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Begins: Aug 8, 2010
Date: Fri, Sep 3rd, 2010
Trip Distance: 47.0
Entry Visits: 380
Journal Visits: 2,732
Guestbook Views: 169
Guestbook Entrys: 7
Pacific Crest Trail Map
Getting dumped out of a Forest Service van onto a gravel road and told, "Well, I think this is the spot. The last hikers went that way. I think. Anyway, good luck. Bye." proved to be a rather jolting experience. It took us both a mile or two before we felt like we were still at it, still hiking the PCT. No, we hadn't somehow fallen off the trail and into a suburban mass transit system. This was still wilderness, now let's get back to it. Strange how we would both feel so out of sorts for a bit. But far from being a cheat or a denial of our adventure, missing 18 miles, we both agreed that this *was* the adventure, along with lost resupply boxes, snow, strange encounters along the way, and whatever else. Hiking the PCT involves far, far more than just staring at trees all day. It's an adventure, which means a constant string of challenges, which means learning, growing, thinking, stretching, and otherwise having a blast.
Our first camp here was something of an experience. We started seeing a lot of blueberries, which meant bears. (No big deal; bears are cool.) Sure enough, we started to see bear signs, mostly overturned stones, shredded logs, and scat. Then the rocks started to get bigger, the logs more shredded. Then the overturned stones started to get really big. So, along the way we passed up a reasonably good campsite in the hopes of getting a bit farther along, but we read the map poorly and ended up in a long stretch of sloping berry fields as the sun went down. Off through the woods we go, looking to find the shallowest, least shrubby spot for the tarp and just when we'd settled for the least bad tarp site, I stumble upon an enormous log recently rolled over such that the grass under it was still freshly bent, and the ground still damp from the bear's scratching. So, back trail to the campsite, almost dark. Food got hung that night. Next morning, we find an exceptionally huge rock freshly turned next to the trail, one larger than two men could likely lift, and bear tracks down the center of the trail. We started calling him/her brontosaurus bear. Weight-lifting bear. And as Jim later found out, enormous, salad-plate-sized pooping bear. I was sorry that I didn't get to see it (the bear, not the poop), but he/she gave us plenty of material for ridiculous trail humor, for which I'm grateful.
Don't ever pee on a yellow jacket's nest. Not a good idea, as Caribou can attest. Also not a good idea to 'use a tree' near a hornet's nest, as Caribou can also attest. And finally, it's not wise to ever drive a tent stake next to a yellow jacket's nest in a rotting stump, as Spaceman can attest. Fortunately, only one of these encounters led to a sting, which is probably small comfort to Caribou (only his arm, in case you're worried). Apparently hornets really like mountains.
Timberline. This was an important milestone for us. Those who know us well will understand why. Being familiar with the place, we snuck our nasty bodies in through a back door to a little-used bathroom, where we bathed in a sink, followed by a three course meal in the bar (four if you include the ale). Very nice.
The weather turned lovely, and the hike out from Timberline was spectacular. No problem with the resupply here. Feeling good, ready for the last leg, and on toward home.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org