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Roleigh - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2019

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City: San Diego
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Jul 12, 2019
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, Jul 26th, 2019
Start: Timberline Lodge, OR
End: Big Lake Youth Camp, OR
Daily Distance: 100
Trip Distance: 150.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 226
Journal Visits: 1,461
Guestbook Views: 100
Guestbook Entrys: 16

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Leaving Mt. Hood

South from Timberline - July 19 - 25

I?m flying down from Timberline Lodge! The sky cleared last evening, revealing a sparkling Mt. Hood looming above - all grey rock and white snow. I?m euphoric as I leave the still-sleeping lodge in the early, chilly light. The trail follows alongside a rocky crevasse carved deeply into the mountainside by some long ago glacier. Conifers dot the landscape, becoming more dense as the rocky trail descends and finally gives way to a softer forest duff. I meet a few hikers along the way - a middle aged couple hiking a 40 mile circuit around Mt. Hood (the Timberline Trail), a thru hiker worried about his weight loss (he begged water from some day hikers and is angling now for some of my food), a couple of young co-workers out hiking for a week (their unadulterated joy at escaping the office for a few days makes them glow). I hike 19 miles, possible only because it?s all downhill, and necessary because that?s where the next water is.

In the days to come I pay for those 19 miles in predictable ways. My feet are screaming each day like banshees after about 6 miles and I?m exhausted, the day of rest at Timberline long forgotten. I?m carrying 8 days of food and lots of water, so my pack is pretty heavy. But my back, badly tweaked at the gym a week before I left, is mending now. And my troublesome knee is tamed with a neoprene sleeve. So I think I?ll keep on.

The trail is a ramble through semi-dry forest, with none of the seething abundance in the cool wet further north. The thick berry bushes that lined miles of trail up to Timberline (blackberry, salmon berry, raspberry, blueberry, huckleberry) are scraggly tokens in this drier clime. Occasionally, the trail opens to a large rockfall and I pick my way carefully across the jumbled stone, worrying that tired legs and sore feet will misstep. I turn to look backward or lift my head where there?s a break in the trees and a spectacular view might surprise me - Mt. Hood receding in the background, and even a glimpse of Mt. Adams further north, or Mt. Jefferson (my nemesis right now) to the south.

The snow fields of Mt. Jefferson await, and a couple of problematic river crossings. I?ve been getting mixed reports from northbound hikers on the conditions, and until I get past them, I?ll fret. On feet that hurt so much each step feels unsafe, I work my way up to a lofty perch on the flank of Jefferson. I?ve carried 8 lbs. of water up here, unsure whether there is any other available. There is tho. A pond frozen until just a few days ago is thawing. In the morning I work my way up the snow fields and, descending, have little trouble crossing Milk Creek and fording Russell Creek. Whew! Only raging water gets my adrenaline spiking like that. I?m not a water person!

7 days after leaving Timberline I land in the lap of a 7th Day Adventist youth camp where they?ve made a passion of loving PCT hikers. Food, showers, laundry, charging stations (because technology has followed us into the wilderness), smiles and a lovely vibe are a welcome balm. I stay for a zero day, chat with other (mostly northbound) hikers and eat my fill, leaving at dawn refresh, clean, and fed. I want an early start because the next challenge is miles of chunky black lava that the trail traverses, and naturally I?ve heard horror stories from hikers who got caught in the lava fields in the heat of the day. So many hikers; so many stories. All you can do is keep moving forward, one step at a time.

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Journal Photo

Halo's PCT Adventure 2019


"All I want is to be happy being who I am
To be strong and free
To see day arise from night
I want to feel I've lived my life."

From "Gabrielle's Song"


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