Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Just a few details about the week that followed our "Big Finish" at the Canadian border! We took the Greyhound to Vancouver the next day (about 210 miles to the West) and stayed at a "backpacker's hostel" nearby (scary!!). We said good-bye to Slider. Thrust, Neighbor and I then took a ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island where we stayed in Victoria for 2 nights. Then we said good-bye to Thrust and we took a different ferry to Seattle, WA for 2 nights. Seattle was wonderful! We went to Pike St. Market and were in awe of all the fresh fruit (great peaches and apples), fish and flowers the market had to offer! We went to the REI headquarters and ran into Antfarm and Swiffer! We went to The North Face and saw our friend Numtum from the AT in 2005! Then on Sunday, we were leaving the hotel to go to the airport and were walking down the street when we saw Chief and Sarong walking up the street to meet us! What a great way to end the trip, seeing Chief again! We hung out with them for a few hours and then took a bus to the airport hotel. Flew home on Monday, saw the most amazing full moon setting with the sun rising by Mt. Rainier as we took off and then saw the Northern Cascades in Washington that we had walked right by, it was awesome! Landed in Manchester to see our families and HikerEd were there to greet us home, how great was that! Thank you everyone for the support we received while out on the trail, it's great to be home and see everyone, what a great trip it was! :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So excited! Up and hiking by 6:15 (we slept in a little on our last morning) The miles came fast and easy, it was COLD, I mean there was frost on the plants on the side of the trail! Our feet were wet in no time from brushing the plants as we walked. Neighbor and I saw the border swath just ahead of us and knew we were soo very close! Then we saw part of the monument through the trees and we were there! 0840am, we were standing at the border swath and end of the PCT, the end of our long walk. We took a few pictures then Slider and Thrust came along and we took more pictures and signed the register and hung out for 40 min or so, but it was too cold to stay any longer, so we started our 7 mile hike to Manning Park which couldn't come fast enough (for me). I wanted DONE (Neighbor says that he wanted to yo-yo...) We got to the pavement a few hours later and walked the 1 mile to Manning Park resort and got a room for the night. Washed our clothes and enjoyed the hot tub. I started feeling just awful and realized that I had caught some kind of stomach bug (bad food or bad water somewhere) but thank goodness we were in town and done, so I could rest!!! What a day to remember!!
Chilly morning, had the mittens on. Sunrise reflection on the big peaks around us and we could see Mt. Baker off to the West. More amazing views on this eastern side of the Cascades where the air is drier (and the weather is nicer!!) We hiked over the highpoint in WA of 7100 feet and we could SEE Canada!!! Amazing views (which I'll attatch pictures to soon) We took picture after picture this day, in all directions, just beautiful! So glad we had nice weather on this last week of hiking. Camped by Hopkins Lake for the night a mere 6.8 miles from the END of the PCT!! What a beautiful spot for our last night on the trail (camped with Slider and Thrust)
No mice! Pretty big climb out of Rainy Pass, but it was easy walking as usual, this is where the amazing views on this stretch started, what beauty all around. We just meandered along the mountainside for endless miles today taking in the views. Ended up hiking close to 30 miles by the days end and camped at Harts Pass (at a small campground) It was downright cold out this night and we were at 6200 feet. Only 30 miles left to the border from where we camped!
Warm night sleeping with lots of active mice around, beautiful stars and first night in a VERY long time without the rainfly on! Up at 6am and had one last breakfast at the Landing, then caught the 8am bus back to the trail (with a quick bakery stop on the way!!) On the homestretch, 89 miles to go! Pretty easy hiking, we camped at Rainy Pass (Route 20) basically at the picnic area after a 19-20 mile day out of Stehekin. Lots of Canadian Jays around just waiting to steal any food you might drop.
Got to sleep in and it felt great! Packed up and were out of the room by 1030, decided that we liked Stehekin so much that we'd spend another day here! (but would camp for free instead of spending more money on a room) So, we moved down the street to the Purple Point campground where the free camping was and set up shop. I jumped a ride to the bakery with one of the same ladies as the day before and saw Flippy, Swiffer, Antfarm and the 3 guys from Washington there. I got one of the bakery's famous cinnamon rolls (they are huge!) and took the bus back, basically hung around and relaxed the rest of the day away. Neighbor got an e-mail from Chief that he was leaving Skykomish today (so he's only 4 days behind us!!) We might get to see him again afterall!
Had a great night's sleep, went to the Landing for breakfast (amazing food there) I had pancakes with berries and cream on top! Neighbor had the French toast, yummy! Then we finally hit the showers and did some laundry (though I think our laundry may have been cleaner when it went in the washing machine than when it came out) We got a room at the Landing Resort for the night and were able to enjoy a real bed for the night. The PO opened at 10am and we picked up our many packages! Almost missed one from Yappy (because she addressed it to "Neighbor and Chickety" :) ) Gram and Papa mailed some homemade cookies! Letters from Chels, Grammy Peg and Mom (with $$ in it that we put towards are night's stay!!) Thanks!! Then we caught a ride to the bakery with a couple of nice ladies and had a great lunch there. Managed to get a ride back to "town" (the bakery is almost 2 miles up the road) and bought a few postcards, hung out on the deck and filled them out while taking in the beautiful day. Our buddy MJ bought us a gift certificate for the Landing Restaurant (where the food is amazing) and we had a great dinner on him and even split a bottle of wine :) Thank you MJ!!!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Slept like a rock. We were hiking by 6am, more uphill, but by the end of the day today, we'd be in Stehekin, so were were energized and ready to go! I was feeling great and motored right up Suiattle Pass. It was a cold morning, plants were covered in frost and we were in hats and gloves, brrrr, it feels like September in Washington state, that is for sure! Once we were at the top of the pass, it was basically all downhill the whole afternoon! Beautiful blue sky today, this is the type of weather we were looking for! Nice! Lunch break by Hemlock Camp and only 12 more miles to the road to town! By 5pm, we were at the ranger's station waiting for the busride to town! We loaded up at 6:15 and enjoyed the ride! Camped out for free on the outskirts of town after a great dinner at the Landing, what a day, and boy are we happy to be here!!!
In the middle of the night, I felt something "land" on my feet.....ahhhhh, MOUSE! Headlamps were on and stuff was flying, luckily it had escaped...through the same HOLE that it chewed right through the side of the tent. Great! We taped up the mouse hole and went back to sleep, but it was tough to sleep thinking the little guy would break in again. It rained on and off during the night. Morning came early and we were hiking by 0550, lots of ups and downs today, like 2,000 foot climb up and then 2,000 foot climb down! We hiked down to Kennedy Creek where there was a bridge over the creek (a broken in half one, but a bridge!) Then we climbed up to this beautiful glacial bowl with Mica Lake, then down some switchbacks that were half washed away and down to Milk Creek (which I forded and Neighbor found a couple logs to cross on) Before that creek we walked through lots of overgrown trail sections with steep drop-offs on the side (like scary drop-offs!!) Then we climbed back up to a ridge and had lunch and the sun came out, so we pulled some gear out to let it dry out a bit. Then we followed a ridge through a huge bowl for miles through grassy meadows and boulder strewn river beds, amazing how the scenery changes so quickly! Then we went back downhill towards the Suiattle river, but first walked through a few miles of HUGE, (I mean massive) downed trees, some were so big it was easier to just bushwack around the whole darn thing! All the guys ripped their rainpants climbing over and under trees today. (today was a looooong fun filled day) Then we finally came to the Suiattle (the river that EVERYONE talks about for miles and weeks before you even get to it!!) The floods of 2003 completely washed out the river, but there is one big tree for you to cross the river on. The guys (Thrust, Slider and Neighbor) walked over this log, I scooted across, there was no way I could have walked this log and not fallen off. I'll attatch a picture! By the time we got to the other side, it was 6:30pm and we were all exhausted and just camped right there on the banks. Good-night!!!!
It didn't rain last night! How great it was to wake up and not have a wet tent! Hiking by 6am, we saw a patch of blue sky and there was hope! Then it started to snow (yes, snow!) Hiked up to Red Pass in fog, windy, chilly, spitting snow type of weather. We entered Glacier Peak Wilderness area and you could tell it was a beautiful area, even if you couldn't see all that far. This area was hit hard by storms back in 2003 and the trail is still under construction, new bridges are being put in and blowdowns are being removed slowly, but it's hard work for the crew. We saw one of the old bridges that was swept away in the rainstorm of 2003 stuck right in the middle of the river (see picture above) Some of these crossings would be insane without the bridges, Thanks trailcrew!! Around 3pm, we realized that we were about to climb up 2,000 feet and it was already hailing down low where we were, so we decided to camp right there instead of hiking uphill into the snow and freezing for the night. It was a good decision, we even started a small campfire and dried off some gear!
Woke up around 7am and decided to make a go for it! Eric D was driving up to the pass, so he gave us a ride back to the trail and we were hiking by 9am! We said good-bye to JZ, JB and Boomer earlier and off we went. Easy hiking to start, overcast, but not a bad day, took a lunch break at noon by Lake Janus and it started to sprinkle a bit. More uphill hiking after lunch with rain showers on and off all afternoon, we even had freezing rain once too! Brrrr! Ended up hiking close to 25 miles this day and camped with Dave, Andy and Ryan (3 guys out hiking north to the border) Hi guys!! Peeled off our wet shoes and socks after dinner of Mac n' cheese/tuna and called it a day.
Friday, August 29, 2008
No hiking for us today, it was an errand day! After trying to hitch a ride to Goldbar and realizing that all the traffic was going in the other direction, we went to the deli and grabbed some breakfast. Then decided to buy our supplies for the next stretch out of the deli and the Chevron station (for a pricey amount of cash) Then Mike came into the deli and noticed that we were hikers and asked if we wanted a ride to Goldbar........well, sure! His wife Maurisa was going there to go shopping and was more than happy to have the company! We picked up a few more items to add to our already heavy foodbags and some goodies to munch on for the rest of the day. Maurisa ran a couple errands while we shopped, then came back with Boston Creme Eclairs for the both of us from a nearby bakery! Oh, how I love bakery food! (I have to get my share of bakery products in now while we are still hiking 25 miles per day!!) Thank you Mike and Maurisa! We are back at the Dinsmore's right now, updating this blog, relaxing and still letting things (like our shoes) dry out. We bought our flight home! September 15th is the date! Very excited to have those purchased! We have a couple "bumper days" in there, just in case the weather gets bad/worse and this way we'll be able to take a day off and not HAVE to push on through a snowstorm or something crazy like that! We have decided to come back some other time to hike the 233 miles of trail that we missed in California due to fires. Enough is enough and we are ready to go home! I miss wearing cotton clothes and cute shoes! :) Still trying to decide if we are heading out in the morning or taking another day off (snow in the forecast for tomorrow....) We'll see.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Well, I left some trail mix in my snack pocket last night and now there is one very fat mouse somewhere out there in the Washington woods! Packed up and hiking by 0545 by headlamp. Drizzling and cold again. Yuck. Our feet were wet within minutes, which isn't always that bad, we could stomp right through the mud puddles and didn't have to worry one bit about the water! Crossed a couple creeks, climbed a few hills, walked past quite a few large boulder fields, really foggy and I never took my camera out of my backpack all day long. 26 miles to Steven's Pass where we hitched into Skykomish. 6 of us (JB, Slider, Thrust, Neighbor, Travis and I) all fit into a nice man's pickup truck. Travis is a hiker we just met recently and he also hiked the AT in 2005! It was fun to talk to him and find out that we knew some of the same people from the trail! Small hiking world out there! So, we got dropped of in Skykomish (a very small town) and quickly found the Cafe for dinner where they were having a steak special! Sign us up!!! After dinner, we went to the Dinsmore's (a nice couple that lets hikers stay with them) and picked up our MANY packages!!! Yeah! Postcards from Stinky and Gram and Papa. Letter from Chels and Grammy Peg. Packages from Kate and Libby, Numtum, Mom and Dad, and Neighbor's Dad! Thank you guys! Neighbor's dad mailed us our passports and our Canada entry papers! We are sooo ready for the border!! Just showered and now we are heading to bed! Tomorrow we will find a store to buy food for the next stretch to Stehekin! The end is near!
Well, it started raining around 1030pm....and it never stopped. Packed up the tent in the morning and tried to keep it from getting too muddy. Started hiking by 0645 and my shoes were wet by 0647. Uphill climb in the cold, wet, drizzling, windy weather. Saw a rainbow! While back in Snoqualmie, we sprayed our rainpack covers with silicone spray because they were not one bit waterproof, today tested the new spray job.......and it worked like a charm! We tried to stop and dry gear out once, but it started raining again, so that idea went out the window. Foggy, not much for views, made it to Deep Lake and climbed up a big hill (lots of climbs in this section) Around 5:30, we came to 2 guys camping with a fire....and we decided to stay there with them for the night! Nice warm fire....couldn't pass that up! It was around 25 miles for the day and that was enough in this weather. Cold wet feet, gotta love it!
Up early and enjoyed one last breakfast at the restaraunt before heading back to the trail. Had a 2,000 foot climb, but it wasn't bad at all. Chilly out, had my gloves on, blue sky and more and more views the higher we climbed into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Quite a few people out and about on the trails. Neighbor came around the corner and startled a mountain goat! We got a few good pictures of the little guy before we moved on, nice walking, great views, feels good to be out of the fog and enjoying our surroundings. At one point a jet airplane came right up out of the valley heading right towards us before veering upwards and flying right over our heads! What a cool sight. Big granite jagged peaks above and blue lakes below, what a beautiful area. Hiked 22.5 miles down to Lemah Creek and camped nearby with JB, Slider, Flippy and Thrust for the night.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Up and about at 0530, eating breakfast by 0630........noticing the cold, fog and drizzle by 0730.....decided to take the day off around 0830! The next stretch is supposed to be just beautiful and we already missed part of Goat Rocks Wilderness due to fog, we don't want to miss much more (because we don't have much trail left!!) So, we mailed some maps that we've used home and a few other papers once the PO opened at 10am. Had a lazy day of hanging around, went on to Southwest.com and started to price the airfare home (doesn't look to be that expensive!!) Basically, rested (which is what we are supposed to do on a REST day!!) Here is the one picture I took from today......a rainbow from our room window!!! Hope the sky clears for tomorrow morning, we are hiking northward!!!!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We were up at some ridiculous hour and hiking by 0530 by headlamp. Another amazing sunrise and only 17 miles to Snoqualmie Pass. Easy terrain, lots of friendly folks out on the trail by Mirror Lake. Got to the Pass around 12 and it started raining by 1pm.....phew! We are here now, getting stuff together for the next stretch to Skykomish (75 miles which will take us about 3 days!!) We are starting to count the days down now.......it's only a matter of miles and walking them. 255 miles to CANADA!
Packed up early and started hiking by headlamp at 0545, as we climbed the sun came up and we got to experience another Washington sunrise! The sky is just beautiful in the morning, and we climbed higher and saw Mt. Rainier back to the south and the pink sunlight reflection was just spectacular!
More easy walking, but then quite a few ups and downs, but it was an enjoyable day. We made it to Tacoma Pass for lunch and then we found out that we were in the middle of the "Cascade Crest 100" (a 100 mile trail race!) (Stinky....you should have crewed this race!!) What fun! The people at the road were great, so friendly and interested in what we were up to! We chatted with them for 45 minutes and then hiked on passing an aid station along the trail and they gave us hummus and cucumber sandwiches! Then to Stampede Pass where when we got to the road, everyone cheered for us! Ha ha! And then, remember the trail runner from yesterday (Jeff and his wife Julie) well, they were there and they brought beer! Too funny and normally I wouldn't drink beer while hiking, but we were only going another 2 miles and I was thirsty......so beer it was! Oh, and brownies that Julie had made.....yummmm! We hung out there for the longest time, cheering on the runners. It was a great day. The runners and the energy of the crew was great, it made me want to ditch my pack and run with them! I actually found myself almost jogging at one point! It made today's 30.2 miles just fly by! Everytime a runner would come, we'd jump off the side of the trail and let them go by and cheer for them.
Brrr, what a chilly night it was. In the morning, we put on our wet shoes and our clammy rain pants and saw the most beautiful sunrise! (things were looking up already) The sky was blanketed with clouds and the sun's reflection was purple, then pink, then reddish orange in the sky! Amazing! Hiked downhill to Dewey lake, then climbed up and saw Mt. Rainier, huge and covered in snow (as it always is.......but it just stood out so much!) Down to Chinook Pass where we took a short break (because there were toilets and trash cans!!) Then we climbed up on the other side of the pass, ever so gently and saw 3 mountain goats! The hiking was easy as we contoured the side of the ridge, miles and miles of easy walking! I love the PCT again! Amazing how the weather really effects your attitude and mindset! Climbed up to the top of a peak and WOW, Mt. Rainier, right there in our faces! We took a lunch break and met 2 trail runners who took our pictures and said that they would be on the PCT the next day and would meet us at the road with beer! (yeah, right we thought) What a great day though! We hiked 28 miles to Camp Urich (an actual cabin on the PCT!!) where there were a bunch of Friday night horse trail ridders (so Neighbor and I tented outside) Great day!
Woke up to rain........but you can't take every rainy day off, so we started hiking around 7am. Yuck, what a terrible day, it was one of the only days that I really could have just gone HOME! It was cold and wet and just
plain awful. The only picture I took all day long was of Neighbor as we were leaving White's Pass walking back to the trail. Then the camera went into a ziploc bag and didn't come out all day long. We hiked 25.3 miles with minimal breaks and minimal views. Neighbor didn't seem to think this day was all that bad.........but I still think it stunk! Walked past a few ponds and crossed a few creeks and swatted a few mosquitos and that was about it.
Well, we woke up to just as much fog as went we had gone to sleep.......oh well. We started walking around 6am and tried to keep the 6 of us together as much as possible, so we wouldn't get lost in the fog! We climbed over snowfields and loose gravel and over what is called a Knife's Edge (though it isn't anything like Katahdin's Knife Edge) Thrust took a slide off the trail and down a snow patch, Boomer helped him back onto the trail, yikes! It would have been a wild ride in slippery rain pants! A ton of rocks came loose and went tumbling down the hill in front of Neighbor. This was a cold, wet, foggy day and I was happy to have my mittens on. We had about 19 miles to go to get into White Pass (where we'd stay for the night in a warm room!!) Lots of switchbacks down to the highway, but we were there by 2pm, got a room and called it a day.
It rained on us last night! Thunder and lightening, but it had stopped by morning, so we got to pack up when it wasn't raining! (which is always nice) We are officially in Goat Rocks Wilderness (supposed to be a beautiful section of trail). Walked along and realized that all the rain on the bushes was actually soaking us as we walked by, our shoes were wet in no time, yuck! Still cloudy out and it started to drizzle, not bad, but just enough to get the mosquitos going, so on went the bug spray and headnet, then it started to rain, yep, rain! So, we put on the rain jacket and pants and kept walking, atleast the rain kept the bugs away! We haven't had all that much rain on this trip, so it was actually fun (for a little while) and I said, "I'd rather have rain all day long over mosquitos" :) We started coming out of the trees and into the wide open beautiful terrain of Goat Rocks and the rain stopped! Beautiful views, the valley below filled with giant pine trees, craggy, rocky peaks above us, green grass and wildflowers everywhere! I took tons of pictures! The fog and clouds rolled back in around 5pm and it was pretty chilly with the wind, so we decided to just camp instead of climbing any higher and push our luck. Slider and Flippy went on, ended up on a different trail and just as they were checking the map, heard some guy calling for help!!! The found a guy who was in the begining stages of hypothermia and brought him back to his family! Then they ended up coming back about 2 miles to where we were camped and stayed the night near us, it would be safer for us to go over that terrain together in the morning when the fog hopefully clears and you can see something!
Up around 5:30 and we did a quick breakfast in town before we hit the trail. Tripod dropped us off at the trail at 8am and away we walked. Couple of sprinkles here and there, mosquitos here and there too, a great view of Mt. Rainier in the distance. Lots of purple lupine and some Gray jays!! (they are almost as friendly as back home) Walked past Mt. Adam's and saw Mt. Adam's glacier and we heard rocks falling from the peak (and saw the dust cloud) Crossed a couple of glacial creeks, the water is really milky and you can't see through it, but all the crossings were on downed trees, so we didn't have to actually get in the yucky water! Camped at Lava Spring, an amazing COLD spring, this water was so cold, we couldn't even keep our feet in it for 30 seconds! Stopped hiking a 4:20 for the day after 20 miles, it felt good to have an easy day! Some clouds in the sky. Mt. Adam's glacier photo attatched.
We got to sleep in! 7am felt great! Hoped a ride to town (Tripod and Dawn let us use their truck and Thrust is a great driver) and grabbed some Huckleberry pancakes for breakfast. Then had to check out the Saturday Farmer's market and had a nice homeade cinnamon roll! Hung around and relaxed most of the day, really hot, like 100 degrees of HOT. A good day to take off from sweating uphill with the backpacks on! Later on in the day, Slider, Thrust, (Thrust's b-day), Neighbor and I all went downtown for Huckleberry shakes! Yummmm! Huckleberries are in season and in everything! Tripod's 40th b-day party was fun, and the barbeque was up and running! It was a great stay at their camp, lots of ice cream for desert, what a day!! We managed to get our calories back up to par and are ready to hike in the morning! Picture of their "camp" attatched!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Up at 5am, hiking by 0530, mosquitos were up before us! Ahhhhh! Started hiking in long pants and long sleeves, but it was sooo hot out, eventually we had to switch to the short sleeves and DEET! Found a nice breezy spot to take a break at, then the bugs seemed to fade away and the breeze stayed with us for the rest of the day. Made it to Road 23 by 3:15 and tried to hitch into town, but in the end just waited for Tripod at 4:30 to squeeze 10 of us (plus him =11) into a pickup truck! I'm sure in a different state, we were breaking tons of rules, but it was a short 15 mile downhill drive to his camp and that was it! Tented in the yard, ate spaghetti for dinner and taking tomorrow of to rest after hiking 83 miles in 2 and a half days!
Up around 5am, hiking by 0550 walked through a field before starting the climb for the day. Lots of uphill, hot and the mosquitos are back! Took a break by a dirt road and found a cooler with sodas in it on the other side! Yes!! Walked past a few swampy ponds and had to pull out the headnets! Eeeeek, more mosquitos! Camped by Blue Lake for the night, buggy as all heck, managed to hike 29 miles this day and all we'll have to do is 24 tomorrow and we'll meet Tripod by the road and go into Trout Lake and camp at his place!!