Hiker Box Diaries: Blood On The Saddle

We are in the homestretch. The dog days of August. The last few weeks we have stumbled over the blowdowns in Oregon, then wandered through Obsidian and volcanic rock towards Bend. We have stared at the most amazing volcanic peaks; Hood, Jefferson, St. Helens and Adams. Lunches by lakes with Mt. Jefferson in the backdrop made us feel like we were in a photograph. Cowboy camping underneath peaceful skies on a mountain top staring off at a blood red sunset.

These are the best days.

I have walked underneath one of the most amazing waterfalls I have ever seen on the oft used alternate Eagle Creek Trail, when I encountered Tunnel Falls. I have drank water from the clearest, coldest, springs. I have filtered water from ponds filled with bugs, algae and horse dung. I have had beautiful conversations with my trail friends. We have fought. We have gone silent on one another. We forgot what we were fighting about and made up.

We spent three days at PCT Days laughing and reuniting with old trail buddies. We barely slept, while naked imbeciles danced and screamed around our tents. I won a lot of gear at the festival. I badly bruised my ribs in a sleeping bag race. Frost was abducted by a band of hippies for 6 hours and we fretted for hours over her.

We have come across the most amazing trail Angels lately. We have slept on a dirt road with shrubs coming up through our ground cloth. We stayed in the lap of luxury at Callahans lodge. I have eaten Atomic Fireballs for lunch. I have eaten the all you can eat buffet at the Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood. I have walked 4 miles an hour. Sometimes I walk 2 miles an hour. I have yet to walk in rain on the PCT. I have wilted in 110 degree heat constantly. I can’t wait to go home. I am having the time of my life. Three weeks to go.

Random Thoughts I Have Had On The Trail Lately

-I listened to the Alec Baldwin Podcast, (I listen just for his voice), and he spent nearly an hour talking with Actor Kevin Kline. Not once did he ask how he snagged Phoebe Cates in her prime.

-“Burn On” by Randy Newman is my favorite song about a city (Cleveland). I’ve been listening to the “Sail Away” album recently.

-PCT Days is great. It’s not good for sleeping and it was so hot, but Jason does a good job putting it together. Cascade Locks is a good trail town and the Ice Creams at Frosty’s were huge. Squatch was funny as usual as the event’s MC.

-Tunnel Falls was spectacular but there were a billion tourists on the last half of the Eagle Creek Alternate.

-I have seen Mt. St. Helens in recent days. Brings back memories of its explosion in my childhood. I remember newscasts would follow the ash cloud as it traveled around the world, and how it blanketed such huge areas.

-Bend is great, Sisters is great, but I liked Ashland the most.

-The Nemo tent that will be released next year is my new obsession. It’s a sub 2lb tent that compares favorably to he BA Copper Spur and MSR  Hubba Hubba.

-I heard someone argue recently that the PCT is harder than the AT. You would have to be brain dead to think that. Terrain, weather, grades, and scenery all weigh heavily in the PCT’s favor. Appalachian Trail is much harder, day to day.



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