Pacific Crest Trail

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Day 139: Cascade Locks to mile 2159.9

9.1.18. 13.1 miles.

I woke up early this morning, probably bc I went to bed so much earlier than my other days in town. I was still exhausted though, and tried to go back to sleep. Eventually I got up and went to breakfast at Bridgeside for the last time. After that, I went back to the hotel to finish packing, and to patch up the hole in my tent mesh that I failed to do my other days in town. I turned the tv on and discovered a Harry Potter marathon was happening, so I happily watched that while sewing up the hole. I was sad that I needed to hike out today instead of enjoying the HP marathon and laying in bed. I had until 12 to check out and took every minute of that time.

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At 12, I messaged a young woman who follows me on Instagram. She lives in Portland and wanted to come out and meet me, as she wants to hike the PCT. I told her she was welcome to meet me in Cascade Locks and hike into Washington with me! So she met up with me, and quickly drove me to the grocery store as my waterbottle had grown mold, something I just noticed this morning right before checking out. We parked again and then walked up to the Bridge of the Gods, and I walked into Washington!

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Marissa was so sweet and so game to hike a little with me, even though the walk across the bridge with tons of cars was a little unnerving. Marissa took my picture with the bridge, and then we continued to the trail. We hiked about 3 miles together, and she was able to ask me many questions about the hike and my motivations and about hiking solo and fears involved there. She was awesome, and I can’t wait until she hikes the trail herself! Social media can bring people together!

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As I was saying goodbye to Marissa, DHS, Excel, Twinkle Toes, and Jinx showed up and we all talked, and then a bee randomly stung me on my inner thigh and it hurt so much, and still does as I’m writing this in my tent tonight. I was laughing a little bc I know Butters was also stung right as she entered Washington, as well as another hiker who I follow on insta. Excel showed me her now bruised thigh where a bee stung her as well. I just couldn’t believe I had also gotten stung upon entering WA, where there were hardly any bees, when I had managed to escape NorCal, which was swarming with them. Oh well.

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After saying goodbye to Marissa, the real uphill started, and it was pretty brutal. It was pretty steep in places and unrelenting. I stopped for a break at the last water source for 12 miles and filtered enough water for hiking and cooking. I got my stove back for Washington, so needed to take cooking water into account again!

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Finally, after many hours, I stopped climbing and descended a bit to the place I’m camped tonight. I’m happy I made it this far during that climb. It was definitely not fun with a fully loaded pack and lots of water. I can already feel that my hips and chest/ shoulders are more tender than usual. 

Day 115: mile 1676.2 to mile 1702.6

8.8.18. 26.4 miles.

What a day! Today I crossed into Oregon!

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I woke up at 5:30 and was hiking by 6. The morning was pretty uneventful. A few climbs and a couple of breaks for filtering water, eating snacks, and using cell service. California was very pleasant on the way out. Ridge walks, an open-air toilet, and meadows with pine trees.

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After 15.5 miles, I reached the Oregon border! It was so surreal. It’s one of those times like so many others on this trip - seeing the southern terminus, summiting Mt. Whitney, standing at the top of Forester Pass, hitting the halfway monument - that I built up in my mind what it would be like to be there. I usually get more emotional on the approach to these milestones than I do at the actual spot. Reaching Oregon was no different. It was very awesome, but also slightly uneventful. The dilapidated sign welcomes you with a trail register and then a tree has the border sign on it. The trail looks no different in Oregon than California. Lots of other hikers are sitting around, eating lunch in the shade. We’re all very happy, and so excited to move on to a new state, but it’s still a normal day out here. We still need to walk forward.

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I sat/ laid down for 2 hours chatting with the first official southbounders I’ve met, greeting other NOBOs into Oregon, and eating lunch. I knew I couldn’t sit there all day, so I got up and kept hiking. Smoke still fills the air. I was pretty tired this afternoon. It suddenly got very hot, and the border was mid-way through a decent climb. I stopped for water at the first stream after the border bc I almost drank all my water at lunch, and then I took another hour break about 4.5 miles later at another water source that had cell service and updated family & friends about my location.

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Leaving at 5, I had another 6.5 miles to go to the campsite I was eyeing. After a smaller climb and another downhill, I had a short, steep climb up to the tentsite and arrived at 7:30 to a few other hikers there as well.

hit 1,700 miles today too!

hit 1,700 miles today too!

I’m so excited to get to Ashland tomorrow and see my parents! They’re bringing me Gin Mon, my favorite Chinese food from home, so that’s what I get for dinner tomorrow. I’ll probably arrive at Callahan’s around lunch time, well before my parents, so I’ll have time to get lunch, and plan out all of Oregon resupply before they get here, which will make shopping on Friday more focused. I’m loosely planning on doing the rest of Oregon in 17 days, which is about 25 miles/ day, definitely doable.

​Day 83: Lake of the Pines to Donner Pass to mile 1160.7 Nearo

7.7.18. 7.3 miles.

I woke up super groggy this morning, really not wanting to wake up, but Riley was licking my face wanting breakfast and to pee, so I got up and dealt with the dogs, then cuddled/ slept with my mom for a few hours until it was really time to wake up and get going. I was meeting Hot Mess & Butters back at Donner Pass and bringing them Chick-Fil-A since they had been craving it, so we needed to leave by 11 am. I took a shower, finished some last minute to-do things, went to Starbucks for breakfast one last time, where we happened to run into Auntie Di & Amanda and were able to say goodbye, then went back to the house and packed up all my things and had Mom braid my hair. Then we were off, and we only left 15 minutes late! We drove to Chick-Fil-A and got everyone’s orders. This was my first time having it and it was pretty good, I got the chicken nuggets! I’ll have to have a deluxe sandwich next time. While driving back to the trail I finished writing blog posts and scheduling them, and just like that, we were back!

Always so weird to me to be at places on the PCT that I’ve been before!

Always so weird to me to be at places on the PCT that I’ve been before!

We all met the two of them on the Donner Ski Ranch porch where we hung out for about an hour, then Mom & Dad drove us back to the trail (right down the street). After some goodbyes, we were off! It felt pretty normal to be hiking again. I was worried I’d feel super homesick immediately and not want to get back on the trail, but I think meeting back up with Hot Mess & Butters really made it easier. I was also thrilled to hear they were thinking of only going 7.5 more miles for the day, which was music to my ears! I definitely needed to ease back into hiking after having the 3 days off. The trail was pretty nice and not too difficult, but hauling 6 days of food in my pack was not making it easy. My shoulders were pretty sore about 3 miles in.

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Once we hiked about 3.5 miles, we stopped at the I-80 rest stop to use the bathroom and see if the ice cream vending machine was working. It was, so we got some ice cream and sat in the back eating it in the shade. As we were leaving, a couple came up to us and asked if we wanted trail magic... YES! They had been doing trail magic in the afternoon and were just about to leave. We got some cherries, a soda, and I had a bag of white cheddar popcorn. So great and such good timing! We were obviously taking our time getting to camp.

New section, new hiking outfit

New section, new hiking outfit

The next 2.5 miles were uphill, but not too steep, and soon enough we were at the top of Castle Pass, a place I had been before! I had Butters take a similar photo of me in the same spot from the winter. Our goal for the night was the Peter Grubb Hut, a backcountry hut maintained by the Sierra Club, mainly for winter use. It’s right off the PCT. There were actually Sierra Club volunteers there when we got there so we chatted with them a lot about our hike and about what they do. It was nice to talk with them!

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We didn’t sleep in the hut, but went around the side and pitched our tents in the forest.

We’re going to do a bigger day tomorrow to set up well for Sierra City the next day! I don’t need to resupply there or do town chores except charging, but I’ll probably get lunch at the general store, and then we’ll hike out.

Day 50: mile 698.3 to Kennedy Meadows Nearo

6.4.18. 3.9 miles.

This morning was such a relaxing morning! I naturally woke up at 5:30 and went to the bathroom, and then had a leisurely 1.5 hour pack-up. I was amazingly the first one ready! It was so nice sleeping next to the river and in pine trees!

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The hike into Kennedy Meadows was super exciting. It was a little more up/down than anticipated, but seeing the meadow and the mountains was just so exciting! The landscape definitely felt more Sierra-like, which I feel like I’ve been saying for a while now, but it was amazing. Super hot though. It was blazing at 8 am, and mostly exposed. We passed mile 700 and did our photo op, and then only had another 2 miles until we reached the road to the general store!

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It was super exciting turning onto the road and getting to the Kennedy Meadows sign. And then super exciting again to get to the general store and walk up to an applause from our fellow hikers! It’s a pretty big deal to make it through the 700 miles of desert and make it to the landmark that is Kennedy Meadows! I was ready for breakfast ASAP so I ordered pancakes w sausage patties and hash browns and ate everything even though it was huge. We were hanging out on the porch for a while using the slow WiFi and chatting with hikers we hadn’t seen in a while.

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After, I needed to set my tent up and then we got a “shuttle” to Grumpy Bears down the road. My anxiety set in pretty much right when I got there and got all my packages. I had 3 care packages (thanks guys!) and then my regular package from my parents with all my Sierra gear and more food. I was a little too overwhelmed with food and trying to get it to fit in the bear canister, and I still needed to go across the street to Triple Crown Outfitters, Yogi’s (a well-known hiker) new store and buy lunches and breakfasts. I’m back to drinking carnation mixes for breakfast since I don’t have to worry about water anymore! Yay for not being perpetually dehydrated! I said I felt like I was getting the hang of resupply, but I think I failed miserably this time and have way too much food. Or I don’t have enough. Idk. I did get my stove for the Sierra though, so I am pretty excited for some gourmet mountain house meals. Depending on how much I like having the stove, I’ll either keep it or send it back home for Northern California (aka the desert, but with trees).

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Again, town was stressful. Once I was done at TCO, I went back to Grumpys, paid for good WiFi while ignoring my overflowing bear can, and was slightly miserable bc there were so many gnats and flies buzzing around inside and landing all over me and it was hot. Just not super pleasant. Suddenly, a “shuttle” arrived to take us back to the general store. You basically have to drop everything to get on these “shuttles” (aka random ppl giving rides in between on no exact schedule). I needed to go back bc I had to do laundry and take a shower while it was still hot & sunny. Once back at the store I felt like I walked back & forth between the porch and my tent a billion times just getting things & charging & putting things away, etc. I also managed to get a burger before the grill closed at 4 pm. I like eating linner in town though. The rest of the evening I just laid around, sitting in the spot with good WiFi. I was able to call Mom & Dad on the WiFi, otherwise there was no service anywhere.

Now I’m trying to sleep but people are being so loud near my tent and it’s almost 10 pm. Go to bed people! Also the guy next to me is snoring pretty loudly. Should have picked up a pair of earplugs since it seems like I’ll need them tonight. Good thing we’re not leaving until afternoon tomorrow.

​Day 1: Southern Terminus to mile 11.4

It was so surreal getting to the monument this morning. I was happy because we got there after the Scout & Frodo drop off and I had the whole monument to myself for a few minutes!

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It was hard saying goodbye to Mom & Dad. I didn’t cry right away, but after I saw the van drive by me along the trail & I waved goodbye one more time I started crying. I already miss them (and I’m trying not to tear up while writing this in my tent). I also saw a bunny on the trail shortly after mile 1 and it made me cry again because of my mom!

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Once I got going though, the trail was great! Fairly easy terrain to begin with and the desert was blooming! So many yucca with big beautiful blooms. I was lucky because it wasn’t too hot. In the 60s with a breeze.

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I hiked with so many people today, with first timers and people who have thru-hiked the AT and CDT. And with people from all over the country (and 2 from Israel). Overall it was a good day. Just really exciting to be on the trail, beautiful desert views with tons of rocks & greenery & plants.

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I had my first cold soaked meal and it was good: homemade dehydrated “bean bark” with black beans, salsa, and rice. It was actually pretty warm as it had been baking in my pack during the afternoon.

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I also went poop outside already, and now I’m in my tent praying it doesn’t collapse on me as I sleep since it’s pretty windy. Planning on an early wake-up tomorrow to tackle the climb out of Hauser before it gets too hot (it’s a notoriously difficult climb, especially mid-day).

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