Monday, September 26, 2016

Boarder security

I boarded the bus for Seattle today at 5:30 this morning.  By about 7 I was at the US/Canadian boarder.  I've been through immigration check points plenty of times before.  Usually I pray to have an officer that's a minority, female, or chubby white guy with a moustache.  Clean shaved white guys always seem to have a chip on their shoulder. I lucked out this morning with a nice Hispanic boarder agent.

"Good morning" I said.

"Good morning.  How are you doing?" Said the officer.  

I was tired so I said "I'm doing alright."  I think even when I'm ecstatic, I'm never truly honest when it comes to that question.  I hand him my passport, he flips it open and sees this:

He starts laughing and manages to spit out between giggles "what happened?"

Keep in mind, I now look like this:

"Oh, I've been been hiking the PCT for the past few months. living out in nature and all."

He's got a grin across his face and prods a little more about the PCT.  There are a few more questions about work.  I tell him I'm unemployed at the moment but taught English in Japan.  He switches to Japanese for a bit and then back to English.

"Got any pills or drugs on you?"

"No, sir!"  

"Alrighty, have a good one and welcome back!"

Sunday, September 25, 2016


I attempted to hitch with forty two and flash out of manning park on Saturday.  We had no luck.  I even held up a fifty but there weren't any takers.  My sign that I slaved over was worthless.  

The three of us took the bus instead.  It was late, an hour.  Unacceptable by any standards.  The driver also drove like he was on meth.  It was a hellish experience.

We arrived early, 6am.  Tim Hortons is a Canadian donut shop that also sells coffee.  No sweets for me.  I ordered a sausage muffin but got a wrap instead.  A small communication error in this multicultural city.  They use south Asians instead of Mexicans, weird.  

This was the first time to see Canadian geese in Canada.  Sometimes they looked fake. 

Vancouver occasionally smells like strong marijuana.  Easily the "dankest" city I've ever smelled.  It's not 'legal' here but no one seems to care.  

The harder drugs and their presence are seen somewhere between gas town and Chinatown.  These are the ones that ruin lives.  I've never seen so many junkies.  I thought Portland was bad...

Chinatown was the place to go.  At 11am, a foot massage place was supposed to open up.  Flash and I were ready for that moment.  Lies and misinformation online.  It didn't open until noon.  That was cutting it close for flash as his bus left a little after 1pm.

I still got the foot massage.  The sweat little Chinese ladies working there were interested in my adventure.  They also couldn't stop laughing at how sensitive my feet were.  The massage was good and like any addict, I went to another shop and got a shiatsu massage.  This time by a Japanese lady.  Her husband was hilarious.  I've never met such an outspoken Japanese guy who acts like a Chinese guy.

I felt like I was speaking Japanese way too much so I looked for a ramen shop.  I was disappointed with the ramen.  

I found a hostel then went for a walk around the city.  Last time I was here was when I was fifteen or so.  A lot has changed.

There is a steam powered clock in Gastown.  It billowed clouds right when I got there.  I wasn't expecting that. 

Canada is a lot like America in many ways but just about everything seems a little "off".  

-7/11 doesn't sell beer
-ketchup flavored potato chips
-police sirens have a ton more sounds
-no Mexicans 

The night went on and I found my way back to a bed.  I'll leave for Seattle tomorrow morning.  Wish me luck!  I have to catch an early bus. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Almost done

I'm less than 200 miles from Canada and I can't believe that this experience is coming to an end.  This morning I said to Flash, "isn't it going to be weird to not set up your tent every night?"  

A week.  That's all I've got left.  Then I'm back to America and within time back to the old grin, work.  I still have no clue where I'll be employed.  I haven't even begun looking for a job but I'm sure something will turn up.  For now, I have to focus on the remaining miles ahead. 

Washington is a burly section.  The trail is constantly going up or down.  Some days have more elevation gain or loss than days I had in The Sierras.  Thankfully there isn't any elevation sickness to deal with.  There is however, the weather.  

It's bipolar and doesn't care about your feelings.  It's also weather I've missed experiencing for the past six years. Since beginning in Washington, I've had about five days of sun and eleven days of rain/clouds.  This weekend looks like I'll be seeing some more rain!  

Well, I've lost my train of thought once again.  I thought I'd write more!  Anyhow, this might be the last update until I get to Canada!

See ya! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Home Stretch... Literally.

All my boxes are packed and I'm ready to go!  Sometime tomorrow morning, I'll be off on that dusty old trail, once again.  I'm now in the final leg, Washington.  There are big changes ahead.  The biggest of them all...  THE WEATHER!

It's likely that by Wednesday, I'll see my first drops of precipitation since sometime in May.  California was dry and surprisingly, Oregon too!  But Washington is looking to be wet.

The forecast for Skamania county on Thursday says a 40% chance.  What that actually means, is that 40% of the time it will rain.  I'm mentally preparing for the entire state.  But I'm sure it will rain less than half the time.  I know it could rain almost the entire way too!  

Trail rumors are abound once again with regards to the difficulty of Washington.  I've heard that from the Columbia to Trout Lake is easy.  I've also heard that it's easy all the way to Snoqualmie.  Maybe I should look at some maps?  Nah.  I enjoy the surprise!  

In other news, I found my other Backwoods hat in my closet this afternoon.  I'm stoked about that since my last hat was lost in Sierra City.  I'm keeping the Grateful Dead hat given to me by another hiker, Rusty; despite not knowing any of their songs or dances.  

Anyhow, it's time to cut up this pizza and stuff it in my food bag.  I can't wait to eat it on trail.  

Happy Trailz,

Friday, August 26, 2016

Oregon, almost complete

It's crazy to think that I spent over three months in California trudging up and down mountains, dealing with the heat, having a long water or food carry, OR coping with all three at once.  Oregon has been a vacation compared to what I had to deal with in California (well, I also have some rock solid legs, I didn't have those in California).  Now I have less than fifty miles separating myself from the motherland and it's all downhill from here.  

This morning was a race up Mt. Hood to grab their breakfast buffet (10 miles and 2,600ft).  It was easily the healthiest and most delicious meal I've had on trail.  I probably stuffed down 4,000 calories worth of food.   I felt like I was about to vomit and had to rest outside, to get some fresh air.  But you know what?  The pain was worth it.  I feel like all that nutritional goodness is repairing my body.  I don't feel like a zombie anymore!

By Sunday I'll be in Washington taking a day off and prepping for the doom and gloom that is to come.  I'm expecting the worst but am hoping for the best.  The Evergreen State can get some nasty weather and a few days ago, I decided to get a stove.  

I've been without a warm meal most days on trail.  "Stove-less" is what it's called and I wouldn't recommend it.  It's only benefit is that you save some time prepping a meal but that's it.  The weight of a stove is definitely worth it.  I got it mainly for COFFEE since that drug is the ultimate game changer.

Happy trails,

Monday, August 22, 2016

Half done with Oregon

I'm flying through Oregon and it has to be one of the most under rated sections so far.  If youve ever seen a documentary on the PCT you know it goes; desert, Sierras, ?????, ????, and then Washington (but only the last bits).  NorCal and Oregon have been awesome.  The grade isn't too intense and doing a high mile day is sort of easy...

I say "sort of" because the sun is rising much later.  Last night I told the fellow hikers I was camping with "ok guys, I'll get up at 5am".  If you've been hiking with me, you'll know that I've been saying this since the Sierras.  I never get up at 5am.  I haven't since the desert but last night was special.  We had setup camp about nine miles from a youth camp run by Seventh Day Adventists.  Breakfast was on my mind.  Although they are vegetarians, I could probably still get an omlet or cereal.

I stressed all night about getting sleep and thinking about eggs that I hardly slept.  Much like a child waiting for Christmas morning.  For thirty minutes, I watched the walls of my tent breath before my alarm went off.

Five O'clock finally rolled around and I was on trail forty five minutes later.  The sun wasn't up until about 630.  Sunrise is probably six but with the mountains in the way, it took a bit longer for the sunshine to hit me.  I forgot how late the sun rises in this part of America.  In Japan, it was always super early in the summer.  The sun was up by five or even earlier.  I remember walking around at 430 one morning with enough light to see.  

Geez, long tangent.  The staff were absent at the youth camp and no omelets were available.

Anyhow, here I am with about ten miles until I hit 2,000.  I'll be passing that mark in a few hours.  

Until next time!

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I've been here just a little over a week but it's nice to be back in the Pacific Northwest!  The trees scrap the sky and are so tall that I have trouble getting a descent GPS signal. 

The PNW definitely wins for the best smelling section of the trail.  My allergies are gone!  Plus, there are a ton of berries!  It becomes a choice between hiking or eatting berries.  I think I lost two hours of hiking yesterday thanks to some small Oregon wild huckleberries I found. 

I hit crater lake a few days ago.  What a beautiful area.  The thing I couldn't get over was all the cars.  Wayyyyyyy to many murder machines.  Backpacking changes your perspective on things.  Going by foot enhances the experience. Roads and cars are a huge distraction. When I get the chance, I'll talk more about it. 

I'm in Shelter Cove right now.  Somewhere close to halfway in Oregon.  A few more miles and I'm almost home!