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.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a taste of the good life

Day 111, a zero---Woke up this morning and had an amazing breakfast made for us. At one point i was asked by Joy if i would like pancakes and eggs and ham or one or the other. Ken reminded me during my hesitation that there was lunch later, then dinner, and even breakfast tomorrow morning. What a novel concept, three real meals a day, i miss it. I spent most of the morning talking with Joy and Ken about all sorts of things past, present, and future, on and off the trail topics. It was nice to have time to stop and just converse. In the afternoon we made a shopping tour of Bend and a box pick-up in Sisters. Coming out of the Post Office i saw "the one" but didn't manage to say anything to her. I thought of a great line about 3 seconds after she passed and i was walking into oncoming traffic. I wanted to say," i will probably never see you again, but i hope i do." Too corny? maybe, but it was the truth anyway. Got my box unpacked and into my food sack. Also my mom included a copy of the "things i need to learn and accomplish" list i made 5 years ago. There are some items i can check off now like "earn a college degree". The best part about it is it will give me more thought fodder for the trail. We had a wonderful dinner where i stuffed myself thoroughly and enjoyed 2 servings of ice cream later. Talked to my parents for about an hour and a half which was nice. Everything is good on the homefront which is good. Watched some Olympic games and got some internet time even later. And now its later later, too late. Back on the trail in the morning, but not before a nice breakfast :). Thought of the day; i am looking forward to purchasing a pair of shoes for the sole purpose of doing a little yogging here and there and not 25 miles a day. pardon the pun. Song of the day; loooove is kinda crazy with a something something boy liiike yooou-oo... and then you STOP and something something - your guess is as good as mine. better probably. Craving of the day; none today.

JWC on the PCT

timing is everything

Day 110, Mile 1988.5---Last night was loud, bright, and wet. Unusual things for my nights on the PCT thus far. I managed to stay relatively dry in my tent throughout the night, and things only got damp in the morning as i packed up. The mosquitoes were not as bad by mid-day. It was real nice to take off the sauna suit and not get eaten alive as i walked. For the majority of the day the clouds kept their distance and seemed fairly un-threatening. That changed by 3:30ish and we were basically chased by a thunderstorm or two for the last few hours of the day. We saw a lot of people on the trail today and i can see why. The Three Sisters Wilderness Area was very beautiful and full of running water, big mountains, and open meadows. All these things people seem to enjoy a lot. Earlier in the day i had broached the idea of possibly hitching in on hwy 242 this evening 17 miles ahead of schedule. Icebag and i deliberated a couple different times throughout the day and finally decided it was a good idea. The thunderstorms for me were a big incentive to get in with a roof over my head. Walking on lava fields for the next 5+ miles with thunder and lightning didn't sound all that appealing. I may not be the adventurous guy i sometimes think and others think i am. Although Icebag and i are getting kind of tired of one another we decided a zero couldn't be a bad thing for either one of us. So we waited on hwy 242 and got nothing. There were three other hikers there who had just gotten back from Sisters . They told us this guy had just offered them a ride so we caught up with him and sure enough he would take us. It was just in the nick as the rain really started coming down. The guy (Terry) was on business and said he was actually going all the way into Bend. Although our boxes are in Sisters, my mom set us up to stay with family friends the Krumdiecks in Bend. We ended up hanging out with Terry for a while and we got to eat at the Deschutes Brewing Company. They are famous on the trail for creating Mirror Pond ale i liked a couple of their others as well. It was great conversation and a great meal. Probably another one of the best burgers of my life, and the beer was amazing too. After we finished even as late as it was, Ken (Mr. Krumdieck) picked us up and brought us home. And home is where i am now, so comfortable, so nice, so appreciated. Once again i should take advantage of this bed, a bed, and sleep. Joy(Mrs. Krumdieck) mentioned what we might be having for breakfast in the morning and i am already hungry, or maybe just excited, both. Thought of the day; i wonder if there isn't a pill that you could take to repel mosquitoes because the pharma corporations have too much vested in medications for diseases like malaria and dysentery. Song of the day; not really a song just - leyyft, leyyft, leyft right leyft - and repeat.

JWC on the PCT

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Que terrible'

Day 109, Mile 1966.3---I awoke this morning at around 6:30 to do my daily business. The mosquitoes gave me no privacy, and made the whole experience quite uncomfortable. They did not quit until around 11;30 when i came to a burned out area. I had my dri-clime jacket with my head net tucked in, and also pants on. The only thing exposed was my hands and occasionally my neck as the net shifted. I got about 10 bites on each hand. They got my right pinky finger 3 times, and i even got a stigmata bite as i referred to it after one bit me in the middle of my right palm and left a blood spot when it died. Around 11:30 was also when i came to the trail junction that goes to Elk Lake Resort. Alright i gotta cut this short i am really tired. Had an amazing burger and sweet potato fries. Left to go back on trail only to decide the thunderstorms were too much. Then met Icebag on the way back off trail and decided to go ahead and leave. I felt wimpy to have not been able to leave on my own. Got about 8 miles out before the time and storms forced us to stop and set up camp. Here i am now with all my stuff in my tent, using my pack as a pillow. Every 20 minutes or so another storm rolls in and then rolls out. I hope it is nice in the morning. Goodnight. Thought of the day; it could be worse - such a dumb saying, it applies anywhere and everywhere. Song of the day; something something some, something something some, onnnnn the feeeeeylds of baaaaahley - Phil Collins? Sting? Craving of the day; a burger i had for lunch today called Da Kine, i wanted another for dinner. 1/4lb patty with swiss cheese, grilled onions, grilled pineapple, peppered bacon, lettuce, and teriyaki glaze on a ciabatta bread, and with sweet potato fries of course.

JWC on the PCT

today sucketh the mosteth

Day 108, Mile 1946.8---Let's start from the beginning.This morning we packed up and left the hut. I was actually the last one to leave and for some reason i thought of going back to the tram, riding down, and quitting the trail. As i walked i tried to place why i was thinking of quitting. I decided i felt pretty guilty that in the last 2 days i have skipped (in one form or another) approximately 40 miles. When i called my Dad from Shelter Cove and said i had arrived, he said "man your smokin buddy!". The last time he said that was when i told him i had arrived in Etna after 100mi in 72 hrs - which i actually walked. It didn't feel good to hear that again and know it wasn't accurate at all this time. I have this belief that if i can't do something right or to my standards, i shouldn't do it at all. Although i am a self proclaimed reformed purist, the guilt was too strong. Willamette Pass was hosting a 100k (63mi) race today(hence the ayce pasta last night) and the course went along the PCT for a bit. I came upon a lady sitting at a trail junction directing racers at a confusing intersection. I talked with her for a bit and she asked how long i was hiking for and where to. I responded that i was headed to Canada and probably around 5 months as it has already been 3 and a half. "Ohhh my, well you look so fresh!" she said. Grrreat my guilty conscience lamented; probably because you just skipped 40 miles and had all you can eat pasta last night which you took up on a tram ride and ate indoors in a hut with solar lighting and a beer to wash it all down. So of course i confessed it all to her. She didn't seem that concerned for my thru-hiker soul. I walked on, stepping aside as racers passed every once in awhile, usually in two's or three's. Some of them commented on my hike, or my trip, and how amazing it was as they went by. I thought; are you kidding me? you folks are running 63 miles today, that is amazing. This post is going to go on forever. Soon i started seeing signs like "gypsies ahead" and "the Twins 1/2 mile ahead". It turned out to be an aid station for the racers, complete with hyper helpers, and a belly dancer. I was offered all of the same stuff the racers got. I had a piece of watermelon, a couple grapes, a slice of banana, and a PB&J tortilla wrap thing. All of it tasted awesome, it made me wish i was in the race so i could have it all again at the finish. In fact i thought about dropping my pack and running with them, make up the 40 miles, and then quit the trail. Quitting was in my head all day. The mosquitoes upped the ante in the afternoon. Deet was applied again and again, at one point my legs were on fire hip to toe with a burning itch. It got so bad i had to put my jacket on and tuck my head net into the collar. That is not comfortable, especially when its 80something and very humid. Then it started to rain. Not hard at all, but just enough to get those other 50000000 skeeters up and moving. I think this afternoon was my lowest point on the entire trail. I am not sure i hit rock bottom, but it felt hard enough. The rain let up, but the mosquitoes did not. I picked a spot to camp around 7:30 and set up my tent with the fly in case it started up again. As i cooked dinner a thunderstorm started up about 16 miles away (i did that counting between lightning and thunder thing). I couldn't get my dinner to cool down fast enough to eat as the storm rolled in. I felt fairly vulnerable being camped next to a small lake, eating with a metal spork out of a metal pot, next to a tall tree, the mosquitoes pelting me all the while. I threw out some of my dinner and managed to get myself and everything in the tent just as the big drops started to fall. So here i sit, in this sauna. In the time it has taken me to write this colossal post the storm has passed, the mosquitoes buzz around the tent awaiting my return, and it sounds like something has found the rest of my dinner. Why am i doing this again? I hope it becomes clear in the morning. I want to finish, i don't want to quit. I just wish the Canadian border was just 20 miles away instead of 700ish. Alright that's it, thanks for hanging in there - if you did. Thought of the day; i just want out, WAIT i don't mean that, life is good, I'm fine. Song of the day; same as yesterday actually. Craving of the day; to be at home eating homemade burgers, shakes, and fries.

JWC on the PCT

alternative lifestyle

Day 107, Mile 1919ish---Last night when we got into camp there were a lot of notes from other hikers on the trailhead message board. Most of them mentioned an "alternate route that has more water and is shorter". We looked it up this morning in the guidebook and it is actually recommended over the original PCT route by the authors. So in keeping with the theme of this section we decided to take the alternate route. It was really flat and fairly boring, but there was more water, and it was shorter. We made it to Shelter Cove by 3:45ish. There we met another hiker who i have seen on and off since the desert sections. Her name was formerly Miss Potato Head, she is now known as Pothead. We all got our re-supply boxes, packed up and headed to Willamette Pass ski area. One of the guidebooks said pizza and beer could be had Fri-Sun, we were in luck. It also said that if one was so inclined you could take the tram to the top and meet the PCT about a mile later on a connecting trail. About 2 miles after that there was a ski hut you could spend the night in. So we decided to put them all together. We went and got the all you can eat pasta option and a to go box, a couple beers, and bought tram tickets. By 8 o'clock we were eating a pasta dinner and drinking bottled beer in this ski hut 75yds off trail. I do plan to get back to my old ways of hitting every single mile i can, but Oregon is fairly boring without some sort of extracurriculars. At times i feel guilty, at others i could care less. "Hike your own hike" is what it boils down to. I have to sleep now. Thought of the day; everybody in the world wants 2 things; to be comfortable, and to be loved. Song of the day; u lowwwwd sixteen tons and waaduhya get, another day older and deeeper in debt, saint peterrr dont youu caaall me cause i cant goooo, i ohhhhh my sohhhl to the company stowwww - some deep voiced guy with a mind that's weak, but a back that's strong and one fist of iron and the other is steel. Said aahyem soooweeeooohw! eeeohh anxious, love it when ur talkin dirty, meet me at 1130, said aahyem sooooweeeoohweeeohhh anxious - i have no clue. Craving of the day; fresh baked bread and some apples and cheese.

JWC on the PCT

Back on track

Day 106, Mile 1882.9---After 6 miles on the side trail we hit the PCT this morning at mile 1864.0. We had discussed alternative routes in the morning as we packed up which included renting horses, or trying to still get to the hot springs. I decided i just wanted to get on the PCT and go north as usual. The terrain was fairly flat today with some moderate climbs here and there. We crossed the high point of the Oregon/Washington section today at a whopping 7,560 ft. It was a saddle surrounded by trees with no view at all. Figuratively speaking i would not call it a "high point". One interesting thing about that area was that there were a ton of monarch butterflies going southbound. We had seen a similar vein of monarchs coming past the crater rim at one point. Must be some sort of migratory channel. There were two water sources the entire day. The first was a creek; flowing well, with nice cold water. The second was a fairly stagnant pond with warm milky tasting water. There was also a ton of mosquitoes at the pond. As i pumped away with my filter sucking up the water, they attacked, sucking up my blood. I pumped faster and then i thought all this vigorous movement is just increasing my blood pressure and probably making it easier for them. I only got about a liter before i couldn't take it anymore. Turns out the water tastes terrible anyway and there is only a few more miles in the morning to better water, so no prob. One last interesting thing today was these tiny huckleberry-like plants. They put an aroma in the air that smelled like rainbow sherbet, amazingly good. It made me want a sherbet float of some sort. Working out my schedule to get to Cascade Locks on the night of the 28th. I think i might try and take a zero in Bend. We saw only 3 other people all day. One section hiker at the nasty water source, and then two true southbounders at camp. The southbounders said there are some good sushi places in Bend. Since i missed that in Ashland, and i need to take at least one zero to make the 28th, it sounds like a plan. Wow, just saw a shooting star. I am going to lay here and wait for another one and fall asleep in the process. Thought of the day; be conscious of your energy use, no not the green movement, i mean your actual energy that you produce and use. Song of the day; All my life by KC and JoJo - i was relaying the story to Icebag of how Lucy and i danced to that after i requested it from the DJ in 8th grade and i thought i was so cool for doing that, wow baaaack in the day. Craving of the day; the ice cream i had at the Heitmans that i churned myself, and all types of quality and not so quality Chinese food.

JWC on the PCT

all roads lead to rome

Day 105, Mile ?---The morning was great. Breakfast buffet, charged my camera battery right next to the table, got new shoes. It was really really cool to see my Aunt Terri and my Mom. I hadn't seen family(blood related) since July 1st. It was good to know that in roughly 15 days i would be seeing more familiar faces. They drove us up to the crater rim and we said our goodbyes. Then the skip-hike-hitch-hike day began. We got dropped off roughly 4 miles north of where we got off trail. This to the purists would be a major transgression. I myself am a reformed purist and Icebag was never one to begin with. Also we were coming up on a long waterless stretch so this would ease the pain. I am realizing now that this is going to be long and complicated but i will do my best. Our original plan was to take an alternate route after the rim through Diamond Lake that would add 5 miles but give us water and dinner at the resort so we could carry less food and water. About an hour after we left we ran into SlickB headed south bound. He said he had spent the last 4 days at a hot springs with naked hippy chicks and it was "priceless". He also said he left us a cache and directions at highway 138 on how to get there ourselves. Although the naked hippy chicks left, he would hitch back there this evening with beer and wine and food and we should join him. Last but not least there was an alternate route called the Umpqua trail that connected the hot springs with the PCT some 28 miles later; it was full of water sources the whole way. Sounded like a wonderful idea. It would actually add 8 miles to our journey so the 4 we skipped would be made up completely. Alright so now jump forward 3 hours, its 5oclock and somehow we still have 8.5 miles to go just to get to hwy 138, then hitch to the hot springs. We decide if there is any hope of making the hotsprings we need to hitch off the road leaving Crater Lake n.p. and paralleling the trail at that time. So we bushwhack east, hit the road and start walking north along the tiny shoulder, sticking our thumbs out along the way. After many cars passed us we finally got picked up by 3 brothers, their sister, and a sister-in-law. They were headed to Diamond Lake back to a family reunion. They were very nice and even smushed in the back seat so we could ride in the middle captain chairs, it was good. The sister appeared to be holding her nose the entire ride, i apologize for both Icebag and myself, but thanks alot for picking us up. So we went to Diamond Lake(also on hwy 138) via said hitch, got dinner and then tried to figure out how to get to the hot springs. A guy at the front desk of the lodge gave us basic directions and we headed back out to 138 to hitch. We tried until the sun went down and cars were starting to avoid us like we might be deer walking out on to the road or something. Just as we were getting our packs on to go, two cute girls pulled over going the opposite way and said they were headed to Medford. We said we were trying to go back the other way but thanks for being the only people to stop in the last half hour. As they took off we both looked at each other and said, why didn't we go to Medford? SlickB would have gone to Medford. So, we never got a hitch and we are back to our original plan on a side trail out of Diamond Lk that meets back up with the PCT in 7 miles. I think we are somehow a day ahead of schedule now, but I'm not sure, at all. I think we just skipped 17ish miles on the day, but I'm not sure, at all. I think i am going to try and make up these miles somehow since the hot springs fell through and now all we did was really skip for skippings sake, not good. But what i do know is its late and i need to sleep. Thought of the day; too many plans and you don't have one. Song of the day; cooooool cleeaaar waterrrrrrrr - somebody i might should probably know. Craving of the day; i was offered grapes by Aunt Terri to pack out and i didn't. I should have.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ask and ye shall receive

Day 104, Mile 1830.4---First of all, SUCCESS! I walked 22 miles today without taking a break to get to Crater Lake as early as possible. I made it in around 245 and called my Dad to find out the deal with Rob and Terri. The Post Office was 4 or more trail/road miles so i went to the nearest phone at the Mazama Village store. My Dad couldn't get ahold of them for me but a minute after i hung up with him i saw my Aunt Terri's car come into the parking lot. The person in the passenger seat looked like a woman waving at me like my Mom waves when she is excited - both hands going. It WAS my Mom! Pretty awesome feeling i have to say. Not that Uncle Rob wouldn't have been awesome to have too, but there is nothing like that feeling of contentment when you see your Mother after a long absence of this kind. That was a long sentence. Anyway so like i had hoped, wished, and prayed, it all worked out. Not to mention that my Aunt Terri had packed fruit and french bread in a cooler which i immediately got into. Like having two moms come to see me, awesome. Well not like, cause they are both moms but - nevermind, it was just good, great, grand, wonderful. Right now i am laying in a bed and the longer i type the less time i have to enjoy it in sleep. If you ever want to really appreciate your bed just sleep on the floor with a Thermarest or something for 5 nights, it will be awesome on that 6th night. Tomorrow we get my boxes because although my mother was at the post office when it was open they would not give them to her. She even showed her ID that matched exactly the return addresses on the boxes, as well as my last name, obviously. But she was denied. So breakfast and charging batteries tomorrow, then getting new shoes and food from my other box, then back on the trail. Thought of the day; i had a really good one, but food and family and i cannot recall. Song of the day; same, sorry. Craving of the day; a decent salad.

JWC on the PCT

no reception, no exception

Day 103, Mile 1808ish---Today was a flashback from the Sierra's, except boring. Flashback because today we entered the Sky Lakes Wilderness which should be renamed Giant Bloodsucker Wilderness. I got eaten alive today before i finally put on DEET, and that lasted most of the day. The combination of bugs, a flat forested trail, and feeling bad about tomorrow, made today fairly shitty. I asked Icebag for his phone this morning so that i could try and get a text or call out during the day. At one point i had 4 bars out of 7 and got nada. My only hope is either my aunt and uncle decide not to come out or one of the texts made it through somehow; both unlikely i think. I had the image of my Uncle Rob and Aunt Terri waiting outside the Post Office for me for half the day tomorrow in my head for all of the day today. I am going to hope, wish, and pray that it all works out. I actually found out today from Icebag that the Post Office closes at 3pm so i won't even be able to get my boxes tomorrow. The main problem is getting my charger out of my bounce box and charging my camera batteries. I actually think i might bounce it ahead to Sisters and head in there with Icebag for a possible zero. I don't know what i am doing at all actually. It seems to work out for the best out here, I'm banking on that this time. I just want to be at Cascade Locks with family, like yesterday. Well this has been a lovely post. On a good note, i ate a wild huckleberry today that tasted like a blueberry and a guava mixed. Meteor shower tonight, i doubt i could keep my eyes open for it; maybe i will wake up in the middle of the night and catch one. Thought of the day; selfishness, not money, is the root of all evil. Song of the day; waaa waaa waaaaa wa wa she's got me lookin like im dumb, shudah known, shudah left that girl alone - i think it goes something like that and by who i have no clue. Craving of the day; eggs benedict of sorts- take a 8inch onion sub sandwich roll (like the one i had at Hero Sandwhich in Ashland) cut it in half and lightly toast it. Next layer on shrimp cut in half lengthwise and sauteed in roasted garlic and butter with a little salt. Next layer very thinly sliced fresh Bosc pear rings (can be cooked slightly in hot pan with butter). Next layer is 3 sunnyside eggs on each roll. Add desired amount of Hollandaise sauce to the top. Also craved a couple freshly peeled carrots with a bowl of ranch dressing.

JWC on the PCT

sans title

Day 102, Mile 1780.5---Today was un-exciting to say the least. Last night the raccoons kept me up for a while so i didn't make it on trail until about 7:50. We stopped for lunch at a shelter made by the Oregon National Guard. I made Mountainhouse macaroni and cheese with a pouch of smoked salmon added. It was ok. A girl showed up soon after i arrived and her pack looked like it weighed at least 50lbs. There was more stuff tied or clipped or pocketed on the outside than i had ever seen before on a single pack. She was doing a section from Ashland to Crater Lake. She caught up with us at the end of the day while we cooked dinner and now we are all camped together just past a stream. Walked on a lot of lava today which doesn't make the best tread though my feet didn't seem to mind. Did not make my 30 today, which definitely means i am not going to make it to Crater Lake before noon day after tomorrow. My Uncle Rob and Aunt Terri might be meeting me there but it was not set in stone when i left Ashland. I am hoping i can get a signal on Icebag's phone sometime tomorrow so i can call and let them know i will be late. Alright that's about it, like i said in the first sentence, un-exciting. Thought of the day; do not let any negatives in your past reflect on the inherently positive outlook of your future. Song of the day; wiith eeemaaginaaayshunnnn iyel get there, by Harry Connick Jr. Craving of the day; frybread - it was served with every meal at this restaurant in Whitefish, Montana. Its like a deep fried dinner roll, soo lovely.

JWC on the PCT

Sam & Rachel; trail angels extrordinaire

Day 101, Mile 1756ish---As you can read i am still alive. Soon after dark the girls came up the road. We ended up deciding to camp back near the Pilot Rock trailhead despite the possible late night return of Jesse. After hauling the cooler and all our stuff down to a meadow, only to decide it was too rocky, we finally set up camp about 100ft from the cars in the woods next to the trail. These girls Sam and Rachel were amazing. They brought sandwiches, chips and salsa, plenty of beer, and even ice cream. Not just any ice cream, banana and ginger, the two flavors me and Icebag had mentioned when talking with them earlier. Both Icebag and i were not sure what we did to deserve all of this. After dinner and dessert by candle lantern light we talked a while and then Rachel got out her guitar. It was late and as she played Sam and Icebag fell asleep. She was very good, and i was trying very hard to stay awake, but it was so relaxing. She started singing a bit, and in a jewel-esque timbre sung "close yourr sleeepy eyes", that was all it took, i was down for the count. In the morning they had blueberries and bananas for us. It was just incredible. We packed up and headed to the car. Jesse had arrived sometime in the night; his car was tarped and suitcases, coolers, and car seats were spread out on the road. He came around the corner dragging a tree branch. All cleaned up and seemingly sober he was a lot more benign this morning. Kind of made me feel dumb for ever worrying in the first place. He told his story to the girls and Rachel said she thought she knew where his key was. She offered to run down the trail and retrieve it and then they would give him a jump. We said our goodbyes before she left and headed for the trail. But not before Jesse insisted we take 2 Redbulls each for the "road". That rounded out my breakfast of 1 bottle of Blue moon, 1 Redbull, 3 handfuls of blueberries and 2 odwalla bars. Anyway, today was fairly easy walking, even with a late start we made 20 by 4:15ish. Stopped in at Hyatt Lake resort and split a pizza and breadsticks. It was good, problem is i still have yet to put a dent in the ration for this leg, and i don't like carrying the extra weight. I might try to cook a dinner for lunch tomorrow, that might help. Hoping to do over 30 tomorrow, we shall see. Thought of the day; Oregon is awesome. Song of the day; go to youtube and search "french idol beatbox" or "french beatbox", that's what was in my head for the last half of the day. Craving of the day; better jerky than i have and a cold Gatorade.

Post Script; Sam or Rachel if you are reading this it would be great if you could e-mail Icebag with your contact info and thanks again.

JWC on the PCT

hmm...........this could be interesting

Day 100, Mile 1731.2---Alright so i would like to be writing from inside my tent right now per usual but i am not. And it is not night time, and i am not in my lovely sleeping bag. I am just 5ish miles outside Ashland. Wait, let me start from the beginning which is definitely worth mentioning. We had another great half day at the resort that is Chuck and Julie's home. We got eggs benedict cooked for us, more internet time, more TV time, more food time, more good times. I am really glad i got the opportunity to meet them and stay at their great place. I know Icebag and Don't Panic did not want to leave, they drug their feet as long as possible. Icebag and myself got dropped off at the trail around 4:20ish and Don't Panic was headed back to the hostel for another night. We hiked less then 2.5 miles and came upon two girls having a picnic of sorts. We talked for a while and one of the girls said she was interested in doing the PCT next year. Long story short we decided to not do our miles, and they decided to go get beer and meet us up the trail about 2 miles to camp. We walked the two miles and came to Pilot rock trailhead. As we looked for camping spots a guy came down the trail and told us how amazing it is up at the top. It was quickly apparent that he was on something. He told us a story about college kids taking everything he had along with his car keys ::gesturing to the parked sequoia:: and then told us it was all good cause he found diamonds ::showing us handfuls of broken safety glass::. Then he got on a motorcycle that was parked there as well, apparently his too, and started it up. He told me he could get me a job in Huntington Beach when i get home and gave us his card, his name was Jesse. It all didn't really add up, he was from Minnesota, he had a place in HB, two vehicles worth about 50k combined parked at a trailhead in Oregon, and according to him he had been there a week. He told us to use anything we could find in the car and go camp halfway up Pilot Rock trail at a really good spot. At this point i am wondering where the bodies are. Then he says there is a fire dance in the plaza in Ashland tonight, if he happens to come back for the car he would like to take us to it and then bring us back. After he left we looked through the car. It seems he is who he says he is, the majority of the tickets in the car have the same name anyway. So after some deliberation we decided not to further our part in this guys life story and exited stage right. Dirt road right to be exact. We are hoping to catch the girls on the road below and go camp further down the road which actually meets back up with the trail. I know i might be skipping a mile or two but i would rather skip 3 and live to hike the rest. So, all of that to say, here we are sitting on the side of some dirt road hoping to see the ladies before Jesse. Man this post sounds like i am the one on drugs, but its all true, unfortunately. Wish me luck... although by the time you read this the ending will already be written. Thought of the day; i am learning to be opportunistic and go with the flow out here -but the current situation is not all that encouraging at the moment. Song of the day; none. Craving of the day; another bowl of granola with blueberries on top and then some banana gellato.

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, August 10, 2008

jumping jeffery to jumping jesse

Day 99, a wonderful zero---Last nights sleep wasn't the best, but it was still in a bed. Had a great breakfast at Munchies in downtown Ashland this morning. Afterwards i called my Moms' friend Julie, and she picked us up from the hostel about an hour later. Oh and jumping jeffery gave us our money back for tonight after a brief discussion of the magical powers of fermenting grains and drinking the juice. Anyway, we rode in style to Julie's home in her husbands Yukon Denali; black on black - baaawlin. When we arrived it was a beautiful estate on 16 acres, it felt like we were pulling into a resort. We got the grand tour and i was consistently impressed and in awe at how cool this place is. Icebag and Don't Panic got set up in basically their own apartment with a big screen plasma, and wi-fi with a laptop. I got a guest bedroom in the house which is equally amazing with my own sunken tub shower combo attached. Julie had everything we could want or need available to us. We swam in the pool and lounged in the afternoon, went shopping for a resupply and had a filet mignon dinner...yeah its like that. I met Julie's husband Chuck earlier this evening and found out the man is into most things i have ever considered cool. He has a custom 66' fastback mustang, a gun collection, and has trained and trains in jeet kune do with some of the the most recognizable names in the world of martial arts. It was great to sit and talk with someone on this trip who knew about things i am into. Believe it or not guns, muscle cars, and UFC are not popular topics of convo among other pct thru-hikers. Shocking i know. Just a great day and night, and i am very appreciative that my Mother set this up for me. Tomorrow it is back to the trail, leaving a place like this will be hard. But i can take solace in the fact that it won't be long before i am surrounded by a bunch of folks i am related to in one way or another and that i have been walking towards for a long while. Alright my writing is going from bad to worse as i fall asleep. Thought of the day; helping people to help themselves is often better then just helping people. Song of the day; iiii gawt frinnnnnds in lowww playces, where the something and something and something chayses my fears awayyyyy, and it'll be okayyyy, Garth Brooks?. Craving of the day; i was too busy eating to crave anything.

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Welcome to Oregon, it's raining

Day 98, Mile 1726.6---Last night i fell asleep gazing at the stars. Later i awoke to clouds and wind. This morning i woke up to rain drops. It lasted only about 25 minutes, but it was enough to get us up and moving to pack up quickly. By the time we had taken shelter under a tree and eaten breakfast (granola bars and cache soda's at 6:30am) the rain had all but stopped. The rest of the morning not a single drop fell on us as the storm moved north and we hiked due east towards Ashland. After a hitch and a bus ride we arrived in Ashland, the shang-ri-lah of the trail. More things available here then most anywhere else along the trail. I was so caught up in it all that i completely screwed up. I was supposed to call mí madre before anything else to check in and to see about a place to stay. I instead checked myself into a hostel along with Icebag and Don't Panic, went shopping for a fuel canister, ate a sandwich and some ice cream, and then called home. I soon found out that i did in fact have a wonderful place to stay that she lined up for me at her friends house. I felt horrible, i should have known better, i should have remembered. It felt like my first big screw-up of the trip. Anyway, i think we might try and get one nights worth of our money back, and it seems that it will work out either way, i just still feel bad. After that i went to drink my sorrows away(not really) at the Irish Pub with the guys. Later we went to eat sushi and after being asked if we had reservations(bad sign) we were shocked by the prices and left to find other cuisine. Indian food was the answer and it was very good. Ice cream was had after that; a lot of ice cream/gellato for me. We sat in the ice cream shop for a couple hours and during that time i had 2 cones and 1 cup to make a total of 4 servings for the day. The banana gelatto was insanely good and it kept me coming back. We are now back at the hostel which is sweltering hot. This place is run by "jumping jeffrey" a "ghostly, comedic, soft-shoe dancer, with secret powers". Look him up - i am not making this up. Plans for tomorrow include laundry, re-supply, cheap sushi somewhere, and a move to the digs my mom set up for me (us). Thought of the day; i think my Dad has been right all along when he says Oregon girls are the prettiest. There are so many cute girls here in Ashland i feel like my standards must be out of whack or something - could be trail goggles. Song of the day; oh i wiiish they all could beeee californyaaaa girrrls, by brian wilson. Also Thriller by Michael (what the hell is wrong with him but damn he was good way back when) Jackson. Craving of the day; about 5 loaves of this onion bread my sandwich was on, i might go back tomorrow and see if i can work a deal somehow some way.

JWC on the PCT

Lunch in Oregon

Day 97, Mile 1714.9I ---made it through California!! It was a great feeling today to straddle the border between the two states and know that for the most part i had walked here. We had a big day today and still had time to spare at the end. The day was mostly uneventful until the end. Around 6:45ish we came upon a cache set up by former thru-hikers. It had soda in one cooler, and beer in the other. We decided that we had walked far enough at this point and would like to take full advantage of the freshly stocked cache. A guy named Sundown whom we met in the "hiker pen" came up shortly after we had arrived. He said he intended to go on and get closer to Ashland so he could get in and out in one day. When he found out there was beer his plans changed, and after a few more he decided just to camp nearby as we did. Saw another bear today. Well sort of, more like i saw a blur of back fur as it threw itself down the side of a mountain in its attempt to flee the dangerous hikers. That makes number 6, and as far as i can tell that is one of the highest numbers of sightings on the trail. It is kind of strange to be in Oregon finally. I actually wanted to quit most of the morning and i don't know why. I think my body is just tired actually, so another good nights sleep like last night and i will be back to normal I'm sure. Oh yeah and the cankles are no more. Hallelujah. Thought of the day; i think i am going to go way outside my comfort zone when i utilize my travel benefits, and after my first destination of Dubai, I am just going to go to the airport and pick a destination off the departing flights screen and then go. Song of the day; baaaack in the dayyy when i was a kid I'm not a kid anymorrr, but somedays i sit and wish i was a kid again - by someone who used to be a kid... back in the day. Craving of the day; rolls and fruit salad

JWC on the PCT

Out of the state of jefferson

Day 96, Mile 1687.0---Packed up this morning in the hiker pen and cleaned up a bit. Got back on trail by 8:20ish. We stopped more then once to eat blackberries on the way. I had one this morning that was the best blackberry i have ever tasted in my entire life; it made me not want to leave. The 4500ft climb proved not to be as terrible as i had thought. It was actually my stomach that made it a little difficult. Actually i should be more accurate; it was the oatmeal i found in the hiker box this morning now inside my stomach that was causing the trouble. Maybe it was old or had molded or something but it made my stomach blow up like a balloon. Anyway that eventually subsided 3/4 of the way through the climb so it was all good. The rest of the day was spent hiking, talking, and eating as usual. Tomorrow we hit the border. It's strange to know there is less than 1,000 miles of trail left. At 20 miles a day that's less than 50 days to go, and i plan to do it faster. I would like to blab on about things, but i am exhausted. It is amazing what 2.5 days off trail does. Your body says finally i am finished, and then nooope you're back at it. That's what ibuprofen and sleep are for, and i already have one accomplished. Goodnight. Thought of the day; i really like that i am a godfather, it is cool to be "Uncle Jesse". Song of the day; i got my miiiind set on you, iii got my miiiiind set onnn you - George somebody. Craving of the day; high quality fresh food, i am getting tired of americana cafe/ greasy spoon type places and giant portions (although i crave this as well most of the time)

JWC on the PCT

Food + fun + relaxing = a zero

Day 95, another zero---This morning i woke up about 6am and all i could think about was breakfast at the Cafe. Around 7:45 myself, Icebag, and Don't panic finally made it in to eat. Afterwards we packed up all of our stuff and then proceeded to watch the 1st Batman movie. By the end of that we were starting to think about lunch. We decided to go have a swim in the creek and figure out when exactly we would leave. I picked and ate blackberries for about half an hour and swam an sunned for another hour or more. Pretty soon we realized we wouldn't be hiking out til 5ish after lunch had digested. Lunch was really good, and by the time the plates were cleared we had basically arrived at the conclusion that we wouldn't be leaving today. But tomorrow we are out for sure. I already spent way too much money in the last 2 days, plus i would like to get to Ashland for some sushi. After that the plan is still to try and fly through Oregon. Alright it is late, oh one last thing - the cankles are back. Back with a vengeance, they are huge right now, the right worse than the left for some reason. Apparently my body just loves to retain water if i am not hiking 20+ miles a day. Hopefully at the end of this trip i am not stuck with these elephantitis looking lower legs for the rest of my life, or possibly cankle stretch marks. I am sure by mid-day tomorrow they should be back in fighting(hiking really) shape...i hope. Also, i want to wish a Happy Birthday to Mr. Chris Booker. Welcome to 24 sir, I've been here for a little bit, its cool i guess. Thought of the day; activity is paramount to longevity when it comes to the constantly aging human body. Song of the day; taaaaake me toooo the riiiiver, draaaawwwp me in the waaaaater, by the singing bass on the wall mount. Craving of the day; none really.

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Skip, Skip,Skip to my lou

Day 94, a zero and a skip---Last night was almost a hike ender and also the best nights sleep i have had in awhile. I chose a top bunk at the Hiker Hut, i awoke shortly after going to sleep with half my body heading over into the abyss. I reminded myself how humans sleep off the ground in most circumstances and in some cases 6ft or more, the rest of the night was without incident. I had dreams i was sleeping on a mattress and i was, so it was good. Anyway this morning i got a mini breakfast at the hiker hut out of the communal fridge, and then a second at Bobs Ranch House. Afterwards we negotiated a ride to Seiad Vally with some Brazilians working for an NGO based in Etna. I had one hour to pack my boxes, buy a resupply, get my pack re-organized, and then walk the mile back from the Hiker Hut to CCTG(the ngo). I was 20 minutes late but luckily they were about 25 minutes late. It was an interesting ride with myself, Slick B, Don't Panic, and Icebag all crammed into the back seat of a mini-van. There were 4 Brazilian girls and one Brazilian guy who drove us in the van as well. At one point with the girls talking in Portuguese and Brazilian music playing i felt i was in a shared ride or group taxi in Rio. The landscape was so distinctly American west though that i quickly came back to reality. Unfortunately they only could get us as far as a mile outside Klamath River before time issues forced them to turn around. We then walked to a store picking blackberries along the way and got a hitch out of there 15 more miles to Seiad Valley. That is where i am now. I am lying in the middle of an RV park with a small cheap white picket fence around me and hay on the ground; a" hiker pen" of sorts. If you didn't know, Seiad is home of the Pancake Challenge; 5 - 1lb pancakes in 2 hrs and it's free. I chose to order just 2 of the "regular" pancakes. They were at least 12inches across and pretty hefty, i barely ate half. Also we got fresh blackberry shakes. When i say fresh i mean we walked out next to the cafe, picked about a cup each and then they made our shakes for us. It was great. Just finished off the night watching Running Man on our TV in the pen here with a screen about the size of the pancakes. Movie's from the 80's astound me at times. What has changed so much that a movie like this was acceptable back then, but now i watch it and find it completely ridiculous if even mildly entertaining. OK, this is a ridiculously long and less then mildly entertaining post i am sure. Hiking out tomorrow morning after a breakfast at the cafe, sans pancakes. 4,800 ft in elevation in 8 miles here i come; on the way to the Oregon border and Ashland. Not too long now and i will be with family again, Oregonian familia - I'm on my way! Thought of the day; i need to go to Brazil in the near future. Song of the day; don't recall. Craving of the day; a really good doughnut.

JWC on the PCT

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's Etna Daaaaawling

Day 93, Mile 1606.5---I got on trail this morning by 5:55. I tried to wait as long as i could before "breakfast", but i didn't last that long at all. I did manage however to stretch that bar over the entire 13ish miles. I arrived at the road around 11:30 and after finally starting to walk down the road into Etna i got a hitch. I was lucky actually, Will and Julia got one right away 30 minutes earlier, and i waited maybe 20 minutes, but others waited over 3 hours i heard later. Got into town and went straight to the grocery store. I got a pack of English muffins, 1 peach, 1 banana, a SoBe elixir, and a thing of "cooked pork". It was in one of those warming things you know how smaller stores have the various meats already done, like "cooked pork" for instance. I made and ate 5 sandwiches and they were delicious. Made the Post Office with time to spare and picked up my boxes. Checked into the Hiker Hut after that and had Internet time, showered, and got laundry going. I think i may have pushed a little too far and gone into some catabolisis from the last few days. In the shower my shoulders and arms got tired and had a sort of lactic burn just while i was washing my hair. Also i checked the scale and i am don to 146ish, yay. I got some calories back in though and i have more headed my way tomorrow as well. Later i headed to the old fashioned soda fountain for some ice cream and back to the store for some yogurt, another peach, and a banana. Etna is a small place to put it mildly. But that's how i like it seeing as i am walking or biking everywhere i go. Met up with Icebag, Don't Panic and Slick B in front of the drug store and we decided to hit up the Etna Brewery for dinner. It was pretty good food but i didn't get dessert(everything was chocolate) which was disappointing. I think i will have pie with my breakfast at Bobs Ranch House restaurant tomorrow morning to make up for it. As far as heading north goes i am still not quite sure. New fires, same closure. Trying to figure out where and how and when after breakfast tomorrow. Alright it is too late to still have my eyes open. Thought of the day; if i fell off this cliff right here and got an open head wound with a skull fracture on the right side of my head ,which functions would be impaired? Like if i tried to save myself and went to drink water and then couldn't swallow would i still have a gag reflex or would i survive the fall, and then they find me dead having drowned on the side of a talus field? Song of the day; Made it thruuu the wilderness yaaah i made it thruuu the night...i think those are some of the words to Madonna's "Like a Virgin". Craving of the day; protein and doughnuts.

JWC on the PCT

Tired, hungry, sore, but on time

Day 92, Mile 1592.3ish---Another loooong day. Today was a bit tougher than yesterday. Lots of ups and downs, usually steep both ways. Walked most of the day by myself and i got to use that time to think about what is next for me. One thing i realized is that i constantly think - man when am i going to start "real life". Wife, career, family, house, etc. and not necessarily in that order. But today i decided whenever, wherever, however, it will all come around and into place. I need to stop thinking - what am i going to do with my life? And start thinking - what am i going to do with tomorrow? Actually tomorrow i am going to starve until i get into town, that's what I'm going to do. I cut it way too close on the rations even with doing this leg fast. Luckily Julia and Will had extra food and gave me a "Mealpack" fruit and nut bar that's 400 calories. I am going to have to make it last 14 miles roughly, but it shouldn't be too bad. Anyway one last thing that i have been meaning to write about since probably early July is my coordination. I feel like all i can do is walk/hike now. I don't think i could throw a ball, a punch, or serve a tennis ball right now. I threw a rock today at a tree just to test myself. It basically went directly into the ground a foot in front of me, pitiful. When i get home i am going to have to re-learn anything that doesn't involve walking 20+ miles a day with weight on my back; that would be most everything. Anyway so i am on time for Etna, now i just have to hope for a hitch as soon as i get to the road. There was a sign on the trail today that said there is another fire closure starting at Etna. Hopefully i can figure it all out before Saturday afternoon so i can get out of dodge before i have to pay for another night. As is the pattern the last few nights I'm falling off a cliff to sleep every 2 min. So I've got to knock out. Thought of the day; when i get home i am having a big yard sale to sell as much of my stuff as i can then use that money to travel Song of the day;I don't practice santaria iyye ain't got no crystal ball, but if i had a million dollars then I'd, I'd spend it aaaalll - somebody. Craving of the day; a salad i had at Esther's - mixed greens, strawberries, craisins, walnuts, blue cheese crumbles with a rasberry vinegarette. Also fried chicken and biscuits would be nice.

JWC on the PCT

The longest Day

Day 91, Mile 1561.7---Managed to drag myself on trail by 7:10 this morning. Did not sleep that great last night, but it was enough. Apparently we got all the climbing out of the way yesterday because today was real flat. Basically stuck to the ridge lines all day. Somehow the 30 i planned on turned into a 35ish. Longest distance i have walked in one day so far on this trip. I am pretty beat so i apologize for the quality of this post. Met up with Will and Julia late in the day (7:30) and we hiked the last few miles together. We are camped near a meadow which is nice enough but all the spots are right on trail. Although i walked a long time today nothing really worth noting happened. I thought about food, family, Dr. Phil, and dogs, a pretty average day for me in my own head. Alright i am rambling, i need to rest my body. Thought of the day; this one is weird and came out of nowhere but it is what it is - i wonder if "the phrase that pays" is ever the phrase that pays. Song of the day; i do not recall. Cravings of the day; breakfast - Uncle Tracy's pancakes and fresh fruit. Lunch - turkey/avocado with sprouts, cucumber, and tomato on squaw bread from the Secret Spot in HB. Dinner - an inch thick slice of prime rib, assorted sauteed vegetables, a fresh loaf of french bread right out of the oven with a roasted garlic butter spread to put on it, for dessert my Mothers banana bread with caramelized bananas drizzled on top over a dollop of Vanilla Bean ice cream.

JWC on the PCT

Off to the races

Day 90, Mile 1526.5ish---I expected to sleep in this morning but it never quite happens like that. But, we managed to get out of the campground rent free this morning which was nice. I took a poorly executed coin-operated shower and then made my way back to the market for another breakfast burrito. My meal this time around was a burrito, a liter of Gatorade, a peach, a nectarine, and a box and a quarter of Nilla wafers. It was a glorious breakfast. Later Julia picked about a quart of blackberries from behind the store and i got some of those as well. Managed to handle all my business and get back on the trail around noon-ish. We had a hell of a climb out of Castella. Right now we are somewhere around 6600ft and Castella was at 2180ft. It was a smokey day today, so much that you could look directly at the sun. So that combined with the heat made the climb fairly challenging. Upon arrival to our campsite for the night we made an unfortunate realization. The guidebook informed us that the Post Office is not open on the weekends in Etna. Will and Julia have a food box, and i have maps and Superfeet insoles at the Etna PO. We decided rather then be stuck in Etna all weekend we will try and make it there in 3 days from here. We also have to account for the 15 mile hitch into town so we are shooting for 2ish on Friday afternoon. 80 miles in 2.5ish days, here's hoping. The worst that can happen is we are stuck in Etna spending money all weekend. Last thing, i met BillyGoat(same guy from recent LAtimes article) today. He is an interesting man; engaging and intense, but fairly easy to talk to. He was on his last day before going into town. He started July 1st and hiked south from Seiad Valley to Castella, then turned north, hit his start and turned south again. He did it without ever going into town and carried 2 packs; carried one for a while then when he got tired he took it off and walked back to get the 2nd. Definitely his own brand of hiking, but when you've done as many miles as he has on the PCT you have to start switching it up i guess. I'm dozing hard, got to go. Thought of the day; this trip is teaching me things daily, and helping me change things about myself i wasn't fond of, and that's exciting. Song of the day; Evreeeeebuddy's workin forrr the weeeeekend - i have no idea. Craving of the day; the peaches, nectarines, and blackberries i had today cut up on a big bowl of Rice-Krispies with cold 2% milk. Also once again in need of a Blenders in the Grass "the banana" smoothie.

JWC on the PCT