopped quickly for lunch and I think that was our
downfall - we got too cold and were soaked, and we were quickly losing
all control of our hands. We were at a point where we were about to go
up and over a mountain 1,000 feet up - so it was either call it a day
or try to keep going and get to a lower elevation where it might be a
bit warmer. So at 2:00 we set up our tent (while our hands worked
enough to do even that) and called it a day. Good thing we carry
books! It was actually a nice, relaxing afternoon, since we were warm
in our sleeping bags.
Tuesday - 30.7 miles
Obviously we had some making up to do. Thankfully we awoke to a clear
sky. Much of our clothing was still wet from the day before, so we
were cold and it took a while to warm up. The one good thing about
stopping the day before - we actually had a view of Mt. Jefferson at
the top of the ridge - we wouldn't have seen anythin yesterday with
all the clouds. This is a picture of Steve and the mountain.
At the top of our climb we met up with Danger-prone and Hawkeye, who
we hadn't seen since Crater Lake. They were trying to make it to
Cascade Locks by Friday afternoon to pick up their box at the post
office, so we both had reasons for going big miles. We hiked with them
the rest of the day and into the night and camped at a small spring.
It was nice to have company.
Wednesday - 33.2 miles
Our biggest day yet! We awoke to a gray sky and the threat of rain. It
drizzled and misted a bit and by 11 the sun was peeking through. It
never turned into a sunny day but the chance to feel the warm sun
after the rain was appreciated. Another day of hiking into the night
and camping with Dangerprone and Hawkeye.
Thursday Morning - 2.3 miles to Timberline Lodge
We awoke with the excitement of coffee and a real breakfast right
aroud the corner. We hiked the 2.3 miles into Timberline Lodge (a year-
round ski resort) and had one of the best breakfast buffets ever.
While we were drying out gear and waiting to inherit leftover food
from Dangerprone and Hawkeye's food drop, MoonPie showed up and we all
decided to hike out together.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Six years ago this month, my best friend Tony lost his mom, Angie, to ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. She was a beautiful, smart, loving, courageous, and hilarious woman who inspired everyone who knew her.
Every September we honor Angie by participating in the Bay Area's Walk to D'Feet ALS, which helps raise funds in support of internationally driven cutting-edge ALS research and community-based patient services programs. This year Steve and I are unable to walk because of this crazy hike we're on. But as you know, we are actually walking quite a bit! Given this, we have decided to dedicate the month of September (our last month on the trail) to Angie and ALS.
As you know, we haven't made this a hike about causes or sponsorship, but because Angie touched our lives, we are asking you to support us in this last month of the PCT. We figure if everyone gave even $10, we could make a big difference in the fight against this horrible disease.
If you follow the link below, it will lead you to our personal page where you can easily donate. As you can see, we have made our goal $1,000, but we really think it would be great to to raise a dollar for every mile we will have walked by the end if this trip. Moreover, if you feel motivated, we welcome you to join the For Angie team and walk on Sept. 13 at Vasona Park in Los Gatos.
Thank you for all the support you have showed us up to this point, and for the support we know you will show in our efforts to raise money for ALS.
Support the Hike to D'Feet ALS
Join the For Angie team
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Santiam Pass. The first couple miles were hiking over lava rocks,
which wasn't so fun, but after that it was pretty smooth sailing - the
trail was pretty flat and easy.
John was impressive - it's not easy to do 17 miles when you haven't
been hiking everyday for the past 4 1/2 months.
After this, Mandy and John made another spectacular meal which was
quite delicious and filling. We are both a little sad to be leaving
such wonderful hospitality tomorrow, but I don't think we can stay
Friday, August 22, 2008
What really happened: The drive took nearly three hours. At 5,000 feet, it was still raining and it was 44 degrees at 1:30 p.m. Then, the last three miles of road to the trail was closed. I said, "John, I know we just spent all day getting up here, but can we go home with you, too?"
The section we were to hike ascended to 6,900 feet in a few miles and skirted the North and Western slopes of Mt. Jefferson; presently the site of the most on-trail snow in all of Oregon. Seeing sunshine in Sisters, I had deliberately ditched the pot and stove for lightweight hiking. Having frozen my hands the previous day, Old Steve chose caution over adventure and keeping to his schedule.
So what did we do instead? Well, we drove back to Sisters with a very patient (and sleepy) Luke and Travis (l-r, respectively), John and I rode mountain bikes through the backyard to the national forest and over to the brewery where we met the ladies and kids for dinner, and then Jane and I took another day off here today. This morning to 37 degrees in Sisters at 3,000 feet where we would have camped last night. We made the right choice. This morning we explored the town, and in the afternoon we came home to babysit so John and Mandy could go for a run.
For all you girls going into tenth grade on Monday, first of all I remember when you were going into third grade and that's terrifying. Secondly, I am a master of fun with three year-olds. Babies don't talk and we all know I can't hold 'em right. But three year-olds, I don't make cry.
John fed the kiddies, Mandy made an amazing dinner, and of course, I ate a lot. I should mention that John is similarly crazy to the LandShark in that he has lots of crazy ideas. The difference is he manages to make even more of his ideas into reality. He's presently building a 16 foot tall drop-in ramp for snowboards in winter and bikes in summer. The snowboard run will basically be a jump and a rail, but the bike run will be a third of a mile loop around their new five acre property. And he's building all this while he's a stay-at-home dad for two energetic boys! You could say he's my hero.
Tomorrow we will do the 17 miles with John and then start north on Sunday. If we can bust out 25 miles a day for six days straight, we'll get into Washington just one day behind. And then we'll get rained on more.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Shortly after leaving, we ran into Pintsize, another southbounder.
Bushwack, who told us he was the last, and therefore we told you we
had met them all, was wrong. Sorry.
The clouds were ominous, so our goal was to find a ski hut that was in
one of our books. Around 6:30 the thunder and lightening began and we
were officially rained on... big time. A little after 8 we still
hadn't found the shelter, so we set up camp. We were pretty wet but
were happy to crawl into a nice dry tent. The thunderstorms continued
throughout the night, which didn't make for the most restful of
At 5:45 am there was a flash of lightening and at the same time
thunder, very very loud thunder - Steve thinks it was less than half a
mile from us, so we figured that was as good of a wake up call as we
were going to get. Earlier, Steve had mentioned he wanted to do a 30
on this day, so we set out with that as our goal.
Luckily the rain cleared up and the sun poked through, so we had a
fairly dry day of hiking. However, when there isn't rain, you can
count on mosquitos, and they were out in force. We couldn't stop
without having them swarm our head - which I guess in the end was a
good thing since we had 30 miles to hike.
We stopped for a few small snack breaks in the morning and then a
quick lunch/dry out our stuff/get water break. At about 4:30 the
thunder and lightening returned and by 5:30 we were being rained on
again. Around 7:30 we pulled into Cliff Lake and claimed victory to
the only person there - a section hiker named Steve.
At Cliff Lake there is what one might call a "shelter" of sorts. It's
not safe for camping in anymore, and we thought it much more resembled
a manger. As if we knew what Martha was thinking, we took a picture of
Steve portraying Jesus returning to his birthplace. We figured this
was much more believable than Steve as baby Jesus.
As you may remember, we didn't get our last food supply, so the
LandShark was kinda hungry. The next day, feeling victorious from our
30 miler, and because we are now halfway through Oregon, we decided to
reward ourselves with one of the three things thru-hikers care about -
FOOD! Steve had found that just one mile off trail was the Elk Lake
Resort, so we headed there for lunch. We ordered two cheeseburgers and
french fries, and when we were done, Steve ordered another hamburger
with fries. After this we topped it off with two scoops of ice cream.
I'm going to have to start washing dishes to help subsidize our food
bill! We also got to watch more women's volleyball as they beat Italy
to advance to the semi-finals. USA! USA!
We got back to the trail and hiked 24 miles total to end at a small
lake with lots of campsites and a few other campers... and this is
where it gets ugly.
Shortly after getting in our tent, the rains starts. No thunder and
lightening, just steady rain. At some point in the night we realize
the condensation is making our sleeping bags wet, so we put Steve's
poncho over them to try to keep them dry. When we wake up in the
morning, there are puddles at both ends of the tent, everything is wet
and there is no end in sight for the rain - the whole sky is grey. We
both think, thank God we're going into Sisters today.
It takes a while to pack up since all of our stuff is wet, and when we
finally get going, we are already cold and wet, with little use of our
hands. The terrain is nothing exciting, and while we imagine this is
one if the prettier sections of Oregon, with views of the Three
Sisters mountains, we can't see a thing because of the clouds. We do
climb up a steep mountain at one point and the wind whips us and blows
us up the switchbacks. I think the rain may have turned to hail as
well. Basically, it sucked. It was cold, wet and miserable. It was one
of the few times I considered using our friend Chris' advice and
taking up the web site JaneHatesSteve.com.
At 3 pm we got to the road and tried to call our friend John who was
picking us up and letting us stay with him in Sisters, but no service.
Just when I thought we were going to have to try to hitch (who wants
to pick up two wet hikers?!), who should pull up but John! He
anticipated we might be there. We were very relieved to climb into the
warm car and head away from the rainy mountains, although it took us
quite a while to defrost our hands.
This evening we had a lovely dinner with John and Mandy, and then they
were kind enough to take us to our favorite store, REI, where we
purchased a new water filter, better gloves (aka waterproof), and got
Steve new hiking poles. Yes, again - this last pair broke as well. In
case you're not keeping track, this is number four.
Tonight we sleep in a real bed for the first night in 12 nights... yay!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
then hiked three miles to Willamette Pass, a ski resort that is only
open Friday to Sunday, where we are filling up on pizza and onion
rings and watching the Olympics, something we have both been sad to
miss out on. Go women's volleyball!!
Steve had read about this place last week and was very strategic in
getting us here on a day they are open. He's very serious when it
comes to food consumption. And good thing he is, since our box of food
didn't arrive! Luckily with the combination of our leftover food,
some of Fireman's extra food and the small store at Shelter Cove, we
should survive. However if you don't hear from us for a week, you know
where to look for our starving bodies :)
A few updates from the last few days...
- We hiked through a butterfly migration. It was the oddest thing to
watch. We were hiking up Mt. Thiesen and hundreds of butterflies were
flying up and over the trail toward the top of the mountain. When we
hiked around to the other side, they were doing the same thing - they
all appeared to be going the same place. Steve thinks they were
migrating to their death, but I prefer more positive thoughts...
perhaps a butterfly and fairy convention?
- Apparently Oregon is like Southern California - it's relatively
flat, there are long stretches without water and it is wicked hot.
Except the heat is actually humid and during the heat the grey clouds
move in, it thunders, and then it rains on you. It wasn't actually
enough rain to do any damage, but did give us the practice of putting
our rain gear on.
- We have met all four south-bound hikers. Seven started but three had
to quit. The good news is that it sounds like snow shouldn't be a
problem for us.
- Afficionados of the classic educational game "Oregon Trail" will be
interested to know we literally hiked the Oregon Trail - a section of
trail that was originally cleared by a wagon train in the 1850's.
Steve tried to ford a river and lost two oxen; I caught Cholera.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Cam, Erin, LandShark, and me during our visit at Crater Lake. They
drove all the way up here just to spend one night with us... and it
was fun. We laughed, we cried, we made them hike 4 mikes with us, we
ate lots of spaghetti with homemade sauce, and we played a rousing
game of poker with Johnny Cache and Rafiki.
It was wonderful to see them and sad to say goodbye. While we still
love our hike, seeing friends and family makes us realize how much we
look forward to coming home.
The 100 miles from Ashland to Crater Lake was somewhat uneventful. We
did enjoy big miles, big trees that provided shade, and a few scenic
views. We also met a section hiker who had to get in his tent because
of the mosquitos - he's a former marine. I didn't think they were that
One final note - I now fit in Erin's jeans. Who would have ever
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 09, 2008
hardest hitches yet), until Seamus picked us up. An AT veteran, he's
hoping to hike the trail next year. Seamus got us back to the trail at
Then we hiked 17 miles, and just before hitting hwy 66 (the exact road
our motel in town was on!), we met Jacob and Rachel who were out for a
ride on Jacob's new motorcycle (60mpg). Yes, they are bible heroes.
No, I didn't ask them about what it's like to be a bible hero (how do
you ask a guy named Jacob dating a girl named Rachel if he has three
other wives, or if this particular girl is worth 14 years of toil with
the in-laws' family business; you can't ask because no one gets bible
One thing led to another and we all ended up 1.5 miles down hwy 66 at
a restaurant and inn for dinner. They bought us very good beer and we
chatted trail, life, and an upcoming trip to Costa Rica. It was great!
Then it got cold & dark, it was time to go home, and we parted
company. But see, we have to walk. We were gonna hitch if it was still
light out...alas, no light.
Caterpillar, wise as she is, didn't want to walk on a dark mountain
highway without much of a shoulder (we already walked here). So I
asked the folks in the now closed restaraunt for help.
Turns out for 15 bucks a head, you can sleep in the yurt. Nicest yurt
you ever saw, too. Reminds us of a youth room really, which as you can
imagine, we are quite comfortable in. Genghis Khan wishes he had such
a nice yurt.
Clearly, when Jacob, father of the twelve tribes, and Rachel, mother
of Joseph of technicolor dreamcoat fame, buy you a beer, things just
end up working out.
and in 7 miles we were at 6,000 feet. Good times.
Wednesday morning we woke up ready to cross the border and looked at
the sky - it was cloudy on the Oregon side and sunny on the California
side. How appropriate.
We took this picture at the cooler of beers and sodas that were
awaiting us a few miles in, welcoming us to this great state. It was
the first time in several hundred miles that there was a clear view,
so we had to take advantage.
We got into Ashland by 11 am on Thursday and have very much enjoyed
this small and charming town. We were able to get tickets to two shows
at the Shakespeare Festival, and have been pretending we're not just
dirty, smelly hikers, but cultured, dirty, smelly hikers.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
scale, was left behind by a soon-to-be burger. Unfortunately, the
smoke obscured our views so much that this was the only thing I shot
with the iPhone in the last 5 days.
We did 100 miles from Shasta to Etna in 4 days and change. Whoever
said Northern California is easy is a dirty liar - there were some
steep climbs. Jane's blisters returned with a 26 miler, then a 27,
then a 28. She was still a good sport!
As we continue these big mile days for the rest of the trip, I suspect
our time for anecdotes of off trail wackiness may decline. About this
I'm a little sad, but we gotta push, right?
Here's what you need to know:
1. I saw a three-foot timber rattler which rattled at me and slithered
across the path in front of me. I was too thrilled to remember my
camera. After this, I fantasized about being attacked by a rattler and
imagined my hiking poles being the best defense. Basically, to come
home with a rattlesnake skin (because of self-defense) would satisfy
my desire to be savagely awesome. The whole hiking all day and wiping
with rocks isn't cutting it anymore, I guess.
2. We spooked some cows again at the very end of the section. I'm
always impressed by how fast they can move, especially on a steep
hillside. A real stampede would be terrifying.
3. There is more fire, so we're jumping up another 55 miles to Seiad
Valley, home of the oft discussed pancake challenge. Since we're not
walking into town, my appetite is not right for 5 lbs of dough. I will
have to let Blackfoot's 3.5 lbs stand as the record between friends
until another year.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
remember a short detour off I-5 to find the PCT. A little more than a
year later, we have made it back to that spot. Steve was excited.
The proof is in the picture, which was taken just for you.
Also, we want to say a big thank you to Larry and Jane for inviting us
to stay in their home even though they are not here; and their friends
Bill and Ronelle, who picked us up and will drop us off at the trail.
And FYI, UPS customer service is horrendous. A big shout out to Tony
and Laura for dealing with them all day!
up and down. We sweat a lot.
We left Burney Falls State Park around 4:30 and didn't make it as far
as Steve wanted. We tried cowboy camping again, but ended up having
Mosquitos swarm around our heads, a giant spider crawl onto our tarp
(Steve could hear his steps and that's how we knew he was there), and
heard footsteps in the trees at night. Neither of us slept well.
Steve wanted to try to hike 30 miles. We made it 24. Hung out with
Miss Potatohead throughout the day.
A marathon of a day. Literally. 26.2 miles. Had a snack at deer creek
and saw a deer. Had lunch at butcherknife creek - didn't see any
Only 22 miles to Mt. Shasta. Went down, then up, then back down.
Find the mountain! We took this picture of Mt. Shasta from the ridge.
We didn't even know it was there for 10 minutes because of the smoke.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Maybe we'll have some updates for you, but we've got a lot to do in
the next 24 hours cuz we're getting back on the trail tomorrow.
Even if we did write more, there's not much to say. All we've done is
hike and pop Advil.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
stopping at McDonald's so Steve could have a second breakfast (he
really wanted 2 sausage mcmuffins for $3.33), we stood on the side of
the road and hoped our hitching luck would continue. After about 3
minutes, who should pull up but a couple we had met while having
breakfast at JJ's. We told you only good things come from there!
They took their granddaughter to JJ's for breakfast for her birthday
(she is one of 13!!), and we started talking to them about the hike
and they told us he is the pastor of a church in Burney. So they were
driving out of town to visit a church member in the hospital when they
saw us on the side of the road and recognized us, so they pulled over.
We hiked the 7.7 miles to Burney Falls State Park, and stopped at the
general store for lunch - hot dogs, cottage cheese and fritos, ice
cold soda, and as you can see, ice cream. Are you getting tired of
pictures of us and food yet?
We're waiting out the heat and then we are on our own for food for the
rest of this stretch. No more resorts or restaurants till Mt. Shasta.
What will we do?!
a few re-sets of the alarm, we were up and moving by 5:45.
It was town day, and thoughts of showers, laundry, and cold sodas can
really get our legs moving. By 9:30 we had gone 8.5 miles so we were
thinking we could make it into town by lunch.
About 4 miles outside of town we hit a PG&E power generation station
that sits next to a river. Well, the PCT runs over their bridge and
picks up on the other side if the river. The problem - they had closed
the bridge to all traffic, including foot. We looked at the river with
plans to just walk through it, but it was 10 feet deep! We walked
around for a bit - back and forth on the dead-end road we were on and
around the PG&E building, trying to find another way across the water.
We considered just jumping over the fence blocking the bridge, but it
looked damaged in the middle and we didn't want it to collapse on us.
After much inspecting of the map, LandShark decided if we climbed over
the giant water pipe alongside the plant that feeds into the fish
hatchery close by, and then bushwack a quarter mile, we should run
into a road that would connect us to the other side of the river. Good
thing he is so good with maps! We climbed the pipe, walked through
brush and trees and sure enough found a road that lead us straight to
Even with our slight hold-up at the bridge, we made it to the highway
that leads into Burney by 1 pm. We had heard this is a hard hitch
since everyone is speeding by at 65 mph. We set up on the side of the
road with a turn-out (to make it easier for someone to pull over) and
I sat down to make a sign. As I finished the "7" for 7 miles, a car
pulled up and offered us a ride. We had a ride within 12 minutes of
getting to the freeway. This is the second time we have gotten a ride
while a sign was being made - I guess that's the trick!
Per Erik's request, we are currently at 3,110 elevation. Because of
this, it is actually quite hot most of the time. The morning we woke
up at Drakesbad, we were at 5,000 in a valley and the cold air settles
at night, so it was rather chilly. In this next stretch, we will go up
to 6,000 again but then slowly drop back down to 2,300, climb back up
to 4,600 and then drop again to 2,100 where we will cross I-5 and stay
in Mt. Shasta for a night.
like we've warped back to Southern California! Because of this, we
planned to go into town, eat two meals, hang out for the day, and then
start around 4 pm and hike into the night.
We had heard there was a good diner and a gas station convenience
store on the outskirts of town, so we bypassed the "real downtown" and
hiked 5 miles straight on to Hwy 44, where we got off and took a short
1/2 mile detour to JJ's Diner on Hwy 89.
When I heard the name, I was expecting a hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon
type place. Well nothing of the sort... this place is great!
Everything is homemade - from the biscuits and breads to the French
fries and hamburger buns. Plus they have pastries, cookies and breads
for sale. Even the hamburger patties come from locally raised beef.
We got there at 10:30 and ordered breakfast. Steve's new favorite
trail breakfast is generally called something like country benedict -
it consists of biscuits, eggs, sausage, and potatoes all covered in
gravy. This plate came out and the waitress said it's a 5 pound meal
(ridiculous!). I tried to take a picture, but the shadows were bad.
And in case you were wondering, he did eat the whole thing.
After breakfast we found some picnic benches in the shade behind the
gas station, camped out there for the day and read. For lunch we went
back to JJ's and had a wonderful lunch as well. In case you are ever
driving North on Hwy 89 toward Mt. Shasta, do yourself a favor and
stop at JJ's for a meal, or at least to pick up one of their homemade
breads or pastries. Really excellent!
We went back to the shade for a while, loaded up on all the water we
would need for our 30 mile stretch, and hit the road at 4. This
section of trail isn't all that exciting - it's fairly flat and due to
a fire in the 80's, there are not too many trees providing shade. And
even at 4, it was hot.
Not too long into our trip, we ran into cows. We've been in areas
where there might be cows but we've never actually run into them, so
this was quite exciting. Luckily these cows were easy to scare and
they would run off the trail away from us. We continued to see cows as
we would go - sometimes they would scare us as they would pop out of
the bushes and run away. Well after a while it got dark and we would
walk down the trail (trying not to trip on the rocks that were the
same color as the dirt) with Steve yelling "COWS" every once in a
while so they would know we were coming. Since it was dark, we were
waking them up as we walked by, but all we could see of them with our
lights was their glowing eyes from the bushes as they would walk a few
steps and then look at us. It was kind of creepy to just see floating
eyes but no body. After a while we scared another animal - we could
tell it wasn't cows because their eyes were smaller and closer
together, but again we couldn't see the bodies. There were 3 of them
just standing there looking at us, and when it's pitch black, it kind
of gives you the heeby-jeebies. We decided they were deer, not coyotes
or werewolves and kept going. We made it 17 miles from the hwy and
cowboy camped (no tent) at 11 pm. I always think that night hiking is
a good idea because of the nice cool weather, but I forget I'm a
Friday, July 25, 2008
for breakfast. Here is LandShark, Accent (she's from Quebec), and
RidgeWalker at our table; Mr. Clean and Rafiki also joined us later.
Breakfast was just as good, with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and then a
whole buffet of breads, bagels, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, and lots of
fresh fruit. We ate to our hearts content.
At 9:30 we hit the trail, with plans to come within a few miles of Old
Station, so we could eat at JJ's Diner tomorrow. At this point you
might be starting to see why this could be the best section ever :)
The trail itself is getting easier as we go, with milder climbs and
longer flat stretches. Basically it was a day of 22 uneventful miles
At 8:00, we set up camp on several inches of pine needles and said
was hot, fairly exposed, had little water, and was super dirty (dry,
loose dirt that floats up everytime you take a step). But could it
still be the best section ever? It's possible.
We said goodbye to Babs and Harry and started hiking around 10:30 am.
We had heard about Drakesbad, a resort in Lassen National Park, and
wanted to make it the 18 miles in order to get there for dinner. Well,
we had heard good things, but we had no idea. This place is wonderful.
We hauled all day, took a short lunch and arrived at 5:55. Perfect
timing, since dinner started at 6:00 (they have seating times for
breakfast, lunch and dinner). But as soon as we arrived, the owners
asked us if we had laundry to do or if we would like to take a shower
- FOR FREE! We had just done laundry and it had only been one day
since a shower. Even after 18 miles, we weren't feeling we really
needed a shower (you can tell how dirty we are when we get into town
and actually do need a shower). But we soon asked ourselves, why would
you turn down a free shower?!?
We had a great dinner of salad, bread, shrimp, eggplant parmesan (we
shared the entrées), polenta, and the most wonderful fresh berry
pastry with whipped cream. The best part - hikers eat for half off, so
all this was only $10.
After dinner we went to take showers and then soaked our feet in the
hot spring swimming pool. Oh, I didn't mention the hot spring pool?
Yeah, it was awesome. Here you can see Steve relaxing by the pool.
Maybe you can see the steam coming off of it if you look close enough.
It was a heavenly evening to say the least. If only every day of
hiking could end like this!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
time with them last night. They kept us in stitches the whole time,
and shared some great stories about Cam. :) We thoroughly appreciate
their kind hospitality... and we already miss Duffy, their spazzy Shih
Monday, July 21, 2008
If you haven't heard, California is on fire. And while hikers are
quite spectacular, we still cannot hike through fire. So we are
jumping from Sierra City to Chester.
Just so you don't miss anything, here's an update of the past few
On Saturday, Tony and Laura treated us to brunch before dropping us
off at the trail at 3:30. We were sad to say goodbye, but also a bit
anxious to start cranking out some miles after so much time off with
friends and family. We were able to get 12 miles done by 8 pm and
camped on a saddle with Germanator (a fun-loving, hilarious guy from
The next day we did 23 miles and camped with several other PCT'ers at
a car-camping campsite just outside of Sierra City. Here we met, among
others, Chuck Norris (striking resemblance) and Tigger, a lovely
couple from Florida who took some time off the trail to chauffeur
hikers around the fire. They pile hikers into the back of their seat-
less minivan (as many as 8 hikers with backpacks at a time) and drive
them from the trail to town. They are true angels!
This morning 13 of us went into town for breakfast. Then Accent,
Ridgewalker, and the two if us got a ride to Quincey from Angie, who
was visiting her mom in Sierra City, waiting for her friend, Ricola,
to get in. She was lovely.
After a trip to Safeway for a re-supply, tacos at Taco Bell, and ice
cream at Rite Aid, we boarded the bus to Chester, where we will be
hosted by Cammy's grandparents, who have a cabin up there. We are
surrounded by love.
Here you can see the two of us in the bus, as well as Don't Panic
behind us. There are 9 hikers on this bus and I feel bad for the
regulars - it smells... just a little bit :)
Friday, July 18, 2008
Today, we have done virtually nothing except write a whole bunch of blog posts, have a water heater repairman show Tony and I up, and lose a small amount of money at the craps table.
The soon-to-be restaurant owner, Tony, will be cooking us dinner tonight. Yay!
For David's birthday, and everyone else's edification, here are a few pictures we're really proud of...
Perhaps the most fun we had all day however was when raiding the closet of Tony's family's cabin. Who knew 30 year-olds could still have fun playing dress up! Tony's family has owned this place for 30+ years and while the decor hasn't changed since they bought the place, you can tell by the pictures that the closets contain clothing far ahead of today's short-sighted designers. We shot this picture for Boggle's new box design.
It is such fun to get to hang out with our good friends and we will be very sad to say goodbye to them tomorrow when we get back on the trail. After this rest, we won't be taking many more zeros for the remainder of the trip. We still have more than half the trail to hike and less than half of the time to hike it. Kicking it up several notches is now a requirement.