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[pct-l] Hwy 58 to Columbia River

>From the archives...

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [PCT-L] Love letters & advice
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 03:40:31 -0500 (CDT)
From: nebraska@wolfe.net (Craig Giffen)
Reply-To: pct-l@patsy.hack.net
To: jjolson@u.washington.edu

Ok here is a (long) summary of my hike from Highway 58 Near Mojave, to
Columbia River.

Solo hiking - Ok, at first I was very unsure about how I would hold up.
Now, I LOVE solo hiking.  Hiking with someone was nice, but going solo
don't have to compromise.  If I wanted to walk 5 miles and stop I
would.  If
I wanted to walk 30 miles then stop for breakfast, I would!  Because I

Pace - The old pace was 2mph.  It was really hard to pull an 18 mile day
the High Sierras.  All kinds of PCT people ran out of food.  Somewhere
the line I forced myself to walk faster.  My body could easily handle
quicker pace, but my mind had been stuck in the 2mph mind set for so
Then it was easy to do 2.5 to 3 mph quite easily.  This opens up your
options immensely!  Get up at 6:30am, hiking by 6:45am...you can have a
mile day done by 3:00pm, that is with breaks.  Hiking faster gave me
time to fart around and read or whatever, and go far enough to make me
like I accomplished something.

Tent:  Had one of those Walrus Solo tents.  Hardly used it at all, but
wasn't until I hit a bad
snowstorm near the Three Sisters in Oregon that I really needed it.
on my plastic sheet and
thermarest 95% of the time.  Less to deal with in the morning, and much
easier to stealth camp.

Running Shoes - IMO, for me at least, running shoes are the only way to
provided it is summer weather.  My feet didn't' hurt at the end of the
and I felt more flexible.

White Gas - My Peak 1 will burn unleaded so it wasn't a problem finding
White gas was pretty easy to find, you just had to ask campers at
etc.  Cascade summit sold white gas in bulk.....for a net cost of $12.80
gallon.  I could either fill my fuel bottle for $2.20 white gas, or a
whopping 20 cents for unleaded...go figure.

Stealth Camping:  For me this was THE ONLY way to go.  One hiker (more
him later) couldn't
understand why I would never know where I was going to be camping.
find a flat spot 4
feet by 7 feet and that is it.  If I came to a nice site at a lake, I
cook dinner there, but then
move down the line.

Guidebooks:  Worked OK for me, but I can't stand their take on
"This is your first real
campsite since (blah blah blah) 25 miles back"  I found about 150
spots in those 25 miles
near Sonora Pass.  I saw several messages and "open letters" to the
"The books are
poorly written, out of date, probably the reason the hiker died looking
the shelter a few miles
north of Belden".  Granted the shelter is nothing like the book makes it
to be, I almost missed
it because all I saw was a hole in the ground and some rotted logs for
walls.  It was much closer to
a big mining shaft entrance.  The guidebooks served their purpose for me
least.  Some hikers griped about the overhead section maps not showing
restaurants/bus lines/etc were.  That is have the fun of the PCT
is figuring things out as you go...geeze.  (Then again maybe I'm going
to much detail on this post)

Water Filter:  Sweetwater Girardian.  Worked well, though PUR has a
warranty when it
comes to economic reasons (PUR's is good for a year-hence a thru hike)
went through 3
cartridges in 1700 miles.  The pump unit broke (top of the cylindrical
shaft) the day before I reached Seiad Valley.  I called them up and she
Federal Expressed me a new one to the Ashland Hostel.  I just had to
mail my
broken one back.  That was the only cost on my part.

Water purification:  Didn't filter water in the high mountains if I was
the source of a spring.
After a couple of months, the only time I would filter would be if there
were cows around or it was
from a lake.

Getting Sick:  Felt good the whole hike, except about the last 30 miles
Castle Crags.  I felt
really lousy around 8:00pm and decided to camp.  I woke up the next
morning...at 11:30 am!
Ohhhhhh goshh.   Dizzy, no appetite, no energy whatsoever.  After 30 min
walking I had to do
a #2 (poop).  Ummm, not solid at all.  I struggled to go ten miles, then
camped.  I woke up the
next morning with bad diarrhea, but felt more energetic.  I took some
anti-diarrhea pills in Castella
and have felt fine since.  Don't know if it was bad water or what.

Soap:  PLEASE do not take it or biodegradable soap into the woods.  Half
lakes in the Sierras have soap bubbles in every nook and cranny.  Though
bio stuff you can bury, it would be too much of a pain in the butt do it
correctly like the directions say, every few days.  Hence, many
say heck with it..."the label says it's biodegradable".

Mosquitoes:  ZZZZZZZZZZZ.  Made life hell at times.  The only super
time was going
through Gracie meadows near Dorothy Lake in the high sierras.  It was
and I had to put on all
my clothes, including poncho!

Camera - Had a Pentax 90WR.  Heavier, but sturdy as hall.  Twice I
it off a rock with no problems.  Very water proof too, heard a story
one going through a washing machine, then the dryer.  I went through 8
of film for Washington, and went through 27 rolls for this trip.

Pack Weight - I think the total weight was about 28 pounds without
food.  I
didn't have much stuff either.  My food seemed to average 3 pounds per


Did the corn pasta thing awhile, I could eat it.  It was my hummus
& pesto sauce mixes I was getting sick of.  Look for my new book
soon "Puking Corn Pasta: My Mexico - Canada PCT Hike".  Powerbars,
though I
had many...are overrated.  Snickers (King size...right Pete?) work just
well at half the cost if you get them on sale.  I also made a 4 foot by
foot by 2 inch thick rice krispy treat, packed with nuts, etc.  Gorp,
and I grew tired of it.  Wasn't until I dumped a bag of Fritos in that I
looked forward to eating it again.  (Had to avoid picking out just the
Fritos).  I was quite happy with lipton rice & sauce, or noodles &

Starving -  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't ration food the first
days.  I had to pull a "Lipton 30" into Crater Lake.  One bag of Lipton
Noodles & Sauce to go 30 miles.  Made it in pretty easy however.


   Lone Pine - I opted for bailing out at Trail pass to Lone Pine.
well.  Getting a ride back
up to Horseshoe Meadows was a little tougher.  It was a Sunday but it
seem like a zoo like
the book said.  One guy stopped....he had a business of getting people
the mountains.
Would cost $30.00 to go the 22 miles  (Ha Ha).  I stuck it out for
longer and got a ride.
Getting a ride to Whitney Portal would be pretty easy, but then you have
8500 to 13000 foot
elevation gain.  In Lone Pine I hitchhiked 60 miles up to Bishop.  A PCT
hiker told me about a
place to sleep in town for free and you wouldn't get disturbed.  It is
in a
vacant weeded area east
of the city park  I plopped my sleeping bag (no tent, could be seen from
street) under the
cottonwood trees and was snoozing.  I also hit the AYCE Sizzler for a 3
eating/letter writing

Vermilion Valley Resort- Wasn't planning on stopping here but it was
and everyone
heading south told me I HAD to go there.  What the heck.  I was going to
walk the 6 miles, but
then decided to splurge and ride the ferry instead.  It leaves the dock
around 10:00am and
4:00pm...can't remember for sure.  It is $7.50 each way, $14.00 round
When you get to the
resort you get a FREE BEER and your first night in the tent cabins is
Butch is a really nice
guy, I was really glad I stopped at Vermillion.Good food at the cafe.

  Red's Meadow - Expensive.  $5.00 for a package of Oreos.  I rode the
to the Mammoth ski
area then hitched to Mammoth Lakes.  Big grocery store, nice town.  Saw
lame Hollywood
fodder action flick (big aliens over the skies); but it was fun to see a
movie while on the trail...and
eat a big package of chocolate covered Marshmallow cookies!

Tuolumne Meadows - The general store was really good.  They had a lot of
backpacking related
items, wool socks, Coleman Peak 1 stoves, etc. for sale.  The girl at
counter was also playing
the Grateful Dead, so it gets another brownie point in my book.

Echo Lake Resort - This wins the Nazi price award.  Kennedy Meadows is a
long way from a store
and their prices were not out of hand.  Echo Lake is a 20 min drive from
Tahoe City.  They justify their prices either because they:

  1.  Use 7-11 as their food wholesaler
  2.  Are not good with geography and believe that they are in a remote
of Northern Siberia.
  3.  Really want to sock it to the rich boaters who were not smart
to stop in Tahoe for food.

They take their price gun and tack $.90 overtop of the factory $.59
price on
a package of Grandma's cookies (I gained a special relationship with
cookies while on the trail).

$5.50 for a milkshake.  Granted they are handmade...but just about every
milkshake you buy with hard ice cream IS handmade.  When I hitch-hiked
Tahoe, I asked the guy who picked my up on his opinions of Echo Lake
He said he went there one time to get his 20 oz coffee cup filled, the
didn't have enough to fill it to the top...only 3/4 of the way.  So she
charged him $2.00 instead of $2.50.  Oh yeah, if you want water...you
buy it...or get it from the motor boat ridden lake!  They have to truck
their water (what I was told).

Soda Springs - Dropped off here cause I was really really hungry.  1/2
Gallon of ice cream right down the hatch in 15 min flat!

Sierra City - Wins my "favorite" award.  Prices LOW  (40 cents for Pepsi
Coke 60 cents for Coke or Pepsi products).  $2.50 for a FAT
Plus I chatted with Bob (who is in Cindy Ross' book) for a couple
hours.  He
was wearing a "I eat spotted owl for dinner" T-Shirt.  I later heard
of a different account of Cindy & Bob's couple days together..."Cindy
Ross -
The Unauthorized Biography"

Belden - Nice place also, smaller supplies than Sierra City.  Ryan & I
decided we hadn't really executed any bad ideas on our respective trips
far...so we decided to hitchhike into the town of Quincy.  After waiting
hour, we get a ride into Quincy (without our packs).  At first I thought
was because there was two of us, but I later found out that it is
to get a ride in the Quincy area....even if you are a 50 year old woman
herself.  We hit the Safeway and go bezerk...so much food...so little
stomach space.  We saw that Round Table Pizza had a lunch buffet from
to 2pm.  All you can eat Salad, Soup, & pizza.  We figured if we
get a ride out of Quincy, we could hit Round Table before trying to
out the next day.  As it was getting darker and we were having no luck
getting out of town.  A guy stopped though because he saw my Grateful
shirt and wondered if we needed help getting anywhere.  He was only
going a
mile up the road.  Anyway.  About 9:30pm we are still standing on the
of this jerkwater town when the cops pull up...headlights on us.
"Uhh...we've see you guys three times now (we were walking from the
store to
the highway)...what are you doing?".  We both explained out situation.
was a fucking 5 min interrogation on where we resupplied at for the past
1000 miles and how we liked certain areas.  It wasn't the "Gee we are
interested in your hike" it was more like "Let's make sure they are not
lying".  They asked for our ID's.  Normally I would throw up a stink
(plus I
just finished reading Orwell's 1984); but I complied cause we might be
in the town all night.  After that mess was over we needed to figure out
sleeping situation.  Keep in mind we still didn't have our packs. DOH!
would be $40.00 for a motel room.  That would be no fun...plus that is A
of valuable food!  We bought a few newspapers and dumpster dived some
cardboard.  We walked out to Feather River College and up into the woods
where it was MUCH warmer than the valley.  Cardboard on the ground,
newspapers ontop of us...it was sleep time.  The newspaper was a
surprisingly warm blanket.  I was just a hair too cold still and
sleep.  It just would have been Sunday dammit...I would have had enough
newspaper!  Push comes to shove and we still can't get a ride out the
morning.  We walk to RT Pizza and are there at 11:00am.  Wow, pizza!
in mind though we were not absolutely pigging out.  After about an hour
a half of talking...something unexpected happened.  The owner came out
his office and put both hands on the edges of the table.  "Guy's
c'mon...gimme a break...you've been here for an hour...don't you think
it is
time to get rolling on?".  Keep in mind this is the same asshole who
his hand as an ice scoop for my pop!  Anyone have the corporate
address/phone number for Round Table Pizza.  There isn't one in my area.
Their web page doesn't have anything.
       Anyway we eventually made it back to Belden....at 4:00pm.  (after
being told to get the hell off the road).  This area had several "yellow
ribbons" around town.  They were not leftovers from the Oil War of '91.
They were to support the loggers who were losing jobs cause the
was locking up federal timber (none left, eh?)  There were bumper to
logging trucks with big trees cruising down the highway.

Black Forest Cafe on Hwy 36 -  Had to walk the 1.5 miles, couldn't get a
ride.  I got a beer and waited for Ryan to come in.  After a half hour I
started feeling sick.  I got up and proceeded to walk to the bathroom.
Right then Ryan came in.  I said "Hi".  The next thing I knew I was
lying on
the floor!  The heat of walking on the pavement for 1.5 miles screwed me
Fluid and a cheeseburger cured me.

GUIDEBOOK's DESCRIPTION OF THIS PLACE!  Cruise down to the ranch.  The
who runs it is extremely nice.  I got there at 5:30pm.  He said it was
late to get a meal.  They make 75 dinners a night for 4 months
straight.  I
could either get a "hiker plate" (bread, cheeses, meats, veggies)..  He
me to come back around 7:00pm and he could see what they could whip up
me.  The he said some very precious words "In the meantime, FEEL FREE TO
after scrubbing my feet in the shower for several minutes, I finally
my skin layer.  I put on some clean shorts since I didn't want to get
pool dirty and have them start turning away PCT hikers because of me.
Everyone was at dinner, so I had the pool to myself.  105 degree water,
at the jets.  This was much better than sex, or fresh headlamp batteries
a dark night.  Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..  After getting out I went back
to the eating room around  7:15pm.  He cut me a deal on some leftovers
they happened to have some.  Even though I wasn't that hungry, I got
anyway....since he let me us the shower/pool.  If you want to stay there
is $150 per night, this includes lodging and meals I believe...and you
to make reservation a year in advance.

Old Station - Did another 1/2 gallon of ice cream here, and a large
Good pizza too. The guy told me that his pizza place was a zoo when all
thru-hikers came through.  They all went through their boxes in the
restaurant, ordering pizza all night.  He said he was surprised at how
money some of the hikers spend to do this trip.

Burney Falls - Only place on the trail I didn't spend any money.  $1.00
a candybar.  It was basically a city in the woods.  128 noisy sites.

Castella - I was a little bent out of shape about having to hike an
extra 3
miles from I-5 down to the Post Office / Store.  You start walking the
section before you resupply.  I just had it stuck in my head that it
far.  Read Craig read!  I hitched up to Shasta for a bigger store and
mega-super duper heavy duty deluxe diarrhea pills.  Shasta was a neat
Bought a couple used books for the trail and hitched back to Castella.
crank-head picked me up.  Nice guy, but he said he had just gotten out
the woods..had been up on crank for 4 days straight.  Oh well, the
you meet on the adventure.

Hwy 3 -  This doesn't really count but I stammer down to the Hwy 3
"Oh I guess I'll shove some boring food down my stomach when I get to
pass" I thought to myself.  I get there...and there is a catering truck
there selling hamburgers and hot dogs for a construction crew!  There
was a
crew there laying a fiber-optic cable from Oregon to California to
Hawaii to
Japan!  At 10:00am I was eating a fat cheeseburger and pop!

Seiad Valley - Fun place.  Another 1/2 gallon ice cream stop.  The cafe
excellent.  The PCT pancake challenge is impossible...unless you are
able to
stash the pancakes down your pants without him seeing!  He said it has
about 5 years since anyone has ever done it...hundreds tried...only 3
have done it.  The pancakes are huge and thick...and you have to eat
Only $3.95 for the six though.  Good prices.  Another thing...don't
the five bucks to through your tent up at the Mid River RV park.  Cruise
mile down the road (west) (trail basically) to the Wrighwood bar.  It is
really cool roadhouse with all the local people.  The owner loves hikers
lets you pitch a tent out in the volleyball field or sleep on the beat
couch out back.  He wasn't there when I was...he seemed like a cool guy
what I was told.  He even has his own "Wrightwood Bar PCT register".
Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Dead Kennedys, and Bob Dylan all in the same
record collection!  All the thru-hikers went on what a cool place it
(See my note about cheating also)
    I was gonna leave in the afternoon the next day, but as I was
down the road I passed the Wrightwood again.  I decided to go around
and get the remaining jolly ranchers out of the hiker box before I
never left the bar after that.  Fell asleep on the couch.  Left the next
morning though!

Ashland:  Didn't eat at Callahans.  The store looks like it is shut down
good (the sign said "Stor") and it looked empty inside.  The hostess
Traffic was really slow by the entrance ramp near the restaurant.  It
weird hitching on a major interstate.  There really wasn't room for cars
pull off safely, if you walk about a mile north on I-5 there is a
truck ramp with a little more space...but this presents its own
problems.  I
did get picked up though.  Get dropped off at the second Ashland exit,
it is
near the grocery stores.  You have to walk almost 3 miles down the main
street to get to the hostel.  The hostel $13.00 per night...and is
from 10:00am - 5:00pm. (You can't get in to get access to your stuff
these times)  I spent 3 days here.  Went and saw the non-Hollywood
"Trainspotting". movie.  Yes Mr. Dole, it makes me want to run right out
shoot heroin.  The hostel had a couple bicycles (suicide machines) you
ride.  I emptied my pack and rode across town to the store.  I bought
food to get me through Oregon...then boxed it up at the hostel.  The
office is pretty close to the hostel.  When you first get to Ashland
dirty and smelly and unshaved) be sure to wear a big sign that reads "I
NOT RIFF-RAFF....I AM A PCT HIKER"  This way the cops won't shove you to
edge of town.  This didn't happen to me but I heard stories.

Crater Lake:  Nice place.  I was befriended by a girl who worked there
so we
hung out for a couple of days.   A lot of the tourist "Why don't you
build a
road down to the lake so we don't have to walk?" types.  Still an
place.  The NPS are nazi like. maybe it's cause Newt G. has the National
Parks on the line.  You get busted hard-core for sleeping overnight
in the park if it isn't an established site.  The Mazama campground is
$11.00 to park a tent!  I don't know how it works on the PCT but they
you to fill out a permit on the trail when you enter the park.  "Naw,
through permit is no good, you see we need to have an accurate
count of the amount of people on our trails, so we will get our budget
next year."; I was told by an unfriendly NPS guy.
      Oh yeah, try and hike the Crater Lake area soon. The entire
boundary outside the park is scheduled to be clear-cut soon!  I'm losing
faith in trying to do anything to stop it.  Like Bob Marley says, "Have
fear for atomic energy, cause nothing can stop the time"

Cascade Summit -Pretty meager food supplies.  Better selection of
to rent!  There is a small deli counter.  PCT people can camp for free
think the first night or something) at the designated spots.  You can
9 miles south on highway 58 to Crescent JCT, where I am told there is a
and bigger store.

Sisters/Bend - This was an unexpected.  See the weather portion below as
why I bailed out to these towns for a few days.  Sisters is nice.  You
camp in the city park!  $4.00 for an established hiker/biker camp, or
can camp in the weeds for free!

Ollalie Lake GS - Ok place, the basketball hoop makes it unique.  They
didn't have a "hiker box" at the Guard station.  They had a "hiker
can"!  A
40 gallon metal garbage can stuffed with aborted resupply boxes,
powerbars, enough food to stay the winter!

Gvt Camp - Hitched here to make a phone call, 24 hour
good food.  The rest area makes a good sock washing facility.  Hot water
the sink, and a hot air hand dryer.

Cascade Locks - The pizza at the bar is damn good.  Oh yeah, you will
the "Char burger" right next to the bridge of the Gods.  Blow it off and
walk 1/2 mile down the main street to the "East-West" burger joint.  I
the lady I'd give her a mention on this list, since she said not a whole
of hikers come there.


Met several neat people on the trail.  Ran into "Pycho Ken" (note the
missing "s") and "Let it Be"; the two doing the yo-yo Mex-Can-Mex in one
season.  I told Ken I looked forward to reading is register entries,
magazine cutouts and all!  Scott and I talked forest politics.

Met a couple heading south from Old Station to Lone Pine.  They had to
this section last year because of the snow.

One guy on the trail I met was named "Runner Matt".  He was trying to do
PCT in 3 months.  He was an ultradistance runner and the like.  If I
remember right, he did California in 56 days.  I also heard he bailed
out in
Oregon to some unexpected emergency.  Other southbounders I met said
I met him...he's the guy who jogs in place while he talks to you!".  He
Section Q in ONE DAY (56 miles).  Granted it was probably 4:00am to
but still.

There was a case of a thru-hiker getting caught breaking into somebody's
bearbagged food near Kennedy meadows.  I met the two victims near
Pass.  They said they went to get their food in the morning and food was
missing.  I hiked on and off with another guy farther up the line.  He
pulled ahead for good around Belden.  Later I found out he was the one
was caught stealing the food, (a horseman discovered him early in the
morning).  There also was a story of a different hiker getting caught by
Yosemite NPS, he was rummaging through the campgrounds bearboxes...going

Ran into Ryan (who posts to this list) at Echo Lake Re$ort.  Had many
experiences...most excellent.

Those of you reading this who don't want to read a bunch of mumbo jumbo
about me bitching about someone else, please skip this.  There was only
hiker who ....uh.......made me want to scream.  Or at least beat him to
death with a piece of corn spaghetti.  (Didn't OJ Simpson make murder
in California?).  Just for the sake of being somewhat nice, I'll refer
him as Tim instead of his real name.  He not only got me ticked off,
other hikers were mad also.  I first met him at Tuol. Meadows.  "How
miles a day are you doing?"; he asked.  "Around 20 or so...depends how I
feel".   He started screaming and throwing his hands up in the air
how can you see any of the trail?  Are you on a time limit?  I hate all
thru-hikers all they do is walk...there is so much to see".  I couldn't
to get across to him that some people like to walk.  If I didn't feel
walking...I wouldn't.  Then he started into a rant that will probably
me dislike the AT just because of him.  "Man, on the AT hikers get to a
town, take a day off, then leave again at the same time the next day!  I
don't like these hikers, why don't they take a day off"
     He was just leaving when I got there.  A couple days later I ran
him on the trail near Asa Lake, early in the morning.  He comes out of
woods from the lake and we run into each other.  I say "Hi" and he says
"Sorry, can't talk I gotta try and get 18 miles today".  Walking at his
pace, he would have had his 18 miles in by about 2:30pm that day.
We hiked together throughout the day.  He was cool to talk to and we had
swapping stories, but some of the things he did really left a bad
on me.  We went 22 miles that day and reached Pennsylvania creek.  It
like the 4077 MASH unit, there were tents everywhere.  I told him I was
gonna up the trail a bit and stealth camp.  He didn't like the idea of a
possible twig being under his groundcloth (I'm just taking a stab).  I
up throwing my tent up by his.
     The next morning we were hiking along.  He was ahead of me a few
minutes cause I really wasn't into my hiking mode yet.  While I was
water, another hiker came up the trail who I had been walking on and off
with for several days.  He had a walkman radio and told me that the
"Furthur" festival (see below) was going to be in Reno the next day.  I
that was my calling to push a 34 mile day (the biggest I had done was
this way I could get to the highway in time to hitchhike up to Reno the
     When I told B...(oh yeah) Tim about this he got a little bent.  My
analysis of this and situations that would later happen is that he
like hiking alone.  I can fully understand his feelings, but nobody is
to hike with you at all if you keep trying to talk them into changing
plans and hiking with you instead.  "Why do you want to do that?  Won't
be up in Seattle? (in 3 days, yeah right)".    Later that day we reached
cabins past Carson Pass.  I had to put up with another damn battle of
trying to talk me out of my plans.  "I can't afford to go to the
You are changing your mind and having second thoughts aren't you?  If
is what you want?".  Arrrrrrrggggghhhhh.  Finally I was able to say "see
later" and walk off.  I had a blast in Tahoe/Reno (see below)
   I ran into B....(gosh dangit almost did it again)...Tim on the day
Sierra City.  He was taking the "Supply Route".  I told him I was going
hike the PCT out to the Highway, then hitchhike down.  Guess what, I had
put up with another round of "Let me talk you out of it" crap.  I walked
PCT and hitched down into Sierra city.  He told me he spied a neat
hole by a waterfall on the way in (see below).  After hanging out and
packing our packs, I met Bob (of Cindy Ross fame) and we had a long talk
about politics.  Bob was kind of bent cause he wanted to go swimming
it was warm and I wouldn't go.
    The next morning he got irked cause I wouldn't cut through someone's
PRIVATE property to get up to the highway.  I laid my whole spiel on him
about it would give hikers a bad rap, if one hiker cuts through
yard/field, the owner will think all PCT hikers are like that.
      Long story short we were getting water by the springs near Sierra
Butte.  He couldn't understand how I never knew where I was going to be
camped.  I got another "AT vs. PCT" line from him.  Just because his
bottle wouldn't fit in the rocks where the spring was.  "Man...on the AT
this spring would be piped.  They have to have that 'Wilderness
over here...geez", he said.  This is where the hummus hit the fan so to
speak.  I mentioned wanting to hike till dark or something.  "What?,
what do
you mean.  You are not going to detour down to Packer Lake Lodge with
he said.
  "No, I wasn't planning on it."
Tim:  "I was gonna have dessert there then camp at the campground"
  "I just don't want to go down there.  I really don't want to camp in a
 Tim:  "Geez, what do you expect...if you want a true wilderness
go to the Canadian Rockies!"
  Tim: "I learned on the AT that I could change my plans if I wanted to"
  "I told you, I have no desire to go down there"
  Tim: "Fine.  I'll be camped at Chimney Rock tomorrow night, then
Creek the next night.  Why don't you pull a short day tomorrow?"
  "Yeah, whatever"

That was the last time I saw him.  Keep in mind that some of my best
memories are with other hikers on the PCT.  This wasn't one.  I know he
really wanting someone to hike with, but he was pushing it WAY to far.
met another hiker who felt the exact same way I did.  Enough of this


Section F
    Robin Bird spring- The only thing that made this spring unique was
Ziploc bag containing a porno magazine inside.
   The Kelso spring .  What memories.  I walk down this road...ahhh
water...there are the trees.  Cows everywhere, in it, etc.   I also
the water.  I don't know if the iodine would kill the bacteria or the
    Yellow Jacket Spring - Same situation, but much more foliage.

ORV's.  Several ORV trails cross the pct in areas.  Some ORV guy crossed
the "Closed " in "Trail closed to dirt bikes, etc" and wrote "Open".
mentality reigns in this area.  One hiker wrote in the trailside
"Get the damn motorbikes off the trail, I was hit by one!"

Mt. Whitney
  I tried getting to the top on my 23rd birthday...but was a day late
because of the fire near Cottonwood Pass.  The register showed 60 people
July 2nd.  I was there at 5:00pm on July 3rd, I was the 6th person that
I camped right on top...what a night & morning.  "New Day Rising....New

Didn't have any bear problems whatsoever, stealth camped the whole way.
camped on ridgetops and passes.

Muir Pass.
  I'm tromping up through the snow to the pass.  It was starting to show
first signs of darkness.  I can see the outline of the stone hut...and
outline of a person.  Wow...company.  As I get closer the guy looks at
and laughs "Wow...you are number NINETEEN!".  There were 19 people
camped up
at the top up Muir Pass that night, the biggest group was 8 people I
They had taken a big group picture figuring nobody else would be coming
there.  The guy sent me a copy of the picture though.

Sonora Pass
   I had a perfectly nice stay near the area the Guidebook totally
as an "unacceptable" campsite or some garbage like that.  Anyway, I am
up on
the hill behind some brush.  I couldn't see the highway and vice versa.
About 3:00am I am awaked by screeching tires.  I hear a guy yell "You
idiot! Get off the road, you're gonna get killed!".  I don't know what
heck was going on, back to sleep.

Desolation Wilderness
  Be sure and look at your guidebook/map in this area.  If you read the
signs you will get onto the wrong trail.  They posts only show one thing
direction.  Many hikers ended up going to Half Moon lake.  I wasn't
attention (long story) and ended up on the east side of Upper Velma

Donner Pass Rest Area
  Some very interesting individuals here, especially at night. Hang out
the restroom for a few minutes and you will see what I mean.

Hat Creek Rim
  Wasn't a big deal.  I reached Subway Cave at 1:00pm.  I figured I'd
out until about 4:00pm, then hike till midnight.  It was about 105
I walked down into the cave, 40 degrees.  If you go under the stairway
railing and take the west tube, you can go way back in there and nobody
bother you...since there isn't any easy access.  I laid out my stuff and
took a nap, in my sleeping bag!

   They are out there, get that adrenaline aflowin!

Overcrowded parts
   Showers Lake - South of Echo Lake.  This place wins the award for
crowded spot in the woods.  I counted at LEAST 35 tents!  There were
groups there.  What a zoo.  Taillights again.

   A hiker pointed this out in a PCT register, didn't leave his name so
can't give him any credit.  Do you think the government had any unknown
motives when they set up the PCT?  Take the first letter of each state
PCT passes through.  What do you get?
  The other was Pacific Cow Trail.  Many times I would be sleeping,
then...clank ring clank ring.  Cows would be 5 feet from my sleeping
It was also great fun to encounter them on the trail, then scream and
them scatter.  Before you cross the California/Oregon border, the Forest
Service has the nerve to put up signs that say "Please stay on trail -
trample vegetation".  Many hikers have added their $.02 to these signs.
There was also a nice cattle propaganda sign  west of Lake Tahoe near
ski area.  I'll put a scan of the sign on my web page if I can track
down a
Sick of these beasts standing in the rivers.  Ick.

Section O

Red Mountain - Map O3.  This area was salvaged and the logs were drug
the trail.  Much easier to follow road 38n10 (or at least know where it
at if you lose the trail).

Look at Maps O10  and O11.  See the part that the guide book mentions
being to long?  I got to the "NW descending ridge"  I didn't, but if you
bushwhacked for 1/4 mile down the hill, you can save about 3 miles of
walking.  As I started down the PCT after the "NW descending ridge", the
trail quality got poorer and poorer.  After I did the 3 miles, it
getting better again..hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Ok, I don't have first hand confirmation on this, but I couldn't ask the
who did the driving (he was on vacation).  I was told that "3
of this year's thru-hikers were give a ride by the owner of the
They were driven from Seiad Valley up the road to Cook and Green pass.
whacks 15 miles and 4600 feet of climbing off the hike.  If they want to
this, then fine.  "Yeah, I thru hiked the PCT, except my feet were off
ground for 15 miles in California".  Whatever.  Flame me if you want,
this is lame.  I didn't look forward to climbing up out of Seiad all
torn & frayed; but I did it.  I haven't been on the PCT in certain
but my feet always touched the ground (the kicking the boulder thing).

There is a shelter and well (thanks PCTA!) 2 miles south of the Dead

Eagle Creek -  Took this route, very neat.  Jumped off one of the ledges
feet down into the water.  What a way to end the last day of my hike!


For a few days, it would rain about 2:00pm in the Sierras.  Lightning
mega loud thunder.  The only problem is that one had to beat the
over the next pass, otherwise one would have to hang out a lower
until the lightning stopped.

Like I said, I hardly used my tent.  I was sleeping soundly under the
past Burney Falls a mile or two.  I woke up about 3:00am.  As I was
over I glanced up and couldn't see stars.  Back asleep I was.  15
later it was pouring rain.  By the time I quickly grabbed my rainfly
from my
pack, the rain stopped and I saw the stars again!

Only real bad weather was when I reached the Three Sisters Wilderness.
(around Sept 14th or so)  It rained on me for two days straight, things
getting wetter and wetter.  I couldn't sleep on the second night because
rain and snow was hitting my tent so hard.  (Where is that soul-mate
girlfriend when you need her dammit?)  I woke up the next morning, my
therm-a-rest partially frozen in water to the tent floor.  I looked out
it was snowing hard...horizontally!  I threw my hypothermia clothes back
(actually they were pretty dry) and trucked the last 5 miles to Highway
It was raining there, hard.  I stuck my thumb out and a pickup
stopped....probably cause I looked pathetic!  In Sisters I got food and
dried stuff out at the RV Park.  About 3 hours later I finally quit
shivering.   There were 3 large storms moving over, so I had to spend
- Tuesday "unhiking".  When I was walking around in Downtown Bend,
my age was walking his dog.  He spotted my Grateful Dead shirt (PCT
essential).  We started talking.  He told me he was gonna check with his
roommates and he would let me stay there.  I stayed there and left later
next morning.  I'm still having a hard time explaining to my parents why
backpack smells like pot!   On Wednesday morning I started to
up to McKenzie pass.  ELEVEN LONG PAVEMENT MILES LATER a guy picked me
This pretty much destroyed my ankles, in spite of my spiffy insoles and
pads.  For the rest of the hike my feet hurt pretty bad.


I was  "experienced" three.

Cottonwood Pass - I reached the area and stuff was burning everywhere.
in the distance (down in the valley) I could hear trees falling.  Since
was 10,500 feet in elevation, there wasn't a whole lot to burn.  It was
pretty cool, though my clothes reeked of smoke afterwards.

Near Grizzly Peak - I walked up to Grizzly Peak.  When I reached the top
there was a large fire raging about a mile above the PCT.  There was a
at the fire tower.  She gave me lotsa good food!  Helicopters and planes
dropped water and retardant on the fire.  I continued down the trail.  I
couldn't see uphill, but I knew the fire was well above me.  If it did
bad, I had an escape route, down the creek to the dirt road.

Waldo Lake in Oregon - I heard that the trail was closed between
Charlton &
Irish lakes.  I also heard on the PCT gossip grapevine from Let it Be
Pycho Ken that they heard from Tom that the fire crew went on dinner
between 6 and 8 pm.  At 6pm I reached the closure.  They had you walk
extra 13 miles on roads, vs. the 5 PCT miles which got you to the same
I ducked under the closure tape across the trail and past the signs
$5000 fines and tromped along.  The area was burned pretty badly, but
had cleared the trail.  A few things were smoldering, but no big deal.
made it to the other side and was no longer a criminal running through

                       "Furthur" festival Concert in Reno.

I became known as "the guy who hitched out to go up to a concert in
I pulled the 34 mile day, slept off Hwy 50, hitched to Tahoe.  A guy saw
& my pack...and.....my (now) infamous Grateful Dead T-Shirt.  He said he
going up to Reno in about an hour.  When we got there he was given a
(free) ticket from a friend.  He wanted to stay with his dog outside,
because his van would be to hot for her.  He gave it to me in exchange
me renting a double hotel room in Tahoe.  This cost me $26.00.  So for
26 bucks I got to go to a $30.00 concert AND get a hotel room!  The show
great, Los Lobos was my favorite.  Got to send out several emails from
computers they had set up there (hooked into the 'net).  Met Bruce
he was just walking around in the crowd.  Nice sidetrip from the trail.

Well, ten pages should do it for now.  Maybe some more later, but my
are getting tired.