- April 2012 (10)
- April 2013 (2)
- August 2011 (9)
- August 2012 (4)
- December 2011 (4)
- February 2012 (4)
- February 2013 (1)
- Gear (10)
- Gowns & Alterations – kinda stuff (16)
- January 2012 (4)
- January 2013 (6)
- July 2011 (2)
- July 2012 (6)
- June 2011 (4)
- June 2012 (9)
- March 2012 (1)
- March 2013 (4)
- May 2011 (1)
- May 2012 (16)
- May 2013 (3)
- November 2011 (5)
- October 2011 (4)
- Photography & Art – kinda stuff (2)
- September 2012 (1)
- Training & Hiking – kinda stuff (8)
- Uncategorized (55)
- What's goin' on in my life-kinda stuff (16)
- You might wanna read this – kinda stuff (10)
Hiking26 on Twitter
Category Archives: August 2012
After my last post about not being able to slow down, I set a goal of 25 miles a day. I did pretty good at sticking to that, I took time to relax a bit more, but oddly, I seemed to be in a very bad mood as well. Going slower didn’t seem fun, and the people around me weren’t much fun either. If you’re one of them, have no fear, it’s not you… it’s me. Moving north around volcanoes … so many of them, the 3 Sisters, Broken Top, Bachelor, Mt. Jefferson, and now, at the south end of Mt. Hood, I’m in awe by their mass and power. Lava fields spread far and wide remind us of the fluid fury an eruption could cause, and at least I – try to use their size to remind me that my problems in life are small. Walking on lava is no piece of cake though. It sucks, actually. I can’t use my trekking poles in fear of tearing them up, every step requires me to look straight down – you don’t want to trip here. it’ll HURT ! The engineering behind these trails amazes me though, I can’t imagine how much time and effort was put into navigating us over lava beds. I had the great pleasure of encountering Trail Magic twice in one week. Trail Magic is hard to find as you hike north. Pocahontas and Legasaurous set up camp for a week, offered cots to sleep on, plenty of food and sweets, and soda …. the best kind of soda on the trail – One served over ice. Fire north of Mt. Jefferson took us on what would have been a 21 mile detour around 7 or so miles of PCT trail, but my friend FunHog from Portland and White Jeep, who is shadowing his wife up the PCT, were out there on the detour to give us encouragement, goodies, snacks, fun, laughs, and yes…. rides down the difficult and often dangerous road walk. The miles to get off the PCT and back to the PCT were greater than that missed on the PCT, so we didn’t have to feel like we were skipping when accepting rides down the road.
I had dinner with a friend and fan this week, he bought the point and shoot camera I carry with me, and was a great contributor to hiking26. He saw I needed a new tent, so he ponied up for a new one, and I owe him a debt of gratitude. I can head out confidently with a new tent (after much deliberation, i broke down and bought the same tent I had), knowing all of the patches on my tent won’t leave me wet, cold and miserable in the northern reaches of the state.
Ahead lies some incredible territory, that of my home state. I don’t know what to expect of Southern Washington, but I know the North Cascades are stunning. Just two weeks from now I should be at Snoqualmie Pass, where last year I encountered a group of Thru-hikers that gave me all of the encouragement needed to do it myself this year. North from there is AMAZING ! It looks like my good friend Rory will be accompanying me on the 75 mile stretch from Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass, and north of there, I’ll venture off alone again, with what will seem like just days and miles left …
How beautiful this has been, and how sad it will be to wrap it all up. But there are other long distance hikes to hike…. there’s a ‘new’ life for me to explore post hike…. It’s scary and exciting.
It sounds so simple… Less than 600 miles lie between me and the border. But there are still mountains to climb, and these often come with rain or snow. I”m not worried about it, but definitely keeping an open mind about what lies ahead. I write this from Portland where I took a few days off to spend with close friends, but ended up turning it into a recovery period for my shoulder which has been strained for two weeks. I’m assuming it’s from compensation, my left pack strap has been broken for weeks, and unable to adjust it, I often found myself walking with my left shoulder lifted higher, before I would realize I needed to loosen the right strap. Are you confused? I think I am too, now. I was able to get in to a local Acupuncture clinic which seems to have done the trick, but a few extra days of letting the shoulder heal was in order before throwing 50 lbs back on my shoulder.
I admittedly could sit here in Portland for a few more days. I’m not ready for this hike to end. It’s going to end short of the 26 week plan, so I’ll beg forgiveness if it does. There’s a danger in prolonging it into October though, snow could put an ugly end to a very long journey, so I’m shooting for the end of September.
Today I sent my old job, which I was technically on a leave of absence from, an email to see if they’re interested in having me back. This, I hope, takes some of the pressure of my post-hike decisions off my mind. If they don’t have work for me, then I’m pretty sure the decision has been made that I’ll be leaving my cute little town of Newport, and moving to Portland. I have many wonderful friends here (just as I do in Newport), but here I can take the next steps necessary for my future. I’ve comfortably let my life sit somewhat stagnant in Northeastern Washington, but this entire process with hiking26 has pushed me to the point that I want to conquer my fear of being an artist or photographer. I have never really considered myself either, but I’m close enough now that I want to move forward, and pursue my dreams further.
So once again, just as in the beginning of the hike, I’m back to conquering mountains, both emotional, mental, and physical. The nice thing though, is even if I settle back into the life I had before, I’ll have the most wonderful experience behind me, and know that I have the power to experience SO much more.
A little note about this post. Recently, some discussion among hikers has helped me realize I’m not alone in the mental battles that arise on the trail. But as I wrote this, I bounced back and forth between ‘I’ and ‘we’ — I don’t want to speak for all hikers, but I’m pretty sure what I’m dealing with, is common out here.
Oh how things have changed on the trail. For me, and talking with others, for many. During the first half of the hike, I tended to stick with others, the ‘Chrome Dome Crew’, Chief and Cookie, No Amp/Memphis/Alex & Coop…. but slowly these bonds grew apart, and I find many of us are walking alone. I assume this is due to our increased confidence level after hiking so many miles, but I’m sure we each have our own reasons.
The problem I find with this, personally, is alone, I have no internal governor to stop me from pushing, pushing, pushing…. What else is there? We wake up, we hike, we eat, we stop for the night and sleep. SO, I make big plans, and shoot for miles. Stopping to enjoy a particularly amazing view is enjoyable, but short lived. Without anyone else to share it with, it’s lonely. I think many of us want a witness to confirm the beauty we see, otherwise it’s just another nice vista.
On the other hand, once we find someone to hike with, who keeps a good pace, and is enjoyable to talk to, we find ourselves wishing we were alone, able to go our own pace, stop when we want to. This is silly. When I’m alone I rarely stop and eat on the fly. It’s a mind game we often play with ourselves, but in the end, the truly rewarding experiences are those shared with others.
From Ashland OR, I set a short goal to reach Crater Lake. This push was insane, and I ended up hiking very angry at my decision. The simple thing to do would have been to just slow down and change my plans. I wanted to be to the Post Office by 2 p.m. on Saturday Aug 4. If I didn’t, I would have ‘had’ to wait for the post office to open on Monday and would have been ‘stuck’ at Crater Lake on Sunday. I had a friend coming to hang out with me, and Crater Lake was AMAZING, so why I couldn’t turn off that need to push, I don’t know… I ended up worn down and put myself in a position where stress fractures or injury could occur. It wasn’t worth it for that brief moment of accomplishment when I set foot on pavement at 2 p.m. on the dot. The last mile I hiked 4 m.p.h. after not eating much all morning. What the hell? 87 Miles in just over 48 hours. Stupid.
So I made a pact with myself to slow down. I met Katherine, a wonderful Seattle section hiker with a GREAT pace as she squeezed 300 miles into a 12 day time span. She was great company and full of thoughtful, intelligent questions to keep the days interesting. Add in ‘Banana Pants’, a 36 year old Austrian man full of sarcasm and smart-ass, and my hike to Elk Lake (where I exited for my Sisters, OR resupply (which isn’t yet here =-/ )) was fun and enjoyable. Once back on the trail though, the battle will likely begin to keep myself at a steady pace. What’s the rush… I’m ahead.
It seems like I don’t have any gear that’s actually made it all the way up the PCT, but overall getting gear replaced has been a breeze. I’m still carrying my Exped Synmat UL7 (inflatable air mat) but I rarely use it, it seems stupid to carry the weight, I get such a good nights sleep when I use it, but getting moving in the morning is so difficult for me, i don’t like dealing with letting the air out and rolling it up. Silly I suppose – It was replaced a few weeks back though, Exped was great about replacement.
My pack broke a couple of hundred miles back as I was flying down the trail as fast as I could to get to Crater Lake. I bounce a lot so that may have something to do with it. The tension lock on the end of the harness broke, but a zip-tie I had stashed away fixed the issue and I was quickly back on my way, although unable to adjust the straps. Thanks to Alix @ Osprey, I’m getting a new harness shipped to the Portland area. I’ve torn this poor pack up ( Osprey Atmos 65 ) even though I try hard to baby it, but it carries the weight load wonderfully. Yesterday I washed the heck out of it, so I’m glad I’ll be back out on the trail with something that doesn’t look so haggardly dirty.
My tent is in sad shape. Near Burney Falls CA, 3-4 weeks back, I awoke to ants in my tent, they ate their way through the sil-nylon and left 30 or more holes all over the top of the tent. Entering OR and soon, the often very wet Washington, I’m afraid all of the repairs I made are not going to hold up. The patches are already bubbling, as many of the holes are on the seams. A wonderful section hiker, Janet Ake, gave me a Tarptent Double Rainbow
prior to the hike. I’ve requested it from home so I can use it until I figure out if I’m buying a new one-man UL tent or if I’ll just continue on carrying the weight of the 2-man rainbow. The mountains and weather in Northern Washington aren’t going to be too much fun if I’m carrying extra weight. (Although they’ll still be beautiful !!! I can’t wait).