Nameless Tentsite NOBO 2409

This post is from July 27, 2003.

Today I hiked only 9 miles as  I joined Ray in the late afternoon at Snoqualmie Pass when he had already put in 27 miles that day, his birthday. I had flown out to Seattle from Boston that morning, and had driven down from Maine before that.

This is a picture of when I joined Ray, plus some day hikers who wanted to treat on ice cream:


The following is an excerpt covering this day taken from the 2018 edition of “The Pacific Crest Trail: Its Fastest Hike”   [click here to view book] (note that at that time Ray had given me the trail name SUPERMAN. I have used TARman since my 2013 Total Ankle Replacement)”:

Only the final leg of my journey remained. On July 27th at 5:00 PM, Superman and I hiked north on the PCT from mile 2,396.3. We moved quickly and with purpose. My birthday present from Paul was our reunion. Having Superman accompany me for the last part of the hike meant that my hardest mental struggles lay behind me. We’d a lot of catching up to do.

As when Fish had joined me, I felt a total responsibility for Superman’s welfare. Like Fish-out-of-Water, Superman and I were the best of friends. We completely trusted our lives to one another. Superman would push himself to new limits to help me fulfill my long-term dream. Only four people truly understood how much this hike meant to me―my Mom, Superman, Fish, and Fiddlehead. Adrian and Jimbo also had pretty good ideas, as they knew about many of the risks that I’d taken. Superman’s presence and understanding would enhance my trip enormously.
When leaving Snoqualmie Pass, Superman and I found ourselves climbing. His first steps on the PCT in Washington State were uphill and a good indicator of what lay ahead. We soon passed the 2,400-mile mark―another huge milestone for me. I celebrated with a birthday smile. We traveled light and carried just two-and-a-half days’ worth of food. In our first six miles, we climbed 2,500 feet. Superman breathed hard, but responded well. We shared spectacular mountain views, and the weather kept us warm. Having my close friend with me alleviated my foot pain and mental anguish. I gushed with excitement. After a long day of travel from the East Coast, Superman must have felt tired.

Superman and I exchanged many stories, and time passed quickly. He talked about his family, farm, friends, and company, and I talked about my feet. We reflected on how lucky we’d been in our lives. Superman and I shared a deep love of life and an enormous respect for one another. We shared high energy-levels that allowed us to take on many challenges. Our friendship allowed us to dream bigger.
I wanted to erect the Squall before dark to assure us a good resting place. At least for Superman’s first evening, I didn’t want him sleeping on rocks and bushes at a 20-degree tilt.
“This flat, grassy area looks good,” I said.
“Sounds fine. I’m a little tired from the travel.”
“Let me get the Squall set up. It just takes a couple of minutes.”
The campsite easily qualified as the best one that I’d found in weeks. We stopped much earlier than I typically did. Superman had hiked a strong nine miles. My originally planned 27-miler had turned into 36. So much for 27 on the 27th. We’d gotten a jump on the last day of my schedule, which called for a 45-mile day. Now we would have to do only about 36 on the last day. The next six days required distances of 39.1, 35.9, 34.6, 35.2, 35.9, and 36.6 miles. The evening provided an outstanding starburst sunset. Superman had gotten a taste of the PCT already.
I climbed into the Squall first. Once I’d arranged my gear, Superman followed. The limited space prevented us from working simultaneously without getting in each other’s way. Once Superman had arranged his gear and had gotten settled, we chatted for a bit. He quickly tired and passed out. I looked at the ceiling of the Squall, until my eyes finally closed by themselves.



Belden! NOBO 1287

This post is from September 1, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

I hiked about 17 miles today through varying terrain and 1,000,000,000 gnats.

I broke camp and was hiking by 8am. During the first 9 undulating miles yet still around 7000′ elevation I saw views like these:



I knew I was getting closer to getting out of the deep woods when I saw this sign 9 miles from the end:


During the long 3000’+ descent into the (Main) Feather River Canyon I saw views like these:


During this 6 mile descent, I was besieged by gnats. I covered myself in DEET but they still constantly flew into my eyes, nostrils, and ears for about 3 hours. I was so urgently swatting at them that twice I nearly fell off the steep switchbacks.

At about 3pm and almost 17 miles, I reached Belden and the end of this planned 240-mile section, I was underwhelmed, to say the least. Neither they nor any area campground had any rooms or even tent spaces to rent. I ended up backtracking onto Forest Service land where I made this camp:


On the positive side, it is only about 300 meters from my tent to the Belden restaurant and store so at least I won’t be hungry while I camp waiting for Bill Johnson to pick me up late tomorrow morning.

PS yes the bottle of champagne on the picture is for me to privately and gnat-free celebrate my successful and on-time completion of this section!

Unnamed tent site NOBO 1270

This post is from August 31, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

I started the day with a 10 mile long 3100’ climb out of Middle Fork Feather River canyon.  Note that this river is on the national ‘Wild and  Scenic Rivers’ list.

Another day with very long dry stretches interspersed with unreliable water sources.

I did 21,4 miles today.

These are some views about halfway through the day.





I interrupted a large mother bear and her 2 cubs 1//2 mile before where I am now camped. She stood up on her hind legs and was taller than me.  After about 45 seconds, she and her cubs walked away from me on the trail.  I was a bit apprehensive for a while as I never really saw them walk off the trail, only further up on the trail, through scrub that impeded my view.  I half-expected them around every turn until I reached my campsite.

Here is my campsite. There is a bear close by!


Middle Fork Feather River NOBO 1249

This post is from August 30, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

I broke camp and was hiking by 8am. I knew I had a 23-mile day in store for me, but due to what looked like a dry 12 last miles I felt I needed to try to make it to this major river. In addition to giving me water for my camp, getting these 23 miles behind me leaves me with only 37 miles to go to Belden so I expect I will reach my finish by Saturday night.

I had a major water SNAFU today. I left camp with 1 liter of water and i planned to fill up at either Whiskey spring, 1/3 mile off the trail or Alder Spring 800 feet off the trail. I passed by the sign for Whiskey spring because a southbound hiker told me water was good at Alder Spring and it was less of a deviation off the PCT.  I used my GPS to make sure I did not miss this second and last reliable water supply in these 23 miles. Despite these precautions, I did indeed miss the spring and when I checked my GPS it said the spring was now 1.2 miles behind me!! I now had 1/2 liter of water left and I resigned myself to hike the last 12 with almost no water as I felt i had no choice. Thankfully at mile 19 I took a gamble on an unreliable creek 500 feet steeply down from the PCT and found cool clear water. What a relief!

This water problem had me so preoccupied that I did not take any pictures until after I found water.

This is a shot of my steep descent down to the Middle Fork of the Feather River, almost 4000 feet below today’s high point.

This major river obstacle on the PCT Is breached by this landmark bridge, the largest equestrian/hiker bridge on the entire PCT.


My campsite by the river:

Unnamed tent-site NOBO 1227

This post is from August 29, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

I awoke to the smell of bacon and eggs being cooked by Paul Congdon. That breakfast was a great way to kick off my 4-day 3-night 80-mile push to Belden. I bid goodbye to Paul and Cameron at 8:45am and started a 5-mile climb, having regained seven thousand feet altitude. During that climb, I had these views:



This whole 80-mile segment is plagued by long dry spells and I was delighted to find a piped spring running where I drank the cold water untreated.

PCT 1048-1287 068

Late in the day, shortly before camp, note my low-volume water collection technique using the leaf, learned on the AT:

This deer stood just off the trail, watching me for a long time, completely unafraid.

Feet healing well. Will stop needing duct tape in another day or two.

My campsite tonight:

Pack saddle campground Nobo 1207

This post is from August 28, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

Paul Congdon and his son picked me up at 11:30 in Sierra City and brought me back to the PCT trailhead.

I hiked the 3000′ vertical, steady uphill climb for 8 miles with these views:

Descending on the other side of Sierra Buttes:



I arrived at the general location of our prescribed meeting point at about 4:45pm, but I wandered around for 2 miles before I located Paul’s campsite.

We 3 had an awesome evening together with a truly gourmet meal.

My ankles and feet serm to be doing OK.

Sierra City NOBO 1195

This post is from August 27, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information WERE SOMEHOW LOST FOR THIS DAY! 😦

I hiked 18 1/2 miles today to reach Sierra city and this comfortable bed and breakfast room from which I am writing this entry. The inn is called “My Sisters Cottage” in this very tiny town of Sierra City. I emerged from the woods and reached Highway 49 at about 4 o’clock this afternoon after an 8 AM start from last night’s campground. I had to stop and process the day’s water at about mile two which forced me to lose some time and I also took my now standard 20-minute break around mile ten to take the weight off of my ankles to let the blood flow there and hopefully avoid injury to my artificial ankle like I had on the Long Trail in 2016.

It was quite cold when I crossed this wind-swept ridge this morning at about 8:30 AM I had long pants on and a long sleeve polypro and I still felt cold with the wind until the sun came up higher around 9:30.  Later in this section, I would wish for these conditions as far preferable to hoards of gnats in all the orifices of my head.

This is a shot of the Jackson Meadows Lake area that I encountered about halfway through today’s hike:

Here are some views during the descent towards Highway 49:

This is a view of Sierra Buttes which is what I will have to ascend tomorrow morning. To reach the shoulder where the PCT passes over this peak I have to climb 3000 vertical feet over the course of about 8 miles. Looking forward to it.😀