After 900 miles on the PCT, 10 lessons I’ve learned

After 900 miles on the PCT, 10 lessons I’ve learned

As a Pacific Crest Trail section hiker, I don’t deserve — nor would I want — to wash the sweat-soaked socks of the “thru hikers” who go 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada each year. They’re major leaguers; I’m the kid in the Prince Puckler baseball toss at Ems games who misses the entire board with my throw. But having just ­finished another section — 217 miles from just north of the Columbia River to ­Snoqualmie Pass east of...

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► My so-called book tour

► My so-called book tour

To begin an interview with me on Eugene’s KLCC recently, host Eric Alan referred to the “book tour” I was, uh, launching. I mentally chuckled. Some listeners, I supposed, must have imagined me jet-setting from Boston to New York to Portland, my hand cramping up from autographing books for fans in lines that snaked out the bookstore and around the block. Me? I imagined myself giving a book talk in a restaurant while a waiter with a bass...

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Back to the woods and rivers

Back to the woods and rivers

On August 20, 1905, Oregon wilderness wanderer John Waldo wrote a journal entry from the east slope of Mount Jefferson. In it, he quoted one of his two favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson (the other being Thoreau): “In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.” After last summer’s hike of the Oregon’s...

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Finishing the PCT journey

After 26 days, 450-plus miles, snow, fire and far too much gorp, I reached the “Entering Washington” sign on the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks this afternoon to complete backpacking the Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. The scariest part of the journey was, of course, the bridge. It’s one of those metal grate kind where you can see everything below you. Give me Devils Peak in the snow any day. The saddest part of the trip...

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Going it alone

Monday Much has happened since Sunday morning’s report. First, having been told by the forest service that the Dollar Lake Fire had closed the Pacific Crest Trail and that a USFS and PCTA-approved alternative route would be at least a day or two in the making we made arrangements to be picked up and come home, disappointed that we’d been stymied only two days’ hiking from the WAshington border. Then, in swept a USFS employee...

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Fire closes trail

Headlamps on, just a hint of pink to the east lightening an otherwise black sky, Glenn and I had just gotten on the PCT trail at a trip-record 5:31 a.m. Sunday when it happened. Glenn led us by a PCT sign just north of Timberline Lodge. I followed. For some reason, something beneath the wood sign caught my eye. Trail Closure. The Dollar Lake Fire had forced the closure of the PCT about 6 miles from here. Rotten news. A “walk...

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