Washingtion…..almost

Last Friday after hiking a shit ton more miles including one 50 mile day (which more or less kicked my ass) I made it to a town called Cascade Locks on the Oregon/Washington boarder.

It was a good thing I got to town when I did because there was a voice message waiting for me on my phone from a diving company called Deepcor, a spin off from Caldive the company I used to work for before starting the hike. Deepcor wanted me in Lafayette at 08:00 Monday morning to interview for a Sat diving position with them. Not wanting to miss the opportunity I said I’d be there and then immediately went into a mini panic. I had just walked into town, had now idea how I was going to get to the air port in Portland 30 miles away. But lucky the universe was on my side and with in an half hour I was able to hitch a ride into Portland and buy a next day flight to Austin for only $270. That part alone is crazy. If anyone ever needs a last minute flight try Virgin America.

The mini panic turned out to be totally worth it and by noon on Monday I was among the team of sat divers hired. Woop woop, no more working about a job after the hike, now the only thing to worry about is if I can actually finish the hike…..

Washington has been battling some massive forest fires near the trail for the last few months and new fires keep popping up. Hikers are having to skip sections of the trail and then hike through very smoky sections with little support should the fire or winds shift. Not wanting to but myself skip sections or put myself or rescue crews in danger I have decided to wait until next year to finish the hike.

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The trail winds it's way near these western fires.

It’s been an incredible adventure and one I’m so sad to have to end early and unfinished but the world has been here for billions of years and Washington will be there next year waiting for me.

There is however a small 89 mile section of the trail that is not burning right out side of Seattle. A good thing as this is the section that Kristen and I had planned to hike together. And even though the fires are keeping me from finishing the trail I am greatfull that they won’t be keeping us from this experience together. We will be heading up there next week and I’m looking forward to introducing Kristen to trail life….this will be her first long hike.

If any one following along has found them selves wish to go on an adventure,  Washington awaits us next year.

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Tunnel falls on the Eagal creek alternate coming into Cascade Locks

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DEER!

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Mt. Hood

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The shadow hiker

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Mt. Hood and the Sandy 2 mile uphill climb to Timberline lodge.

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So close ):

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Smashing the miles

It’s been almost two weeks since I crossed into Oregon and I’m already over halfway through with only 163 miles untill I hit Washington. Since Ashland I’ve been hiking on and off through a lot of smoke. Some days it would be crystal clear out, like the day I took a shuttle up to the rim of Crater Lake. Other days…like when I hiked the rim the smell of a camp fire blowing right in your face filled the air and I couldn’t see more than a few miles. Luckily here in Bend the smoke is gone and the fires in Oregon haven’t shut down any part of the trail so far. I didn’t get to swim in Crater Lake like I wanted to, but that just leaves another adventure for another time.

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Crater Lake

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Crater Lake early in the morning on a smokey day.

The days and nights have been much cooler and I’ve been pushing 30 – 35 miles per day which seems like a lot to me but it’s just chump change for a few other hikers who are attempting the Oregon Challenge. The entire state of Oregon, 455 miles, all in two weeks. CRAZY even by my standards. I’ll make it to Washington in another week or so, a week earlier than planned and I’ll have some time to waste untill Kristen fly’s up….maybe I’ll hit up some all you can eat buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday and try to put some weight back on. I’ve lost about 15 lbs since April and I’m sure I’ll be losing a few more pounds before I finish.

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Skinny skinny

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Loving the lunch break by mountain lakes. There are quite a few here in central Oregon.

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So much lava! Hard to imagine what it was like when this all was formed.

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Hiked through an older burn area. It so interesting to see how the forest recovers.

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Good god I’m in Oregon!

I knew California was long but boy did it just never seem to end. I did some serious miles the past week (37.5 yesterday) and now I’m finally in a different state and it feels like I’m actually making head way.

California was absolutely beautiful and there are lots of places that I want to visit again. Perhaps at a slower pace. My favorite by far was the high Sierras especially the high alpine passes. There is just something amazing and very surreal about standing at the top of a pass and looking out over the world.

I have been hiking pretty comfortable for the the last few months meaning my pack has been heavy with extra food and gear that I didn’t really need but made life easy and really good. But I’ve decided to hike little different through Oregon. Light and fast. I’ve sent home a couple pounds of comfort gear, am only carrying the exact amount of food that I need and my new pack weighs much less. We’ll see how it goes, I’m planning on doing around 35 miles per hiking day, my next stop is Crater Lake which I’m really looking forward to. 3 days and 106 miles away. Wish me luck.

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Good bye California, hello Oregon

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This is a day before Ashland. Still super smoky.

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Last year's fire damage

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A nice mountain spring. Not a gusher but it was enough and tastes so pure.

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Almost out of Cali

Soon very soon I’ll be out of California and actually in another state. I’m in a teeny tiny town named Seiad Valley once the post office opens at noon I’ll be on my way to Ashland, Oregon crossing the boarder early tomorrow morning.

These last few days have been extremely hot. Like 105 degrees kinda hot. Lots of hikers try to hike during the night when it’s this hot and then sleep during the day. But I just can’t do that, it’s seems even to hot to sleep and then I’m left hiking at night with out any rest. So as horrible as its going to be I’ll be hiking in the heat…..

The heat also makes it very difficult for the forest fire service and last year this entire area burned and there are small fires popping up already.

On the plus side of things it’s black and raspberry season and they are delicious and all over the place. And I have also been hiking on my own for the last few days which I really like. Little Bear can’t stand the heat and it slows him down so he is night hiking, not sure how he sleeps during the day but it works for him.

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If only there where places like this closer to Austin

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That was a long climb...pretty soon I'll get to go down and then right back up...Joy!

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CHICKEN!!!

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The best way to eat raspberries on the trail, right of the stem.

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The best second best way to eat fresh raspberries on the trail

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And these crazy looking plants. I think they are a kind of pitcher plant

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Thousands and thousands of acres burned last year.

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The start of a forest fire I saw yesterday morning.

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And the helicopter that came to pit it out. It was pretty cool watching him get water from a near by lake.

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Had to hike through a lot of smoke and some ash from a much larger fire that was too far away to see but filled the sky with smoke.

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Still smashing it!

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Good morning

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Good night

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Still in Cali……

Believe it or not I’m still in California.  In just over three months I’ve hiked through three different mountain ranges and I’m still here. California is incredibly beautiful but damn long. Right now I’m in Mt Shasta taking a zero day and resting up and resuppling. I’ll be back out on the trail tomorrow, the 26th, and then it’s 190 more miles to Oregon, Ughhhhh.

Also this seems to be where things start to break including me. I rolled my ankle a few weeks ago and now my second toe on my left foot doesn’t really work like it should. For some reason I can’t extend it with the rest of my toes and I have to tape it to my big toe to keep it from curling under when I walk. It doesn’t hurt much and I can still hike especially with some vitamin I.

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Poor little toe....

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Would you believe me if I said these feet where actually quite clean???

To make things a little more enjoyable my pack and water filter also broke. I the water filter problem was easy to fix as a few drops of bleach in each litter of water kills just about everything that could make me sick. But the pack issue wasn’t so easy. The internal support where the hip belt attaches broke forcing me to carry all the weight on my shoulders for the past week. Not fun at all and know I have some pretty cool bruses on my shoulders to match the ones on my hips. I bought a new pack here in Mt Shasta and it was hands down the best $250 I’ve spent so far.

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Oh!....that's not good,.....this is going to suck.

But then I get to see and do things like this and all is right in the world, actually more than right, it’s perfect.

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Now we're talking!

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Greatfull for Dan Jackson and his family for taking us Wake boarding and giving us a place to stay in Mt. Shasta.

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Mmmmm, blackberries!

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And the trail goes on.....and on.....and on.

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No fear! This dear definitely could tell I wasn't a hunter an let me get to five feet from him before he calmly walked away.

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Mt. Shasta

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Any idea what shredded this tree? I thought maybe lightning but there wasn't any burn marks.

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Burney Falls

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Hiker Oasis. Who ever put this up knows what it's like to be a hiker and wanted to send a little love our way. There was food, beer, sodas, solar showers, solar cell phone charger and a dart board. All an unexpected and wonderful find.

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Random cooler filled with sodas, yes please. Thanks you for the trail magic who ever you are.

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Half way Woop Wooop!

Made it to the half way point about a week ago on the 15th. I’m a little further along now but at the time I was smack dab in the middle, 1325 miles from both Mexico and Canada.

Some one made the joke that it was all down hill from here and I so wish that was true. The rest of the trail isn’t a high or difficult as the first half but I ready to be finished and on to the next adventure. Don’t get me wrong I’m still glad to be out here and am still enjoying it but it has became some what of an mental .endourance game now. The 80/10/10 mantra is holding true…80% mental/10% gear/ 10% physical.

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