On Sept 9, 2022 Bob and I hiked starting from Lava Lake Trailhead to Matthieu Lake, on the PCT trail. On our way back we took the PCT trail over the lava section to McKenzie Hwy 242 and walked along the road exploring the Dee Wright Observatory and then followed the road back to our car. This area was deeply damaged by the Milli/Nash fire of 2017. Hiking through a burn area and seeing the devastation up close deeply impacted me.
We had some great views of the mountains and of North Matthieu Lake before reaching South Matthieu Lake. This was a gentle hike with a more gentle elevation. We stopped at the South Lake and ate lunch while Panda (bob's giant Schnauzer sank to her chest in the lake shore and enjoyed the coolness of the water.
This was a little meadow meadow lake on the trail.
When we returned we looked over at the PCT trail that continued on the lava rocks. That was an amazing hike to Hwy 242. I truly enjoyed the harshness of the lava flow. It's stark and of course I really had to watch my steps. We crossed Hwy 242 and saw the sign where the PCT heads off across the desolate Lava fields. On a through hike one would not want to be caught out here and searching for a place to camp.
We walked the Hwy to the Dee Wright Observatory and enjoyed the views. There is a trail with interpretive signs. One really struck us. The sign is from an old diary entry from a pioneer crossing the lava. in it he states "I broke an axle today" Bob and I looked across the lava and we had a laugh. The old wagon trail can still be seen in the lava rocks. See below.
This was an amazing section of the PCT.
On Sept 4th 2022 I did an overnight with my hiking friend Bob. We had quite the adventure.
The concept of the trip was to test out my skills and my retro backpacking equipment.
This is the last stove I've purchased and I learned that if I wanted to use this stove I'd have to buy an adaptor. So I bought a new stove. It is kind of fun looking at my retro backpacking gear and deciding if it is still usable. It doesn't fit in with the ultra light trend. My older style REI backpack will be suitable for now.
So Bob and I met up at the Pisgah Trailhead of the Crown Zellerbach Trailhead and then we drove up to Vernonia and checked in with the park host of the primitive campground at Anderson Lake. After we checked in we drove to the Holce Trailhead and parked the other car.
We hiked from The Holce TH down to the Pisgah TH which was about 18 miles. These trail signs are all along the trail showcasing the history of the logging that went on, as this is a rails to trails trail. Also there were many logging camps that were established along the trail. And the signs also highlight the geological history of the trail too. And there are really good mileage markers on the trail.
It was a good hike. We saw a coyote on the trail in a meadow.
After the hike we drove back up to Vernonia to set up our tents. Bob had his new one-person ultra light tent and I had my big two-person Kestrel tent. Unfortunately the rain fly was tacky because I had stored the tent and rainfly in my attic cove for about 20 years. I already had planned to buy a new tent the following week.
We did this trip to practice our camping skills along the PCT. At the campground the small food trailer was open so Bob and I decided to practice our 'trail town' skills so we threw our packs on some benches and bought hamburgers and sundaes from the cart. Bob learned that he needs to eat more calories on his hikes. He scarfed his burger down in a couple of bites.
Then we took our gear and hiked to the primitive camp along Anderson Lake.
That was a great experience. We had one other camper at the site, she brought us some firewood and conversation.
It was early evening and I wasn't tired. We set up our tents and Bob disappeared into his tent and didn't reappear until the next morning. I seemed to be on my own. So I walked back to the food truck area with the bathroom and warm water.
I had a good time hanging around the firepit. I talked with the owner of the food truck and a resident of Vernonia who used to live in Portland. We talked and he said I ought to move out of Portland! They left to go home around 9pm and I headed back to my tent taking a couple of photos of the lake with the light from the moon.
All my concerns about sleeping out in a tent were assuaged. I slept well and woke up feeling energized. Of course the hardest part of any backpacking trip is that waking up during the night to pee. Although the sky is always cool to look at in the middle of the night!
Our trip was a success. We considered this a practice overnight hike for the PCT.
On Aug. 29th my hiking partner and I did a small section of the PCT and hiked around Timothy Lake. We started from the Little crater Lake Campground and went by Little Crater Lake.
Left: Little Crater Lake trail sign, Looking into Little Crater Lake and the gorgeous reflection of the trees on Little Crater Lake. It is amazing and not very large. Surrounding the lake is a large meadow. We continued hiking on a boardwalk and dirt path until we reached the sign for the PCT and the Timothy Lake Trail. Along this section I found some huge Skunk Cabbage leaves. I remember being told that the Native tribes in Alaska used the leaves to wrap around salmon and then bake the salmon.
I seem to have a passion for trail signs. This one marks the turn off for Timothy Lake. Says 15 miles by bike and then we later saw a sign that said 13 miles hiking. Between STRAVA and PCT books I am finding mileage to be a best estimate.
We saw this American Dipper dipping and splashing in this pool of water. The little waterfall was on the other side of the bridge we crossed. It looks like a dot, we had fun watching the bird dip and splash. The other photo is of Timothy Lake, which has an interesting history as it is an artificial lake.
Soon we went down a small rocky patch of trail and crossed the inlet to Timothy Lake. There was a footbridge and next to it there were some stumps and a log across the inlet and I did wonder if this was the old crossing before the bridge was built.
We stopped for a short break and 3 horses came down to cross the inlet. A woman and two children on horses. She said she was training them to cross rivers. Before the inlet there was a trailhead sign to North Pinhead. Looked like another hike for another day!
We came across another trailhead for a future hike. Miller Trail. The best views were of Mt Hood and Timothy Lake. I took a photo of Mt Hood peaking between the trees until we saw it across the lake in all of its majesty.
We reached the other end of Timothy Lake and headed back to Little Crater Lake campground. This is a relatively flat trail with minor ups and downs on a mainly forested trail of dirt.
There were some bikes and many campers and trail runners. we met one lady camping with two dogs and her cat. I'm not sure I would let my cat free range in a camp site. She said the cat hunts and brought her a dead chipmunk. That surprised me and I did wonder about the ethics of that.
Towards the end of our hike I was very focused on a huckleberry shake at the Huckleberry Inn at Government Camp on my way home.
On Sunday Bob, Panda and myself hiked from Chinook Pass at Hwy SR410 to dewey Lake and back to the car. It was a long day as we were up around 4am to drive from Vancouver to Chinook Pass, hike and drive home. The downside to section hiking as day trips.
This trail was really crowded too which really slowed us down. We met thru-hikers, and people out hiking for the day. I think I am a bit of a hiking snob as I am reminded of what hiking used to be like in the 70's - 90's when trails were much less crowded and people took hiking as a more serious endeavor. The attitude now is everyone is a hiker and hiking is no more serious than walking around your neighborhood.
It's hard to really enjoy the views when people are surrounding you at the viewpoints. Plus constantly stopping to let people pass or to pass people along the trail.
On the plus side hiking is more accessible to everyone.
These were some photos I took from Wa Na Pa Street. The photo of the real bridge was taken from Marine Park towards the parking lot by the fishing area at Marine Park.
I walked around Marine Park waiting for PCT Days to open. I didn't take any photos of the area with all the booths and food trucks.
There is a statue of a cougar and Sacajawea carrying her papoose. The Sternwheeler was returning from a tour. I took two photos of tribal fishing platforms that are used by the Native Americans who fish for salmon on the Columbia River.
I sat on the rocky protuberance. Thunder Island is in the background where the thru-hikers could camp for free during PCT Days.
PCT Days has many vendors selling everything from books to dehydrated food, stoves, tents, backpacks etc... I stopped by Next Adventure and was fitted for some insoles for my Altra trail shoes. The person who fitted my foot knew what he was talking about.
I met Liz 'Snorkel' Thomas who advocated Thru-hiking your city and is a long distance hiker. That was cool. I always enjoy meeting and talking to people who I feature on my website.
I bought a couple of books from Mountaineers Books as they had them marked down to $10 per book.
As a section hiker I looked at the latest and lightest gear. I have my backpacking gear from probably the early 90's. Remember the inflatable Thermarest pad? You open the valve and it inflates on it's own.
It was an enjoyable event. A great gathering of thru-hikers who used this time to rest, catch up with their hiker friends and eat.
I headed home in the late afternoon.
On Friday Aug. 19th Bob and I hiked the short section of the PCT from the Bridge of the gods trail sign to the bridge that is off of Dry Creek Rd. Our goal was Dry Creek Falls and then back to Cascade Locks to check out the PCT Days event in Cascade Locks later that day.
My last time on this trail was before the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017. This is what it looks like now.
This was our goal. To walk to Dry Creek Falls.
This is what is left of the famous 'shoe tree' near Dry Creek Falls. It used to have more larger branches with many more trail shoes hanging from the branches. I only saw one pair of shoes this time.
Below is a photo of Dry Creek.
I took some photos of the berries that I found as we headed back to Cascade Locks. We hiked back along Dry Creek Road. It does get dry and grassy on the way back to town!
Fairy Bells (Prosartes hookeri)
Snowberry also known as Waxberry.
I am a very active member of the AVA (American Volkssport Association dba America's Walking Club.
At a multi-day walk event held in Ashland OR our AVA President who lives in WA worked diligently to create a PCT hiker challenge book and sanctioned sections of the Pacific Crest Trail for volkswalkers and anyone else who is interested in the AVA to walk. Or check out my.ava.org to sign up for an account.
My friend Bob, had never hiked on the PCT before and he had this vision of section hiking the PCT in WA, eventually doing the entire PCT.
We've walked together before on long hikes so he asked me if I was interested in doing this with him. I said yes.
Every year in September the AVA fund raises and is part of the Big Give. The AVA tries to raise enough money through donations, campaigns and match donations.
Bob and I along with his dog Panda are hiking the PCT and asking people to pledge money to support the AVA.
We are calling this The Big Walk.
We hope to raise money to keep the AVA organization strong.
So that's why we decided to section hike the PCT. It may take us a few years but it is a worthy goal. So far my 'take' on the PCT is it is as stunning as it is brutal!
I confess I do not know the name of these falls but they are on CG2000 Rd. It seems to be a popular area for folks to access by car.
On Aug 14th Bob and I went back to hike from Rock Creek Rd to Panther Creek Campground. We were able to skip the first mile and a half of the PCT by parking on CG2070 which crosses the PCT.
A side note we both bought new shoes to hike in. Bob bought Merrell hiking boots and I went back to the Lone Peak trail shoe. The newer models do not have the velcro to attach the Dirty Girl Gaiters to. I don't know why Altra discontinued that on the new model of the Lone Peak.
This time I brought along a walking stick that I have had since the 1980's. Something that my exhusband found on one of our backpacking trips and he stained the wood and put a rubber cap on the bottom. (I only dropped it seven times while we hiked!). When we were dating and I was on a seven week trip to Alaska, Harry attempted to section hike the PCT around Kennedy Meadows. His feet were blistered and a doctor told him not to do the hike so he never did get back to the PCT, I used the stick and liked to think he appreciated that I am doing this hike.
I also wore my tee shirt from my walk relay team, The Vintage Whine Walkers. Our team captain is very energetic and involved in many activities but feels thru-hiking the PCT is beyond her reach now. It feels like she is hiking with me when I wear the shirt. (She and I watch America Ninja Warrior when it's on and we text each other during the show since we are not watching it together).
Not 100% sure but I think this is a banana slug. We saw many of these along this section of the PCT.
Slowly some of my knowledge of identifying plants is returning to me. This is Vanilla Leaf also called Deer Foot.
This segment was much easier, thus more enjoyable. Our total elevation gain for the hike was 2368 ft.
There was a break in the trees and we got a view of Mt. Hood. Then we hiked and found an amazing viewpoint looking way down into a ravine with a river. There was a rock outcrop that was perfect for sitting on and eating our lunch.
After lunch we continued hiking and came across NB thru-hikers who told us about trail angel magic at Trout creek. The word gets passed up and down the trail and the hikers hike a little faster to get to the trail angels before the food and drink runs out. I don't recall their names but they too had thru-hiked the PCT in a previous year. Below is a photo of Trout Creek.
This is a photo of Bunker Hill. I have previously hiked to the top
This was the view of the Wind River from the bridge we crossed.
Once again Strava fooled me with the mileage. Of course we had more roads to cross before reaching Panther Creek Campground.
One reason for being close to hitting the wall about 3-4 miles from the end is perhaps due to not stopping and eating and drinking some electrolytes. I tend to focus on the finishing and instead I need to stop and get some much needed nutrition in me in order to finish the hike and not feel exhausted by the end.
Our next sections are out of sequence. We plan to hike the Herman Creek Pinnacles area of the PCT and then check out PCT days. And then our next hikes will be two trails at Mt. Rainier.
On Aug. 6th Bob and I took on the second section of our section hike of the PCT. It took us 1 1/2 hrs to park our cars at Rock Creek Rd where it crosses the PCT and at Panther Creek Campground 15.5 miles away. We started our walk at Rock Creek Rd.
We crossed Rock Creek on the bridge meeting thru-hikers filtering water and taking in the view. Our next crossing was Snag Creek.
Snag Creek was not a big Creek at this time of the year. Crossing this creek I realized the tread on my Altra Lone Peak boots were slipping. The tread was good but as I stepped onto a wet boulder my footing was not secure. On the loose rocks I noticed this too.
The above is a photo taken along the trail. We didn't get more than three miles into the trail when I tripped on something and plummeted to the ground my nose making perfect contact on a small sharp rock. I heard cartilage crunch so lying on my side I reached for my bandana to stop my nose from bleeding. Nothing bled. I sat up feeling a bit dazed, my nose was scratched a bit, it didn't bleed and luckily for me nothing was broken. The humorous aspect of my fall was me groping around for my glasses and Bob telling me I was still wearing them.
My confidence was shaken and I felt more comfortable hiking back to Rock Creek instead of going forward. I was being overly cautious. Bob agreed and so we decided to do this section again within a couple of weeks.
When we drove to Panther Creek we found trail angels, Oakley and Birdbath doing trail magic. Some thru-hikers were enjoying campchairs, fresh fruit, soda and a chance to relax and talk. Oakley and Birdbath had completed the PCT in an earlier year.
Trail names are part of the fun of Long Distance thru-hiking, We met many and some of the trail names were Misplaced, Four Shirts, Tacos and Happy Fate.
I don't know if section hikers get trail names. I wanted mine to be Scout but Bob thinks Hardnose is a much more appropriate trail name for me. I haven't come up with a name for him yet.
A friend of mine in the volkswalking community wants to section hike the PCT Trail in WA and asked if I would want to do this too. I am giving it some serious consideration.
On Sunday morning (July 24th) we met at the parking lot by the Bridge of the gods off of SR14. We dropped off a car where the PCT crossed CG-2000 Rd near Rock Creek and then parked the other car where we started in the parking lot. It was 7:30am when we began walking.
I was prepared. I made sure to eat a hearty breakfast. A bowl of oatmeal seemed like it would sustain me for a few hours. I carried 12oz of an electrolyte Nuun drink plus 100oz of water in a CamelBak. It was my first time using one and I am convinced it kept me hydrated as I sipped and walked. I carried medical supplies, an emergency blanket, flashlight, food, mapping apps etc... I let a friend know where I was going and sent him a photo of myself with what I was wearing on the hike. I knew this was not going to be an easy hike and I have heard of too many people who go missing in the Columbia Gorge each year.
I had some personal concerns because I hadn't walked a long distance since Covid in 2019 nor had I carried a heavy daypack for many years.
The walk to Gillette Lake was easy. (This is a photo of Gillette Lake from a previous trip)
I had heard of Table Mountain and I knew it was a steep hike but I wasn't thinking of the elevation gain that we had ahead of us. By the end of the hike we had gained 4657 feet. We were climbing for most of the 19 mile hike.
We spent alot of time hiking around Table Mountain and the slopes. We climbed switchbacks and rock slopes.
We crossed about 15 of these slopes with the rocks. And as the day dragged on the temperature climbed. I only know it was above the 90's. We reached a point where we discovered that there was a 10 mile section without a water source.
In my mind I had that 'aha' moment. I really understood how easily hikers go on a hike in the Gorge and seriously underestimate the trail length, elevation and weather. We were at the halfway point and just in the beginning of the waterless stretch and the consequences of our decision could be the difference between a successful trip or being rescued. We pushed on and took our time.
We met section hikers and thru-hikers which was fun. One woman said she had hiked 33 miles the previous day and was doing 19 the day we met her. I think the thru-hikers kept us motivated.
My friend had his dog and had to share his water with his dog. Not having water for 10 miles became more critical as the day wore on.
The PCT is as gorgeous as it is brutal. The views were stunning. At times we could look over to views of Bonneville Dam and then further along we had views of Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and even Mt Rainier. Mt Hood too.
We both relied on STRAVA to mark our distance so it was disappointing when around 5:30pm I had reached the 18.5 mile mark and according to the maps we had another 3 miles to walk. PCT has it as an 18 mile stretch or 19 according to what books one reads. STRAVA had 21.47 miles when we finished our hike.
What I learned from that is not to assume STRAVA is correct in reporting mileage.
It was an amazing hike. We finished in 9hrs and 34 minutes.
I was tired since my day had begun around 4:30am but the next day I felt good except for a blister. I wore Altra Torins and I think my feet were beat up a bit on the rocky slopes. I have Altra hiking shoes and I think my next hike I will wear those instead. I am reassured that section hiking the PCT in WA is doable.
WALKING A MARATHON
I began power walking about four years ago. I had been a runner (jogger, really). I spent a lot of time in the gym using exercise equipment, lifting light weights and attending group fitness classes. Over time, I began feeling aches and pains, specifically my knees. This was not unexpected as years of pounding in high impact activities would surely lead to wear and tear injuries, but I didn’t want these issues to progress to surgery later on. I decided to switch to power walking and quickly became obsessed.
I had always wanted to complete a marathon. One day while walking, I thought “Why not walk a marathon?!” I registered for a marathon not far from where I lived. I had been increasing speed and distance as my walking progressed. I never entertained the thought that I might not finish the marathon. I had no idea what to expect but was eager.
On marathon day, I felt enthusiastic. I experienced a little anxiety, but that was mostly related to concerns about where to park, how to dress for the weather, etc. I got caught up in the crowd’s excitement as start time approached. Participants were chatting while stretching and warming up. The colorful athletic wear, upbeat music, cheering spectators and overall energy were stimulating. I was ready.
I started out near the back of the group. (I learned later that this is a good spot as participants are bottled-necked in front.) I was pumping my arms and walking fast. I passed some runners (!) and felt even more confident that I would not only finish but also perform well. Along the way, many folks asked “Are you going to walk the entire race!?” I was not the only walker. Of course, I felt fatigued after a lot of miles. My back and feet were aching. I stopped at some hydration stations, and I had a pocket full of peanuts (and I kept thinking about my post-race reward of donuts!). I said “good job” to fellow participants as I moved forward, and it felt important to thank the wonderful spectators. Around miles 16 & 20, I “hit the wall” which means that I felt worn out. I rallied. I looked around as I walked, noticing nature and interesting things. Fast forward (really fast walking!), I crossed the finish line. I felt great mentally, emotionally and, yes, physically. I had done it! My mantra had been “have a good time” (referring to a fun experience, not a clock time). I will say that after 5 hours, 32 minutes of walking, the crowd at the finish line had thinned as most competitors, especially the elite runners, had completed their race long before me. However, there were plenty of participants still crossing the finish line, and I quickly moved to the fence to cheer them on.
I returned home and, within a few days, signed up for my next marathon. I have now completed 26 marathons and counting! Just about anyone can do this! It’s simple: Put on some comfy sneakers and baggy clothes and just start walking!
Young autistic Watertown resident completes personal quest to walk every street (Article link below)
This is the article written by Phoebe Gray on Aug 18, 2020
There are numerous walking/running apps that record your routes. Many offer free versions. Along with the mapping apps came a new trend on making GPS art from walks.
Have you ever looked at your route after a walk and thought there was a design or a picture of something that you created on your walk?
Now you can learn about GPS art and create walks that draw shapes.
The two articles are about runners who do GPS art. Swap walking for running and you're all set to do your own walking art walks.
The one article talks about the network of city streets as a palette for creating art. I think it is more like an Etch-a-Sketch since you can 'erase' your walk and do another design using the same streets.
How to Make GPS Art
Making Art on the Run? includes a video
Below is a YouTube video by John E. Hiker that I found really informative. He makes a good point that the Federal and State organizations et al that maintain trails have a limited budget. So bridges that wash out are not always being replaced in a timely fashion. Especially on more of the remote trails.
Knowing how to safely cross a river is an important skill for backpackers.
Some immediate take aways are to cross in the morning when snow fed rivers and streams are at their lowest. Wear shoes or waterproof socks or even wool socks to cross rivers. Rocks are slippery and you may lose your footing or injure yourself going barefoot.
Undo the straps on your pack both waist and sternum straps.
Use a pole or find a sturdy stick to use to probe the river as you cross and also as leverage to help you stay balanced and upright.
It is challenging to keep up with all the people who are walking across the United states to raise awareness for causes. I try to follow and find as many as I can but I know I am not inclusive of everyone.
I really do find much of my information from links on Facebook and my own google searches. This morning I read a post from a friend in Denver Colorado about Peter Munson's walk across the United States.
Peter is walking across the US to raise awareness for children in need.
6 Million Steps for Kids has the information about his journey and the charities he is working with to raise money.
From my friend's post it looks like he is near Denver Colorado today. His journey is from East to West.
I have followed People walker since I first heard about this business a few years ago. I loved the concept of being a people walker and did email Chuck to enquire about how to do this in Portland, OR. When they expanded to other cities I applied to be a people walker in Portland. I was hired, and I felt like I have a strong background in walking knowledge and I do walk. I was disappointed with the lack of people wanting to pay to walk in Portland and some disappointment in a lack of support to getting started in Portland. I still think their main focus was on the LA area and not enough support was given to the other cities.
I do support the concept and I understand that the app they created to connect people with people walkers needed funding and due to a lack of resources the app is no longer available.
I am happy to see that Chuck did a TED talk and I hope he is able to build his business and create a people walking niche. Now more than ever there is an increasing need to walk and spend time disconnected from our electronic devices.
This article was brought to my attention through someone contacting me with an article that one of her students found. I was asked to post this article.
I am happy to do so. I understand a pizza is involved for this young lady if I post the article. How can I resist that?
Tips for Pedestrian Safety: Walking Safety Rules
In general I agree with what is suggested for walking safely. It also raises some red flags about the issue of putting all of the responsibility for walking on the pedestrian. The people who are driving are absolved of taking responsibility for their driving behavior. There are many articles about this subject of victim blaming in crashes between pedestrians and drivers. Here is one article: We Blame Pedestrians for Dying Even When Drivers are at Fault.
Of course, a pedestrian needs to be safe and it is important to be safe not dead even if the law says all intersections are considered a legal crosswalk. If a driver ignores that, stepping into an oncoming vehicle would not be in your best interest.
I think being alert, making sure the driver sees you or it is safe to cross before crossing, not walking while distracted all of these are valid considerations. Drivers also have responsibilities too. Driving is a privilege not a right.
A veteran wildlands firefighter tells hikers how to react to fires (from PCTA blog April 15 2019 by Ken "granny Gear" Hale
I am going to post the link to the blog here: https://www.pcta.org/2019/a-veteran-wildland-firefighter-tells-hikers-how-to-react-to-fires-64549/?fbclid=IwAR3dUqhRC-FMzffXHn_ochV1cxEmJSrgQ529riqHuXYpUSDIh-t2X5fK_gc As we head into wildfire season this is really good information for through hikers, day hikers, backpackers. Be safe on the trails.
This is a fun video to watch as it is set to music and shows people walking and different modes of transportation back in the day. It is amazing to see how people moved out of the way for each other and it all seems so synchronized. As more cars became the norm more people died or became injured while on foot.
This is a recent article on Mall Walking that was written for Groupworks. Here is the link to the article https://groupworks.com/blog/group-activity-spotlight-mall-walking/
I am an avid walker and hiker. My favorite is a long hike. I also enjoy taking off and going on a meandering walk for a few hours. I've hiked rim to rim in the Grand Canyon and I did 3 Burning Boot Walks on Vancouver Island.