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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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Pacific Crest Trail – Day 1 Timothy Lake to Lower Twin Lake

Pacific Crest Trail – Day 1 Timothy Lake to Lower Twin Lake

on Aug 3, 2014

So after months of preparation and packing and repacking and stressing out about food and how far to hike and having to change our plans multiple times due to forest fires and things, we finally set off. We got an early start. Stalker met us at our house and we loaded up the 4Runner and headed off to pick up The Professor and The Yogi and be on our way. Fortunately picking them up was on the way so we didn’t loose much time. On the way to our starting point the excitement was building. We were having a good time talking about last minute details and pack weights and what a good time we were about to have. We were like children about to head into a candy store!Soon we were on the turnoff for Timothy Lake. Then the dilemma began. Did we start at Little Crater Lake, or did we head further down the road to the big Pacific Crest Trail sign. Sure it would add 5 miles to our hike but we were fresh and ready to go and ready to throw caution to the wind for the chance to take our picture with the big sign that signified, YES, we are hiking on the PCT! To the sign we went! As we unloaded the excitement continued to build. We were about to set off, on foot and be on our own for a whole 8 days! We ran to the sign, even though it was on the wrong side of the road, facing the southbound path! It also had red tape and detour signs because of the forest fires but we didn’t care. We were headed north; the stupid sign placement wasn’t going to stop us from our picture taking glory so the world would know we were starting on the PCT! We got our pictures, hugged my wife and said our goodbyes and headed off into the wilderness. We were southeast a bit from Timothy Lake so we had to hike for a bit until we saw it. Starting out on the hike we noticed how heavy our packs were (mine weighed in at a hefty 45lbs) but we didn’t care. We were hiking...

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Pacific Crest Trail – The Beginning of an obsession.

Pacific Crest Trail – The Beginning of an obsession.

on Jul 29, 2014

I like mountains… well more specifically, or I guess more generally I like nature and being out in it. Nothing makes me happier than to get out in the woods, away from the world and just breathe the fresh clean air, listen to the little creatures of nature and just let all my thoughts and worries flow away with a stream or a cool breeze. That, and you cannot question amazing views like the one above. That being said, I one day discovered this website.  http://www.mountainphotographer.com/sawtooths-trek/ I instantly fell in love with this mountain range and decided I needed to hike it! It was no small undertaking. I had never been there, I didn’t know anyone that had been there, it was in a different state, and I had never actually backpacked anywhere. Long story short, I decided to sideline that trip for another time when I had a bit more experience in the backpacking world, and some more time to dedicate to the hike and tackle something a bit more close to home and more often traveled. Enter the Pacific Crest Trail. My friend that was going to do the Sawtooths hike with me suggested this as an alternate. I had never really thought much about it. I had heard of this trail that people hiked from Mexico to Canada but it never really struck me what an undertaking it was or what awesome things they must experience, so I started researching. I went out to the Internet and found as much information as I could about this mysterious trail. I read people’s blogs, trail reports from day hikes and section hikers and fell in love with this trail. I had to do it! It was settled. I only had one week worth of vacation to dedicate to the hike so I had to pick a section. I figured I didn’t want to stay too close to home but I didn’t want to waste a whole day traveling so I chose a section between Hwy 20 and Mount Hood. This would be a great section that would put us going over Three Fingered Jack and Mount Jefferson, past some cool lakes and over some amazing terrain. I was...

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