When I Walked For Beer

Unless you’re new to this lengthy log of my life, you know that I am a bit of a beer nut. Ok, not really. I am an addict. Addicted to the hoppy, frothy, foaming barley wonder we call beer. This addiction comes from my years of homebrewing. The palate has happily settled on the monster hop notorious to IPAs, especially Double IPAs. My dear hugging trail friend Maggie asked me how many beers I drank. It really is scary to ponder. So many miles, so many beers.

Here they are, my top favorites.
On Tap:
1. Fresh Hop IPA ~ Old Schoolhouse Brewery – Winthrop, WA
2. Insider ~ Crux Fermentation Project – Bend, OR
3. Barley Legal ~ Dunsmuir Brewery Works – Dunsmuir, CA
4. Homo Erectus ~ Walking Man Brewing – Stevenson, WA
5. Worthy Imperial IPA ~ Worthy Brewing – Bend, OR

In The Bottle:
1. Phillips Amnesiac Double IPA ~ Phillips Brewing – Victoria, BC
2. Vortex IPA ~ Fort George Brewing – Astoria, OR
3. Jamaica Sunset IPA ~ Mad River Brewing – Blue Lake, CA
4. Stone India Pale Ale ~ Stone Brewing – Escondido, CA
5. West Coast IPA ~ Green Flash Brewing – San Diego, CA

All these beers are the result of having made it to yet another trail town. The reward. The carrot. Like the day it took me 4 hours to warm up after hiking 19 non-stop miles in cold, pelting rain. Like the day a trail angel took me to 5 different breweries in Bend. Like the day I sat and contemplated the smoke-filled skies. Like the day I was blessed with angel after angel after angel. Like the day I sat asking, “Did I really hike all those miles?” Like the day I had pizza and beer for breakfast.

And for every town beer memory there is an equally wonderful on-trail beer memory. Like the day when there was a cooler of Miller High Life seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Like the Bud buzz at Ollalie Lake. Like the day we packed beers out of Reds Meadow, hiked 9 miles and called it a zero. Like arriving at hwy 40 to find PBRs. Like 100 mile reward beer at Barrel Springs. Like the day I arrived to find a cheering crowd, shade and ice cold Steel Reserve at Walker Pass.

Still many miles to hike and beers to drink! Cheers!

If you want to read more of my story, click of the Class of 2013 link on the top right of my page.

Old Schoolhouse Brewery with Tears For Beers

Old Schoolhouse Brewery with Tears For Beers

Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project

Dunsmuir Brewery Works

Dunsmuir Brewery Works

Worthy Brewing

Worthy Brewing

Reds Meadow Zero with Cherub, Soup Nazi and Snickers

Reds Meadow Zero with Cherub, Soup Nazi and Snickers

Got Questions?

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.

Smart's Mountain Fall morning

Smart’s Mountain Fall morning

Canada – Monument 78

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.

IMG_20131003_142328It’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.

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Coming across Red Pass

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Crossing Suiattle Pass early in the morning.

Crossing Suiattle Pass early in the morning.

There were many trees across the trail like this.

There were many trees across the trail like this.

Many muddy miles like this too.

Many muddy miles like this too.

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.

Crossing the border into British Columbia

Crossing the border into British Columbia

Trudging through the snow

Trudging through the snow over Windy Joe Pass towards the monument

Monument 78, the PCT northern terminus monument and the snow covered clear cut that marks the border

Monument 78, the PCT northern terminus monument and the snow covered clear cut that marks the border

I had the honor of sharing my monument trip with Toots Magoots and Tears For Beers

I had the honor of sharing my monument trip with Toots Magoots and Tears For Beers, two of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet!

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!

Mile 2402

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!

Mile 1506 – Half Way with the Oregon Border in sight

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!