Some thoughts before departure...

  • I am still not a vet, doctor, lawyer, dog trainer, cia agent, fbi agent or a navy seal so...walk
  • I am doing this for the challenge of course, and I hope to gain a confidence that comes with this type of endeavor. But also I hope to gain some new knowledge about the world and the truths that reside in it.
  • Am I walking to "find myself"? Or just to take a walk. You decide...and you'll probably be right.
  • I'm not in the best shape of my life, but I do have a lot of new great gear so....
  • After living with my parents the last 2 years, it makes perfect sense to walk 2650 miles - alone.
  • Yes there will be bears, cougars, rattlesnakes and scorpions both imagined and real along the way. I'm definitely more worried about those imagined.
  • Am I scared? Not as of yet, more of just a constantly increasing anticipation. But check back with me on the 3rd night in the desert.
  • I tried to keep my pack fairly light, but I definitely would not call it ultralight. Somehow when I added up all my ultralight gear and put it in my ultralight pack, I ended up with just slightly heavy.
  • My biggest concern for this trip is that I get too hungry somewhere along the way, my brain goes awol as it usually does when I get hungry and subsequently you never hear from me again...I'll try to eat frequently.
  • I am not Christopher McCandless. This is not Into the Wild.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The End....The Beginning

Alright, I have decided it is time. Not that I have become “reflective” as I said previously, or that I am now sufficiently acclimated to home, more that I am just bored and this somehow makes me feel ever so slightly productive. Oddly enough I am not sure who I am writing this for as I am sure no one is checking this thing for updates now. Anyway, I will try and make this short and concise, meaningful and deliberate. First I would like to thank everyone who followed me along my PCT journey over the last 5 months. It was a great joy, as I have said before, to come into town and check my comments on here; every one of them spurring me onward, northward. I would not have finished if it wasn’t for all of my friends and family, period, nuff said. I have never written punctuation before, it doesn’t work all that well. Coming back home has been great and odd. Great, in that I am home, duh. Odd in every other sense. Nothing seems to have changed, I fell right back into my pre-trip patterns; wake up, eat, check email, check facebook, run some errands or workout or shower, or all three, lunch, think of some task I should get going on, do half of it, dinner, TV, reading, sleep. Repeat. I have a hard time figuring out how I go from here, how I maintain my once strong and easy “on trail” attitude, how I incorporate the changes I felt I made in myself, but have yet to see play out back in “real life”. I am hoping that in writing this I will inspire myself to get going NOW and start seriously planning my trip around, over, and through the world. I am hoping that in writing this I will re-ignite the spirit of living life that I managed fairly well on trail. I realize that the trail is not real life in a sense. I worried towards the end that similar to my summers at camp, it drops you back into your civilian life fairly abruptly. So here I am. I have decided just in writing the last two sentences that my mission is now to make this life into the one I had at camp and on trail. Live feeling free, making some money, and enjoying the ride. Wow, that was all a little too much, but mostly true. I am selling the rest of my stuff that I deem un-needed. On Thursday I will go up to see Jarell and family, the second week in November I will see Landshark & Caterpillar, and Anna. After that who knows, it’s off to the races; around, over, and through the world. I’ll see you there.

JWC off the PCT

Monday, September 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Day 151
I spent most of last night waiting to go to the bathroom, and the rest of the time in the bathroom. I caught all my flights and arrived to LAX around 945. As i exited the jet way there were my parents with a huge hand-made sign welcoming me home. It felt good, real good. All was great until i got home and realized my gastrointestinal distress was overpowering my appetite while croissants, fruit, eggs, and all other wonderful things that sat in front of me. By 3ish i had decided that whether it was giardia or not i needed some antibiotics or something. Went to urgent care, the doctor told me we would do this "half assed" and then prescribed only 3 days of antibiotics. I got the feeling he didn't quite believe me regarding my symptoms, and when he asked if others on the trail with giardia had gotten better with Flagyl and Cipro (not what he was prescribing) i thought this guy might not have a clue. At any rate i got the drugs and took some with dinner, now i am back on the throne and writing this blog. I really hope it gets better tomorrow. Its killing me that on the trail i imagined all this great food when i got home, now here it is, and i cannot enjoy it. Now that i am home and at the true end of my PCT adventure, this will be my last post for awhile. When i get a chance to stop thinking about my food and bowels and their terrible relationship troubles, i hope to get reflective and do a final post to wrap it all up. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Thought of the day; getting giardia while still on the trail would have made me quit i think. Song of the day; iiiiii wouldnt daaaance with anutherrrrr, wooooooo ,when i sawwww herr standin therrrrrr - Mr. Monogamy. Craving of the day; to eat like a regular person.
Post Script; it is the morning, i think i am on the road to recovery which crosses the hwy of gluttony in the next couple days hopefully
JWC on the PCT

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Slow Return

Day 150---I look like a bum, my pack smells like one, we sit together in purple chairs at the Vancouver International Airport. I arrived about an hour ago. I had plans to go out with James and his beer league hockey team this evening. The only flight that looked good was the 7am tomorrow morning out of Vancouver to LAX. Consequently i had to leave on the last flight out of Kelowna this evening. James was at a golf tourney so i had to take a taxi and leave a note like some spurned lover. I felt like my Kelowna tour was cut short, but home has been calling me for some time, so i had to take the opportunity. My box will have to be returned to sender, i bought clothes at "Winners" to wear on the plane. I forgot my belt and i am wearing crocs for dress shoes. I look like a bum who went on a small shopping spree at one time and did a fairly poor job. I called the parentos to tell them i would be arriving tomorrow, they suggested (among many other things) that i get a hotel room for the night. Seems like a whole lot of effort. There is a hotel attached to the airport so i inquired about a room. On the way up the stairs i noticed a woman in pajamas being questioned by the police. She looked up at me with manic eyes of recognition and jumped up to greet me, the police stopped her. That sentence was overdone. Anyway the concierge informed me that the room would be 330 dollars, way too much. So now i sit on the purple chairs. I wanted to get back through security and customs tonight while it was slow, but my bag cannot be checked until 4am. Sleeping at the gate sounded very appealing; sleeping on the purple chairs around the corner from ms. psycho, not so much. Its ok though, i am not sure i could sleep anyway, i think i have giardia. Just the very beginning of it, the part most people attribute to trail food etc. I could be wrong, maybe its just the extreme switch in diet and lack of proper nutrients or something. It's uncomfortable but not terrible. I will go to urgent care tomorrow in LB and get some anti-biotics to catch it before i am shitting on myself in a week or so. Exciting i know. TMI most likely. Alright i realize i am just writing to use time now. Thought of the day; what food you choose to eat, is who you are. Song of the day; something something out the bedroom dorrrr, goodbyeeeee goodbyeeeeee - ??. Craving of the day; my bed, my good sleep, my gastrointestinal health, not necessarily in that order.

JWC on the PCT

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Waiting Game

Day 149---Not much to say here. I had breakfast with the crew and their families this morning. Afterwards they all left for various destinations on their way home. L&C were nice enough to request a late checkout so myself and Clearwater had a place to hang out til 12. After that my time was occupied by sitting in the lobby, talking to the front desk ladies, talking to FedEx, and eating, oh and i got a short workout in too. The first time i called FedEx the customer service rep knew by first name regarding my "lost" packages, said i was infamous. Apparently all that infamy still only gets me one package. Of the two it was the better one, as it contained one of my tickets home. The other is still MIA. In the afternoon the manager gave me a t-shirt she didn't want so i could go workout. It felt good, and i just hoped everything was in kg so i couldn't tell how weak i am. James picked me up around 8ish and drove me 2.5hrs north to Kelowna where he resides. Here i am on a couch in Kelowna iin Canada, in need of sleep. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get my box(i have no idea how), if not maybe just find a thrift store and get some civilian clothes to wear around here and to fly home etc. Thought of the day; good friends are good to have. Song of the day; waaaaaay-k up litttle suuuuuuzeeeeee waaaay-k up - a guy. Craving of the day; home - speaking of which i found out the welcome back shindig is happening at 7pm on October 4th, if ya know me well enough to know where the parentos house is, then you re probably invited. See you there, maybe.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello Canadia

Day 148, Mile 2663---Many more lasts were had today. Last climb, last switchbacks, last day on the PCT. This morning it was pouring as it had all night. I thought to myself well, this will be the last day so i guess i can arrive soaking wet no problem. But we were lucky again. The rain let up just as we started packing up and taking down the tents. The excitement was palpable and everyone pretty much bounced along the trail. By 10:30 we came around the final switchback and viewed the 15ft wide swath cut through the forest - the border. Once again it barely sunk in, barely. I had a brief moment where i thought i could feel the weight of this accomplishment, but then it was gone. On to more important things, like kicking over monument 78. Before you think i was desecrating a international marker or whatever, you should know that the PCT log was inside and it was really the most effective way of getting to it. We all took pictures, talked, laughed, signed the log, took some more pictures. By 11:30 the Jack Daniels was drank and the cigar was smoked in celebration, and i was back on the trail for the last 8 miles to Manning Park. The Jack Daniels propelled me up the 1000ft climb and wore off just as i started my descent down to the trailhead. I walked the last 2 miles with Clearwater and as we rounded the last corner every ones family was there to meet us. Champagne, grapes, veggie juice, i enjoyed it all. The families were even more excited then we were for our big finish. It was great. Later when i was talking to my Mom on the phone it occurred to me that i might have robbed her and my Dad of a special experience. But i had decided well before that i wanted to finish on my own. I am not sure why, I always envisioned meeting my parents at LAX, but i know they (especially my Mom) wanted to see me here. Anyway i am here now, and will be there soon, so its all good. Only problem is my box didn't arrive from FedEx today. It is a rather large fiasco apparently international rates and customs etc. Hopefully it will get here tomorrow so my buddy James can pick me up and start my transition home. I'll have more time to write tomorrow. Thought of the day; what i wrote in the border log - "This has been the most awesome ride/adventure/journey of my life to date. But i have had enough, i am quitting the trail." Song of the day; hip hop horraayyyyyy hoooooh hayyyyyy hohhhhh - someone i should really know considering it was played at the border on Landsharks ipod and i was told who it was by at that time. Craving of the day; dinner with friends and family again and again with no hiking inbetween

JWC on the PCT

Last night on the trail

Day 146, Mile 2648ish---Not so bad after all, it snowed once, sprinkled a few times, and we even got sun here and there. Worked out real well that the hardest rain of the day is right now as i lay in my warm bag with a "roof" over my head. It was very cold this morning but warmed throughout the day and was really fairly pleasant hiking weather. L&C and I hiked together today and enjoyed our good fortune together. Tomorrow will probably be not as great in terms of weather but it will be the last day so who cares. We talked about how all the "lasts" were happening; last climb, last saddle, last lunch break etc. It is really odd to me that here i am just 8 miles from the border and the ultimate finish of this trip and it doesn't seem that big. I think it will take awhile to sink in. Maybe when i get on the plane to fly home, maybe not until i am using all past tense explaining PCT things at my party. I have decided that the trip doesn't ultimately end until i am off the plane at LAX. So i will continue to post until that is the case, and then probably a couple days later a final de-briefing will be posted. As for now it is surreal. Thought of the day; goals set are equally important as goals attained. Song of the day; its the finaaaaal countdowwwwnnnn - somebody. Craving of the day; cotton clothes, the entire fruit section of Costco as well as their bagels and croissants, Canadian tap water. (i can satisfy 2 of the 3 tomorrow i hope)

Post Script; it is now morning and i just got back from the 5:58am "call". In the mildly frantic in and out of the tent most things got wet, in fact i am now laying inside my sleeping bag with a soaked rain jacket and wet pants. But it doesn't matter cause it is the LAST DAY!! huuuuuuwhaaaaaaat!? Yeeeeaaaayuuuuuh

JWC on the PCT

Oh what a beautiful morrrrrning

Day 145, Mile 2624.3---We got a ride back to the trail from the guy who let us crash at his place last night. There wasn't a cloud in the sky this morning. The snow had stuck and it was beautiful. At Cutthroat Pass the snow was about 6 inches deep and with the surrounding mountains dusted it was very picturesque. The entire morning was one of the most awe-some times of the entire trip. Last night we decided to do the same miles we had planned for 3.5 days in 2.5 days. The forecast for tomorrow and Thursday looks pretty dismal. We decided to take advantage of the sun and do as many miles as we could today. We came in after dark, but we managed just over 30 miles. Myself, Clearwater, Hoffa, and L&C are camped together at Harts Pass. We passed a sign 2 miles back that said 35 miles to the Canadian border. It made me just want to run north. The cold has taken hold of my fingers so i need to get them inside my bag soon. 24 miles tomorrow mostly in the rain, and then only 14 left also mostly in the rain to get all the way to Manning Park (8mi north of the border) Alright i fell asleep for the second time now still holding this thing, not good for my freezing fingers. Thought of the day; every once in awhile putting a guy in his man box just needs to happen - only a few will understand that one, if any. Song of the day; Winter Wonderland by somebody Christmas-y, and meeeeeeyeeeyeee me and misses, misses joh-oh-ohnes - don't know. Also one i made up, j-e-double s-e coome on baaack to the llll-bbeee-cccee. Craving of the day; a hot tub soak and a professional massage, also carrot cake from the Stehekin Pastry Company.

JWC on the PCT

At Rainy Pass it's snowing

Day 144, Mile 2593.8 ---It rained for most of the night. By the time everyone was up it was very cold and snowing. We were at approx 4800 feet and had to go to 6800ft today at a couple different points on trail. Every ones gear was wet to some degree and all the tents got soaked when taking them down in the snow/rain. After some deliberation we all decided to try and get down into town to dry out. I really wanted to just go north being that we were so close; if i was by myself i may have. The PCT alumni told us they could take us down to Mazama(closest town) in two trips. It was a great relief as hitching with 7 folks was going to be more than challenging. Shortly after the first car load left Hawkeye (one of the passengers) came back. He said as they pulled out on the highway a guy came down the road in distress. He rolled his car twice and felt OK but thought he might need some medical attention. Hawkeye gave up his seat quickly. Long story short, we ended up being invited to dry out at his vacation home in Mazama. It is an awesome place. In fact i am writing this sitting in a plush leather recliner right now. It turned out to be his lucky day and the doctors couldn't find anything wrong after a battery of tests. It was our lucky day to get to spend a day in this great house while all the gear dried out. Dry for now anyway. Tomorrow there is a 20 percent chance of rain, the next day 70. Temps anywhere from low 30's to 50's - who knows really. Still planning on getting there by Thursday but a later arrival and less time to hang at the monument unfortunately. We are getting out of here early tomorrow hoping to make big miles so i should go to sleep. Thought of the day; pay it forward. Song of the day; push it by salt-n-peppa. Cravings of the day; honey crisp apples with caramel, eggs benedict, french bread french toast.

JWC on the PCT

At Rainy Pass it's raining

Day 144, Mile 2593.8---Got an early start this morning by catching the first bus out. Stopped by the Stehekin Pastry Co. to pick up my order and a few day-old items for breakfast. It was there that i failed a test of the PCT. I thought i recognized a very pretty girl working in the back as a fellow UCSB grad. Instead of saying "excuse me did you go to UCSB?" or "you look really familiar" i just stared. Real smooth. I was pissed at myself that i thought i had been gaining all this confidence on the trip, and yet i couldn't even ask a girl where she went to school. Anyway we got back on trail a little after 9. It looked promising early on weather wise, but by the end of the day it rained for most of the time. I arrived last at Rainy Pass to find everyone enjoying some great trail magic. Some former PCT alumni had a tent set up with tons of beer and hot dogs. Although i was grateful, i was a little concerned that i wouldn't be able to eat down my pack weight. For some reason on this leg i thought it was a good idea to pack almost 5 days of food plus what feels like 3-5lbs of baked goods. I think i will be gaining weight down the home stretch. I didn't sleep too well last night so i am going to lay it down now. Thought of the day; what should i write in the border log? Song of the day; iiii neeed a liiight light. to help me smowwwk awayyyy this paaayaain - some rapper. Also, wouuuuld you knooowww my naaayme, if i saw you in hehvunn - Eric Clapton. Craving of the day; half a cantaloupe filled with blueberries.

JWC on the PCT

Last Zero

Day 143, a zero---Today was nothing short of awesome. I had breakfast with part of the crew at 8:30am. I enjoyed a Loraine omelet with potatoes and toast and a slice of apple pie a la mode. We then checked out and had some time to sit and wait for the 11o'clock bus to the bakery. Last night we found out the place was booked solid for tonight because of a wedding so our zero was in jeopardy. While we waited for the bus the front desk informed us we got a room. Later on in the day we got a second room, so its all good. The bakery visit was awesome part two. A sandwich, an orange twist, a peach iced tea, side of potato salad, and a lemon bar for lunch. I pre-ordered some things to pack out tomorrow which should be wonderful. For 20 bucks i got lunch and breakfast for the next 4 days on trail. We said farewell to Lorenzo at the bakery and he got a little teary eyed. Hopefully i will catch up with him in Manning Park. Moonpie came in to town by noon and it is her birthday tomorrow, so naturally we had another birthday dinner party this evening. I had the pasta primavera with chicken and shrimp, a salad, clam appetizer, a large piece of carrot cake with a scoop or two of strawberry ice cream on the side - all wonderful. I think i was wrong about my hiker appetite lacking, maybe i just had an off day yesterday. I didn't feel full afterwards but my distended stomach showed otherwise. As I was getting ready for bed Landshark said i looked pregnant so i recreated the Demi Moore Vanity Fair(or something like that) cover and he took my picture. No, that will not make it on the blog. It's late now, the rain started about 2 hours ago and hasn't let up. Hopefully it will have passed over by the morning and we can hike on in good weather. Rain is nice to fall asleep to when you have a roof over your head. Thought of the day; stereotypes are too easy, too simple, too dumb, to be useful. Song of the day; yo no se. Craving of the day; fresh fruit of any type, the orange slice with my breakfast was all i got today.

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Steak in Stehekin

Day 142, Mile 2574.1---We made good time this morning and got to the bus stop by 11:45ish. It was a slightly strange feeling when the bus pulled up with Don't Panic and Nick on board headed back out. Strange because it was a real goodbye this time. Odd to see Don't Panic whom I've spent time with here and there and shared experiences with, take off for the end, the finish. But that feeling quickly dissipated as i started to dream of the bakery that seemed so close now. The bus stopped just long enough for everyone to buy an item or two. I bought a day-old cinnamon roll and a bacon & swiss croissant; both were delicious. We decided to get a room at the Lodge and proceeded to do the usual town stuff. I got my last box today from the parentos. Received my passport, Canadian entry papers, Jack Daniels, and cigar; all the essentials to cross the border in style. Also the same food that i've been eating for the entire state of Washington. I'm not complaining, but if i see any sort of snack cracker mix when i get home i may vomit spontaneously. Speaking of food, we had a wonderful dinner this evening at the lodge restaurant. I had beef medallions in a mushroom demi-glaze. I couldn't finish it. I think my body is starting to finally adapt to this way of life. While the hunger is still there, once i start eating the appetite sometimes fails me. I've even gained some weight back; per the Dinsmores scale i am around 152lbs now. We celebrated Lorenzo's birthday at dinner and afterward in a lounge area with cake, champagne and wine. I think a great time was had by all. It hit me at the time that this was a "last" something as well. Although i will miss these folks and the trail lifestyle i really can't wait to have this trip under my belt and accomplished. I won't have to wait long, 5 more days -ish. Thought of the day; opportunities are always there. Song of the day; i do not recall. Craving of the day; an "orange twist" pastry that i saw but didn't get today at the bakery, hopefully tomorrow.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blowdown City

Day 141, Mile 2562---Sat on a saddle in the middle of the wilderness with friends and watched the sunrise over the mountains. Great way to start my day. That however, was about it for enjoyable things today. The rest of the day was filled with fighting my way through branches, stepping, climbing, and vaulting over fallen trees, and tripping. Lots and lots of tripping. My feet have started to mutiny at this point and i trip at least 10 times a day, sometimes to the point of falling on my face. After working our way through Blowdown City we arrived at the Swiattle River and the site of the infamous log crossing. It turned out to be nothing like we heard. The log was thin not wide, the water was 5ft below it not 8 and the crossing was not certain death if you fell in. Nonetheless it was challenging because although certain death was not foreseeable, you still wouldn't have a very good day if you did in fact take the plunge. We did one last 2000ft+ climb following the river crossing and then a descent to Hemlock Camp where we are presently. If it's labeled as a camp in both guidebooks you can assume there will be mice, and there are. It's just lovely. I hung my pack on a tree so hopefully they won't keep me up all night scurrying around it. Early start tomorrow to get to the 12:15 bus to Stehekin on time. It's crazy that tomorrow i will arrive at my last town stop on the entire trail. I cannot wait for this bakery, the hype better be more accurate than the log crossing's. Thought of the day; i walk and therefore i am - going somewhere. Song of the day; donnnnt speeek, i knooow whut yerrr thinkinnnn, dohhhhnt tell me cuz it hurrrrts - No Doubt? Craving of the day; Thai food.

JWC on the PCT

Going North feels like I'm climbing the earth

Day 140, Mile 2539.4---Up, dowwwwn, up, down, uuuup. Two 2000ft climbs, one 1000ft climb, one 500ft climb. A fairly brutal day. Saw two more bears today, not close but that was a good thing because you could actually sit and watch them for awhile. The clouds burned off by the afternoon and so far so good. We all keep expecting rain, in fact as i type this i am imagining waking to the sound of drops in the morning. Tomorrow starts the section of trail that is un-maintained. We passed a few southbounders who said it was pretty terrible but only lasted for about 2 miles. This section of trail has been closed for the past 5 years and was just recently opened back up even though its not been entirely re-done. Anyway all that to explain it's going to be tough. I have had a couple of times the last few days where my body says no mas and my mind has almost agreed. I have had other awe-some times like last nights sunset and this evenings moonrise as well. Times where you just pause and go wow, i am extremely lucky to be out here. It will all be over in a matter of days now, definitely bitter sweet, but more sweet. Tonight i am camped with Hoffa, Landshark & Caterpillar. Hawkeye, Danger-Prone and Lorenzo are just 0.7 miles ahead. I should mention Lorenzo, he is an incredible man. A soon to be 59 year old Italian, he came to the U.S. to hike the trail knowing hardly any English. His boots are big, his pack is large, a giant Nikon D80 SLR hangs from his neck. He shaved with an electric tri-foil razor at the top of Fire Creek Pass today. Whenever you talk to him you cannot help mimicking the cadence with which he speaks. Although he wants his trail name to be Walker Wolf, everyone calls him Uncle Lorenzo. One of the great people and characters of the trail. It's late. Thought of the day; i wonder if my parents will meet me in baggage claim or at the gate with a welcome home sign. Song of the day; daaammm this traffic jammm how i hayt to be layyt, hurts my mowter to go soooo slowwww! - some jazz group. Craving of the day; bonzai burger from Red Robin with the all you can eat fries.

JWC on the PCT

Bears Number 8,9 &10

Day 139, Mile 2517ish---I'll start where i left off. We hiked well past dark last night. It was myself, Landshark & Caterpillar, Hawkeye & Danger-Prone. I walked point and decided i did not need a headlamp given the relatively bright moon. That was until i fell for the second time all the way to the ground with my immense pack pinning me. The rest of the folks thought it was hilarious and i laughed pretty hard myself. I had gone too long without food and i was getting a little careless in my application of foot to ground in my attempt at forward motion. When we got into camp we were informed that some non thru-hikers were already asleep. There was only room enough left to cowboy and i didn't want to use my headlamp as it might bother some of those also cowboying and trying to sleep; hence the moonlight writing. Also I didn't cook since it was so late and luckily after only a bagel and some water i slept through the night without feeling like i was starving. Today went well but short and late. Oddly enough we (me, L&C) only made 23ish miles and we got in well after dark. Managed to get dinner this time though, very satisfying. Oh as i am falling asleep and about to end this i realize i should speak to the title of this post. This leg of the trail is crawling with both bears and deer hunters. Season opened yesterday i think. Anyway i saw 3 bears, 2 up close. OK sleep is winning the battle. Thought of the day; i am really looking forward to flying on a plane. Song of the day; lehhhts goooo flyyyy a kiyeeeet up tooo the higheeeest hiyeeet - Mary Poppins. Craving of the day; butter cookies and the bakery products in Stehekin - gotta get there.

JWC on the PCT

Exiting Skykomish

Day 138, Mile 2494.something---I am writing by the moonlight next to Pear Lake. We just arrived like 15 minutes ago and it's going on 10:20pm. We did not get back on trail until around 2 o'clock. Given the good weather and the full moon we decided to go as far as we could within reason. Considering that i am cowboying on a slope about 5 inches off the lakes main trail i am not sure this was within reason. But i am glad we made it this far. The moon is moving behind some trees, i'll explain more tomorrow night. Thought of the day; youth is wonderful, sometimes. Song of the day; too dark. Craving of the day; dinner.

JWC on the PCT

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dinsmores River Haven

Day 137, Mile 2476.3---The mice quit last night after using my tent for entertainment for a couple hours. The miles flew by and we were overlooking Stevens Pass before 11am. We hitched into Skykomish and I enjoyed a burger and chips and a Gatorade. I was treated to an ice cream cone by Caterpillar & Landshark for dessert which was nice. Got picked up at the Deli by Eric D who is volunteering at the Dinsmores for the time being. He is a PCT celebrity of sorts as he is (i think) the only other person to "yo-yo" the PCT besides Scott Williamson. The term refers to hiking northbound tagging the border and hiking back southbound. Mex-Can-Mex, basically. Ridiculous, basically. Anyway got all the essentials handled and went out to dinner at the only restaurant in town with most of the hikers. Apparently the entire downtown Skykomish is a superfund site currently. It was my first time eating dinner in a super-fund site. I had a chicken fried steak dinner, a salad, soup, strawberry shake, and apple pie a la mode. I was hungry again in about 2 hrs. Luckily i did not starve because Landshark picked up a Heineken keg can for me at the mini-mart, once again their treat. I like hiking with Landshark & Caterpillar, but not just because of the free stuff of course. The group met back up for the time being but i am sure we will split again in the next few days of hiking. There have been attempts to name the group - "crazy tasty town", "the fellowship" and "fun train express" have been suggested. I am not a fan of "the fellowship" and "crazy tasty town" is a registered trademark of Spam. Definitely hoping to finish with at least a couple of these folks at the border. One, because it would be nice to share it with someone i know(to some degree). Two, i need someone to take my picture. Hopefully the rain will have passed by then and the pictures will actually turn out. Rain is forecasted for Thursday. I had refrained for superstitious reasons from commenting on the weather in earlier posts. Now that the rain is supposedly coming i can say that all of Washington minus the first two days has been glorious weather. Hardly a cloud in the sky the entire time. I got lucky and got a bunk here at the Dinsmore's in the hiker loft thing above the garage. The lights finally got turned out so i am going to get some sleep. Thought of the day; it doesn't necessarily take one to know one. Song of the day; this one song by P-diddy where he does a terrible dance in the music video for it. i think it was on the soundtrack for the movie where the giant dinosaur attacks Japan i am completely drawing a blank here hence the entire last sentence. Craving of the day; Belgian waffles, bacon, eggs, hashbrowns , toast, juice. Maybe i can satisfy that tomorrow before I head out.

JWC on the PCT

Up and Down, Up and Down

Day 136, Mile 2468.2---I dislike mice. Last night one slid down the outside of the mesh body of my tent right over my head. 5 minutes later it or one of its' vermin friends made it's way into Landshark and Caterpillars' tent. Although it was quite amusing to listen to their efforts at getting the mouse out, it kept me awake. Later i awoke to a mouse sitting on my pack and then working its' way side to side, over and under, trying to get inside but to no avail. The terrain was pretty tough at times today. I tripped real hard twice this morning and after the second i felt a shin splint type pain in my right leg. It didn't get much worse throughout the day, but it definitely didn't get any better. I am sure the fact that my shoes are starting to fall apart doesn't help much, but it is not that big of a problem. I can deal with pretty much anything with only less then 190 miles to go -(knock on wood). The large group is fairly non-existent now. Hawkeye, Danger-prone, and Don't Panic are hiking together. Clearwater, Landshark & Caterpillar, MoonPie, and myself are hiking together. Hoffa is hiking with friends. But we will all meet up tomorrow at the Dinsmore's. Got into camp at Hope Lake after dark because we couldn't find anything suitable at our original stopping point. It is a popular lake and there are plenty of other people camped which means, you guessed it - mice. I turned my head lamp off while i was eating my dinner because the moon was bright enough. Within a minute there were 3 mice out, darting here and there, on their approach to my food bag. Safe to say as soon as i stop using my headlamp to type this, they will be back. Assholes. Looking forward to the Dinsmore's tomorrow and a nice Sunday dinner. Thought of the day; i wonder how quickly i will start putting on weight once i get home. Song of the day; I can't remember it. Craving of the day; the swedish pancakes with apple sauce i had(twice) at the "Family Pancake House" in Snoqualime.

JWC on the PCT

The air show, the bear show

Day 135, Mile 2440.4---Walked in what felt like a mini-sierras today. Actually the climbs and descents did not feel mini at all, but the views were spectacular and sharp. On the biggest climb of the day i was about 1/2 a mile from the top when i heard what sounded like an incoming fighter jet. It was, times two, they were flying so low through the valley that i was looking down on them from the mountain side. They were so close that if they had been slower i would have been able to see the color of the pilots helmet. They pulled up at the end of the valley and came within what seemed like less then 500ft above the ridge top. It was so energizing i found myself in the middle of the wilderness yelling "yeeeeeaaaah boooooyeeeeeee" and "whoooooo-hooooooo" at the top of my lungs. It was just an awesome sight and the closest i have ever been to a plane in flight let alone a fighter. They looked like Russian Migs but they could have been what i think is called the "warthog", which is a Marine plane i think. Used the adrenaline to get me to the top and lunch which i enjoyed the later part of with Landshark, Caterpillar, Moonpie and Clearwater. The group is a bit fractured but i never expected us all to stay together too much longer anyway. After lunch myself and Landshark came upon a bear eating something in the meadow. It was a blackbear but with long blonde hair over the majority of its body. It noticed us but didn't run away. It stayed long enough for a couple pictures and a video actually. Clearwater soon showed up and with the three of us standing there the bear changed its mind and took off. Oddly enough there is a statistic i heard that groups of three or more have never been the victims of a bear attack. It was Landsharks first bear sighting of the entire trail. We made it into camp next to a creek and had a campfire with dinner. When everyone returned to their tents Moonpie discovered that mice had eaten some of her breakfast food under her tarp(just a tarp no enclosed tent). In the time it has taken me to write this there have been two attempts on my pack by the resident pests. I do not know what it is about Washington but ever since i crossed the border the mice have been a problem. Hopefully i can just turn my ears off or attribute all sounds to the creek and still get a good nights sleep. Thought of the day; confidence is key. Song of the day; mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys - some country singer. Craving of the day; anything and everything fresh and made from scratch.

Post Script; Moonpie just startled awake and said that a mouse just jumped on her bare shoulder, and then, "it's going to be a long night". Not for me i hope.

JWC on the PCT

The closer i get, the harder it gets

Day 134, Mile 2317.0---First off i want to apologize for the lack luster post preceding this one. I was tired, i was distracted, it was very poorly done. Actually i was thinking today that in general my posts have been fairly rudimentary and un-entertaining as of late. I start all of them with "i awoke..." or "this morning..." or "i slept...". So i will work on doing better in the future, all 14ish days of it. That's right, 14ish days left and i will be crossing the Canadian border. I know starting tomorrow it will fly by. On the one hand i know i will miss it, on the other i am ready to be finished. You would think that by now i would just be flying along everyday, but the opposite is true. I walk slower, my body is tired, and i am more cautious. I say cautious because while i do have more confidence in myself in general now, i don't want to do anything injurious that would jeopardize my finishing the trail. Today i had a great breakfast, some internet time, and talked to the parentos, before departure around 12. My dad informed me that my picture from Mt. Whitney made it into the Press-Telegram for "roving readers". Even though summiting Mt. Whitney seems like so long ago, and mildly irrelevant now, that is still pretty cool. I keep falling asleep so i should stop. Camped with MoonPie, Clearwater, Landshark & Caterpillar, and Don't Panic made it in about an hour after dark. Thought of the day; money is very interesting. Song of the day; oooh jesse i will cut freshhh flowers for youuuu - by Mary Lou, also the theme song from sports center is stuck on repeat in my dome. Craving of the day; a tropical vacation/adventure with tropical drinks and tropical activities and just tropical-ness.

JWC on the PCT

250 miles left, whoa

Day 133, Mile 2401.8---Mice again last night. I gave up immediately this time and after hitting my pack once i rolled over and went back to sleep. Had a nice little hike into Snoqualime this morning; we made it in by 11ish. I had decided it would mean a lighter pack and a quicker pace if i didn't carry water. It did, but by the time i made it in i was very very thirsty. A liter of Gatorade solved that. Breakfast was had and the chores commenced. One of the benefits of hiking with a group is getting to split hotel rooms. Got everything handled and wow i am having a hard time forming sentences. The TV is on, people are talking on the phone, my mind is not strong enough apparently. The group is breaking up to some degree but we will probably be back some degree by Skykomish at the Dinsmores. The Dinsmores are the only trail angels who accept hikers into their home like the Saufleys or the Hietmans etc in the entire Northwest. So i am looking forward to that and yeah this isn't working at all. Plus i am laying in a bed which is nice and soft and wants me to be asleep already. Oh and now there is a show on how boomerangs are made - life on the trail. Thought of the day; i look forward to a day off that isn't considered a "zero". Song of the day; i do not recall. Craving of the day; green bean casserole, a fresh ripe peach, a chicken dish i used to make at home with a sesame dressing from Costco.

JWC on the PCT

Camped at Mirror Lake

Day 132, Mile 2392.7---Last night i didn't sleep well. For some reason the way my tent was positioned the acoustics made it sound like there were mice in my pack every time either Hoffa or Don't Panic moved in their tents. I was convinced it was mice as i had a hole chewed through my mesh pocket the other night. It was after about an hour of vigilance that i finally realized what i was hearing. Still didn't sleep that well hearing Hoffa and Don't Panic toss and turn not sleeping well themselves. Anyway today was a lot of steep ups and steep downs. I am not sure why the trail has changed so much but in all of California and Oregon we never had grades like this. Everybody complained about it at one point or another throughout the day, and we all did it nonetheless. Ran into a hunter today that reminded me of an older Jesse, not me Jesse, crazy Jesse from outside Ashland. He wanted to know where i had seen or heard elk in the area. He also informed me that it was only bull elk bugle-ing not hunters so i stand corrected from the previous post. 9+ miles to get into Snoqualime tomorrow, everybody is looking forward to showers and some good food at the "Family Pancake House". I am fading fast. Thought of the day; who invented the toaster? and at what point did toast become popular enough to elicit such an invention? Song of the day; gotta live to eat, gotta eat to live, otherwise weeeed get along - Aladdin. Craving of the day; my Mom's teriyaki drumettes and all the vegetables i could fit on a plate or two.

JWC on the PCT

Another day bites the dust

Day 131, Mile 2369ish ---The arrows started flying just after sunrise. It was like in a medieval movie war scene where the sky blackens with arrows. I managed to avoid some but not all. Ok not at all really. In fact the only sign of hunters this morning were seemingly poor elk bugles. I obviously don't know whether it was a real elk or hunters calling, but it sounded pretty weak either way. The first 13 or so miles passed quickly and we had lunch at Camp Urich. It was a really nice cabin set on a large meadow. It was occupied by some folks and their horses who were doing trail maintenance work. Looked like a great place to wait out a storm if you had enough food. The last 15 or so miles didn't seem to go as fast. Certain sections were better then others; one section had amazing huckleberries. A lot of clearcuts but i don't necessarily mind that as it provides access to great views at times. Got into camp earlier then usual and got to set up and cook before dark. Once again we shared a good time eating, talking, and laughing. As a collective, this group has a really easy going and smart sense of humor that i enjoy a lot. There is an owl hooting right now that while a nice reminder that we are out in the woods, might need to be shot if it doesn't stop. Elk have been bugle-ing as well and one just did as i type this, it sounded close actually. Speaking of that, i just want to say that while i have no problem with hunting in general, some methods kind of suck. For instance calling a buck in with a cow call and then shooting it; or putting out good food and then shooting them. Imagine guys getting shot outside strip clubs and Hometown Buffet just doesn't seem right. I am realizing that people probably do get shot outside strip clubs and Hometown Buffet quite often, bad example but you get what I'm saying(writing). Alright this has gone on long enough and poorly enough. Thought of the day; high school dances were awesome. Song of the day; waaalk like a maaannnn talk like a mannnn, something like a man two nye-hi-hi-hite. Craving of the day; Enrique's and the breakfast i had in Mammoth prepared by mí Madre.

JWC on the PCT

It's Elk Season

Day 130, Mile 2343.0---Little bit of dew last night, woke to a drip on the forehead. Lots of climbing throughout the day. Some of us hit Chinook Pass for lunch. It was like Disneyland up there, everyone young and old out on the trail and a lot of dogs. All of which (the dogs) i might add, were walking out in front at the ends of their leashes. This is not proper trail etiquette, let alone good in any way for the dog/ owner relationship. Alright i'll stop this rant short. Saw a fair amount of bow hunters out today. Elk season opens tomorrow and they have been out scouting for the past two days. Tonight we all camped in a stand of tree's just past a nice spring. There is now 12 of us, well just for the night anyway. Detour, High Octane, and Nathan joined us. While we all ate, just after dark a red head lamp came across the small field. It was a hunter and he asked how long we all planned to camp here. We explained that we were all just thru-hikers and would be gone in the morning. He was happy to hear that as he stated that he had been waiting 11 years to draw this Elk tag. He had been watching a bull and some cows and then said they heard us talking and laughing and took off so he was understandably concerned. Speaking of big game, i finally got to see a mountain goat, 16 actually plus the kids. They were far off on a hillside but it was still pretty cool. Got a picture but they are just white dots. Alright i should get to sleep cause there is a good chance i will be woken by Elk calls at 4am tomorrow. Thought of the day; i think i want and need to go hunting and go through the whole process of stalking, killing, cleaning/quartering, and eating a large mammal of some kind. Song of the day; iim gettin bored drivin up and down the saaayme old strip, i gotta fiind a new place where the kids are hip - Beachboys. Craving of the day; turkey, avocado, tomato, cheese on a toasted bagel.

JWC on the PCT

Next stop Snoqualime

Day 129, Mile 2317.4---This morning i woke just in time for the 7am continental breakfast. Last night was a lot of fun but i definitely felt the lack of sleep today. A group of us had breakfast at Peters Inn around 8:30. I got an omelet with sausage, swiss, and mushrooms, country potatoes, toast, and a fat cinnamon roll all for just under 12 bucks. I just realized as i write this that i totaled my check wrong, oops. After breakfast a couple of us went to the market to do some resupply shopping. Although i already got a great box from the parentos i have decided to augment a bit. I added a bag of wheat kaiser rolls, sliced tillamook cheddar, and pepperoni to make my lunches more hearty. Got packed up and out of the hotel by 12. Went and used the internet at the sports hut to check my comments on the blog. Thanks to all who comment as it continues to propel me on this journey. I am sure i have said that before, maybe even the same language, anyway - its true, thanks. Went and bought a pint of Hagen Daus ice cream and ate it while attempting to hitch back to the trail for about 20 minutes. Gave up for the time being and went to call my Mom one last time to make sure everything is in order. Kind of scary to lose my support team for the first time in the entire trip, but I'm sure I'll manage. Got a ride soon thereafter with Don't Panic and Clearwater back up to White Pass. Hung around in the store and bullshitted with some other hikers who just got in for awhile and then finally decided i should get back on trail. Interesting thing though, one of the hikers was Yetti whom i met on day 1 and have not seen since, until today, pretty cool. Got into camp after dark and met up with the rest of the crew. After dinner and a few songs by Landshark on the guitar (Clearwater carries a backpacking guitar) it is now late and i am in need of a solid nights sleep. Thought of the day; Happy Grandparents day to my Grandma, Namer, and Granddad. Song of the day; this one song we did in high school that utilized "throat singing". Craving of the day; sleep.

JWC on the PCT

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wilderness to Cruisers

Day 128, Mile 2302.8---A decent nights sleep last night. Walked this morning with Landshark and talked about religion for awhile. It was a really cool conversation that moved in and out of religion to societal life to career aspirations. It made the miles fly by and before i knew it we were finished with the main climb of the day. At the top of the ridge there were great views of where we had been and where we will be going. Hoffa got reception on his phone and managed to set a room for us in Packwood. I also used the opportunity to call my Mom since that "10 minutes" from Tuesday was now 3 days later. She was glad to hear from me. We made it down to White Pass by just after 1-ish. I got my box and a snack while the first group hitched. They waited about an hour and a half. Luckily they got picked up and about 5 minutes later myself, Hoffa, Pothead, and Good Times got a ride. Handled internet, laundry, re-supply, and a call to the parentos all before dinner. Pizza (i know) was had by all and pitchers of beer. The birthday celebration moved to the bar across the street and we kept the party going. It is late and i need to get the most mattress time possible. Heading out tomorrow after 2 breakfasts and some cruise logistic checks maybe. Thought of the day; the end is near. Song of the day; sheeeees my little whiskaaaay girrrrrrl by somebody country. Craving of the day; to workout the rest of my body, then have a nice protein shake.

JWC on the PCT

Post Script; i should mention that my blog support team, well my support team in general will be taking a cruise for the next week and the next post will not be up until sometime around the 15th. I should also mention that i have been "convinced" to have a welcome home party on the 4th of October at the parentos house. If you're interested the exact time will be posted at a later date... later than the 15th, obviously.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Goat Rocks Wilderness

Day 127, Mile 2290.3---One of the most beautiful days on the entire trail. The weather was spectacular, the views were amazing and everywhere. Once again i enjoyed hiking with the big group. Today we talked everything from politics to dogs. The climbs were plentiful to say the least but they passed fairly easily. Towards the end of the day we got great views of Mt. Rainier as we traversed the "knife edge". It was fairly tedious at times as the penalty for a mis-step was rather large. We got split into two groups for the night, but we should all make it into Packwood by tomorrow evening. Everyone is looking forward to Danger-Prone's birthday party and the shenanigans to follow. Yes i did just use the word shenanigans. It is getting late. Thought of the day; toast is bread, but bread is not toast. Song of the day; i do not recall. Cravings of the day; watermelon and 3 bagels right out of the oven. 1 plain toasted with peanut butter and honey, 1 onion toasted with cream cheese and lox, and 1 blueberry bagel toasted with butter.

JWC on the PCT

Sunshiny day

Day 126, Mile 2265.1---Last night i woke up in a fit of heat, this is a good thing. I ended up using just my bag last night and it was more than sufficient. Tonight is definitely a little colder, but now i got options. The miles went by fairly quickly today. One of the benefits of hiking with 8 other people is the time and miles seem to pass easily. Hike with one person or two and switch off etc. Had some amazing views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier, as well as Mt. Saint Helens. Great scenery but you have to pay the price of climbing to see it. Got up to just under 6000ft today, going just over 7000 tomorrow and walking on Packwood Glacier. There was a spring directly on the trail(rare) today and the guidebook touted it as the best water on the entire trail. It was nice to not have to filter and just stick the bottle under the gushing little waterfall. I can't say that i can agree or disagree with the guidebook. The water was coming out of a pile of lava rocks and apparently all that filtering did the job as it was entirely tasteless. It wasn't just me, Landshark and Hoffa agreed. I have never had water that was just like well, liquid. Hard to explain, but i guess that means it was good? Well it wasn't bad. I found out some interesting news this evening from Landshark. He and Catepillar are taking a cruise back from Vancouver to LA (possibly LB harbor) on the 28th of September. I am definitely thinking about joining them. The price might even be cheaper then the two standby flights i would take to get home. Downside is i will probably be finished around the 24th-ish so i would need to find a place to hang out for 3 days. Also i am not sure i want to wait any longer then i absolutely have to to get home. I would arrive fat and tan though, that would be nice. Alright sleep is needed. Thought of the day; now that i have backpacked a fair amount i look forward to exploring other wilderness areas with friends and a dog. Song of the day; iiiii fownd my thriiiyillll onnnn blu! berrrry hiiiyiiil - by that one guy. Craving of the day; oddly enough i can't think of one, i have a pretty decent amount of food for this leg that's probably why.

JWC on the PCT

Trail, Town, Trail

Day 125, Mile 2237.9---Last night i probably woke up about 10 times. It felt like any space not immediately around my body was freezing cold. Don't Panic made it in to camp last night after everyone was on their way to sleep. So today it was a group of six that made our way to road 23 and attempted a hitch to Trout Lake. The first car to stop only had room for one person and since i had a box the group voted i go first. I got my box and a hamburger and a huckleberry shake. I was just finishing my huckleberry cobbler a la mode when the rest of the folks showed up. I called my Mom while everyone else was eating but she was in the check-out line at Ross. So she asked me to call her back in 10min and said she would be waiting. Of course i then promptly went back to packing my bag, getting my sleeping bag in the dryer, and discussing the rest of our town stop; i completely forgot to call her back. I remembered as i was setting up my tent back on trail 3 hours later. I feel horrible, but hopefully she knows that these things just happen(because i am brain damaged) but that i am fine. Hopefully. I got my sleeping bag dry and the liner that i found. Its not as cold tonight at the lower elevation but i decided to try it out anyway. So far so good, i am toasty as i write this. Moonpie had the idea to pack out some hot dogs and beer and camp near the road if we could get a hitch back out. I found a name on a bulletin board of a guy who gives rides so we all got taken back. The guy was a choir director and knew of LB Poly and had judged us in one of our competitions. I say "us" as an alumni, because it was before my time. He said he was impressed. We then talked about the song Elijah Rock and how i sang it in the Tabernacle etc, it was nice to talk music even though i haven't sung in a long time. Sung? Anyway we met Danger Prone & Hawkeye and Clearwater back on trail and the now 9 of us roasted hot dogs and drank cheap tall boys of PBR, Hamm's, and Rainier - only the best. On the way to Goat Rocks Wilderness tomorrow and in about 65+ miles we will be in White's Pass. Danger Prone is having a birthday party in a town near by so i may join the group for that. So far Washington is wet, cold, and a whole lot of fun. Thought of the day; i miss Long Beach and Long Beach folks. Song of the day; roses really smell like booo booo-oooooo, by Outkast. Craving of the day; satisfied by the huckleberry milkshake and huckleberry cobbler, also i had the Bub Burger which had a burger patty with a ham steak on top and then grilled onions and the rest... soo good.

JWC on the PCT

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Huckleberry Heaven Part Deux

Day 124, Mile 2219.1---This is going to be short because my hands will only work that long. It was an awesome day for huckleberries. It was like i was in wonka-land or something, some tasted like cantaloupe, others guava. I had two that tasted like pink starburst. Every ones teeth were purple, we passed a day hiker with purple teeth as well. I almost got the trail name of Huckleberry today because of my enthusiasm for them and my constantly being pulled off trail in the hunt for the perfect berry. Got some trail magic today, enjoyed some actual S tarbursts with my lunch. Actually got to meet the people who did the cache as they came to restock. It was nice to be able to thank someone in person instead of being just another name written in a log. Same group as last night is all camped together. It was cold all day and it's really cold right now. My sleeping bag needs help, so tonight it's wool socks and a beanie, possibly a jacket. Headed into Trout Lake tomorrow for a food drop, possibly spending the night and getting a burger and a huckleberry shake. Actually i should clarify, possibly spending the night, definitely getting a burger and a huckleberry shake. Everyone is trying to get up early so i should get to sleep. Thought of the day; why does your nose run when you get cold? This is the bodies best solution, - to flood the face with mucus? Song of the day; Workout Tape i thinks it's called and Jesus Walks both by Kanye West, i don't know why my brain is on a Kanye kick. Craving of the day; grilled cheese and tomato soup, also the breakfast i had at Joy & Kens' house.

JWC on the PCT

Day 2 in WA; Day 2 of rain

Day 123, Mile 2197.5---This morning i awoke to a dry tent. Got a bit of a late start but that tends to happen when I've just been in town. It was nice to be able to pack up without worrying about things getting wet. Don't Panic found a silk sleeping bag liner laying on the ground next to our tents this morning. I decided to hold on to it just in case my sleeping bag is not back to its original temp performance. It is actually a good thing i did because when i took the sleeping bag out tonight i can tell it is not back to its original loft at all. Hopefully through use and maybe some sun time, if i ever get any, it will get right. Today the terrain was pretty up and down. Kind of par for Washington according to the elevation profile. It looks like it is common to go up 3000ft only to lose 3000ft and then go back up 1600ft all in one day. Not looking forward to that because my right foot is being problematic again. Hopefully it will heal soon, there is not much i can do for it. I stopped for dinner tonight and Hoffa came through followed by Landshark and Caterpillar. Landshark is the guy who tried to give me the trail name of "Black Angus", i don't remember if i wrote about that on a post or not. Also Moonpie showed up a few miles later where we are camped for the night. It's a pretty cold night tonite. It rained most of the afternoon and evening but it let up about 6:15 and hasn't rained since. When it cleared up the temperature really dropped. Cold enough that the line that forms at the bottom of my screen when it gets cold as of late, is now changing from black to blue. Its like a Coors can or something. Last thing, i bleached my h2o bladder during my zeroes. I think i used too much bleach because i rinsed it out a bunch of times but all day it tasted like i was drinking pool water. Alright it's getting real cold - gotta go. Thought of the day; less than 460 miles to go and counting. Song of the day; workout tape by Kanye West. Craving of the day; Japanese food at Kinokawa with my Mom and Dad.

JWC on the PCT

Welcome to also rains here

Day 122, Mile 2175.9---This morning i woke up early (early for town) and turned the dryer back on. It worked out (i think), but it took all morning for my bag to get dry. My Uncle Rob made me an excellent breakfast this morning, definitely a hiker portion. I packed up all my stuff and did a few last minute things. On the drive out to Cascade Locks i thought about how great this stop had been. So great in fact and in such a place and time on the trail that it would be hard to leave, and it was. My Aunt Andrea and my cousin Jeff met me at the Bridge of the Gods and walked across with me. They hiked with me about a mile and a quarter on the trail. Jeff brought me a Session(good beer) to enjoy on the trail before i took off. It was very good and so was having them hike with me as it made the transition back to the trail a bit easier. When i left them i had a good feeling that i only had 25ish days left and i could do it. For some reason that vacillated back and forth for me the rest of the day. Not that i thought i wasn't going to do it or that i would quit, but that good positive feeling about it came and went. When i stopped for dinner Don't Panic caught up to me. It was a cool reunion as i had not seen him since Ashland. We hiked the rest of the way together to where we are now. It rained on us pretty good as the sun started to set so i am a little damp inside my tent and i only have been on trail less then 12 hrs. I keep falling asleep. Goodnight. Thought of the day; have i learned all that the PCT can teach? Song of the day; when there's too much to do, don't let it bother you, just something something something something sing yourself a song, by the mice in Cinderella? Craving of the day; more of Aunt Andrea's rolls.

JWC on the PCT

Monday, September 1, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I am a procrastinator

Day 121, last zero---Spent most of the day sort of wasting time. I waited til the last possible time to wash my down sleeping bag. Consequently it is still wet despite many minutes in the dryer with 3 juggling bean bags, one baseball, and one bouncy ball to help break up the down clumps. I really hope it is back to normal loft by the time i need to leave tomorrow. I am not sure what i will do if it isn't, i guess just wait. I had wonderful chinese today at PF Changs. My aunt took my cousin Berti and her best friend for a little birthday celebration. My cousin turned 18 today, it made me feel old, but not too bad. Made a trip to REI after and i dropped more money, but picked up a primaloft filled jacket. It's synthetic so it keeps warmth even if it's wet. It is my down jacket replacement as i head into Washington. Packed some stuff up, but leaving basically a bunch to do in the morning. That being said i need to sleep. Thought of the day; i hope the next 25 days are as painless as possible ::knock on wood::. Song of the day; American Boy by Kanye West and some new girl that likes 5'7 boys (that's me). Craving of the day; nothing really.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 120, a zero---This has to be short, i started it way too late. Had a get together at my Aunt Jane's house tonight. The food was delicious as usual, and as usual (hiking or not) i consumed far too much. I am sure i need it calorically speaking. But after round two of a dessert(a different dessert) i cramped up when laughing i was so full. It was great to see that side of the family too. Cousins are growing up and somehow that makes me feel older. Tomorrow it is back to business; cleaning, packing, planning, ugh. I knew it would be hard to leave here, but i am so close to the finish line. Even if it rained for the entire time(knock on wood) i think i would still make it. Alright i am not keeping count really but that was at least the second time i have woken up and there was another just in writing this sentence. Thought of the day; expand your comfort zone and then step outside it. Song of the day; yoooou take my breath awayyyy d-duh d-duh dmdm dmdm. Craving of the day; to have my regular pre-hike feet back.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hello Chartier's

Day 119, a zero---Last night i slept great. This morning i had two breakfasts, also great. My cousin Berti drove me over to Clackamas shopping center to make an REI trip. Got everything i needed, nothing less, nothing more, i hope. This afternoon my Grandma drove over and picked me up. We spent a few hours talking about the trip and other topics until it was dinner time. We met up with most of the rest of my Dad's side of the family at a chinese restaurant. I haven't had chinese the entire trip so i was excited. My plate arrived and it was all the same color and all fried. I think i was a little too hungry when we ordered so i just said double my cousin John's order. It was good though and i ate pretty much the entire plate. It was great to see everyone and get to talk with them. Found out my cousin Jeff and possibly my Aunt Andrea are planning to walk across the Bridge of the Gods with me and hike some which is pretty cool. On the way home i rode with my Aunt Andrea. I held 1 dozen wonderful fluffy, moist, glorious rolls on my lap the entire ride. I was in love. Then it got better, the rolls had a cute friend; a freshly made peach tart with a raspberry sauce. It was fantastic. I had 2 rolls which limited my tart consumption but it was all sooo good. Aunt Andrea even brought organic butter for the rolls. Amazing! I showed my pictures from the last 2 weeks and we all talked and laughed. I have used these folks faces, this food, these rolls, as motivation for a very long time. Thank you family for taking the time in the very middle of the week to come and see me, i really appreciated it. Now i lay here once again in a nice soft bed. Time to close my eyes and make tonight into memories that will motivate me for the next 500+ miles to Canada. Thought of the day; challenge yourself to know yourself - thought both ways. Song of the day; duh dah duh sheees my little laayday, that's a hard one. Craving of the day; got everything i needed.

JWC on the PCT

Made it thru Oregon

Day 118, Mile 2155.1---Cold night but good sleep. Sunny this morning and throughout the day. Took a trail out of the back of the campground(more like a single picnic table at the end of a poorly maintained dirt road) to Eagle Creek Trail. Dropped 2000ft in 2mi which is about as steep as it sounds. Both the guidebooks recommended this route as an alternative to the boring and un-scenic stretch of the PCT down to Cascade Locks. I think i made the right call, it was very easy walking and lots of waterfalls, one of which you could walk behind. I made it down to Cascade Locks a little slower then i had planned but still within the time window i had told my Aunt Terri. While i waited for her i split a pizza (i know) and had a couple beers with Iceman. They had Session, a beer that i haven't had since senior year of college. I loved it then and it is still as good now. I bet they have it on tap somewhere in Hood River. Alright i am getting off on a tangent. My Aunt Terri picked us up and dropped Iceman at the MAX station and took me back home. I tried to tame my hair and beard for about 45 minutes until i finally realized that was as good as it was going to get. My Uncle Rob BBQ'd some great hamburgers and chicken that was really good. I will get most of my errands done tomorrow hopefully and still leave time to fall asleep somewhere unintended. Speaking of sleep... Thought of the day; i don't know and i am falling asleep. Song of the day; sleeeepy. Craving of the day; a smoothie of some sort.

JWC on the PCT

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clutch went out on the J-train

Day 117, Mile 2136.9---Last night i couldn't really get to the right temperature for good sleep. It rained most of the night and when it wasn't coming down there was just a heavy mist in the air. Got a fair amount of condensation on my bag, but so far tonight it seems to be doing it's job. The first half of the day was spent in the cloud, the second half proved to be better. Actually got some sun in brief moments here and there. My right foot has been giving me a little trouble since the near hypothermic day. I think i must have pulled a muscle because it got too cold or something. Today it was the worst it has been but still manageable. I am not sure if it was that or something else but i could not get in gear today. I felt no power, no energy, no response in my legs. I don't know what the deal is but these next few days with food, family, and rest ought to work it out. I have just 14 or so miles to do tomorrow and i will finally be there. It cannot come soon enough. This afternoon I had the best huckleberries yet. There were about 5 bushes that all produced big dark berries in the same spot. The odd part was on either side were other huckleberries that just were not on their level. Icebag, Neil, Iceman, Super & Visor all ate from that same patch as well and agreed. The flavors were complex and the seeds when I bit into one tasted like the watermelon chapstick my high school sweetheart used to wear, weird. Alright it's getting pretty cold now, need to zip up. Thought of the day; the heart beats, the brain humms, and the butt toots along - yeah i don't know. Song of the day; iiii wish i haaddd jesse's girrrl, where can i find me a woman like that, like jesseee's girrrl duh duh duuh dah - by some envious singer. Craving of the day; Trader Joe's almond butter and Mrs. Hietmans' apple butter on a croissant.Post Script; i am aware that trains don't have clutches, but j-bus or j-car didn't sound right.

JWC on the PCT

Just happy to be here and going there

Day 116, Mile 2115.8---Woke up dry for the first time in the last couple mornings. Would have slept through the night solid but there was a lot of other campers nearby and they were not really on a hiker schedule, or sober. But it was still good to be dry. On the way today i went by a pull-up bar thing at a trailhead. Managed 5 deadhang pull-ups with my pack on, 4 of which are on camera for proof. Good to know i haven't completely turned into a T-Rex. Made it to Timberline by 2:30 - OK sidebar as i am writing this i think i hear it starting to rain and to listen better i turn my headlamp off, what the hell? Anyway so I got to Timberline and went to get my package and the lady couldn't find it on the list. Called the parentos and my Mom mixed up the days and it would not be arriving until tomorrow. She felt really bad, but honestly for 2,107 miles something was bound to go a little awry somewhere. No biggie though, i had packed extra food for some reason, plus there was an amazing hiker box (spot where hikers discard extra food they don't need) and i got even more stuff from there. Actually i think i ended up with too much again. Saw Icebag on the steps to the lodge with his friend Neil who came out to hike with him. Neil was wearing an oxford blue button up with the sleeves rolled up neatly; a pack on his back and a camelback on his front. He looked ready, yet not. I told Icebag my story and he told me his and we figured out where we went astray. He was injured a bit, and Neil was green so to speak so we agreed I would probably meet them again sometime tomorrow on trail. Myself, Paranoia, The Belgian Waffles, and Hoffa all went to have pizza at The Blue Ox. I enter the bar and three different people say "are you Jesse? "- yes - Heyyyy Jesssayyy! What is this Cheers or something? One guy told me to call home. I figured the parentos were still worried about me not having enough to eat. They were. I made it clear that i would be just fine, and then my Dad offered that since there was some weather coming in maybe i would like to stay at the lodge. I declined with the intention of going 8 more miles to a cabin/hut right off trail with Hoffa and Paranoia. It was really good pizza and I easily finished half a large and a big green salad. With a full stomach we took off only to talk with at least 3 groups of folks on the way out. Everyone seems to like the idea of walking from border to border and want to know all the same things about it. I personally never get tired of talking to people about it and watching the various reactions to the same one liner etc. Walked and talked with Hoffa who is a pretty cool guy from what i can tell in 8 miles. We however did not make it to the shelter. By the time we got to the river we needed to cross in order to reach the shelter just 0.3mi beyond, it was very dark. So now we are just camped on the side of the river hoping that the rain decides to pass by in the night. All these nights of poor sleep are starting to rack up and i am beat. Looking forward to falling asleep in the middle of the day in cotton clothes on a couch while reading a magazine in the very near future. The day dreams of a thru-hiker. Thought of the day; what is it with the ladies and this beard? Song of the day; What Makes the Red Man Red - Peter Pan. Cravings of the day; a fruit salad, and breakfast foods for the most part.

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Huckleberry Heaven

Day 115, Mile 2085.5ish---Last night i woke up about 4am to a wet sleeping bag and a cold body. Condensation, dew, whatever you want to call it - happened. So today i took about an hour and a half lunch break and put most everything in my pack out on the rocks in the sun. So currently i write from a dry sleeping bag in a dry tent, hope it's the same in the morning. I am camped in the forest as opposed to the deck of a cabin next to a lake, so it should be good. What's with the "L" in should, could, would? Anyway if you re wondering why Icebag hasn't been mentioned in the last few posts it's cause he is not with me. We got separated that first day on the way to Santiam Pass in the storm. Found out yesterday that there was a note for me written in the dirt from him saying to go to Big Lake Youth Camp to wait out the bad weather. Paranoia and some others were there and got treated to warm cabins and good camp food. Paranoia relayed this all to me yesterday and i realized the exact spot where i missed the note. There was another note to Sundown there from Hoffa, a birthday message for Beautiful, and i got them all and missed mine. But i guess finding your way to a nordic ski hut on your way to hypothermia is a better story, maybe. Today there was a lot of what i consider classic Oregon forest. It reminded me of the movie The Hunted with Benecio DelTorro and Tommy Lee Jones. You should see it if you haven't, i mean it's not like a cinematic masterpiece, but it's entertaining and based on some real facts. Underline some. Ran into some horseback riders from the Estacada area after lunch. They knew of all the places my family frequents there but didn't know any of my family outright. In the afternoon i came upon the title of this post. I had eaten a few here and there earlier and some thimble berries or saskitoons (sp?) as they are called in Canada. But in this one stretch of trail it was like every 10ft there was another huckleberry bush laden with ripe fruit. I think i may have had some wild blueberries too but at any rate i had so many my hand was stained purple. I was afraid i would come upon a group of hikers and get a trail name like Huckleberry Hand, or The Huckleberry Kid, or just Stains. Finished out the day hiking with Paranoia for about half an hour. We are camped above Timothy Lake in a nice spot. A mysterious black bar is forming on either side across the bottom of my pocketmail device screen. I am going to go before it connects and whatever happens when that happens, happens. Timberline tomorrow and then its all downhill after that - to sea level. Bearden's, Chartier's, Koester's I am on my way! Thought of the day; it's amazing where you can go when you just start walking. Songs of the day; Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast (yes i know all the words but i will spare you) and Afternoon Delight from Anchorman. Cravings of the day; frosted mini-wheats with blueberries and bananas, a slice of Turducken (although i have never had this before) and lastly this thing I'm going to call a "calorie loaf" that i had once at my Aunt Jane's' house. It is cheese and those little miniature hot dog type things (the name escapes me) wrapped in what i think was a croissant crust type thing. Like a giant pigs in a cheese blanket. Man i am doing a horrible job at describing this, but it tasted really really good.

JWC on the PCT

let the sun shine in

Day 114, Mile 2053.1---Last night was a cold one. What wasn't wet already became wet as the tent dewed up really bad and then the wind blew it into the mesh tent body on one side. That is hard to visualize i realize but basically things got more wet. My sleeping bag lost most heating power and i spent the majority of the night sleeping on my stomach with my legs crossed and my hands tucked into my groin. The wind was still blowing in the morning but the sun was shining. During my lunch break i managed to dry out my sleeping bag mostly but that was it. I decided i would try and get a cabin at Olallie Lake Resort and dry everything out. I made it here and found out the place hasn't been open all year because of snow damage. There is only car camping around the lake so i found one cabin with a big deck and set up shop. Hopefully it's not a problem. Hopefully i can take a nice long break tomorrow mid-day and get the rest dried out. Saw my first view of Mt. Hood today and it got me excited for family. I have 2 more days left to Timberline and then 2 more to Cascade Locks. I can't wait to see all my Oregonian relatives and eat, talk, and laugh with them. 100+ miles and all that will be had. It will also mark my completion of 2 out of 3 states with Washington left to go. All exciting stuff, all of which i am looking forward to. That rain storm and previous mosquito hell was just the kick in the ass i needed. I'm ready for it all now. I should probably turn off my headlamp so as not to give away my locale here. Goodnight. Thought of the day; i do not recall. Song of the day; some Motown classics. Craving of the day; all the wonderful food i will be having at the familial gatherings in 4 days.

JWC on the PCT

Whoops, i did it again

Day 113, Mile 2029.5 ---I have to make this short cause i gotta focus on not freezing to death and trying to sleep at the same time. Took awhile to get out of the cabin this morning but i forced myself back out into it. It was like being in a cloud all day, sometimes rain, sometimes strong winds, sometimes both. As you can see by the mileage i did not hitch back to Bend. I was at the trail head parking lot and there was a sign saying that the forest service recommends against this section because of wildfire danger. I was thinking OK here is another reason why i should go into Bend. Then all of the sudden i got this quiet confidence which is best as i can describe it. I am going to be cold and wet, but i am not going to die. I turned north and took off. The trash bag failed again and i am in a semi-wet sleeping bag, with semi-frozen feet, neither of which help one another. My head is warm and so is my torso, that's more then 50%, not too bad. Hopefully tomorrow is sunny and i can dry everything out. Otherwise its cold and wet til Timberline. Also found out i lost two tent stakes somehow. Its not detrimental to the set-up, but it is definitely not helpful. I am going to attempt sleep. Thought of the day; i want to add a condition to hell, i think it has a two way mirror with a viewing into heaven. Song of the day; some Beatles song that goes johnny, donny, tawny or loni something luuuuh-huv. Craving of the day; dark meat fried chicken and biscuits.

JWC on the PCT


Day 112, Mile 2006.9---This morning it was hard to get out of bed, i could have used a couple more solid hours. But there was the incentive of the glorious breakfast that awaited me. After the wonderful and satisfying meal i got everything together and packed up. Both Ken and Joy drove us back to the trail to drop us off. I had a great 36hrs at their house and i am grateful that my Mom has continually set me up with such awesome people. It was hard to leave the warmth of their home both figuratively and literally speaking(writing). Got back on trail sometime around 10:30 only to find it basically in a cloud. It was raining and blowing so i put my rain jacket on and a trash bag covered my pack. As we walked, the hood on my rain jacket kept blowing down and covering just my left eye. It made me lose my depth perception and consequently my balance on the unstable rocky lava fields - kind of bothersome. We finally got into the forest but i noticed my pack seemed to be getting heavier, not good. It got heavier and heavier and Icebag passed me because i was walking so slow. Later as it still poured and blew like crazy i took off my pack to get some food and realized the trash bag wasn't all that effective. My pack was soaked, again, not good. So i decided to pick up the pace and try to get to Santiam Pass asap and hitch back to Bend. I imagined taking a trip with Ken to REI this evening and getting a pack cover and possibly some other rain stuff. Then coming home to another amazing dinner etc. But it didn't happen that way, at all. I should mention that i was wearing a rain jacket and shorts all day and with the rain and wind by the time i got to Santiam i was pretty cold. Then i started walking down the hwy and the windchill got me shivering pretty good. I stood in a good spot for about an hour and got nothing but colder. So many cars with a single driver and an empty car, it was painful. It was half way through this hour that i realized i was pretty screwed if i didn't get a hitch and this didn't let up. I didn't, and it didn't, and i was very screwed. I made my way back up the road and to the trail. I remembered a nordic ski sign that mentioned a shelter about a mile back south on the pct and then a mile east-ish on a nordic run. It was my only shot really to dry out or at least not go hypothermic. At one point i was trying to get my maps back into my pack and it took me about 3 minutes because the use of my hands was so limited. It took a long time and i almost gave up thinking it must have been burned down in the fire 5 years ago, but i found it. Good timing too because at this point i was shivering uncontrollably to some degree. Its a great little log cabin with a wood stove in the middle. Glass windows but no door, just a big wide opening with a blue tarp hanging. I went about making a fire and laying all my stuff out. As i had thought most everything was wet. My sleeping bag and down jacket both had one wet spot and dried pretty fast. Not sure what i am going to do tomorrow. It all needs to be dry before i leave but i would like it to stay dry, which it won't in another storm. Maybe I'll still try and hitch in tomorrow, i really don't know. Its cold and windy still and the tarp keeps flapping excessively. I am going to add one last log and then get some sleep as best i can before it burns out. Thought of the day; if there is a hell, i bet its not all fire and brimstone, i bet its cold and wet. Songs of the day; circle of life - lion king, and jump and jive and spin your whale you got to jump and jive and spin your whale - a song about dancing with fat girls by somebody back in the day. Craving of the day; laying on the couch at Joy and Kens' house watching the Olympics and eating ice cream with fruit on top.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trail Angels

Jarell,Danyele,Prince &Roman

Anna "the blue house"

Esther (and Larry)

Julie (and Chuck)

Sam & Rachel