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Travelingfilanda - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Ryan "not ryan" Filanda
City: New York City
State: New York
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 28, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Oct 16th, 2011
Start: oregon
End: oregon
Daily Distance: 1810
Trip Distance: 10,622,019.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,847
Journal Visits: 12,608
Guestbook Views: 13,826
Guestbook Entrys: 66

Last PLB Location

Pacific Crest Trail Map

it's hammock time

greetings from the oregon coast!

...wait a minute, not ryan. i'm not totally sure, but i didn't think the pacific crest trail went along the oregon coast line...

Ok, so i finally stopped procrastinating and am here to tell you that my adventure has taken a turn off the trail, headed west and now I'm enjoying the sound of waves of ocean and slow, relaxing days waiting for my hammock to arrive in the mail. And, of course, take THE GOONIES tour!

Since my last entry, I walked through the rest of Northern California, marveled at the incredibly beautiful Marble Mountain wilderness, gave it my best shot at the pancake eating contest in Seiad Valley, CA. (2 1/4lbs out of 5lbs of pancakes ain't bad!), and a few days later FINALLY crossed the border into Oregon (WHOA! FINALLY MADE IT THROUGH CALIFORNIA! It only took 5 months =-) haha!). I had an unplanned resupply in Ashland, OR. when I arrived at Hyatt Lake Resort and found it closed for the season just two days before. While I was there I had a great hostel stay with some PCT trail crew workers, ate some pizza and actually, believe it or not, ran into two of the last remaining thru-hikers left on the trail, Styx and Pinky. So after hanging with them an extra night in town, I managed to get a friendly ride back to the trail, hiked a couple miles to Brown Mountain Shelter and settled in for an early night out of the rain with a roaring hot wood stove to keep me company. When I woke in the morning, it was white outside. What?? Where'd fall go? I don't think I really even saw "FALL." But it was only 1-2inches on the ground, a dusting of the first whispers of winter, so I packed up my backpack and off I went a ramblin' into the snowy white wilderness of southern Oregon. I was really enjoying myself hiking in the snowfall, welcoming an incredibly beautiful change of scenery with open arms and eating snow off of trees for water as I continued walking north and hoping that I was still on the trail. For the most part, the trail was actually pretty obvious in most places and occasionally there was even a PCT marker (not many!). So the hiking was fun!

The camping was not. Haha! When your feet are walk walk walkin' and you're moving around all day, the fact that you don't have waterproof boots or that it's ranging in temperature somewhere in the 20's-30's doesn't really bother you that much. But once you stop and start putting up the tent, there goes the blood inward to save the organs. But what about my fingers and toes?! They got cold. Really cold. Once I would finally get the tent situated on top of the snow I just packed down and then gathered some snow to melt so I could cook dinner, I climbed inside my tent with no intention of leaving it until the sun was back out in the morning. It took almost an hour just sitting in my sleeping bag to get toes and fingers back to normal again so that I could manage to cook dinner in my vestibule. I was usually warm enough at night to get enough sleep, but I was waking up very early before the sunrise at the day's coldest because it just wasn't warm enough to sleepanymore. Instead, I'd huddle into the fetal position inside my sleeping bag until I saw a little ray of sunshine appear on my tent wall. So it was cold and miserable at night. But the hiking was still awesome!

I had less than 25 miles to Crater Lake, where I'd planned a well earned wilderness "zero day" by the rim. I thought to myself, "This is getting really funky winter style out here, so maybe Crater Lake could possibly be a really cool place to end my hike for the season and pick up there at some future point. " Obviously, at this point there's no way I was making it to Canada, so I told myself I'd think about it. I thought I could also wait at Crater Lake for Styx and Pinky to catch up, this way at least I wouldn't be alone in the wintery wonderland of cold, miserable toes and snow eating. So I continued on in the now 4-6 inches of snow that had continued to accumulate as it kept snowing for 3 days. I was up just above 7,000ft when I began hiking my third morning out. I hiked not even 2 miles before I trudged up to a bald spot where the trail absolutely dissappeared. WHERE IS THE TRAIL?!?! AHAHH!H!&%*#(*&%(# It was really frustrating because I had no issued at all up to this point and now there was just no sign, no dip in the snow - there was just white. The sky was covered in clouds around me, occasionally parting to show me two lakes somewhere southeast-ish, but being in the Sky Lakes Wilderness, it was hard to know for sure which lakes those might actually be. Without being able to find my bearings properly or know exactly where I was on the trail, it was impossible to accurately plot a course using my compass to find the trail again.

The frustration was building and building to the point where I definitely got hot-headed and made a very emotional decision to "just go THIS WAY," then I stomped off into the winter wilderness. I thought if I go around this butte to the Northwest-ish I can head Northeast-ish and find my way back to the trail. So after 2-3 miles of bushwacking, teetering on lava flows covered in snow and being dripped on my snow and ice from trees, I finally stopped all of a sudden and had a moment of clarity. Thank the universe. "What was I DOING?!" I asked myself. I said outloud, "You're walking into the wilderness, the SNOWY wilderness with one serving of fuel, 1 1/2 days of food, only snow for water and no more dry socks..." "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" Hahaha! I couldn't believe I was putting myself in this situation, and how casual I was with the option of using my SPOT messenger to just "call my helicopter" if I got in trouble and couldn't find the trail again. CALL MY HELICOPTER! So I kicked some sense into myself and started following my own footprints back through the thick trees and lava fields to find my way back to the trail. The only safe option I had, unfortunately, was to start heading back the way I came almost 40 miles to get back into Ashland.

When I came upon the trail where I had left it, the moment hit me like a snowball in the face. I was turning around. It was winter, I was miserable in the cold and I couldn't conceivably go any further not being able to find the trail. I came very suddenly to the realization that my adventure in the wilderness for over five months walking the Pacific Crest Trail was over. I knew that once October came around, winter could whisper in at any time and take the PCT into hibernation and kick me back to the streets of civilization. I just didn't think it'd be the first week of October! =) So after saying my goodbyes, thank yous and I love yous to the PCT, I turned and followed my snow prints south. And SOUTH just felt wrong, haha!

I made it to Fish Lake Resort the following night, planning to camp there and hitch in the morning to Ashland. As I was about to fill my water in the lake, I waved to some people on a fishing boat just to be friendly. In a moment, someone in the boat yelled out, "HEY! Not Ryan!" It was Styx! After they picked me up with the boat, I found out that Pinky's family had surprised her from Napa Valley along with a planned visit from more family near Portland, and I had stumbled upon a happy family reunion at Fish Lake with great food, beer and some amazingly loving new friends. I was also overwhelmed with the prospect that here were Pinky and Styx, a solid ride to resupply and the option to get back on the trail with my friends. It was a lot to think about, so even after much encouraging from all the family and my friends, I stuck with my gut and headed to Ashland to think things over. I just couldn't imagine dealing with cold toes anymore, haha! Winter camping is for hibernating bears.

I could have jumped back on and kept going for a couple more weeks, but like I said before, at this point there was no way Canada was going to be under my feet this year. As it was, the weather actually did turn around and it's been nothing but beautiful around Ashland and Crater Lake ever since. Go figure. But in the end, finishing my hike now just felt right. I struggled for a long time this summer debating whether I should find a nice place and just stay there relaxing for a while, seeing that I was most likely never going to make it all the way to Canada anyway. So somewhere in there I decided just to keep going as far as I could go and not worry about it. Well, the universe stepped in and gave me some snow to eat and that snow was cold. I was plunged into the prospect of some quiet and peaceful relaxation and it grabbed hold of me like being tied to a hammock.

I stayed in Ashland for a few days, had some more fun with the trail crew that was there again, and now have found my way to the peaceful North Oregon Coast for some much needed and deserved rest by the sea. And THE GOONIES tour! There's no official tour, I'm just searching out the film locations around Astoria and Cannon Beach to satisfy my childhood favorite movie yearnings. =) And after a week or so hammocking and chilling out by the seaside, I have NO idea where I'll end up. The adventure of life continues.

At this point you're saying to yourself, "Not Ryan. WRAP it UP!" Haha! You didn't know my last entry would be an entire novel, did you? =)
I don't know how to quite sum it all up. To think of everything that I learned, the ways that I've grown, the incredible human beings that I've met, the marvelous pieces of this planet that I got to see, the love that I've felt, the frustrations, the highs, the lows, the inbetweens, the adversities and the rewards, the mountains, the trees, the wildlife, this whole incredible experience... it's way too much for me to possibly put into words in this moment. But if I could try, I'd say to you that this was one of the most amazing adventures of my entire life. I know that it will live on inside me and forever I will remember what the PCT gave me and what it can give others. And that is really, really sore feet. =) But also really awesome leg muscles I never knew I had!

Thank you, everyone, for sharing my adventure with me. To take a quote from Chris McCandless from whatever book he was reading in Alaska at the time, "Happiness is only real when shared." So again, thanks for being here to share my happiness with. I believe life should always be an adventure and I hope we all continue to explore the gift and adventure of living and loving on planet earth together. Remember to always enjoy the journey. Then someday you'll find yourself at your destination, wherever that may be. I hope it's in the trees with lakes and streams, mountains abounding and love all around. And NO MOSQUITOS. =)

All my pacific crest trail love to everyone, everywhere,

Not Ryan

p.s. in case you're wondering - yes, i will finish this monster of a trail. i will, someday, step over that border into Canada. Eh. =-)

p e a c e

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