tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Pacific Crest Hike & Bike 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378595 2012-09-28T18:31:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 25-27: Into Canada and DONE!! :)

Woohoo!!   Tina reached Canada at 4pm on Wednesday Sept 26th, spent the night a few miles north of there camped with Frost and Halo, and yesterday morning I was able to collect all three at road a few miles further on, get them showered and fed, and then "home" by late in the day.   After two full summers of hiking, cycling, and driving up and down the roads and trails of the Pacific Crest we are alive and DONE!! 

It was well time too .. in the final few days Tina's right hip started acting up, her pants blew out completely (forcing her to wear her tights), the zipper gave out on her tent, her air mattress had to be refilled 5 times per night, and her hip belt was not staying fastened!  My oh my ... it was definitely time to be finished!    But finished we are!   :)

I may write again later on with final notes, but one interesting bit before I go.   Some of you will recall that the hiker Frost (pictured earlier here) we met in Vermont in 2010 during his and Tina's Appalachian Trail thru hike.   Through the rest of that hike we encountered him many times and he summited Katahdin just a couple hours prior to Tina (they crossed paths on the way up and down).    We'd had no contact since then but this year as I was letting Tina out on a logging road in northern California, Frost popped out of the woods!     Just like on the Appalachian Trail we encountered him almost a dozen times afterwards (even though Tina took time off for the ankle issues!).   Guess what?   He reached the PCT's "summit" a couple hours before Tina just like on the AT!! .. and then I met him just before her at the PCT's equivalent trailhead.   And all this is without any coordination or effort to synchronize.    Weird and Wonderful Trail Magic!

Thanks again to everyone for all their support during this year's adventure.

All the best, David & Tina

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378600 2012-09-25T03:53:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 22-24 - 41 miles to Canada!

Tina arrived at Rainy Pass right on schedule yesterday and, after 23 hours of clean-up, rest, and re-loading, she headed back out this morning at 11am and hiked north about 19 miles.   She only has 41 miles now to reach Canada and 50 miles to my intercept with her at EC Manning Provencial Park on Canada's Highway 3.    We are starting to believe that we may actually get this done!   

As Tina has been talking to other hikers most have talked about feeling sad that their hike is ending -- and we recall ourselves feeling this way on the Appalachian Trail -- but not us not this time!!    We are ready to be done!! 

As you can see a bit in the photos, the smokey conditions continue.   Sometimes there is just a haze and a light smoke smell but than at other times it gets really thick with fine ash falling on you and other fun stuff.   It just all depends on how the wind is blowing from the Wenatchee Complex and Table Mountain fires.   With each step north Tina is moving away from all that, tho, and so it should be getting better for her (and today was not bad).

The next update probably won't be until after has finished (knock on wood).   Cross your fingers!

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378604 2012-09-22T15:15:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 18-21 - Less than 100 miles to to Canada

Tina's still out on the 124-mile stretch between Stevens Pass and Rainy Pass but I thought I'd report that as of about 6pm last night (Friday) she closed within 100 miles of the Canadian border.

The terrain has been vertical with as much as 8000 feet of "up" in a day but Tina has been moving strongly and generally clears 22-23 miles per day.   Tina's reported that a good many hikers are walking well past dark in order to compensate for the shorter days and to make it into the isolated community of Stehekin by noon today (to get their resupply packages at the post office there before it closes).  

In wildlife news, Tina encountered her first bear two days ago (which was busy eating berries and didn't bother to look up) and last night slept in an apparent marmot colony listening to their eeep-eeeps all night long.

Weather conditions have been good but some days on trail (and back here at Cle Elum) are smokey just depending on how the winds are moving the smoke from the Wenatchee Complex fires and Table Mountain Fire.   Today should be better for us both, tho.

If things stay on schedule, I will intercept her tomorrow afternoon at Rainy Pass and will set her back out for the final run into Canada sometime Monday.

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378607 2012-09-18T19:50:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 14-17 - Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass

Tina's "fully operational" now having hiked the 74 miles with 20K+ feet of climbing between Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass in 3 full days worth of walking and reaching Stevens Pass mid-morning yesterday.   Although a smoke haze seems to cover the state of Washington with its 100+ burning wildfires, the scenery has still been stunning and it seems to be getting better yet with each step. There are thru hikers everywhere but all but a few are new to us.  

Knock on wood, but it seems we have lined up a bit of weather luck.   The forecasts are calling for unseasonably warm (highs in the 70s) and dry weather which may cover the remainder of Tina's hike.    We hope they are right!

Tina headed out from Stevens Pass about 11:30 this morning with about 193 miles left in her hike and 124 miles until her next resupply and intercept at Rainy Pass having averaged about 6000 feet of climbing each day.    From there it is directly on to Canada!

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378611 2012-09-15T02:48:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 11-14 step, step, step, and back going...

Tina is camped tonight at mile 2420.7 - 18.7 miles north of Snoqualmie Pass.    In messages sent tonight she said that she's been passing through very beautiful countryside and is camped beside a fabulous waterfall.

Tina had done three short slackpack days of of roughly ten miles each leading into Snoqualmie Pass.   With her feet continuing to get better she departed there mid-morning and headed into the unbroken 74-mile stretch to Stevens Pass, my next intercept.

Our satellite communicator seems to have been broken by a software update installed last night.  This leaves a situation where Tina can send messages to me but I can't send any back.  She was able to contact me via cell in the mid-afternoon to verify that was the case and so at least she knows not to worry about me.

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378615 2012-09-10T15:35:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 8-10 - on, off, on, off, on, off, ...

Continuous thunderstorms with occasional hail rocked Tina all through Saturday night but she stayed dry excepting a few minor leaks in her tent that we will be working on today.  Sunday was a walk in clouds and sprinkles but she had to struggle for the 22 miles it took to reach me at Tacoma Pass -- we'd put her out with her new-new shoes too soon.

Today we're off trail again icing and mending.   What's happened is that each time we have put her out things have been fine the first 10-15 miles but then then serious pain develops on the downhills. 

The good news is that her hip+shooting leg pain are almost completely gone and the original problem with the right ankle is down at a manageable level.   Also, she feels like the new-new shoes are not contributing to things -- they are okay.  The new problem is the pain she picked up along the top of her left foot when she went out 5 days ago with the modified old-new shoes. 

Not many pics today with all the cloud walking, but I've added some in from my back road travels including one of Frost.   I encountered him while I was scouting Stampede Pass, just ahead of Snoqualmie.

UPDATE: We got an X-ray of Tina's left foot -- no "Marchers Foot" / stress fracture and so we're headed back on trail tomorrow (Tuesday the 11th) only slack-packing and with low miles.  

UPDATED UPDATE: We just learned this evening that Frost injured his ankle just this morning and is now off trail himself. Sad news but we hope that he'll be back on soon.   As you may recall from our AT adventures, we were magically synchronized with Frost from late Vermont through summit day in Maine.   And the same thing has seemed to be going on here on the PCT ever since Quincy well back in California.   So either he has got to get fixed and back on for us to finish this thing!  :)

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378621 2012-09-09T04:31:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 6-8 - Stutter steps

Tina hiked the 29 miles into Chinook Pass arriving there around noon yesterday.   Unfortunately, the situation with the feet had gotten worse (now with the left foot involved too).  We'd modified the suspect shoes that she'd switched at the WA border hoping that'd to the trick but now it was clear we had to get entirely different shoes.  

We did manage to find some that seem passable in that they weren't offending the already-hurt places and so after an evening of icing and re-outfitting we got her back on the trail late this morning.   The report tonight after hiking 19 miles is that things at least don't seem worse.  

If she's able to keep her miles up I will fetch her from Snowqualmie Pass mid-Tuesday in forecast rain.  

Thanks to all for the support and good thoughts!   /David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378625 2012-09-07T01:44:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sept 6 - Back on the trail

Tina's back on the trail as of a bit before noon today.   She's not pain free, but after nearly a week of intensive R.I.C.E. with some light spinning in the gym, her ankle was very much better. 

She's left with an apparent nerve pinch issue that developed during the hobbling she did while she was compensating for the original ankle injury.   That provides her with a nice shooting pain from her left hip down to her left calf as she takes each step, but the doctors here took a separate look at that a couple days ago, gave her a prescription anti-inflammatory to perhaps help with that, and cleared her to get back on the trail.

Anyway, when we arrived at the White Pass trailhead today we found the mother and young daughter thru-hiking team Mama Bear and Monkey at the trailhead also gearing up.   Tina had been hoping to meet them and so now it has come to pass.   They were fiddling with a busted Platypus water valve when we arrived.  I was able to supply them with a replacement and then all three hiked out together.

As I type this (7pm) Tina is still moving and has covered ground within her normal speed range and is over 17 miles in.    Keep your fingers crossed for her! 

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378629 2012-09-01T04:24:40Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Aug 28-31; ... and so much for plans!

Tina hobbled into White Pass late yesterday evening having suffered all three days while she was out as she nursed a very sore right ankle and, later, a very sore left lower back -- we'd put her back onto the trail too soon and now things were considerably worse.    To ice the cake she had a couple other things going on too that made us think she needed antibiotics as well.

This morning was spent at Cle Elum's medical center where, I'm happy to report, Tina received prompt and diligent attention.  The good news is that there are no stress fractures and no need for antibiotics either.   The bad news is that we are going to be icing and elevating this ankle for several days to get the inflamation down and then Tina walking without substantial pain.   We'd gotten our hopes up to finish the trail by September 15th but that goal is clearly off the table now.

Cle Elum (80ish miles east of Seattle on i-90) is a nice place to rest up, tho, and so there are definitely worse fates!

In other news, Tina has now passed through the beautiful but terrifying Goat Rocks Wilderness.  We'd been warned by other hikers about the extremely hazardous trail through there and Tina was not to be disappointed.   The dangerous parts were too scary to risk taking pictures but long sections were  extremely narrow and slippery/loose trail on extreme side slopes with two or so miles of that walking a knife-edge ridge steeply-sloped off in both directions.

Tina had the additional fear that her ankle might give way or that a pulse of pain in it might cause her to flinch when no flinching is allowed!  And as things developed, Tina did fall twice with one of those requiring a "quick cat-like twisting maneuver" to avoid going over the edge!

This event marked only the fourth time in Tina's life that she was so fearful that her legs were shaking .. #1 was being stuck on a knife-edge during a solo summit attempt on Fountain Peak; #2 was her Mount Washington traverse in 70mph winds with 15 foot visibility; #3 was the descent from Mount Whitney on the huge snow chute that existed last year; .. and now this at #4!

Fun fun!

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378634 2012-08-29T01:44:08Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Aug 22-27; 431 miles to go!

After a half-day's rest, Tina crossed the Bridge of the Gods last Wednesday and hiked into Washington.

Immediately things changed.   The trees and vegetation were different, the terrain got decidedly more vertical, bear sign -- which had become scarce -- suddenly was common again, she experienced her first sustained rain, she started encountering elk .. and huge slugs!   Our friend Sweep (of the Tripp & Sweep we met last year) even had a mountain lion jump down onto the trail 50 feet in front of him and then casually saunter away!   All this adds to the excitement that Tina and the rest of the hikers are now feeling as the end actually becomes imaginable.  

After Tina entered Washington, I picked her up three days and 83 miles later on a forest road outside of the tiny town of Trout Lake.   I had planned only to resupply her there and delay moving my camp up from Oregon, but something about her new shoes resulted in some form of tendinitis in her right foot and ankle and so we decided to go ahead with the 2-day move in order to give it a rest.

As I "released" her this morning, the foot and ankle were still hurting (but less) and she'd switched back to her old shoes.    I haven't heard a report yet but as I type this she has hiked 23 miles today and is still going -- a hopeful sign!

If able, Tina is now planning to hike the rest of the way (the 431 miles) without any more days off.  Keep your fingers crossed!  :)

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378637 2012-08-24T01:25:56Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Aug 13-21; 241 miles in 9 days! Oregon Done!

Tina turned on the afterburners and knocked out the last half of Oregon in 9 days -- averaging almost 27 miles per day, a new PR!

The first days out from Willamette Pass found her in the Three Sisters Wilderness --- now her favorite part of Oregon.   From there it was on to McKensie Pass and Santiam Pass skirting Mt Washington, and then on towards Mt Jefferson.

Near Mt Jefferson a wildfire closed the PCT ahead of Tina and forced her and the other hikers into a rough detour -- a detour which has since doubled in size.   Over the time Tina was passing through that area and after I spent four days helping hikers with the detours, working with Halfmile and the rangers to get updated maps, posting those up, etc etc.   That was a bunch of hassle but Tina is actually very lucky -- this year appears to be a record for fires on the PCT and had she been even a few days behind her current schedule she would've been forced into several other fire detours (see pctnews.com for the gory details).

But Tina got through all that, hiked around Mt Hood near the tree line, and then two days made it to the Columbia River and the Bridge of the Gods -- the boundary with Washington.

Most of the hikers took a zero there to rest and change over to wet and cold weather gear but Tina only rested for a half day and yesterday afternoon hiked up into the mountains on the Washington side of the river.   The going will now be a bit slower since Washington is quite a bit more vertical than Oregon, but barring misfortune, we appear to be on track to beat the typical arrival of the first major snow storm of the year.

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378641 2012-08-13T04:03:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Aug 8-12 -- Starting the Kessel Run

We're feeling some time pressure now trying to beat the onset of bad weather in Washington. Tina is doing more miles now each day and we've entered a phase of very few days off trail.   As a local put it, they have two seasons here -- August and Winter ... and we're trying to make the most of "August" !  :-}

Tina hiked the ~61 miles into Willamette Pass in a bit less than 2 1/2 days -- arriving there Friday morning.   We then packed up and moved my camp about 90 road miles north to Metolius, OR where I plan to stay until Tina reaches Washington.    After a day off yesterday to celebrate our birthdays and anniversary, she got back on the trail this morning (the 12th) and has now set up camp 28 trail miles north of that point (PCT mile 1942).   

The hope is that she'll reach Santiam Pass, 65.5 miles away now, around mid-day on Wednesday where I'll intercept her again.  We'll do the "town things" and then put her out again for a 95 mile stretch, then do another quick "catch and release" for a final 2 - 2.5 day push into Cascades Locks and the Washington border -- then we'll have to move camp again.

The hikers and Tina are now encountering stretches of snow -- enough of it to occasionally lose the trail and have to navigate back.   On the plus side, water is plentiful again.  

Thanks for all the support, David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378646 2012-08-08T22:42:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Aug 5-7 -- To, around, and past Crater Lake

Tina reached the rim of Crater Lake on Monday afternoon and yesterday hiked along it for several hours before descending the north side of the mountain and heading for Mount Thielsen in the distance.    A pretty grand way to spend a day!

While Tina was doing her rim hike I shuttled hikers around and setup up a couple water caches to help cover them through the 27 mile stretch that starts with their rim walk.   I closed out the day with a few hours of combo feeding/watering magic as I waited for Tina on a seldom-used forest road. There are hikers everywhere!   

Today I returned Tina to that spot (mile 1853.09) and I'll pick her up again around noon on Friday once she's hiked the ~61 miles to Highway 58.    Then it's "move camp" day but then the following day we are taking off to spend the day in Bend as we celebrate both our birthdays and our 32nd anniversary!

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378650 2012-08-05T02:19:52Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Aug 1-4 -- 100 miles into Oregon nearing Crater Lake

In the lead picture above you see Train, in his 18th wedding dress of the trip(!),  standing with Chief and Cookie.  

Chief and Cookie are a hiking couple we started bumping into starting back at Siead Valley.  Both are WA-based forest fire fighters -- Chief is a crew boss in the Chelan Ranger District and Cookie drives an engine for the neighboring Leavenworth district.    It's interesting hearing their perspectives on the trail as they contemplate the various fire "traps" that the hikers must negotiate on the trail.    One such hazard that Tina spotted and they commented on is burning in a major fire right now (the descent to Belden, CA)!!

Meanwhile, Tina hikes north towards Crater Lake as I type.    She's a 100 miles into Oregon now.   Yesterday was a short day (12 miles) as planned since we needed to move my camp from Phoenix, OR up to Crescent, OR.    We had meant for today to be short too since we had a late start (2+ hours to drive back to the trail) but she's already 18 miles in.   

She'd wanted to stop earlier but then I got these messages from her about a half hour ago:

"Was thinking about stopping here for the night but just heard horrible roar not too far away.  No idea what it was! At 1798.36. 6:42 pm "  "Mosquitoes have been horrible whole time.   Not sure what to do.   Trail starts to climb soon.   Would like to stop before that!"   "Think I'll go on a little ways!"

Fun fun!   /David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378654 2012-08-01T20:42:44Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z July 27-31 Etna+ to Ashland, Oregon

Tina crossed into Oregon on Monday afternoon!   Tina and all the hikers are very happy to be done with their long California "residency" and to get on with the next phase of things!  Even though at the border there are still 970 miles, this feels like a real change to everyone.   Chatting with some hikers at a "magic camp" I'd setup on a logging road just a couple tenths north of the border and we decided it "feels like" the transition from Massachusetts to Vermont on the Appalachian Trail -- there's still a long ways to go, but still you you've graduated from something significant and feel something different.

In the days leading up to Tina's border crossing I've been having some old AT style classic "White Jeep" fun as I wrestled the big silver dually truck up all sorts of crazy logging roads leading up and out of the Klamath River Valley and into the mountains north of there.    Many of the roads had clearly seen no traffic this year yet (e.g., no ruts, just grass, having to rig up my ropes and tackle to pull fallen trees out of the way, etc) and some were completely impassable, but in the end I was able to meet up with Tina a couple times and do a bunch of magic for other hikers too .. e.g., Yard Sale, Banana Pants, Chief, Cookie, Running Wolf, Sister Sue, Thing One, Data, and a few others whose names escape me at the moment.   In the 20ish hours I was back on those roads I never saw another vehicle.   Great fun!  :)

For Tina, the climb out of Seiad Valley was just as hot and gruelling as had been advertised but the scenery has been good and the tiny cafe at Seiad Valley was awesome too.   Tina's reporting that in addition to the overall "look" of the trail changing now that the trees are smelling different as well.   That adds to the excitement too I think.

So Tina's off now hiking away from Ashland .. at mile 1731 as I type this, in fact.   Today she's doing 24 miles, tomorrow 25, and then just 12 since I need to pick her up at Highway 140 and get her help moving "camp" northward.   That'll probably keep her off trail until Sunday morning and then she'll be off again hiking another couple days to reach Crater Lake.    

ATB, David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378658 2012-07-27T04:24:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z July 21-26 I-5 to Etna +

After the two days spent moving camp, etc, Tina hiked west and up from I-5 into Castle Crags then into the Trinity Alps, Russian Wilderness, Marble Mountains, and other sub-mountain ranges of the Klamath Mountains.     She's camping tonight at mile 1627.8 - about 121 miles beyond I-5.

I was able to snag Tina off the trail last night and the night before and take her down to the most excellent town of Etna, California.   The town is now full of hikers and I also gave rides to or from the trail to many of them.   

After dropping Tina off at Etna Summit (10 miles way up a narrow winding mountain road from Etna town), I later took up 15 more hikers.    In the first batch we managed to stuff 11 hikers and all their gear into the truck!    That was such an occasion and accomplishment that we had to hold a big photo shoot at the drop off point where I took multiple pictures with each of 13 cameras!   (one hiker had two cameras).

The hiker Train I've mentioned and linked to earlier, had just changed to a new wedding dress (having crossed the 1600 mile mark) and all declared it to be his sexiest yet.    Before we left from the "Hiker Hut" in Etna it seemed almost every hiker had to be individually photographed with him.   :)

I next see Tina and the swarms of other hikers at Seiad Valley.   That'll be sometime on Saturday.

/David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378660 2012-07-25T00:56:01Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z July 15-18: Burney Falls to I-5

Catching up again!  On July 15-18 Tina hiked the unbroken stretch between Burney Falls west to the PCT's first I-5 crossing near Castle Crags (miles ~1423-1506).   The 83 mile stretch included about 4 vertical miles of climbing and descending but no really long continuous climbs and so Tina found it to be fairly agreeable.  

On the other hand, she saw substantial bear sign and one night even had one sniffing around and "woofing" at her.   Other hikers have actually seen the bears but Tina hasn't -- although she wonders whether that's because her prescription sunglasses fell apart and she's been forced to wear regular sunglasses.   It could be she's stepping right over them!   ;-)

After that stretch it was time for me to move camp from Susanville, CA (which I miss greatly) up to Medford, OR (home of Harry & David).    That and a nice tour to scout the southern edge of Oregon and far northeastern corner of California meant two full days off trail but then Tina launched again on the 21st.   I'm supposed to meet her late tomorrow about 10 miles west of Etna, CA and take her down to Etna for resupply.   Etna is a small and cheerful town in the very pleasant Scott Valley surrounded by the Marble Mountains (which Tina is now walking over).

No bear issues have been reported to me along this stretch although Tina went into it with some poison oak issues where you don't want them and now I understand that towards the ends of recent days she has been suffering from substantial calf and then whole leg cramps on one side.    That's slowed her down just a bit but she's marching on.   :)

A note on the pics:  More "trail" pictures than usual just as a sampler and also showing how stretches of the trail are overgrown (thus making it hard to avoid the poison oak).

/David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378663 2012-07-15T21:49:46Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Into Volcano (and bear and snake) Land

Over the last four days Tina hiked 88 (21+21+30+16) miles up into Lassen Volcanic National Park, down to the microscopic town of Old Station, along the hot Hat Creek Rim, past the hamlet of Cassel with its scenic fish hatchery, and then into Burney Falls State Park.   After an evening of the usual town chores she got back out on the trail this morning and on an the 83 mile stretch to the trail's crossing if I-5.

It seems that every bit of ground between Lassen and Mount Shasta (often visible in the distance) is volcanic in origin and pretty recently so.    There is a great deal of exposed volcanic rock jumble and the trail itself is just a thin layer of fine volcanic dust over rock.    The dust kicks up and gets into everything and, as another girl hiker (not Tina!) noted, it "makes for some really interesting boogers" ;-)

But for all the heat and dust, the stretch had relatively little climbing (~7300) and most of that was done on her first day out.    In contrast, this next stretch averages 5000' *per* day of climbing and descending.

Tina saw a fair bit of wildlife on this stretch and had her first close bear encounter of this particular trip when she passed very close by a dense thicket with the air filled both with bear smell and very loud bear snoring.   She said the experience was near identical to one she had on the AT in 2010 as she passed the mouth of a cave in Connecticut (I think it was).   She thought about waking him/her but ultimately decided to leave that for the another day.  :)

She also came upon a big rattlesnake that was in the process of consuming a large rodent of some sort.   The head was already "down throat" and so Tina wasn't sure what it was but it was bigger than a rat.   It of course was very upset with Tina for poking around taking pictures and then we were upset after the fact realizing that she could've gotten a very fine video instead.   Oh well, next time.  

At another place she was walking along and there was a freshly dead rabbit right in the middle of the trail.   I guess they've got to die somewhere but that was a first.   In any case, Tina is seeing lots of bear sign.    Also, we're hearing about mountain lions but so far they have all turned into cows when people stick their head out of their tents or, as reported by one hiker, are named "Alex" and are vegetarian.   ;-)

Then near Cassel Tina spotted some gigantic insects (pictured above).    Anyway, as you can tell from that Tina is definitely traveling through wild country!   :)

All the best, David

p.s. The Hat Creek Radio Observatory is open to the public now and is staffed once again.   Do drop by if you are in the Lassen / Burney Falls / Shasta / Alturas territory.    Also, thanks again to their Colby Krabill who spent a couple hours with us last year and a few more hours with me yesterday over an extended breakfast & gossip session (and thanks too for picking up the tab!).  

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378665 2012-07-11T16:47:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z North to Lassen!

Sorry about the delayed update folks!    Tina headed out this morning to hike into Lassen Volcanic National Park from Highway 36 outside of Chester, CA -- mile 1335.1 of the PCT.   

In the ~138 miles since my last report, things have started to settle out to usual trail patterns as Tina re-adapts and gets her trail legs, e.g., hiking 27 miles on Monday as she reached Chester.  

The trail and trail towns are filled with thru hikers now -- we've already been passed by the fastest ones -- the ones averaging in the high 30s or more per day -- and now we're seeing the ones that merely average 30 miles per day or the high 20s!    I gave an Austrian woman (Wasabi) about our age a ride into town from the trail and she reported that she'd hiked 34 miles that day and was averaging 30s.   She was positively bouncing with energy (but was very eager for me to get her somewhere that could supply her with a good cold beer ;-).

We've also met former AT trail friends and acquaintances like Frost (whom we met in late Vermont and then many times thereafter including summiting Katahdin on the same day as Tina) and Rest Stop, a triple crown hiker I fed at least a couple times on the Appalachian Trail and Tina enjoyed a long campfire conversation with.

Then there are the new hikers including the hilariously grand Train who is hiking each 100 miles of the PCT wearing a different wedding dress.    We're talking a tall, handlebar-mustached, bald fellow here .. but a natural comedian and funny guy.  When he leaves Chester he'll be hiking in dress #14.   Awesome! :)

Tina's back to having fun with wildlife too.   On her segment out of Sierra City she was walking along and heard a single rattle to her rear.   Of course she had to go find the source and found a very friendly rattlesnake that she then had to play with a bit to get a nice pose for the camera. 

The hummingbirds are back too.   As she was sitting once waiting for her water to be sterilized a hummingbird zoomed up to her deep red bandana and hovered to examine it.    Realizing that wasn't going to work it then zoomed up to her vividly purple shirt to give that a good look.   Failing there too it zoomed to a bit of orange on her walking sticks.    Tina could almost hear it harumph in disgust as it flew off realizing that it'd come up dry on all counts!    LOL

Hike On!   /David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378667 2012-07-03T01:27:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Kevin's home and Tina's solo

Howdy folks!   I picked up Tina and Kevin outside Sierra City (mile 1197.5) on Thursday as planned. 

After a couple days of touring through Lassen Volcanic National Park, Burney Falls State Park, and Redwoods National Park, we put Kevin on a plane yesterday in San Francisco.    Kevin's now back home and Tina's already back on the trail and is about 10 miles north of Sierra City as I type.

Although Kevin's departure was earlier than we'd originally planned, it may have worked out for the best since he'd just developed knee pain in addition to the foot / instep pain he'd been suffering through and was still limping as he left for Virginia.    Tina's sure missing him on the trail, tho!   As Tina said as she departed today "hiking or biking: it's more fun when you get to share it with someone else!".

While maybe not as fun, the trail is still exciting from time to time.   Tina was able to call me late this afternoon from a rest stop and said that she'd just encountered her first rattlesnake of the season.  She heard just one rattle and that was behind her but of course Tina had to go back, find the snake, and play with it a bit.   She said it was "just" a western diamondback and promised that she'd be bringing in plenty pictures.   :)

I see Tina next 92 miles from her start today.

Happy July 4th!    /David

p.s. All the above parks are great but be sure to allocate most of a day's worth of hiking time to Lassen and Redwoods.  

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378592 2012-06-26T23:24:57Z 2013-10-08T16:43:33Z Update and Echo Lake to Donner Pass pics

Tina and Kevin are out now hiking from Donner Pass to Sierra City (about 40 miles).     Sadly, this will be their last stretch hiking together.     Kevin must fly back to Virginia sooner than we'd hoped -- suddenly there are a host of animal problems back there to deal and, most acutely, with Kevin's 22ish year old cat LuLu.  

I've attached a large (for posterous) set of pictures selected from those Tina and Kevin took on their last outing.    In that stretch they experienced their worst weather of the trip yet with temps not exceeding the 40s for a couple days, frequent sleet, rain, and "cloud walking" but all their equipment and clothing performed well, the scenery was great, and they walked down to Donner Pass in fine shape with Kevin having gotten his first taste of 20+ mile hiking days.

The pictures above cover the stretch between Echo Lake and Donner Pass where I picked them up.  At the end are a few labelled pictures that I've taken while running around my Susanville basecamp.   I'm pretty well settled in there now and am finally starting to get traction on a couple major side projects -- I just have to avoid the temptation to look at the satellite tracker every few minutes!

/David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378594 2012-06-26T03:32:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:33Z Ramblings about rambling.

Hey all, it's Kevin, Dad figured I oughta write one of these so here I am. I'm not particularly sure what the goal is so I suppose I'll just share some of those little jokes and nuggets of wisdom I could never really appreciate until experiencing them. I think I had some trouble paying advice the proper respect. Remember, I basically went from day hiking every now and then straight to full time backpacking on the PCT.

Mom gave me the first and most important bit of advice I think in saying "Never disrespect the trail." - If you complain about going uphill, it will give you more uphill. If you say "this has got to be the last switch back", it will reveal 6 more around the next bend, and if you call a downed tree 'stupid' for forcing you off the trail, you will probably switchback and be blocked by the same tree later as punishment for mentioning it.

The next I learned in a single night. You simply cannot be too picky about a campsite. I rushed Mom into setting down, mainly just because I was moody about my sore feet and my excitement over the lack of mosquitoes. The combination of cold wind and lumpy terrain landed me a little over an hour of uncomfortable sleep that night. I think I needed that some how, nature isn't particularly forgiving to whiners.

I also finally understand how people go from like 8-12 miles a day (average starting speed for a backpacker) to 20+ suddenly. While an incredibly slow and steady increase in pace will happen with anything you practice, necessity is what brings out those jumps. On our third day we hit the "13.5 miles" mark while we were in near freezing clouds, high wind, and between two steep ridges. Setting up camp and maintaining our planned for non ambitious steady pace wasnt an option. We were stuck in that for maybe 3 hours, starting to get a little worried we weren't going to get off to a decent camp spot before nightfall. It turns out however between awesome scenery, a lack of an option to rest long (due to the cold), or an option to stop, you can find a lot of energy in the lack of effort normally paid out if you dont have your heart in it. After knowing you can do something it gets easier to expect that of yourself. I expect real hiker folk have a series of those experiences that pushes them to the miles I'd seen recorded.

Personally, I've found out I love ridge trails. The wind and clouds are awesome, they pretty much make up the climbing you always have to do to get to them.

As for a few other things I've decided

  1. The numbers lie, there's always more up than down.
  2. The word pass in terms of the PCT means climb in between the highest peaks... then climb the taller of the two.
  3. "Scenic" means ridiculous and out of the way
  4. Hikers might be a little crazy. I'm pretty sure hobo's have better food and warmer nights, I think I'm starting to get it though.
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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378596 2012-06-22T20:59:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Wind or Bugs but Progress

We've been having quite a bit of wind this last week and as I type this on a picnic table in Susanville I have to hold the screen of my laptop so that it's not blown flat and my iPad tries to fly away when I open its cover!     For Tina and Kevin, the wind has been a savior in that it keeps away the tremendous swarms of mosquitoes that rise out of the many lakes.    However, last night their campsite wound up being too exposed to the wind and they got very little sleep.  :(

The forecast calls for continued winds but with a good chance of rain and freezing conditions for them tonight as they proceed north along the PCT in the mountains just to the west of Lake Tahoe and through the Desolation Wilderness and the Eldorado National Forest at altitudes ranging ~7500 to ~9500.    

As I type the most recent satellite position report has them at PCT mile 1112.4 - about 40 miles north from my last report and 43 miles trail south of Highway 40, where I will fetch them next.   

When I last wrote they were nearing Carson Pass and at the last minute I decided to drive down there to pick them up for an early day off given the condition of Kevin's feet.    They didn't know I was coming and so I knew it was going to a very close thing to meet them.   I found them in the little visitors center cabin at the pass and had the docents there not delayed them by feeding them watermelon they would have left already!   

In any case, Kevin and Tina were glad to see me and after a day off the next afternoon they hiked from Carson Pass to Highway 50 outside of South Lake Tahoe having set a new combined bests for distance and time for themselves.    Unfortunately, that was because it was *not* windy that day and the mosquitoes were eating them alive and Kevin had re-injured his feet by trying to outrun them a time or two.    When I put them out late yesterday morning again I think things had abated to where it was just one toe that was numb for Kevin.   Good thing he's young.  :)

All the best, David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378598 2012-06-18T03:34:19Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Foot problems but nearing Carson Pass

I did a "catch & release" of Tina and Kevin at Ebbetts Pass, mile 1050 of the PCT, and now they are back on the trail and are camping tonight near mile 1067 after traveling today through what is both a land of many lakes but also a land of tremendous mosquito swarms.   I gather they had a pretty rough day of it between the bugs, the climbs, and Kevin's foot problems.

Foot problems?  Yep, like his father and grandfather, Kevin has flat feet and came into Ebbetts Pass having suffered with a fair bit of pain in his insteps and pronounced swelling where a normal person has an arch.   We finally managed a podiatrist appointment in Carson City where the diagnosis was tendonitis but without enough time to see to the real cure (2 weeks off and 3 weeks total getting custom orthotics) and so he was sent on his way with some reasonable looking off-the-shelf orthotics and was told to go up to max on Ibuprofen for the remainder of his hike, if needed.    I understand that he was alternating those orthotics in and out of his shoes today trading one kind of pain for another.   Nothing quite like the fun of having every step hurt!  

Despite all this, Kevin and Tina very much enjoyed their first few days on the trail from Sonora Pass to Ebbetts and are very much enjoying the scenery and hiking together.   

Late tomorrow they should transit Carson Pass, which averages 75 feet of snow per year.  Often it is only opening about now but this was a low snow year in California and so no problems are anticipated.   I plan to pick them up at Echo Lake near South Lake Tahoe in another couple days.

 All the snow has done so far for them is cause falls into mud and water and hopefully it stays that way.    Oregon and Washington had higher than average snow on the trail and so that'll be more interesting.

Happy Father's Day, David :)

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378601 2012-06-13T04:45:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Hikers Away!

Tina and Kevin are off and away from Sonora Pass!   After some 11th hour hassles renting bear canisters after a local ranger told us they were now required for the section they've entered, they were able to depart mid-afternoon yesterday (Monday, June 11th).   

Watching them on the satellite tracker I was concerned there was something wrong since their pace was extraordinarily slow at first, but messages from camp assured me that they were just busy taking hundreds of pictures and had found a fabulous campsite above a lake -- and so actually things were great.  

Today they continued to take it a bit slowly but now they're about 13 miles in and I'll be able to intercept them late Thursday it seems.    Tina got me word via the new satellite tracker (a Delorme inReach) that they are sore and tired but are nevertheless doing well considering they only had one shakedown hike prior!

Meanwhile, today I did the 500+ mile round trip to Susanville from Mammoth Lakes to scout for a base of operations for myself.   Mission accomplished.    On the way back I met a hiker looking for a hitch into Bridgeport from the 108/395 junction (the Sonora Pass turnoff) -- and he was hiking with a cat!   It seemed perfectly satisfied to be doing it, too.    Amazing.   

I don't think our cat, Bounce, would be nearly so tolerant although we were wondering for a bit whether we'd be making the attempt.    Only in the last minutes did we find a temporary home for her in Ridgecrest, CA where our bike shop friends from last year, Bob and Ardyce, located a local cat sitter who was willing to accept Bounce into her own home.    Thanks again to Bob, Ardyce, and Jeanne!

/David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378602 2012-05-18T00:55:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Wherein David develops a PCT iPhone App

This year when Tina and Kevin hit the trail they'll be using an iPhone app that I've spent the last three months developing in collaboration with Halfmile (aka Lon Cooper) a primary source for PCT maps, GPS data, trail information and news.  

The app is called Halfmile's PCT and it's out now in its second version with a third already submitted to Apple for review.   It's getting rave reviews from hikers and has already proven to be very popular with this year's batch of thru hikers even though it was relatively late getting out to them.  Here are a couple PCT News release blurbs about it.

I was inspired to write the app, which integrates and fuses data from Halfmile, by difficulties Tina and I experienced last year and what we also saw other hikers going through.   

To do that this app took a new approach -- and it's a first, I think.  The app actually understands the trail for what it is and not just a line on a map.   It figures out your exact position on the PCT and on over 80 side trails connecting into it.   That means it can tell you how much walking is required to reach any destination in that network, how exactly to walk there, what you'll pass on the way and, in the version coming out next week, how much climbing and descending you'll do on the way.

If I have time in the future, I plan to extend this approach to other long national and regional trails -- both hiking and biking trails.   In the meanwhile, I've got massive amounts of work ahead just on this edition.   Next up is a (hopefully!) awesome 3D trail exploration mode that kicks in when you turn the phone on its side -- but the requested feature list seems to stretch into infinity.  Fun fun.  :)

/David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378605 2012-05-18T00:44:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z We're back!

Yep, we're back from the twilight zone and we're hitting the trail once again.    Tina is rejoining the PCT at Sonora Pass -- mile 1018 of the PCT and where she left things last year.

This time she'll be joined by our youngest son, Kevin, who's enjoying his final college summer break and is looking forward to his first taste of long distance hiking. 

I've still got the bum knee and so I won't be joining them on the hike, but I do plan to "cycle circulate" somewhere nearby in more of a support role.   I'm also busy these days on a big software development project and so I'll be continuing to work on that some too while all this is going on.

All this will be picking up in early June with an actual launch tentatively set for June 15.

Hope all are well, David

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378609 2011-11-28T04:44:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Our 2010 AT Book now Online

At long last both parts of our 2010 Appalachian Trail book, "A Team Takes The Trail", have been completed and printed!   

You can find more explanation and links to the PDF and web browse-able versions here.

Happy Holidays and thanks again for all your support!

--- David & Tina .. aka Biker & Hiker .. aka White Jeep & Seminole

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378612 2011-10-14T15:37:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Wrapping up

A few days turned into a few weeks as we've migrated eastward after having concluded the "official" portion of our adventure.   Only now am I getting to this wrap up post.  

On the way back east we visited again with my brother his family in San Diego,  Tina's family in West Texas, my parents in southwest Texas, friends in Austin, and friends in Springfield, MO -- picking up all manner of vehicles and gear that we'd left behind like giant breadcrumbs when we "migrated" westward back in the spring!

Along the way we also had the pleasure of getting to meet and help out a delightful young Chinese couple, Hongwu and his wife Liping, who were in the process of moving from Oklahoma to Toronto when their car was totaled in an accident between Joplin and Springfield.  They had to abandon the car but still had to get to Toronto and so we were able to help out by giving them a ride to the airport at St Louis.   As further evidence that it's a small world, it turned out that Liping's post-doc advisor in Oklahoma knew my father from regional forage research meetings they both used to attend!   In any case, it was a pleasure for us both getting to know this brave young couple and we wish them all the best in their new life in Toronto.

Getting on to the actual "wrapping up" ..

The actual adventure, in outline: The main comment we get about this blog is that people have enjoyed the pictures but the questions mainly indicate a need for us summarize what the trip actually wound up being.   Here that is:

1. On April 23rd Tina started hiking north along the PCT from the Mexican border.   A bit more than a week later I joined her as I rode the tandem bike and trailer solo in and around her position, meeting her as I could.  
2. On June 30th Tina summited Mount Whitney and exited the Sierras at Whitney Portal on July 1, having hiked some 800 miles while I'd cycled around 1100.    Due to the dangerous water crossings present in the Sierras at that time, we decided to proceed north together on bike.
3. On July 6th we started biking northward together from Ridgecrest, CA.
4. On August 16th, our 31st anniversary, we crossed briefly into Canada at Sumas, WA.
5. That very same day, August 16th, we rode back into the US, loaded the bike into a small U-Haul truck, and started driving back south, retracing our full cycling path and making some side trips that we'd missed on the bike.
6. On August 25th, after having snagged the truck and Tina's hiking equipment back from my brother Carl in San Diego and visiting our son Keith in Monterey, Tina relaunched on the PCT at Horseshoe Meadows near Lone Pine, CA.
7. On the morning of September 18th Tina reached Sonora Pass on the PCT where I picked her up with the truck.   That wrapped the trip with over 1018 miles of of hiking and 2800 miles of cycling.
8. Later on September 18th we blasted our way back down to San Diego, picked up everything left stored there, and started our eastward migration!

And that's it!   :)

Now we're in Winchester, VA tending to administrative items, sorting through storage, and working on what "next" might be.   We'll be here through Thanksgiving but after then .. ?  :)

Thanks for all the support and for following along, David & Tina

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tag:tadteam.posthaven.com,2013:Post/378616 2011-09-19T03:13:00Z 2013-10-08T16:43:34Z Sonora Pass and DONE!!! :)

Yay!   Tina reached Sonora Pass this morning completing the 76-mile stretch from Tuolumne Meadows and this year's "trip"!!  :)

We'd initially hoped that she would be able to night hike all the way out yesterday.  But after 22 miles on the day she hit snow banks too steep to safely negotiate in darkness.  That wound up being a blessing in disguise, tho.   She was trapped between snow banks with no room for her tent and the only level spot was a small saddle up at 10,800 feet elevation.  So she just slept right there on top of her tent (which she used as a groundcloth).   Having just completed two of her best days on the trail with the most beautiful stretch she'd seen to date, to cap it off sleeping under the stars on a moonless and crystal clear cold night was just the best.   

Here are her words in the GeoPro messages that came to me last night.   They explain it better -

20:15 - MUST STOP.  TOO DANGEROUS! STEEP SNOW FIELDS.
20:16 - THINK I WILL BE COWBOY CAMPING TONIGHT.  NO ROOM FOR TENT!
20:25 - GOING TO STAY RIGHT HERE!
20:42 - CAMPED RIGHT SMACK IN MIDDLE OF TRAIL IN MIDDLE OF PASS. ONLY FLAT SPOT.
20:46 - EATING TORTILLAS AND CLIF BARS AND LOOKING AT THE INCREDIBLE STARS.  WHAT A WAY TO END!
20:52 - IT DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!   WISH YOU WERE HERE!

It got down to 25 degrees that night and every once in awhile Tina was awakened by ground creatures scratching at her pack or bear canister, but all-in-all it was a wonderful final night.

I'll write a wrap up post or two yet, but in the meantime, thank you all for your support. 

Thanks especially to Kacee who spent so much time packing things up, shipping things to us, receiving and sorting things out that we sent back to her, generally watching over us --- and also for the special surprises she always found time to include in our supply packages!   :)

All the best, David

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