Saturday, July 15, 2017

9 days, 90 miles, and 9 States When I Turned 49

Okay, of course it wasn't nine states...but two states didn't fit well in the clever play on my theme. ;) And maybe it wasn't exactly 90 miles...just a little over 80 actually, but close enough, right? And so, supposedly now I'm ready to turn 50 and tackle my original goal for the big "50/500/5". Ha. I wish this trip did make me feel confident about being on the trail for 50 days, but I'm afraid instead it has put new doubts in my mind about my ability to be alone for so long. I'm still determined to make it work somehow; though of course, only time will tell. 
Years ago, I was sure my last big test before 50 would be the world famous Wonderland Trail. (A 93 mile loop around the iconic Mt Rainier--what could be more perfect?) But I can't be trusted to remember to apply for permits on time; and sure enough, I totally blew it. I'm glad though. I never would have wanted to experience "The Wonderland" all by myself. And I feel being solo, because it was most difficult aspect of the trip, was the test I really needed. I just wish I passed with a better grade.
Whoa, what a great shot, huh? Ummm, I didn't take it. Thanks, Chuck!!!
This one either. How'd you guess?
Once I knew I couldn't do the Wonderland Trail, the challenge was to find a good 9 day alternative. I didn't have much time, because I decided only a couple weeks prior that I had to take advantage of the 4 day weekend that our Independence Day holiday would provide, because then I only had to ask for 3 days off of work. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that it's been a big snow year (great for skiers--bad for hikers) making finding a 90 mile stretch that didn't include a nasty snowy patch nearly impossible. 
Finally a plan emerged. Start at the "alternate" PCT route of Eagle Creek in Oregon, follow it south until it merges with the original PCT, then follow that back north into Washington and continue on until just before the Indian Heaven Wilderness. (Still covered in snow, or I would have made that part of the plan somehow. It sucked knowing I had to stop when, supposedly, the best part was just starting.)
Being solo, and not having the luxury of a loop like Wonderland, I needed someone to drop me off AND pick me up, or just pick me up and drive me all the way back to my car. This is asking a lot, considering it's a 4 to 6 hour drive from where I live (depending on traffic) with an hour drive between where I was starting and where I was stopping. Thankfully my daughter and her boyfriend were willing to not only be my drop off, but to also go the extra hour to park my car at my exit point. I am a lucky lady!
There is nothing sweeter than love birds!

Eagle Creek is mind blowing. I knew this because I've done it before, so I sold it big as worth the drive, even for just a day hike. I don't know if it was my good luck, or Amber or Chuck's, but we somehow got a parking space just feet from the trailhead. This is more like miracle status, honestly. Eagle Creek is NUTS on any weekend, but fourth of July weekend?!? Beyond nuts...whatever that is.
Yep, another Chuck pic.
He's quite talented.
I tried to hype them up to be able to make it to Tunnel Falls (6 miles in, making it a 12 mile day hike) but with the noon start (due to the car drop off) and the fact that neither of them are much into hiking, I had to concede it was an unreasonable objective. We said our goodbyes just after High Bridge, and I was on my own...if you consider camping with about 50 other people "on your own". I will pick up on that note next time.
Thanks again, Chuck and Amber, for everything.
I couldn't have done it without you!!


  1. Looking forward to the next installment of this adventure! You are so brave! --Linda B in PDX

  2. Hey there! It's Anita from Trout Creek! Can't wait to read about ypur adventure!!