Monday, September 1, 2014

17 PCT - Sonora Pass to South Lake to Crater Lake - CA / OR

Crossing rivers throws fun challenges into the hike!

I stopped for a break on the other side of this bridge. There was a slight breeze and no mosquitoes. It was amazing!!

Today I climbed Sonoran Pass. The storms were not expected today, but giant, thick clouds remained. All of the passes have been scenic, but Sonora was a little different, in that you walked a ridge line for about 8 miles before you started to descend. It was very exposed up there so I was thankful that I didn't have to deal with stormy conditions

There was a picnic area that clearly read "No Camping." They are very understanding of PCT hikers and I had no trouble. I received some amazing trail magic here. A gentlemen heading South gave me some water. A woman who was an "aspiring Trail Angel" gave me fruit, cheese and whole grain bread, coffee and took my trash. I wrote them thank you notes before setting off the next day!

I thought this looked like a Dinosaur head

Staying warm and looking fly!!

I had seen cows with bells around there necks in Switzerland. It made sense there because I'm sure its easier to lose cows in those high mountains. I did not expect for all of these cows to have bells, however. It was a sound that I didn't expect to hear today and I was loving it!

Below the design on the mountain was caused by lava flowing down. We were heading into one of the many volcanic sections of the trail

Ambassador and I decided to camp on this beautiful saddle. Just when it was too late to go anywhere else, the wind really picked up. Generally it dies down at night and that was what we were banking on. It did, however, give me a chance to set up my tarp in a new design.

With this design, the wind ramped right over me!

I found this sign funny. They were already spelling out all the words and had plenty of room to insert the 'p'. I couldn't tell if this was a mistake or laziness

Dune doing some tree hugging

South Lake Tahoe

I spent some time with a friend in South Lake Tahoe and was introduced to a healthy vegan lifestyle. It was an amazing vacation from the trail. Tejas had hiked 1,000 miles last year but was forced off trail due to a stress fracture in her femur. She was saving up to go next year! With all of the fires going on in Northern California, much of the trail was being closed down. Doc had just got to Ashland, OR and encouraged me to hitch up and start North with him. Tejas is an amazing lady and offered to drive me 7 hours North to meet up.

We did a day hike and found a nice place for lunch as it rained. I had almost forgot how to day hike hahahaha.

We did get a flat tire on the way. But luckily we were less than a mile from a shop that could fix it. It was just all part of the adventure.


The boys back together again!

Pilot Rock above

We took a break for some Uke and Frisbee. Not a bad life!! The first couple weeks of Oregon were very flat. We could cruise and average a 3.5 mph pace. This left plenty of time for fun breaks such as this.

We found a beautiful campsite facing the sunset. I was reunited with The Optimist, Grannie Candies, Pippin and Rush. Doc found some nice coverage in the trees below

The smoke from the fires enabled for some colorful sunsets

A little over a mile off trail, was a pizza place and store. We hadn't been on the trail too long, but pizza always sounds good. A couple sat down next to us and told us of a place up the road called Lake of the Woods. They said there was BBQ buffet, live music and a great beach. They offered to take us there in the bed of their truck. We all decided it was a wonderful idea. The couple had said it was right up the road, but turned out to be about 35 miles away. They offered to take us back the next day too. It was better than I could have ever expected!

We played lots of Frisbee, swam and jumped off the dock. I would love to bring my family back here someday.

I saw a glimpse of some man made structures about a 100 yards off trail. If we weren't so early into the day, I would have loved to stay here! There was also a great place for frisbee.

Doc got a cute note from his friend Karaoke. I have taken a few pictures of signs like this. I can't believe we are 2/3 done.... I have fallen in love with this lifestyle.

Thankfully, We had good cloud coverage for most of the day through the lava fields. This is another example of stark colors I hadn't seen in a while. It was refreshing and beautiful.

We stopped here to throw some disc and have lunch with a view.


We were shooting for a 30 mile day but didn't quite get it. We had hit 20 miles after filtering water, eating 2 solid lunches, thoroughly enjoying 2 admirable frisbee seshes all by 3pm. To avoid a 25 mile dry water stretch, we opted to short our day and hike a mile off trail and get water. We ended with 28 miles on the day, including 4 phenomenal frisbee breaks.

We ended the day by 5:30pm as the storm thundered and began to spit rain on us. Us meaning Doc, Pippin and I. Rush eventually caught up and we were camping as one big family again. On the way back from filtering water and washing my feet, a fellow hiker showed me blueberries on the trail.... Mmmmmm, they were so good ! The further north we go, the more berries we will find. So exciting!

Tomorrow we are shooting for a 30 again, so its just 10 into Crater Lake the next day. Doc is getting a resupply package there and everyone we have talked to say its amazing there.  It's past my bedtime (9:39pm) if I'm trying to get up at 5:20am tomorrow. I can't tell if the sounds from the sky are from jets or thunder and not sure what I want them to be. If its jets, it's a lot of them!!!

We were very close to water when we stumbled upon some amazing Trail Magic. Chef and Jerry Can fed us gourmet breakfast burritos and delicious lemonade. We left here happy and full!

8/11/14 - 8:11pm

Didn't expect that date and time when I decided to write about this crazy day! Alarm went off at 5:20am. I rolled around and found my down pants.. It was cold. It was nice to use them again. It had been a while. Doc had a horrible nights sleep so we agreed to wake up in an hour.

On trail by 8am.. Groggy from our long day yesterday, but still feeling good. With blue skies all around, we had to take advantage of the good weather. Today was the last day in the severe thunderstorm warning in effect for the area.

The forest displayed every spectrum of the color green. We stopped for a snack and to throw some disc and continued on our 15 mile dry stretch of water. We could see storm clouds off in the distance, but wasn't sure of their course. We somehow passed our intended water. No one saw the turn off. We had planned to do lunch and fill water there. We were tired so we stopped for a quick lunch anyway. It had just begun to rain, gust and thunder over head.

Just as we were about to leave, a giant flash of lightning ignited the sky above, immediately followed but the loudest clap of thunder I have ever experienced. Doc fell back and we all went pale.. We have to get the hell out of here, I thought. We were on a ridge line with poor coverage. We continued up with hopes of finding shelter. We were exposed only a few times and I was terrified!!!!

We were up higher now and could look back on where we had come less then a mile away. There was smoke and a visible flame that looked to be directly on the PCT. There was a fire to the west of us that looked to be 5-10 miles away and another smaller one that formed. 3 fires total.We found decent shelter and decided to wait out the storm.

My camera was tucked away, so I don't have a lot of pictures of the event. Doc should have some good ones at When we reached a safe spot with good cell coverage, Doc called in the fires. We were the first to respond. It was extremely scary and rewarding at the same time. I've recently learned that about 25 miles of this section is closed due to fires now... We barely made it through.... A fellow hiker, Embassador, put it well and said, "Lesser men would have died out there!!!"

The day was tough and the sunshine eventually came out. We thought we had made it through the storm. However, just as we got to camp, it began to storm again.. This time it was accompanied by marble sized hail. We set up camp quick and went to bed.

These frogs were tiny and all over the trail. I had to do my best not to step on one. It reminded me about how back in the desert, we were dodging large caterpillars on the trail. I like frogs better!

This is where we made camp in the hail storm

Crater Lake is beautiful!! We spent one night at a small cabin split between some people, courtesy of MOTH.. Thanks mom!

This is Wizard Island in the middle of Crater Lake

It was very foggy. I enjoyed the change in weather

Despite what we had heard from many people about the legality of camping on the rim... We found 2 spots well hidden and cozy in the trees. The sunset and sunrise were awesome! We later learned it was a $500 fine if we were caught camping there. The Rangers at Crater Lake are the least friendly of anywhere so far. A friend of mine was given a $500 fine when the rangers saw a pipe in his tent. He wasn't even smoking out of it. We were on Federal Land, but we have the upmost respect for the area and I think there was a better way in handling the situation.

The following day, we would finally hit a 31 mile day!

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