PCT Day 76 – Jack Spring

PCT Day 76 – Jack Spring

19.5 miles, near 1808.9

• Lots of mosquitoes again in the morning, we quickly walked through the forest until we climbed up on the ridge where we had cell service.

• We had our first great view in days. The ridge snaked around peaks above alpine lakes and burn areas. Just before heading over devils peak, we could see Mt McLoughlin rising to the southeast and Klamath lakes to the southwest.

• There was snow on the north side of devils peak, allowing us our first glissade experience. It looked a little daunting, but I was unsurprisingly a natural 😜. Some hikers didn’t grasp what it took to slow down with their hiking poles, so some of them got a little out of control.

• We passed a marker for 1800 miles. Since we flipped up, these don’t really mean anything anymore, we’ve completed something like 850 miles total.

• Although we had good views today, Oregon has been a little disappointing so far because of the mosquitoes and the green tunnel we’ve endured. Bradley and I discussed the pros and cons of our situation. He seemed a little down about it, and I tried to spin it positive.

• We stopped to camp at a junction to a spring, the path to water a little ways off trail. Someone spotted a pond much closer to camp, so we filled up there instead.

• Seems to be less mosquitoes here tonight, maybe because it’s close to a burn area. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. Twinkle has 43 bites on one of her arms, she counted.

• The cicadas are singing us a lullaby to sleep.

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Purple sunset clouds 😊 #pct2019

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PCT Day 75 – Red Lake

PCT Day 75 – Red Lake

16.0 miles, near 1789.4

• Woke up to see Carie using her sleeping bag upside down… guess she got a little confused last night (she had some wine 😆)

• I took my gaiters off yesterday next to my bag, and now I can only find one. Somehow it walked off or I’ll find it wedged in some weird place of my backpack in a week.

• I was all packed and ready to hike, but the group decided to get breakfast before leaving, so we sat and waited an hour until they opened for breakfast. Ordering and eating took another 2 hours, of course, and then we had to road walk back to the trail, so we didn’t start hiking until noon.

• While we waited for the restaurant to open, I walked down to the beach because it was chilly in the shade. This area features a lot of volcanic rock, it was cool to see the red pumice lava rock below the lapping water.

• Aunt Barb and Phil showed up around 930am to pick up Carie. Her food just came out of the kitchen, so we boxed it up and loaded her bag in the trunk. She’s going to have her foot looked at by the urgent care in Ashland, then we will know what we’re working with and how to proceed. In the meantime, I am continuing forward with the group.

• More forest hiking today. Trying to make the best of it, but it is pretty monotonous. Without our maps, we would never know there’s a huge snowcapped Mt McLoughlin towering over us, because we can hardly get any gaps in the trees. We had one view of it late this afternoon as the trail turned east.

• We stopped for lunch at Squaw Lake, a half mile off trail. The mosquitoes at this point became relentless. Even if we were moving, they would find your exposed skin. Nibbler and Bradley setup their tents by the water and 4 of us piled in to eat in relative peace. Yardsale and God of War went swimming, I waded in to wash the dirt off my legs and feet. We also talked to a random guy there who was just testing some gear on a 1 night backpacking excursion.

• The rest of the afternoon was relatively easy, stopping at a spring for water. I am so grateful I bought a head net for the bugs because it is saving me right now. My long sleeve shirt works pretty well but they can still bite through my back, and my base layer leggings seem to be impenetrable.

• The mosquitoes at camp are by far the worst I’ve ever seen or experienced. As soon as you stop moving, there’s 20 on your legs. I setup my tent and meticulously got everything inside, item by item. Even though I was careful, I still needed to kill a dozen once I got inside.

• We joked about pooping in a bag inside the tent, because squatting outside seems unimaginable right now.

• On a very sad note, Carie texted me that her sprained ankle is actually a fracture, and she needs 6-8 weeks to heal, so she obviously can’t continue hiking. I don’t know what will happen next.

PCT Day 74 – Fish Lake

PCT Day 74 – Fish Lake

8.9 miles, near 1759.6 / 1773.4

• Got some good sleep last night, don’t remember waking up too many times. A bit of a rarity out here with our basic air pads, and sharing a tent with a snorer 😋

• We hiked a few miles before reaching a good spring for water about 50 yards off trail. We chatted with our friends and filtered what we needed before heading back up to the trail. I was hiking just ahead when I heard Carie cry out behind me, gasping for breath as waves of pain shot through her foot. She accidentally stepped weird and rolled her ankle off the trail. I helped take her backpack off and we assessed the situation. It seemed pretty serious, definitely a wicked sprain, but she was able to walk and bear weight. Without another option, we needed to continue hiking forward until we reached our destination for the night at the fish lake resort.

• We hiked for another couple miles before encountering an older couple hiking with their dog. Carie started talking to them and explained how she sprained her ankle and didn’t think she could hike much farther. They offered to give us a ride to the resort, and we gladly accepted. Their car wasn’t parked too far away, but it was pretty small, so the wife stayed with the dog, while the husband Cleve drove us out of there. His wife is very German and I didn’t catch her name. Cleve told us all about his overseas service in Germany in the 1960’s and other fun stories during the 20 minute drive. We were very lucky to run into them when we did, in an otherwise pretty remote area.

• Just before we reached their car on the dirt road, we passed a dead bunny in the middle of the trail… just half of it, a pair of legs. Wonder how that happened? Later we heard that Nibbler saw a black bear just off the trail, possibly near that bunny.

• Once we got to the resort, we went inside the restaurant for lunch. We were starving, hadn’t eaten anything in hours. Carie ordered the wings, which came out super breaded, like traditional fried chicken. Can’t seem to win anything today, but the waitress was also gluten free and took them back.

• Our friends showed up near dinner time, looking pretty exhausted. I guess we missed some gnarly lava rock section in the late afternoon. That would have been extra tough on a very sensitive ankle.

• After dinner, I called aunt barb and explained what happened today. She agreed to drive out to us in the morning and pick Carie up so she could get her foot checked out by a doctor. Very generous, and again lucky to be so close to family in an emergency.

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Home sweet home 🏡🐛

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Bonsoir Lune 🌙

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PCT Day 73 – Klum Landing

PCT Day 73 – Klum Landing

20.6 miles, near 1750.7

• Didn’t need an alarm to wake up today, the birds did it for me. Pretty noisy and you can’t hit snooze on them!

• Left camp around our normal time of 730-800. I had some interesting rumblings going on and needed to pull over to use the bathroom a second time, which has never been required before.

• At one of our breaks, we saw a ferret scamper across some logs and out of sight. He was very quick and noticeably longer than any squirrel or chipmunk, and had a black tipped tail.

• We hiked most the day in the forest, with only a few breaks in the trees to see the Ashland valley. The trees in the forest are remarkably tall, which is one of the only redeeming benefits to hiking in a green tunnel.

• We only had 1 good water source in between camps, so we had a couple 10 mile water carries. Never fun lugging 2+ liters for a long distance, starts to grind us down.

• We made a fire at camp and twinkle toes had a photo shoot through the smoke with a flower crown she crafted.

PCT Day 72 – Soda Mountain

PCT Day 72 – Soda Mountain

10.9 miles, near 1730.1

• Woke up with plans to hit the trail by 9am, which quickly became noon. Some people wanted to get breakfast in the restaurant. I was just ready to start hiking again.

• Our first taste of Oregon was sunshine, lush green forest, and big views of the surrounding mountains. Mt Ashland to the northwest and approaching Pilot Rock very close to the trail.

• When we got to the junction, Carie took a break with the packs while I took the trail to climb Pilot Rock. Barb and Moneeka and all climbed this just the other day for Moneeka’s birthday.

• I followed a well-maintained trail until it just stopped and big granite rock loomed above. This was one of those approaches that didn’t seem possible until you tried, it required rock climbing up 2 tight crevices before scrambling to the top. The view on top was worth it, snowy Mt Shasta to the south and many other ranges to see with good visibility.

• Back at the junction, we chatted with some hikers we met on day 10 at Warner Springs, named “Shifty” and “Space Dust”, new trail names to us, not Garrett and “cat lady” anymore. They originally made it to Walker Pass, went home for 2 weeks to let more snow melt, ended up flipping past the Sierra anyways, and started hiking north through Oregon like us.

• We reached a spring for the night. I must have circled the place 3 times looking for the best spot, before settling on a mediocre incline for our tent. Today is the first time using our new duplex poles, which didn’t come with any printed instructions. I luckily had 1 bar of cell service that eventually loaded a video tutorial. I think it was a good purchase, but will need a few more days to work out the kinks.

• Carie laid in the tent on my side upside down, adamant this was the best spot for cell service, 2 ft from her normal spot.

• We didn’t have a super great vantage of the valley and the sunset, but it was still a gorgeous evening. It’s still dimly lit out at 930pm, a noticeable difference than what we’re used to farther south in California.

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Our first Oregon sunset 😍 #pct2019

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