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PCT | Bob Welch

Hiking Pacific Crest Trail unveils a unique cast of odd but friendly characters

Hiking Pacific Crest Trail unveils a unique cast of odd but friendly characters

SEIAD VALLEY, Calif. — After seven summers on the Pacific Crest Trail, nothing surprises me anymore. An Israeli couple — trail-named Bugs and Bunny — hiking with speakers atop their backpacks, listening to rock music? Check. Yours truly, deep in the Washington state forest and having not seen a human being all day, ducking into an out-of-nowhere outhouse for the luxury of an actual pit stop – and suddenly being interrupted by a hiker...

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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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