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Dani "Genius" Kelley
City: La Grande
Begins: Apr 17, 2010
Date: Wed, Oct 27th, 2010
Trip Distance: 2,639.8
Entry Visits: 2,538
Journal Visits: 77,678
Guestbook Views: 2,702
Guestbook Entrys: 60
Pacific Crest Trail Map
It's been one month since I walked into Canada and officially finished my PCT adventure. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write this final entry. It's been a combination of laziness, being busy, and an aversion to technology. It is weird to be home. It almost feels like the whole trip was some figment of my imagination, like it didn't really happen. But it did and here I am. I can officially say that I have walked the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. It really is something amazing. It makes me very proud of myself to know that I accomplished it. There were very few times when I ever felt like I didn't want to be there. Even the times that were miserable, for what ever reason, are still amazing. It definitely gives you a new perspective on what's important and on people. I wouldn't change a thing about my trip.
But enough of me rambling. I suppose I should sum up what's happened since I reached Canada. I woke the next morning to a blazing fire and every one enjoying breakfast. I ate the last of my Stehekin cinnamon roll and soaked in the company. The Mayor, Train, and Caleb were headed back to Hart's Pass as they did not have the legal documentation to come into the US from Canada. The plan was for me to pick them up the next day, as my parents had left my car at Manning Park, and we would all head over to Train's parent's place in Woodinville. We said our farewells to the trio and sent them back south. After they left I felt little reason to hang around, with the lure of a car and civilization calling me. I left with Uncle Tom but quickly got ahead of him, and for the first time in eons I was walking alone. It felt so liberating and it was amazing to spend some time with myself in the last 8 miles. I took a quick stop and was passed by Ax, who I caught up with and hiked the rest of the trail with. We talked and flew down the trail. It even started to rain on us, but neither of us bothered to put our rain gear and as a result got rather wet. But it was all okay. Uncle Tom had a friend, Dusty, meeting the group there and the plan was for Uncle Tom, Lee, Wiz, Duff, and myself to stay there for the night and I would leave the next morning to pick up the boys. Axilla's dad was meeting Ax at Manning Park and Bear and Sparkles were going to head to Vancouver as well.
Ax and I rolled up to my car and Dusty waiting. We chatted for a bit, and Gen. Lee was the next one to roll in. Eventually the whole crew was there and after pictures we left, leaving Ax, Bear, and Sparkles at the Lodge to wait for Ax's dad. The drive was lovely and Wizard accompanied me for about half of it. I did have two almost accidents as someone had left a freshly wrecked car sticking out into the road around a blind corner and a semi lost part of it's load of giant metal tubes on the interstate. Eep! But we all made it to Dusty's beautiful house near the river and spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun and relaxing. I got a call from Ax around 10 wondering if they (being Ax, his dad, Bear, and Sparkles) could also crash at Dusty's place. Turns out Ax's dad had gotten the dates mixed up, and finally showed up to get them after a $ 10 pay phone call. It all worked out though.
I woke up bright and early the next morning as I had about a 6 hour drive to get to Hart's pass from Vancouver. I said farewell to Dusty and Uncle Tom, as they were the only ones up, and hit the road. After making it though the border, with only a little harassment, I cruised down I-5 to Hwy 20. The drive along Hwy 20 was stunning, with the mountains as a back drop and the fall colors everywhere. There was something freeing about driving down the highway alone. Maybe just about driving in general. I made it to Mazama around noon and headed up the road towards Hart's Pass. This is where the real fun begins. Not 10 miles out of town, just a mile or two from where the pavement ends my car starts making weird noises, lurching, and dies. I try to start it up a few times, with some horrifying noises as the result. Yup the car is dead. Toast. No way I'm going to get it started. After a flurry of cursing, yelling, and some tears I flag down the first person to drive by, heading up to the pass. I think I scared them a little but they promised to tell the boys that my car had broken down and they needed to find a ride down to Mazama. With that taken care of I then got then first person heading into town to give me a ride to the Mazama Store. No cell phone reception of course.
Luckily I have AAA, with 200 miles of free towing. After a call to my dad on the pay phone, I call AAA. After some talking and explaining it turns out that AAA will not cover the cost of my tow because the car is technically on a forest service road. Plus once they realized it was on the road to Hart's Pass, which is notoriously dangerous and difficult road, they told me I had to get it to the store or they weren't going to pay. More tears and cursing. As I was dejectedly sitting outside the store trying to figure out who would help me tow my car to the store some guys filling up their Ford Econoline saw me and asked what was wrong. I explained the situation and they offered to tow my car to the store with their van. They were doing construction work on a house up the road and on their lunch break. Huzzah! We drove back up to my car and hitched it up to the van with and electric cord. As we were doing this who should come down the road but a car with the boys in the back. Yes! Things are looking up again. We tow my car to the store, the boys go eat, and I get a tow truck on its way. Except now, I find out, that the tow truck only has room for 2 people in it and we have four. Damn.
After mulling the problem over I am struck with an idea. I'll get the guys who helped me tow the truck take Train and Caleb. The guys live in Everett, which is close enough to Train's that his mom could pick them up, and they had some more work to do before leaving so all we (and by we I mean I... lazy bums) have to do is flag them down before they leave. I did just that and left the boys in the back of a white van in some lawn chairs, with hopes of seeing them later tonight. The tow truck arrived shortly after and The Mayor and I left, headed towards Woodinville.
After a long ride over, we left the car at the repair shop and Train's mother picked us up, and then Train and Caleb. We all drove back to the house and I promptly crashed. It was a crazy day.
The original plan was for The Mayor and I to go to Seattle and then head back to La Grande, but this was obviously not going to happen with out a car. We hung out at Train's for a few days, and after talking with my folks and the repair place, we ended up deciding that the damages to the car were more expensive then the worth of the car. Turns out the bearings on the timing belt had exploded in my hood and caused damage to the engine (or something like that). Welcome back to civilization. So I am now car-less. Wonderful. My mom ended up driving up to Train's and picked us up. We did get to spend our day in Seattle and then headed back to La Grande.
For those of you who haven't figured it out, or just want me to confirm, The Mayor (whose real name is Jimmy) and I are a couple. As a result his folks really wanted to meet me and were so very very kind enough to purchase us plane tickets down to Austin! So we were in La Grande for a few days and then headed off to Texas (just for 2 weeks for me). I had so much fun down in Austin, it really is a beautiful city. Plus the weather was fantastic. I go to go swimming, in a creek no less, in the middle of October. Who does that?! We also went to Austin City Limits, a huge music festival, one of the weekends. That was killer. Needless to say I had an amazing time down there, his parents were just great, and it was sad when I had to head back to Oregon. Jimmy and I are still together, by the way.
I've been back in La Grande for about a week, and I've just been working on grad schools applications, which are terrible, and hanging out. I'm hoping to get a job down in California some time soon, but that's about all I have for immediate plans.
I have been missing the trail a lot recently, and if it weren't so darn cold here I would be doing a short trip somewhere right now. I'm not going to do a full gear review but if you have any questions about anything please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I plan on getting to people who have left comments on my journal soon. Here are a couple short facts for y'all. I start the trail at 163lbs and ended at about 153lbs, losing about 10lbs total. My lowest weight was out of the High Sierras at about 150lbs. Jimmy/The Mayor lost about 30lbs, which shows you how much easier it is for those dang boys to lose weight. I went through 4 pairs of shoes, each lasting between 500 to 700 miles. I used the same shirt, shorts, undies, and sports bra the whole trip, which was pretty amazing considering the state of some peoples clothes. I went through innumerable pairs of socks, which was not something I had really considered. I don't care what brand you get, you will get holes in them. I mostly used Wright socks from REI but I also had Darn Toughs and they all got holes. Like I said if you have any questions, comments, whatever feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who followed my journal. I really appreciated all the support I got from everyone. And if you are thinking of doing the trail do it! I don't care who you are if you have the drive, the want to do it you can. Again thank you all. It's truly been a pleasure. And with that I will leave you all. Maybe there will be an AT or CDT in my future so keep an eye out!
For pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/dsk.pct2010