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BassBoneBob - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2018

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BassBoneBob
City: Grand Rapids
State: Michigan
Country: USA
Begins: May 23, 2018
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Jun 21st, 2018
Start: Campsite at mile 2102
End: Campsite at mile 2123.5
Daily Distance: 21.5
Trip Distance: 414.8
Hours Hiked: 11
Entry Lat: 45.35202773
Entry Lng: -121.75054967

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 235
Journal Visits: 7,114
Guestbook Views: 71
Guestbook Entrys: 10

Journal Plan

Pacific Crest Trail Map

View: 1  2  3  4  5 
(Click image for full size)


The Columbia Gorge under the clouds

Day 30 - A Picturesque Summer Solstice

Thursday June 21
Our two tents were squeezed into a small landing between two streams, so we
had fast flowing water in "living stereo" all night long... a tranquil way
to sleep. I woke up at 5 a.m. and left for the trail at 6:15 a.m. with
Emily and Riley close behind, traversing downward through snow to a creek
crossing, then up the other side to join the trail. We had about 45 miles
to Cascade Locks, the finishing point for this year. This distance can be
split a number of ways to fit your plan, which for us was two days, meeting
Jenny on Friday afternoon. Riley wanted to get to Cascade Locks as early as
possible on Friday, so he was shooting for a Wahtum Lake campsite 28 trail
miles ahead, leaving 17 miles mostly downhill miles into the gorge to
Cascade Locks, basically at sea level. Emily and I liked the idea of
another lakeside camp and would do what we could to get there, but we both
wanted to enjoy these last two days. Emily had already put in some big
mileage days for a "newbie," so I told her to listen to her body to avoid
injuries... don't over do it!

From our camp the trail continued uphill for another 200 feet over a rise
to an outstanding view of the valley to the west. We were high above the
clouds that blanketed the Columbia River valley in fog far below, as if we
were in an airplane. Looking east up to Mt Hood, a huge cloud obscured part
of the 11,400ft summit. We passed by the campsite of Brian, WeatherMan, and
a short time later he caught up to us on the trail. That put us back to 4
people in our little group. I had to hold back when nature called, then
stopped for a moment at another incredible overlook, this time a major
crevasse in the western flank of the mountain that was carved out by a huge
flow of frothy whitewater from high off the peak. The water was cascading
down the mountain, one small waterfall after another, leading to the
largest one near the bottom... a breathtaking panorama.

In the first hour of today's hike I had already stopped several time for
dramatic views and photos, therefore not making much progress. But now the
trail was cutting back into the trees and dropping into the fog bank we had
seen from above, and the views disappeared completely... a good opportunity
to catch up and make up some miles. The sun finally broke the crest of Mt
Hood and was now shinning its energy into the valley to battle the damp
hazy fog and bring bright, blue skies and sunshine. The lush, green low
lying plants next to the trail also welcomed the sun, straining upward for
the life giving energy of sunlight. I finally caught up to the threesome at
a challenging stream crossing with a strong current in a rocky drainage
basin. Riley and Brian crossed over on a medium sized limb that I didn't
like the looks of because there was zero margin for error downstream if you
slipped off.

There are several precautions to follow on a river crossing, first look for
a place without large rocks where the water flow is less disturbed,
hopefully with a recovery area below in case you fall. Then you are to
unbuckle your waist and sternum straps from your pack, again if you fall
you can get the pack off quickly to save yourself first and hopefully
rescue the pack downstream. Luckily, I got there just in time to stop Emily
before she was about to cross at a dangerous spot. My role as hiking
partner quickly changed to concerned father as I yelled for her to stop. We
talked through the procedure and found an acceptable place to cross, about
12 feet to the otherside. I went first using my trekking poles to gauge the
water depth, also probing for any large submerged rocks that could trip me
or cause my foot to get stuck. You are to face upstream, leaning into the
current, keeping your knees flexed, and shuffling forward in a diagonal
line to the other shore. I made it across safety with the water up to my
knees. Thankfully, Emily had picked up a couple of good walking sticks and
they were very helpful on her successful crossing.

A short time later we came to a junction for an alternate trail to Ramona
Falls that parallels the PCT and rejoins it in a couple miles. It is a
trail that existed before the PCT was developed and is a popular day hike
destination. Romana Falls is listed as another "can't miss" on the PCT app,
so we all took the alternate trail... and it was spectacular! We took our
extended coffee break at the base of the falls where the water was pouring
over a rocky cliff from high above, spreading 30 feet wide over the rocks,
then flowing back together at the bottom to reform a creek. Further
downstream we crossed over Ramona Creek on a large log with a safety rope
and rejoined the PCT. From there it was 2.4 miles to the top, a gain of
1550 feet in elevation. Most of the gain, about 1250 feet was in the first
mile and a half, rivaling Forester Pass in steepness, and just about
anything else through the High Sierra with a couple major differences. In
the High Sierra of California there are 11 mountain passes at 11,000 feet
above sea level. It is windy, rocky, steep, and very dramatic, all above
treeline. Here in Oregon I was in trees the whole way, in the damp,
coolness of the canopy going from 2795 to 4337 feet. In the High Sierra the
sweat evaporates almost immediately to cool your skin in the dry air. Here
in the Cascades the air was calm and humid, and I was sweating profusely as
I worked my way to the top of this steep incline. As I strained to reach
the top my shirt and hat were soaked, and drops of sweat were dripping off
of my head to the trail in front of me.

This would be the last serious climb for this year, with a few less steep
ones still ahead. The rest of the day included several more sensational
picture taking breaks of Mt Hood in full profile with big cumulus clouds
overhead. Needless to say, we would not get to Wahtum Lake on this day, but
we did cover 21.5 miles where we found a small stealth campsite at the base
of several mature trees, in the soft pine needles, and just flat enough for
a comfortable night of sleep... with tired muscles and heavy eyelids we
reminisced our extraordinary penultimate day of memories together on the
PCT.

For more pictures and videos go to my Instagram page: @bassbonehiker

*(COUNTER-clockwise. Valid values: 90, 180, 270)*

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Pacific Crest Trail 2018

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

 

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