Monday, October 15, 2012


Sorry about my lack of posting here. What is wrong with me? Well, my brain went from trail things to home things in the speed of light. I managed to hang tight till my home was vacated and since then, I've been cleaning, planting flowers and generally nesting. I've thought many times about this blog and what I want to say about my trip but somehow the words have remained in my brain and haven't pushed their way forward. I think I was feeling pressure to sum up the whole shebang in one go but really, this is to much to put into one post. So I have decided not to sum up the whole thing and just post my current thoughts about my hike and how I might have done things differently to get a different outcome... as in finish the trail in one go.

Three things I could have done differently

1. I spoke to Angela on most days. One would think, as I did, that this would be a good thing. Logically it would be good to have home support as much as possible, yes? But as it turns out, no. Daily contact from home made it harder to be where I was. I always knew what was happening at home and when things got hard on the trail, my thoughts went to home and how much I was missing and really, what the hell was I doing out here anyway? In case anybody wonders, it is really hard to be in two places at once. As a result I did a lousy job at both.

2. I really should have started the trail with 30 less pounds on my frame. I had hoped I could drop weight quickly but for whatever evil reason I didn't, and the extra weight played havoc with my body. Those deep blisters I had were a direct result of pounding, day after day on my old dogs. Plus, just the general fatigue of carrying thirty pounds of weight on top of the pack weight I carried. Do the math and it doesn't bode well for long distance success.

3. Lastly, I would have been helped by hiking more training miles before the trip started. My goal was to be up to 15 miles a day, three times a week prior to starting the trail but the reality turned out to be more like 12 miles, 2 or 3 times a week. That doesn't seem like much of a difference, and without the other challenges it might not have been too much trouble but with all the other things factored in, it was problematic.

People have been very kind to me. Saying that 700 miles is a lot (and it is) and they would never be able to do it, etc. All true maybe but still, I will probably always feel some disappointment at not meeting my goal of thru hiking the PCT in one go.
                         People on the trail looking out for eachother. A nice thing.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6th Home

Phew! I'm home. The last two days were full of road miles with yesterday coming in at an eight hour day. Just like a job-yikes! My truck is filled to the gills with gear, treasures of every kind and five weeks of accumulated dirt and dust. I can't move back into my place for three more weeks so it looks like I'll be juggling everything for a bit more time. I must remain calm...

This will be my last post for a while. I will be doing a recap here in the near future, once my brain filters through these last few months and pops out something intelligent, or at least intelligible. I'll have a long list of people to thank when I come back and hopefully more photos. So don't hold your breath, that would be counterproductive, but do check back in here in a couple of weeks.

Until then... roadside blackberries.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4th Hwy 5 South

Sitting in a Black Bear Diner, waiting for my salad to arrive. I left Eugene this morning and I made it to Grants Pass just in time for a lunch break. Yum. I've been jonesing for this salad for days. Hope it's good.

I am definitely ready to get home. I've visited myself out for the time being, even though I haven't seen everyone I had hoped to see. There just never seems to be time... or maybe energy, to get everything done. Oh well, next time.

Over these last few weeks my mind has been in two distinct places. Back on the trail and what that has meant to me, as well as what I've learned about myself in the process. Another part of my brain has been in the planning stages of the new building projects I've got rolling about in the 'ole noggin. This sure makes the miles fly by!

That's it for now.

Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31st Winding Down

It's been a couple of days since I entered this blog but I'll try to get caught up here.

I took a couple of days getting to Eugene from Cascade Locks and traveled on the east side of the Cascades to get here. First I took the short side trip to see Timberline Lodge which sits at the base of Mt Hood. If anyone ever gets the opportunity to visit this place, don't pass it up. It was built during the Depression by workers in the WPA. Incredible hand work and attention to detail. I took an hour long tour and learned lots of interesting stuff.

That night I stayed in Sisters, Oregon in their little city park. Not a wilderness setting for sure but still, comfortable enough. Next day I took off for my last attempt to feed hikers and drove west over the windiest road I could find. I had spectacular views of Mt Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack and the Sisters. I drove through an immense lava field, about 20 miles of the stuff. Met a couple of thru hikers, one named Lunch Box and eventually made my way over to Eugene in early afternoon, hanging with Janice and her dogs in the studio. Monty and I had a nap.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28th A Road Crossing

I really don't know where I am. I mean, I know I'm in Washington, southern section. I'm in a rain forest area. There is an unsigned crossing of the PCT right to my right but what road I've found myself on is a puzzle to me. Note to self: don't rely on Washington state maps for side road knowledge. But since I was looking for the PCT I guess I'm successful!

Anyway I put out my new, bigger sign right at the spot where the trail crosses the road, pointing towards my truck. In no time flat I had two hikers eating my junk food and seemingly quite happy about it. Border Control and Creature Child. He tall, bearded and, you guessed it, thin as a rail while she was chatty, friendly and wearing a raccoon tail pinned to the seat of her pants. I didn't ask.

I then drove to Cascade Locks and got a room at the Bridge of the Gods Motel and RV Park. Long name, clean room, nothing fancy. Tomorrow I'm headed to Sisters.

Pictures of the bridge and Columbia River, plus the hikers I met today.

August 27th Devil Creek

T and J, with the Vinnie boy dog, are coming to the cabin today as well as T's dad who I haven't seen since I did my big drive-around-the-country trip in 1984 and that's a long time. It'll be great to see him again.

I tidied up the cabin before I left this morning (to have breakfast at Whistlin Jacks restaurant) so they wouldn't have too much to do to prepare for their dads visit later today. I've been invited to stay over tonight and join them for dinner but we'll see how it goes. I'm getting that antsy feeling again. It might be time to hit the road.

Images of Devil Creek at dusk.

August 26th Another day of TM

I spent a few hours at Chinook Pass parking lot today. Within an hour I'd met Anish, who is section hiking Oregon and Washington, having just quit her high tech job in the PNW. As she said, "I needed a change in my life and wanted to look for another place to live." So, she's foot loose and fancy free.

Next came Happy Plate who, with her precise and dainty German eating style, apparently out ate all her hiking buds at Kennedy Meadows a few years back. A linguist, she is moving to Seattle in search of a job when her hike is over.

Next came a series of, what I call, skinny, bearded guys. Gaunt but moving fast, they were planning to hike 34 miles today. Geeze. Not too many hikers can pass up free food and a chance to hang out in a parking lot and the four of these hikers did just that. Sat on the curb, politely eating my snacks whenever I kept offering them. They were happy campers. Eventually they got out their own food to supplement my meager snacks and when I left there at three, they'd been in residence for two hours. After hanging out the guys were still planning a 30 mile day. Youth.

It was really fun to compare notes with them about all the usual trail stuff. I must admit though, I was pleased to be driving back to this cozy cabin tonight. It looks like it could rain.

As I hope they will appear to you we have Rock Stove, Bladder Pillow, Happy Plate, Anish and Medium Speed. Anish hikes in a dress. Wow.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 25th The Cabin

Sometime in the middle of the night I, in my usual sleepless way, remembered that when one makes an image in material to be printed you gotta produce the image backwards on the master. All that work I did yesterday was for naught because when I printed it out, the image was flipped the wrong way. Not that it has to be right reading but it'll bug me if it's not accurate. Well, hell. No wonder it takes forever to make art... one step forward, one step back. I did print out what I had finished and it looked pretty good, but still... I'll have to try again tomorrow as my eyes are bugging me with such close work.

J is a rock stacker. I'll have to ask her about it but it's clear she is pulled to finding and balancing rocks. Or stones. What's the difference? It doesn't matter but I think stones sound round and rocks sound jagged. In fact Angela and I gave J the nickname of Stone when we were last here. T also got a nickname that visit when she was wearing a white shirt while eating something with berries in it. She announced to the group she "was a stain waiting to happen". Hence the nickname Stain. You gotta watch yourself around this group.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 24 - 4 miles past Whistlin' Jacks

I don't know why exactly but when I steer my truck away from a town and towards the woods, I get a Mona Lisa like grin on my face that puzzles me. I think it must have to do with leaving the stimulation that is inherent to cities, or even small towns. It's not that I don't like some of the things available in those places, cuz I do (you know, cool people, junk stores, beer outlets) but still, in a short time it starts to grate on my psyche - it IS hard being a delicate flower.

I spent the afternoon at the cabin, first with T and my current heart throb Vinnie, but when they left I pulled out some art stuff I got in Eugene and started trying to make a block print of their cabin. There is this soft stuff called Speedy Cut that makes the experience less frightful for me and while I think I got the outline of the cabin, I didn't capture the feeling of the place. I guess that's the difference between skilled folks and the rest of us, the skill that allows people to transmit feeling into a physical representation of that thing/feeling.

Oh well as they say, practice makes perfect. Maybe.

I took myself out to dinner at Whistlin' Jacks and had a chicken fried steak with salad, veggies, smashed potatoes and meat. I do believe I hadn't had such a meal for um, 30 years? The chicken fried part anyway. My wait person was kind, even through she had worked all day and just as she was to get off, two people called in sick. Dang! Still, we bonded over her misfortune and I gave her a big tip. And I got to have a beer called Irish Death. Don't really know about the name but it was 8% alcohol and pretty close to a stout. Woohoo! Just one though.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23rd Adventures!

Country garage sales turned into back road travel turned into a flat tire, far from home. Fortunately J has a newish Jeep with all the tire changing accoutrements needed and we were off to Ellensburg for a tire repair and a Mother Burger at The Tav. I love Mother Burgers... yum.

Got back in the vehicle and headed off towards home on the road through Yakima Canyon... sight seeing as it were. Half way through guess what? Another flat tire, same one again. The second changing happened in record time and we are back at the same brand of tire store in Yakima, getting four new tries.

Fun with automobiles...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22nd Here and there

Today was a day in two parts. First off I drove to Chinook Pass to see if I could fill some hikers bellies with junk food. Just as I arrived, and after putting a sign on the trail pointing my direction, down came a couple of guys section hiking the state of Washington. How cool is that? So I met Sweeper (cause he's always clearing the trail of brush) and his buddy who's name escapes me. Their picture is below.

Second part of the day was dinner at Leo Adams house over on the Yakama reservation. He's a close friend of T and J and an extraordinary artist. He has built an amazing house, without the red tape and regulations of building codes. Pretty amazing place and man. Plus he's a heck of a cook.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21st Still here

Kind of an inactive day. I hung with the gals till they went off to their various activities then finished a book I got for 25 cents at a thrift store. By the time I was done my eyes were so wonky that I had to stop with all that and focus on something outside of a two foot range.
So I tried to help J with a sewing project she has but failed in two attempts to get the bobbin filled with the correct thread, so that project was off the table for today. Then, what?

So I just decided to go to Fred Myers and buy some snacks I can feed thru hikers, should I come across them in the next couple of weeks. Raw calories are appreciated by calorie deficient folks so even so called called "empty calories" can help if you are running low.

I've been trying to figure out what to do with my time out here and no matter which way I slice it, I can't imagine hanging out for another 10 days till my friends are available over there in Salt Lake City. I'm just starting to get the antsy feeling like I should start back towards California, even if it takes me a while to get there. So I called Salt Lake to make my apologies and am now reconsidering just how to make my move south. Inquiring minds will want to know but I have nothing concrete to share. More will be reveled in due time. In the meantime I will share a photo of Vinnie, the dog that lives here. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a tour of PNW dogs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20th Mighty Tieton!

I don't know why I was too tired to write last night but I was. I'll try to make up for it today.

What, you may ask, is Might Tieton? It's a small burg near here that is in transition from a depressed dot on the map to a blossoming artist destination. A couple of men (friends of T and J) from Seattle chanced upon this spot some time ago and saw the potential in the old buildings and small town square. In the last five years they have spearheaded a condo project, developed an old warehouse into a gallery and art workshop with residencies and have brought their book business to town, hiring locals to make the books for the business. In addition they've helped the kids out by initiating the development of a soccer field for the local munchkins. If you are interested in checking it out they can be found at

Does anyone out there know about Sisters on the Fly? Well J is a Sister and has transformed an 1966 trailer into her home away from home for fly fishing trips. In fact we went junking today to find a vintage suitcase to use on her trips. There's an image of her painting her suitcase here.

BTW, Yakima has great thrift and antique stores, should anyone find themselves in the area!

Today's images are a mishmash of this mornings sunrise, shots from the gallery yesterday and J's trailer, Clara.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19th T and J's House

I didn't go far today but I'm a world apart from yesterday. I arrived up here at noon and the gals arrived a bit later from their weekend over the hill. The whole day was filled with fun and visually exciting adventures, more of which I'll tell about later. Too late tonight. I will show some images of their stuff in the nice evening light.