Our 6:00 wake up call came early to Caden and I as both of us had trouble getting to sleep. But we knew that an early start meant cooler temps for hiking, that the mosquitoes were sleeping in and, if we finished our hike today, there was a big juicy burger to be had!! When I got out of the tent Joe pointed to our food bag. It had moved about 3 or 4 feet with some drag marks leading back to where we had put it the night before. Clearly some creature had tried to make off with it. I can imagine the thing working so hard to nick it then finally giving up saying, “you’ve got to be kidding, what kind of idiots carry THAT much weight in food through the woods.” That would be us!
Anyway, we got up and around in record time this morning. I think we are just starting to find a rhythym. Everyone stashed a few starbursts in their pockets and we were on the trail a little after 7:30. We were pretty sure we’d make it the 6.5 miles to the car and the end of section 10 today. Read more
Joe woke us up at 6:00 so we could get a head start on hiking while the temperatures were cooler and, as it turned out, the mosquitoes were still asleep. The stove was definitely acting up and just barely got our water warm enough to have some luke warm coffee and cocoa. We stuck with cold poptarts instead of trying to eat luke warm oatmeal. We packed up and said goodbye to Bear Lake as we began a long steady ascent through forest and around a couple of ponds.
We slept in a bit this morning in an effort to try to catch up on sleep after our early morning yesterday. While we ate our breakfast and swatted mosquitoes both boys said they laid awake last night thinking of good people for Infinite Questions. My old self hardly even remember laying down I fell asleep so quick!
We broke camp and were on our way by 8:42 up a long and gradual incline. Camp 2 was only about 4 miles out and so I had marked another camp spot a couple miles further in case we wanted a longer day today. We discussed it and felt that a longer day today would be very doable and would turn our planned 9 mile day tomorrow into a more reasonable 7 miler. The final decision could be made when we arrived at Porcupine Lakes where camp 2 was but until then we played Infinite Questions using some of the boys’ doozies they thought up the night before. Read more
I awoke to Caden’s voice right over my head. It was 4:05am….even the roosters were still asleep. “My stomach is killing me!” he said. Every once in awhile Caden gets a really bad stomachache. Steph and I both got up to try to help him out but not sure our efforts would be fruitful or not. Regardless, he made it clear he still wanted to go backpacking as he figured it’d go away after several hours like it usually does. I woke Dacen up at 4:30 and then Joe showed up right on schedule at 4:45. We loaded backpacks in the car, said goodbye to Steph and we were off. Caden’s stomach issues subsided soon after we left and before long both boys had fallen asleep in the back of the car for the 2.5 hour drive.
As we rolled through Leadville Joe asked if I knew how to get to the Mt Massive trailhead. “Ummmm….no…I’ve been there before but it was long ago”. This began a pattern of me showing poor navigation skills. We pulled into a convenience store to unload our bladders and get directions from the clerk and we were back on our way. Read more
I’m an armchair thru hiker. I’ve read dozens of books and blogs, trolled countless forums and watched umpteen documentaries and YouTube videos about people who thru hike the AT, PCT, CDT, CT, JMT and the PNT. You may recall last year we got to take a small walk on the AT where we met several thru hikers and this only further piqued my interest in thru hiking. If you don’t already know, thru hiking is defined as hiking a long-distance trail end-to-end within one hiking season according to Wikipedia. And all those acronyms above are some of the major long-distance trails in the US, namely the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail respectively. I am in awe of the folks who take on these epic adventures on foot completely self supported. And while I think there is a tiny spec of a chance that I could physically take on one of these trails myself, I just can’t imagine being away from Steph for that long…so I remain an arm chair thru hiker. But then one day last fall my brother calls me with a proposal! Read more
We got up and around early again and were on the road at 8:38am for our last leg of this adventure. If all went well we would be home about 3:00. We took a fuel and restroom break in Rawlins then stopped for lunch at the Colorado border.
We left Twin Falls this morning at 8:30…not too bad for us! We had a little over 300 miles to go to get to Green River, WY where we were going to overnight before making it the rest of the way home. The drive was pretty uneventful and so I took the opportunity to reflect on all the adventures we’ve had together with Ava and The Beast.
196 days of adventure to be exact. Did you hear that? One hundred and ninety six days!!! That blows my mind! We’ve been to forts, caves, deserts, planetariums, star parties, beaches, presidents houses, battle sites, monuments, memorials, parks, capitol buildings, mountains, rainforests, cities, skyscrapers, estuaries, islands, rivers, canyons, arches, bridges, boats, kayaks, ferries, plantations, towers, lakes, zoos, museums and probably more. I’ll have to figure out the exact number but we’ve driven close to 20,000 miles in The Beast, the majority of which he was pulling Ava. At about 10 miles to the gallon and high diesel prices….well, you can do the math but don’t tell me the dollar amount please. Because, it doesn’t matter. Those 196 days exploring this country with my family was worth more than any amount of money.
It was 500 miles from Hood River to Twin Falls and that is pretty much our max. We stopped once for diesel and lunch and one other very quick restroom stop. Our departure time was 7:45am (Pacific time) and arrival time just after 6:00pm (Mountain time). And through all of that it was predominately hot and dry desserts. I was starting to wonder why Steph had booked us two nights at Twin Falls as these falls must be a joke in this parched and flat landscape. We had seen the Snake River a couple of times on our drive and it was definitely big….so maybe they have a little bit of water, but still, where could there possibly be a “falls” in this flat land. Well, we turned off I-84 towards Twin Falls and there, right in front of us, was a gigantic gash in the earth. An absolutely spectacular canyon that was a huge surprise after the sort of landscape we’d been in all day. Conveniently for us the fancy Perrine Bridge allowed us to cross to the other side of the canyon to reach our campground. Don’t worry, the bridge is not really bent like the picture below will lead you to believe…it’s an artifact of the the way I took the panorama image.
We were pretty cold on the Oregon coast and made sure to always have our jackets with us. But the last few days in Hood River it has been down right hot. While we had to run the furnace at night on the coast we’ve got the windows wide open up here. It’s been a welcome change in the weather! But when I opened the truck door in the parking lot at the Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood I realized I didn’t have my jacket. The kids had all thought to bring jackets and Steph had a wind breaker tucked away in her bag (that bag is bottomless it seems). But there I was in shorts, t-shirt, flip flops and a hatless head. Now, I had brought socks and shoes so I changed into those, sucked it up and went out to check this mountain out.
After a pretty lazy morning we set out for the riverfront park in Hood River to see all the windsurfing and kite boarding action. I think we sneaked in with the heathens while all the good boys and girls were at church because we got a parking spot right at the park which apparently is usually not possible. We played at the playground for awhile then took Sheba to the dog beach to play in the water. But this is also the place for the windsurfers and kite boarders to hang out while they rest or wait “for the wind to pick up.” After a guy said that I realized this was probably not going to be my sport. I’m not very comfortable in the water and I’m really not a fan of wind. But there are plenty of people to keep the sports alive without me. There were just so many windsurfers and kite boarders it was crazy. I was interrogating the boarders and kiters about how their gear worked and how they went about learning to fly a huge kite while balancing on an itty bity board bouncing across white caps caused by 30mph wind going upstream and water flowing downstream. Sounds impossible, but they make it look easy and it’s very neat to watch! Read more