Day 109: Finishing the Mt. Jefferson Reroute

August 4, 2017

Total daily miles: 25.8 miles (15.1 miles PCT; 8.7 miles Hwy 22; 2 miles FR 4220)

Total PCT miles: 1645.2

Start: Whispering Falls Campground/Woodpecker Ridge Trail (mile 2026.8)

End: mile 2052.1

Total elevation gain/loss: 1366.8/2597.4 ft (PCT section only)

Today we faced the difficult decision of what to do about the fire reroute.  But first, figuring out what the fire reroute is after yesterday’s news that the entire Mt. Jefferson Wilderness is being (has been?) closed.  Easier said than done.


Our morning view.

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Day 108: Too Close to the Fire

August 3, 2017

Total daily miles: 26.7 miles

Total PCT miles: 1619.9

Start: Rockpile Lake (mile 2012.3)

End: Whispering Falls Campground/Woodpecker Ridge Trail (mile 2026.8)

Total elevation gain/loss: 1935.7/3869.8 ft (PCT section only)

What a day!  Today did not go as planned.  Trying to get around the fire in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness has left me physically and emotionally exhausted.  It’s one of the few days on trail where I feel like I could cry at the end of it.  This is a long one…

We got up extra early this morning with the hope of getting out of the smoke and on the fire alternate as quickly as possible.  The air was clearer this morning then it was last night.  I hoped that was a good sign of things to come.


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Day 107: Smokey Santiam Pass

August 2, 2017

Total daily miles: 13.9 miles

Total PCT miles: 1605.4

Start: Santiam Pass (mile 1998.4)

End: Rockpile Lake (mile 2012.3)

Total elevation gain/loss: 2910.4/1450.1 ft

I’ve learned enough by now to know that getting out of town is never fast and today was no different.  We said goodbye to Renee, who has been an awesome host.  She’s been so nice and full of energy, it’s been great to get to know her a bit.  Again, future hikers should definitely check out Recharge, especially if you’re in town during beer yoga!


Playtime with a dog makes Michael’s day.

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Day 105: Bend Trail Magic

July 31, 2017

Total daily miles: 16.7 miles

Total PCT miles: 1291.5

Start: mile 1981.7

End: Santiam Pass (mile 1998.4)

Total elevation gain/loss: 1961/2371.4 ft

Despite being near the highway, I slept really well last night.  The best part was that my feet felt much better as we got going this morning than they did last night!  Which was a good thing, since we started with a stretch over more lava rock.


The other good news this morning is that the lava section was much shorter than I had feared.  Based on our map, it looked like we’d spend several miles walking over lava, but it ended up being a much shorter stint with much smaller lava rock than the end of the day yesterday.  It was still a slow start to the day and I was definitely happy to have waited, but it was over within a couple of miles and we largely stayed in the shade. Continue reading

Day 104: A Beautiful Day in Three Sisters Wilderness

July 30, 2017

Total daily miles: 25.4 miles

Total PCT miles: 1574.8

Start: Sisters Mirror Lake (mile 1956.2)

End: mile 1981.7

Total elevation gain/loss: 3369.1/4159.8 ft

Today was awesome!  Probably one of the most beautiful days that we’ve had on the trail.  There were so many magical moments — my day in Three Sisters Wilderness is not one that I’ll soon forget!  I couldn’t stop taking pictures, so this will be a photo-heavy post.


The morning mist on Sisters Mirror Lake.


We had a little haze throughout the day, but otherwise it was beautiful!


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Day 103: So Many Lakes

July 29, 2017

Total daily miles: 25.5 miles

Total PCT miles: 1549.3

Start: Brahma Lake (mile 1930.7)

End: Sisters Mirror Lake (mile 1956.2)

Total elevation gain/loss: 2899/2572.2 ft

The trail this morning was filled with lots of lakes and ponds.  Everywhere we looked it seemed like there was water (and bugs).  I found the abundance of water to be surprising because most were not indicated on the water report, Guthooks, or my map.


Early morning as we passed by the outlet for Brahma Lake.



So many lakes!

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Progress Update

As you may have noticed, we’ve fallen behind on getting blog entries posted. This delay has been due to a combination of factors, including the lack of decent internet connections in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. We’re working on getting the rest of the entries up, but it might take awhile.

We wanted to let you in on some good news though: WE MADE IT TO CANADA!!!  

We arrived at the monument on September 3, 2017. For the most part, we beat out the fires in Oregon and Washington that are now blocking large sections of the trail. Our understanding is that Oregon is basically unhikeable right now and fire closures are affecting more and more of the trail in Washington. Our decision to skip the High Sierra now appears to have afforded us the opportunity to hike Oregon and Washington almost uninterrupted. A lucky break.

So, what’s next? We still have 407 miles of trail to hike in the Sierra. After reaching Canada, we hightailed it back to Independence to jump back on trail at Kearsarge Pass — the same spot we exited in early June. Our plan is to continue north until we reach Sierra City — our final piece of this year’s PCT puzzle. With the end in sight, we’re psyched to be heading back into the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. Our fingers are crossed that we won’t run into any further obstacles in the next few weeks. Wish us luck!

We expect that our internet access will be very limited in the next couple of weeks. We’ll try to get posts up when we can, but no guarantees. I’m still blogging and taking notes as I go though, and I can’t wait until our entire story is up for you to read. This has been a truly incredible experience.

Day 102: DEET Pays Off!

July 28, 2017

Total daily miles: 28.1 miles (26.6 PCT miles + 1.5 miles from Shelter Cove)

Total PCT miles: 1523.8

Start: Shelter Cove (mile 1904.1)

End: Brahma Lake (mile 1930.7)

Total elevation gain/loss: 3934.4/3060.7 ft

This morning was our first time trying out the DEET that we purchased yesterday. We had limited size options available, so we ended up with a full size aerosol can. I thought this meant that we’d get a nice spray mist and I wouldn’t have to rub it in as much with my hands (since washing hands out here isn’t always straight forward), but all I got was a concentrated stream of spray that I still had to rub in. That said, the bugs definitely seemed to stay away from me for much longer than usual. I’ll take it!

Sunrise over Odell Lake

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Day 101: Push For Shelter Cove

July 27, 2017

Total daily miles: 17.6 miles (including 1.5 mile side trail to Shelter Cove)

Total PCT miles: 1497.2

Start: Summit Lake (mile 1888.2)

End: Shelter Cove (mile 1904.1)

Total elevation gain/loss: 2062.3/2823.5 ft

What a day! We certainly packed in a lot between hiking over 17 miles to get to Shelter Cove and trying to fit in our town chores and relaxation.

We woke up to a bit of condensation in our tent, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering how close we were camped to the lake. The lake had a magical-looking mist covering it this morning that was hard to capture.

Sunrise at Summit Lake

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