Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 159- Counting Down

From the campground at Harts Pass at mile 2630 to campsite at mile 2649

Chris making coffee
We waited until we heard voices and car doors closing before packing up and joining the trail magic. We finally met our host, Gordo's Dad, who hadn't made it back to camp until 9:30 the night before. He unloaded breakfast from his Jeep: oranges, English muffins, brownies, and other goodies like chips and veggie sticks. Coffee and hot chocolate was made by Where's Chris at her site (and a shout out to Charles who wasn't able to help with the trail magic today).

Some of the coffee drinkers
Shortly before nine Portrait and I grabbed our packs--it was time to start our last 20 mile day. Gordo's Dad pointed us down the road to pick up the trail. Face Plant left at the same time as us and was quickly out of sight up the ridge.

It was warm and sunny walking up hill along the mostly treeless ridge. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The tamarack trees were vibrant against the blue sky. A few ridges to the south the smoke was still there--nearly black against the blue sky.

Six miles in we stopped for water. Cheese caught up while I was filling my bottle. That whole group had left about a half hour after us. I took extra water to drink with lunch which I thought was going to be on top of the ridge right after the stream. It took us less than a half hour to climb to the top of the ridge--it was a lot closer than I realized. Tortoise, who had passed us earlier, was sitting in the shade eating a snack and taking in the view.

The trail dropped off the ridge and went along a side hill for a couple miles. I was pretty sure we were going to stop for lunch before the next water but then there was no place to sit and relax. Two miles from the water we stopped so I could drink the water I had been carrying and then dump all but a sip out. Minutes later we came to a wonderful view where we again found Tortoise sitting in the shade having a snack and enjoying the view. Had I not just dumped my water I would have had lunch there.

At the stream I ate with gusto--my food bag had too much in it for the time left. Face Plant, Tortoise, Cheese, Bone Lady, No Amp, and lastly Buckket all arrived at the stream for lunch as well. Portrait informed everybody as they hiked up that there was only 19 miles left. I thought it was a nice sounding number.

Portrait and I left after Face Plant knowing the others would catch up and pass. They caught up while we were talking to two thru-hikers who had finished yesterday and were on their way back to Harts Pass. They had heard about a short cut for the way back to Harts Pass that cut off two miles and elevation change that they told the others about while we hiked onward.

It was a long downhill and I took more Advil for my creaking tendons. I was happy to get to the bottom of the hill and start the next climb. My happiness didn't last too long: I was hot and tired at this point and my tendons hurt. I knew we were stopping at the next water and I was looking for it at every switchback. It appeared about 20 minutes after I was ready for it. I drank my fill but didn't carry much--there was more water coming up.

Portrait filling up and Tortoise waiting his turn
We continued to climb. We didn't check out the next spring that was a mile later. A half mile after that was another spring and the end of the climb. The spring was tiny. Just a few stands of water coming off moss into a little pool. I tried dipping water and ended up with cloudy water before sticking my bottle under a moss drip. It was a longer water break than expected.

The trail continued on a side hill and then instead of taking us to the pass it took us down a mile so we could go back up for two miles. There was a short cut over a scree scramble, but we skipped it. It wasn't that bad losing so much elevation just to regain it all. At six we still had a mile to the pass and we stopped for a snack--I really needed one. I was feeling like a mile of uphill would take the rest of the night. We saw Backwoods who had finished yesterday on his way back to Harts just as we were finishing snack.

After snack a mile felt like a mile again--it's a wonderful thing what sugar can do. Portrait heard voices off to our right and we followed a small path to where Team All Dead was starting dinner chores. They had all taken the short cut and said it had its scary moments, but wasn't as bad as the guide book said. No Amp came into camp shortly after us and everybody had dinner. The end seemed to be on everybody's mind--we used the word last a lot. Ten miles to the border in the morning, then one more night out for me and Portrait with nine miles to Manning Park and a road.

Team All Dead having dinner


  1. Hey! That's me. =]

    I'm glad Chris met you on one of her random Trail Angel days. She probably mentioned that your journal is one of the ones I really look forward to. Some hikers just have a great balance of photos, observations, stories and humor and they express it all in a way that makes you feel like you're there... almost. Yours is one of those. It's been great following your journal. Thank you for sharing your experience (and Portrait's as well) and sticking with it right to the end.


  2. Do you find sharing tent saves weight or is it just so y'all can be together? And when did it happen? I loved portraits post about Whitney. Very touching. He is a great guy.