The international PCT

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Sat blog

Arrived, after a windy 2,500-foot climb punctuated with a sand storm, at Timberline Lodge at 10 a.m. Saturday. After six straight 20-plus mile days, brother-in-law Glenn Petersen and I are rewarding ourselves with rest, football on TV and the all-you-can-pack-into-your-gorp-heavy-gut buffet. With us in the dining area — cool, woody place, Timberline — was a young man from Japan whom we met on the trail yesterday — just as a couple from Israel stopped to talk after turning down iPod music
powered by the same kind of solar battery we use.

The Pacific Crest Trail, we’ve learned, is strikingly international in flavor. And sprinkled with way
more out-of-staters than Oregonians. We’ve met two Germans, three Australians, one Canadian, two Israelis, one Austrian, one Japanese hiker — and only seven Oregonians.

Some have referred to Glenn and me — we have no trail names — as “The Oregon Boys.” Weirdly, that actually differentiates us from the rest. We met a mom-daughter from Eugene, Theresa and Launa O’Brien just north of Jeff Park (who warned us of high winds and ice pellets atop the ridge they’d just come down); a mom-son from Bend at chilly Olallie Lake; a man and wife from Portland and a lone young man from Portland. But no other Oregonian guys.

The social interaction is rare
— we’ve gone 65 miles without seeing a soul — but fun once it happens. At Jeff Park our fire was burning low and it was pitch black when “Bugs” and “Bunny” — the Israeli couple –‘showed up, weary and clearly with no place to camp. Thus, we invited them to join us. Later, I experienced one of those rare and special PCT moments — lying in my tent, drifting off to sleep while listening to the fire crack as the couple warming their hands around it talked softly in Hebrew.

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