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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 6 Lolo Pass to Wahtum Lake

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 6 Lolo Pass to Wahtum Lake

on Aug 26, 2014

The next morning we got up and ate a modest breakfast as we were light on water.  We knew one the first things we needed to do in the morning was restock our aqua supply, fortunately it was only 1/4 mile up the trail. As we headed out we were greeted with the view above.  It was still a little crazy to think that the previous morning we had been on the side of that mountain and had traveled so far.  I enjoyed this view as I knew it was going to be one of the last few views we had of this mountain as we headed toward the Columbia River Gorge and closer to other mountains such as Mt St Helens and Mt Adams.  I felt a little sad leaving Mt Hood as it had provided me with such amazing views, but I figured I still had a lot more to see on the trail so I continued on. The water stop to fill all our packs and bottles was just a small stream that went across the trail.  During the few minutes it took to filter all the water we would need for the day I noticed something that made me quite unhappy.  Well, actually 2 things.  My awesome sunglasses I had found the previous day had left me, and there was giant hogweed on the trail, right next to our water source. Now it’s time for a PSA.  Giant hogweed is a nasty nasty plant.  It looks a lot like a few other plants out there but has lots of hairs on its stalk and some angry looking leaves.  We first encountered this plant on the Oregon Coast when one smacked me in the knee.  I had no idea that there was a problem until a couple days later I had blisters on my leg. Giant hogweed sap contains toxic chemicals known as furanocoumarins. When these chemicals come into contact with the skin and are exposed to sunlight, they cause a condition called phytophotodermatitis, a reddening of the skin often followed by severe blistering and burns. These injuries can last for several months, and even after they have subsided the affected areas of skin can remain...

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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 5 Paradise Park to Lolo Pass

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 5 Paradise Park to Lolo Pass

on Aug 19, 2014

After a chilly night with some strange dreams at Paradise Park, I was ready for some coffee. The previous night I had set all the coffee making implements right outside my tent door inside my vestibule so that all I had to do was unzip the flap a bit, light my stove, boil the water and pour it into my coffee pouch.  My plan was executed perfectly the next morning and a few minutes after waking I had a nice hot cup of coffee. I had not yet heard anyone else stirring in camp, so I decided to get out of my tent and stretch my legs a bit.  It was very shaded in camp and quite chilly still, so I made the choice to seek out some warm sunlight.  Fortunately all the clouds and mist and fog had blown off the mountain and I could see the sun was out in full force.  All that was required of me was to climb up the mountain a bit to get to it.  I poured the rest of my coffee in my cup and took off.We were in a really nice spot where all you had to do was take a short trail up and then you were on your way up the mountain.  It wasn’t long before I was sitting on a rock in the sun enjoying a very quiet, amazingly beautiful morning on the mountain, soaking in the sun and enjoying life.  If I could have lived in that moment for the rest of my life I would have.  It was a good 20 minutes before I saw anyone stirring down at the camp.  It felt like I had the whole mountain and the whole world to myself. Suddenly there were no questions being asked, no restraints on my time, no having to carry a heavy pack up and down the hills.  I had absolutely nothing to do but just soak in the sunlight, sip my perfect cup of coffee and enjoy the moment.Then I ran out of coffee… Back to camp I went. Everyone finally woke up and we ate breakfast.  We took some time to relax and enjoy the stunning view of the mountain before finally...

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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 4 Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 4 Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park

on Aug 12, 2014

The rain was gone. We were dry and very happy to be back on the trail. I think we were all very happy to be back on the trail. We had all successfully lightened our packs a bit, dried everything off and gotten a good night’s sleep. I even ran to REI and got a new pair of shoes as my hiking boots I started out with would not have been dry in time and were doing horrible things to my feet. Good for day hikes apparently, not so much for backpacking. It was still a bit chilly starting out but we quickly warmed up. Today was going to be a shorter day as we only had 6 miles to get to Paradise Park, but that worked out since we were getting a bit of a late start having to drive back up to the mountain that morning. Most of the fog had blown away and we were able to get some pretty nice views of Mt Hood and surrounding areas at times. We finally got the to the section of the trail that went down the ZigZag River and were greeted with this amazing view. One of the best parts about this section of the PCT is the stunning view you get of rivers down in canyons. One of the worst parts is that, usually, after you get this jaw-dropping stunning view, you get to take the trail down to that river, cross it, and then climb back up the other side. Well, ok, it’s not really that bad. I honestly enjoyed every grueling minute of it. We began our descent down to the river. It was a very pretty trail and the further down we went the more beautiful it got. It reminded me a lot of the Eagle Creek Trail but steeper. When we got to the bottom of the trail we decided that it was a good time to take a break and eat something and just enjoy the view for a while. We had a bit of a sketchy river crossing but it wasn’t too bad and we all made it across unscathed. There was a pretty nice waterfall upstream so Stalker and I...

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Pacific Crest Trail – Days 2/3 Lower Twin Lake to Timberline Lodge

Pacific Crest Trail – Days 2/3 Lower Twin Lake to Timberline Lodge

on Aug 11, 2014

After our first day we were all a bit tired and worried about Yogi and The Professor being able to continue on with us. Yogi had some pretty serious blisters going on and we definitely wanted to put her health and safety first. We gave them the option of bugging out if the felt they needed to and there was some serious consideration before we all agreed that we had plenty of time reserved to complete the trek to our destination and that we could take a rest day at Lower Twin Lake to let her feet heal so that the two of them could continue on with us. The first night we had some visitors. After dark, I was woken from my sleep by a noise that sounded vaguely like a log rolling down a hill. Stalker, who was in a hammock about 10 feet from where my tent was, called out, “Did you hear that?” I replied, ”Yeah, what is it?” Feeling slightly nervous I turned on my headlight and tried to look out the little windows on the rainfly of my tent. That was a useless venture as the light just reflected back in on me and I could see nothing. I turned out my headlight and looked outside to see nothing but darkness. Stalker finally confirmed that we had deer running around in our camp. Fortunately, they were not creatures that we really needed to worry about. We learned the next morning that Yogi and The Professor had one sniffing about their tent. They smacked the side of the tent and the animal proceeded to get spooked, try to run and clothesline itself on a rope they had hung next to their tent. The next day, not much happened. Stalker and I took a little walk up to Upper Twin Lake. It was nothing really spectacular… just a similar lake higher up on a hill. Most of the day was spent discussing how many miles and what the goal for the next day would be, lazing around camp, and eating as much food as we possibly could to cut down weight on our packs. We had all packed too much food and decided the natural...

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