Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oregon baby!

Wow, California is one long state.... even with the fire and festival detours! Our friend Griz helped us out again by gettings us around the fire north of Etna, but not before stopping by the Etna brewery. We've decided to say we are doing a "Brew-Hike" instead of a Thru-Hike as we are drinkers with a hiking problem!
The air already seems a lot clearer here in Oregon. We've been hiking through smoke for close to a month now. Mt. Shasta has only been visible two days out of the three weeks that it typically could have been seen from the trail (see above photo). We are excited to be with our friends Michelle and Kevin at their lovely home in Medford. We will stay here for a couple of days before we head out to hike the state of Oregon. We will finish our hike at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood for the wedding of our hiking friends Yum and Pep near the end of August. We've enjoyed gorgeous wildflower displays in this last section and have been delayed by wild blackberries and raspberries along the trail.
There is a chance that this will be our last post until we finish our hike. Our resupply towns through Oregon are just small outposts with little likelihood of internet services. We'll update as soon as we can.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Lori and Fiddlehead!

Despite continuing smoke-filled skies, we had a great week. Our hiking buddy Griz (he hiked the Arizona Trail with us) and his beautiful dog Siskiyou Marie joined us for a night to help celebrate Lori's birthday. He packed in a bottle of wine and some of Alice's amazing lemon bars! Happy birthday to Lori, and also to our great friend Fiddlehead - wish you were out here FH!
We also met a couple of trail legends in this stretch. The man with the beard (above) is Billy Goat. He has hiked more than 33,000 miles in his life. We had never met before but had several friends in common. He said his home was "the trail." The other hiker above is Scott Williamson. We met him on the trail in 1996. He is currently on his eleventh thru-hike of the PCT! He has yo-yoed the PCT, meaning that he has hiked from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico in a single season. And this year he is on goal to break the speed hiking record on the PCT - less than 79 days (we took 153). All that and he is an amazingly nice and humble guy. Even though he is trying to set the record this year, he didn't hesitate to take a half-hour break with us. Very cool!
So we should finally be through with our first state (California) in the next week. We are still healthy and happy and looking forward to Oregon!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

1000 mile summer!

Festivals, Fires and Flexibility.
When we last checked in we had hiked to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. All that hiking demanded a small vacation so we took a bus up to meet some good friends at the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy California, approximately 300 trail miles north. For 4 days we relaxed, danced, ate fabulous foods and enjoyed time with friends. (Thank you friends!) We planned on picking up the trail right near Quincy but one of California's many fires had closed the trail and forced us further north. We have not seen blue sky for several weeks. In fact we have been hiking very near 14,000' Mt. Shasta and have only seen it twice through the haze.
We have received letters from friends asking us to post info about certain topics, so here is my attempt at answers. Ian asked us about wildlife sightings. We have seen the usual suspects, deer, marmot, reptiles, etc. Christian has seen two bears and I have yet to see any. The wildlife has been scarce and I wonder where the wild things are. We have speculated that with so many hikers on the trail there is little opportunity for those chance encounters. Some extra cool encounters have been a bald eagle, a fox with a squirrel in it's mouth and then there is the rattlesnake attack I thwarted with my hiking poles!.... I would have rather seen a bear.
Kelly asked us about food. This is a topic that occupies our thoughts for many hours of the day. Our appetites have finally stabilized. While in the Sierra we were consuming many calories, often eating two dinners each night. By and large we are happy with the meals we are sending ourselves although we probably won't be eating granola for some time after we return home. Town stops usually provide us with some of our top cravings: Pizza, beer, ice cream and fresh fruit and veggies. We were excited about the wild onions along the trail and now we are coming in to berry season with wild raspberries starting to fruit. Friends have sent some yummy care packages that not only nourish us with calories but a sweet connection to home. Thanks to all who have sent us things. Special mention to Jenny who has sent us a collection of home baked goodies at each stop and Aja whose creativity and love are a blessing. Our friend Griz surprised us here at Castella and has been taking great care of us by bringing us into Mt. Shasta City for a yummy Mexican meal, laundry and showers - much needed and appreciated.
Many folks have enquired about the fires. In Southern California the trail was closed near Idyllwild. As I mentioned we missed about 100 miles of trail south of Lassen National Park. We have just learned that the trail north of Etna is closed through the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Griz is going to meet us again for some hiking and will help us get around that fire. The smoke has affected us by obscuring views and causing havoc with our sinuses but we are lucky to be enjoying our life outdoors in all it's conditions.
What lies ahead for us? All will be revealed and we will keep you posted as the opportunity presents itself.

Monday, July 7, 2008

More pics

Sorry I couldn't finish the next post - stupid 30 minute limit at the library. Enjoy the photos!

Time for a vacation from our vacation!

We made it through the High Sierra! Absolutley gorgeous but very challenging. Lori swam 26 times in 19 days - once in a lake with icebergs.