Feel free to ask me any questions about my hike or thyroid cancer or……well, anything! Email me at pctlionheart [at] gmail.com and I’ll post the answers here. If you want to see what I’ve been up to lately, check my postholer journal.
Want to see the whole trip, beginning to end? 2013 Pacific Crest Trail Photos
On October 3rd, exactly 7 years after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and logging over 4,400 miles (over two trips) on the Pacific Crest Trail, I finally stood at its northern terminus.
It’s hard to put the feelings into words. I was surprised that when I arrived at the monument I was quite calm. I really thought that I would have tears. Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. Overall, I was just so happy to finally reach this illusive destination and be sharing it with such kindred spirits. Pictures. Cheers. Hugs. Congratulations.
The weeks after Snoqualmie Pass were very challenging due the seeming onset of winter in Washington. The day I left Stevens Pass, I hiked 22 miles in driving rain. I could not stop because I would immediately start shaking from the cold. That night, once in my dry long johns and sleeping bag, it took me 2-3 hours to warm up. If it were not for fellow hikers, I would have turned around the next day. I pushed through rain and snow, finally making it to Stehekin, the last resupply point on the trail.
At 60 miles from the border and more snow/rain falling, I had to make a tough decision. The previous day, I hiked 19 nonstop miles from Stehekin with a group. In the driving rain we all headed out like a train of ants. Heads down, moving the feet as fast as they would go, dodging the water-filled trail, fording rivers, shivering, hoping for a steep uphill in order to get warm, log river crossings, tears, hoping for a quick ride into town, wondering if we were going to make it, trail magic that I hardly recall, a hitch to Winthrop, a warm shower, continued shivering, getting wrapped up in blankets. Finally, 4 hours after leaving the trail, I would say that me and warm were on the same page.
My no-thyroid-body which runs on the cold side anyway, simply couldn’t handle the cold and wet weather. At Rainy Pass, with an elevation of only about 4900 ft., the highs were in the mid 30′s. And hiking the PCT would involve going over 7000 ft. passes at least 4 times with a high ridge section too. Aside from the temp concern, then there was the issue of hiking through all the snow that had fallen plus the challenge of route finding. So, I sadly decided not to continue with the group (who ultimately had to turn around due to waist deep snow).
Instead, my dear 2009 trail buddy Canadoug drove all the way from north-eastern Alberta and took me around those last 60 miles. We drove to Manning Park Lodge where I hiked the 8 miles south to the border and back.
I will post more pictures soon! And if you’re wanting more of the story, be sure to check my daily journal by clicking the Class of 2013 link at the top of the right sidebar. Thanks for all the support!
Sorry for such a delay in posts, but this the first computer in a long time. I am at Snoqualmie Pass, only 258 miles from the Canadian border! Much has happened since northern California. Sunny days, rainy days, beer days. The weather looks a bit bleak here in Washington but there is no turning back now. For reasons unknown, I am unable to load pictures at this computer also.
Since my last post I had to spend 5 days in Etna with an infection on my wrist. I crossed the California/Oregon border on August 14th. I crossed Oregon in about 3 weeks having rain at least 5 of the days. I had an amazing time at Crater Lake with family John and Joyce, the full moon and the following epic sunrise! Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood was awesome with the fog blowing in, birds flitting from the trail and camping on its flanks.
Goat Rocks in Washington was again spectacular. Hard to put it into words. The rain seems to have settled in here which makes travel and keeping gear dry difficult. I arrived at Snoqualmie Pass after two nights of rain with my fly and tent fairly well soaked. Last night I did have dry clothes and a warm sleeping bag to get into which was good.
Stay posted….I hope to make the border in about two weeks!
I am currently in the Dunsmuir Library which has all sorts of restrictions on their computers so I am unable to upload any pictures. Since my last post, I have passed the half way point at 1326. A momentous occasion! I’ve covered over 400 miles in the last three weeks and I’m only 200 miles from the Orgeon border. Smoke fills the air here from numerous lightning started fires. I hope to provide more pictures once I arrive in Etna, 100 trail miles away. Thanks for all the support and check my postholer journal for the daily trials!
After returning to the Sierra from my respit in Bishop, I climbed pass after pass, sometimes two in a day. Kearsarge, Glen, Pinchot, Mather, Muir were the big ones.
After skipping Section D, I got back on trail at mile 454. I’ve now hiked about another 300 miles and have just started traversing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Just after I left Agua Dulce, I hiked 24 miles to trail angel home Casa De Luna, adjacent to where the Powerhouse fire started. Due to the fire, the PCT was closed and I had to skip another 40 miles (but I hiked them before!).
Next was 17 miles of Los Angeles aqueduct walk which netted a beautiful sunrise, a look back at the continually growing fire and running out of water in the Mojave Desert. Gulp!
After a nero in Tehachapi, we skirted the Mojave Desert once again in some of the hottest temperatures of the year. After I took an unexpected rest day in Lake Isabella, I finally arrived at Kennedy Meadows, the official end to the Southern California section. Yeah!
Rather than dodging the sun, the Sierra had me seeking it out. It’s cold up here! The Sierra Nevada is a breathtaking place, one which everyone should have a chance to visit. The high elevation and climbing over tall passes makes for shorter mile days. “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out until sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~John Muir
You know the routine….if you want to catch my daily journal, click the Class of 2013 at the top of the sidebar.