A trip this big has so many details, this section got big quickly. Use the menu bar above to look a little more closely at the pieces that fit together to describe my trip.
What my trip is going to be like, as predicted before my departure.
My trip started on April 26th, 2002, at Campo, California. I plan to finish the trail in late September or early October. I will meet up with friends along the way, maybe have a get-together at a major Sierra pass for all my Bay Area friends, catch some Shakespeare in Ashland, join a bunch of friends for a gathering at Breitenbush Hot Springs starting August 14th, and maybe go to the Wolf Creek gathering after that. Then, I'm off to Canada.
While on the trail, I don't plan on doing any slackpacking. Slackpacking involves someone with a car who is willing to carry your pack, or at least all the heavy stuff you won't need for the day, to a point further up the trail. So while slackpacking, you just have food, water and minimal survival gear. In Southern California, it's really easy to do: there are lots of roads, higher population (more opportunity), it's usually very hot, and hikers are just starting, so they are ready for a break.
I'm planning on eating really well. I bought as much organic food as I could. I'm eating almost no prepackaged backpacking food.
What my trip was really like: a summary a year later.
I had a great time. I started on April 26th, 2002, and finished on September 25th. I hiked with Yogi for about 1500 miles, and finished up with a great crew: Blackhawk & Strawberry Girl (not pictured), Flutterby, Cheddarhead, Cosue, Scooter, Don & Leslie, and Bug.
There were lots of other good people, both hikers and trail angels, along the way.
I had two 5 day chunks off the trail, one in Carson City, NV and South Lake Tahoe and the other in central Oregon. I took a bunch of true zero-mile days and probably more fake zero-mile days. Maybe I'll tally them up someday.
In the wake of the changes in the USPS after September 11th, we all learned that we had to ship our resupply boxes via Priority Mail. Parcel Post just wasn't reliable enough. I learned that lesson as I waited three days for my box in Big Bear, CA. I shopped and hiked on. The box eventually made it back to my Dad's. That was my only shipping mishap.
We had great weather. In southern California, it didn't get too hot. The days in the Sierra were sublime, even with the miles and miles of snow we crossed. Oregon and Washington were, for the most part, dry.
I maintained this website by bouncing my laptop to major towns. I probably would not do it again. I began to dread my town stops where I had my laptop because while all my friends were relaxing, I was busy, busy, busy and not socializing as much as I would have liked.
Northern California was the hardest part for me. We hiked into smoke which made the views muted. I lost track of the mind set of 'just hiking to the next town or two' somewhere around the mid-point of the hike (1325 miles). I got into to thinking about having to do it all again, and how far Canada was. While I knew I could do it, it still messed with my head. Once we left the smoke and my head cleared, things began to look up. I also got to see Titus Andronicus in Ashland, just over the Oregon border.
While the Goat Rocks Wilderness is noted for its exceptional beauty, I didn't expect it to be so great. Photos can't do it justice. The Goat Rocks Wilderness must be experienced to be fully understood. And I was only thru-hiking, which limited my experience.
The most amazing moment on the trail was the morning I first spied Glacier Peak from my camp.The night before, I'd come down from the pass and into camp in the dark and rain. In the morning, I looked up to see freshly fallen snow on Glacier Peak, which was right above me.
The most frightening time was getting hypothermia at the highest point on the trail, well above 13,000'. It all turned out fine with Yogi's help. She claims I got her through the Sierra alive, when the truth is that she got me through alive.
I let the trail magic come. The times I wanted it, it was OK. When I least expected it, it was indeed magic. During the longest waterless stretch, which is on Hat Creek Rim in Northern California, just north of Lassen, Mary and Will, hiker Amigo's parents, found Yogi and I at their water cache and whisked us home for everything a thru-hiker longs for: home cooked meal, hot showers, and cotton sheets.
I never got the quantity of blackberries I was expecting: they are just not on the trail at the right time, but I did get black raspberries (my favorite), thimbleberries, gooseberries (yuck), and all the blue huckleberries and blueberries that I could eat.
I hope to hike the whole trail again, maybe soon. In the meantime, I have my eye on the CDT: The Continental Divide Trail.
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