Monthly Archives: August 2017

Moving Right Along


Smokey sunrise in Brookings

The days are getting shorter and the miles are still stretched out before me. I haven’t made any progress in about two and a half weeks. My ending date is closing in, I have a wedding to be to, and cold weather is on the way.


Crossing the Oregon border

Oregon has 15 active fires at the moment and has shut down parts of the PCT. To maximize time on the trail, we’ve jumped to Washington. This tends to be the state that gets snow the soonest. We hope to finish this state before the snow, enjoy the wedding, then return to finish Oregon. By that time, we’re hoping the fires will be extinguished so that maybe we’ll actually be able to see Crater Lake.


Watching a fire started by lightning

It has been a lovely vacation from the trail. The week prior, I crossed into Oregon, spent the week trying to get away from fires, and I took a selfie with a deer. Spent a week in Ashland, bugging REI employees, eating too much, seeing a play at the Shakespeare festival, and eating some more.


Beers at Standing Stone Brewing Co. Best food ever. 

We took a random trip to the coast to get away from the smoke from the fires and we ended up being right next to another fire at the coast. My family came to visit. We all got to witness the total solar eclipse! The air grew cooler, and the sky got so dark that the street lights came on. A truly amazing thing to see.


Smoke sitting above the ocean in Brookings

We did a bit of running around, but also some hiking. We saw 5 gorgeous waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge. It is beautiful up here. I imagine residents have to exercise a lot, because there is a lot of really good food to eat.


Driving through the redwoods on the way back to Ashland

I’m sitting on a balcony overlooking the Columbia River and Washington on the other side. It’s crazy to think about how long I’ve been on the trail and I’m still not even half way through. The next month will be filled with 17-20 mile days, I have to sit in the sun at lunch to get rid of weird tan lines, then it’s figuring out the best way to get home for the wedding.


Iconic Crater Lake filled with smoke. You can imagine what it looks like. 


Columnar jointing in the Grand Canyon of Oregon. 


Posing at an eclipse sign


Another smokey morning at camp


Multnomah Falls


Multnomah Falls







Somebody’s Got A Case of the “Monday’s”


Remaining patches of snow in the Marble Wilderness

“Office Space,” a movie from the 90’s that is dear to my heart, depicts an office scene where the guy is having a crappy day. A woman coworker approaches him, recognizing his foul disposition. Instead of steering clear, she says to him in an obnoxiously chipper voice, “Somebody’s got a case of the Monday’s.” Anyone who has ever worked around anyone knows someone like this. Mine happens to be my diabetic hiking partner when his blood sugar is low. Let me tell you about MY Monday.

I woke up cranky because he woke me at 2 a.m. because he was low. He was cranky because… who really knows. I didn’t ask because I was tired. He left me in his dust as he flew down the trail. We were intending to walk 21 miles that day which was reasonable because it was mostly downhill.


View in the morning once the smoke cleared

Everyone we met was angry that we were dropping from 6,500 in elevation to 1,700, knowing full well that we would have to climb right back up to 6,000 after town. It was a long day. Even though the terrain was fine, it was hot and muggy.


Fire Belly Newt


Newt holding onto my fingers

I caught up to Scott some time around 2 p.m. and we broke for lunch. We had our normal tuna and tortillas (with some delicious seasoning salt we found in a hiker box), then followed it with some blackberries and thimbleberries we picked from a hillside.


Awesome triple tree


Watching smoke from one of the fires

Immediately after the berries, he plows by me, saying he needed TO GO. Ten minutes later, he returned and felt the need to describe, explicitly, the details of each moment of his projectile diarrhea.


Walking through a mountain paradise

We walked together after that but he wasn’t feeling well because his blood sugar was high…and the aforementioned bowel movement. The day was getting hotter and I was getting tired because we’d already done 9 miles. He told me to go ahead while he dealt with it. I was more than happy…I can handle low, but high is scary.


The bluest alpine lake yet, fed by waterfalls of snow melt

My feet and knees were hurting, so I stopped to filter water and rest. Scott came up and wasn’t looking good. He had gone low again. I gave him half of my remaining Mike & Ikes (since he already had half of my bag the night before). It wasn’t enough. We made a meal. It wasn’t enough. He finished off the Gatorade and it got his number up just high enough to hike. 45 minutes later, we had to do it all again.

The funny thing about diabetics when they’re low, is it’s kind of like dealing with a drunk person. They say silly things and aren’t much help. So, as I’m making dinner, he’s commenting on how I am preparing things (in a chipper coworker fashion). Eventually, I asked him not to speak anymore.


Giant wall of marble


A marble cave


Hillside of berries 

When I was at the end of my rope, the sky opened up and it started pouring rain. There I was, covering all our stuff with the rain fly of my tent. Then we got under it and ate our meal. When the rain subsided, I wrapped my rainfly around my pack, and hiked on. The evening was hot and humid.


Rainfly-covered pack

I was having flashbacks of hiking in the rainforest in southern China. To top it off, the trail was covered in poison oak. You can only unsuccessfully avoid it so many times before giving up. I just walked straight through it. We only made it 14 miles. The only highlights were setting up camp before dark and scrubbing thoroughly with soap specifically for poison oak.


Grider Creek during the descent

Aside from that long day, it was a lovely week. There are fires raging all around and I haven’t had to change plans yet. The smoke was pretty bad a few days but nothing terrible. The walk through the Marble Wilderness has been amazing. Absolutely breathtaking. Passing one alpine lake after another. At perfect swimming lake, I made friends with some curious little newts that held onto my fingers in the water. Those tiny creatures were the highlight of my week.


The Klamath River during a 7-mile road walk to town

Upon finally making it to town, I had a hardy breakfast and spent the day doing chores until a thunder storm blew through. Lightning struck all around in the mountains. A woman from the forest service ran up to all of us hikers and was frantic. The lightning caused a fire 6 miles north of here and she was afraid one of us would start hiking and get caught in it. Now, we all wait to hear what the status of the fire is in the morning. There are more fire closures in Oregon, which is my next stop on the trail. This time next week, I’ll be out of California.


Hiker parking outside the cafe and general store in Seiad Valley



Receiving love from home


The beginning of an evening storm that started several fires.