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Archive for September 9th, 2006

Destination: Bumping River Ford
Starting Location: White Pass
Today’s Miles: 14.60
Trip Miles: 2253.70
White Pass (2302.8, 4405) to Bumping River Ford (2317.4, 4100) ascent (1608) descent (1949)

Our timing for a night with a room was perfect as we woke up to a low pressure system with light rain & cold temperatures. We goofed off most of the morning & finally got on the trail at 1:00 pm. “On the trail” took on new meaning today as elk & deer bow season opened yesterday. The PCTA needs these guys as members. Most have horses, huge 12 x 12 tents, & cool camo clothing & even face paint. Some of the hunters were really interesting, knowledgeable about their sport, and conservationists by nature. Others were beer drinking bubbas complete with all the behavior.
Trail life is odd. We leave White Pass, see hunters, enjoy the scenery, & discuss the current geo politics of Russia. Dr. Jones, a young man with hair reminiscent of the mod squad, recently returned from the Ukraine where he worked for the English newspaper. I doubt people actually believe the conversations had on the trail. There are some really smart people out here and hiking with Dr. Jones has been very interesting. I am particularly impressed with some of the younger people on the trail – I certainly did not have my act together at age 23.
Lucky Liz was at Gottago & Ray’s when I reached her last evening. They had some information on a potential reroute into Canada. Sounds promising.
Rolling Thunder & I have been exploring the question of why “most men lead lives of quiet desperation”. It is interesting. Thunder made lifestyle a priority long ago & as a result he has a career he enjoys & a life worth living. I recently made a change & the dividends are paying off in so many non-monetary, but more important, ways. So why don’t more people do it? Fear is certainly one possibility. Security, which does not actually exist & is actually fear, is another thought. Complacency – maybe. Regardless, we agreed today that the trail has certainly strengthened our belief that life is really short & by god you had better live it today.
A guest book entry asked about trail logistics. Well, it is ridiculously easy. You only have to plan a few weeks in advance, and you have plenty of time to work out details as you go. For example we know that when we get to Highway 90 we will need to buy enough food for 75 miles. We also know we will need to send 100 miles of food to Stehekin because we can not buy it readily there. The guide books tell us where the stores are, who has good burgers, where a laundry & shower can be had, etc and all other information is readily passed up & down the trail by other hikers. Now as an over planner, I did not believe any of this before the hike. I fretted over things that were months away. But you learn that things work out out here. I would recommend that if you are thinking about a PCT hike, & I really hope you are, that you plan little and let a lot happen. I have bought almost all my food along the way & unless you have very specific dietary needs this works great, is more spontaneous & allows for the most food diversity. I have not once had a room reservation but have always found lodging . . . another example – a few minutes ago we (Andy, RT, Dr Jones & I) kicked around the idea of going 33 miles tomorrow so we could check out & potentially stay at one of the handful of structures along the PCT. Then someone offered that if we did that & then did 2 – 27 mile days we could get to Snoqualmie an evening earlier than planned. “Hey let’s push it, take a full zero, & check out the pancake house we have been hearing about”. It’s now a 3 day plan & it may change at any time but damn it is a fun way to hike this trail.

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