The Legend of Snow on the Trail, Hiking Cryptid of Castle Rock

A new cryptid has emerged, vaporous and phantasmal, along the misty highways of the Pacific Northwest.

If you’re lucky, early in the morning, you may catch a glimpse of them as they move along the roadway, their distinctive purple pack and wide brimmed Tilley hat a key identifying feature that tells you that you’ve encountered the one and only Snow on the Trail. 

I honestly did not start off seeking to be a type of local celebrity, but as I’ve gone through my shakedown tour, something strange has occurred. 

It all started as I stopped one day to pull a quick snack out of my hip belt. I heard something behind me, turning, a man was standing in front of his truck looking bewildered. 

“Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Kalama?” he asked, looking obviously lost. 

I did the best I could to provide him with directions, never telling him one of my many nicknames from my semi driving days was “Wrong Way.”

Honestly, I hope he made it, but I guess I’ll never know. 

That proved to only be the beginning of my experience with people as I went through my day-to-day wanderings. 

People have begun to honk and wave. I see others point and gesture to their passengers as they pass. Fellow pedestrians who are also regulars tend to greet me warmly. 

“I’ve been seeing you everywhere, and always with that pack on, West Side Highway, Ocean Beach Highway, what are you training for?” an older man doing yard work asked me. 

Proffering my card I quickly ran through my goals of hiking the PCT only for him to smile broadly. 

“When I was young, I walked from Ohio to Fairbanks, Alaska.” he said, looking wistfully off into the distance before adding. “Though I did hitch some of the way, mainly across Saskatchewan.”

That Saskatchewan, it’ll get you every time.

It’s a side effect of my daily route that I never expected to happen. People have grown curious about me, but they also expect me to be a local expert. I’ve been asked about local events, things happening around the area. 

Is this where the legends of wandering sages came from? For whatever reason, people seem to see me in my gaiters, with my trekking poles and pack and they think, there’s someone that must know what’s going on. 

But I could not tell you why. 

So, if you are ever out and about near the Cowlitz River, driving in the early morning, keep an eye out.  If you’re lucky, you too may spot the local Hiking Cryptid of Castle Rock, Snow on the Trail.

Snow on the Trail

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