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PCT Day 48, Klum Landing to Highway 66 (Ashland) 15 miles

Knowing what must be done does away with fear. – Rosa Parks

I had a purple sky lull me to sleep, the wind died and my tent stayed up with help from my phantom stake providers, but someone ran a generator all night and a guy was yelling bright and early.

I pack up and ship out, eating on the trail. It’s ten miles to water up and down on a rollercoaster of trail in the forest. I think of one of my mom’s coolest friend named Barbara who was tough and never took things personally. How healthy that must be to have resilience and not stay stuck in the groove that replays past hurts.

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PCT Day 47, creek near Lake of the Woods Highway to Klum Landing Campground, 24 miles

If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. – Erma Bombeck

I wake up all on my own, just the gurgling, splashy creek next to me and the sky lightening. It got chilly at night, so I zipped up the footbox, put on my hood and tucked in.

I approach the day tired and unsure about seeing through this enormous undertaking. I don’t know what will happen or what I will learn about me, but I do know that if I quit, I will always wonder what might have been.

So I put on the ripped REI pants, button up my $1 shirt, get on the newish La Sportivas and get ready to head south. Several hikers are camped between my spot and the road, and I warn that I am not a mountain lion – or a bear – as I pass. The road is busy and I’m grateful the stream covered the sound, but no trail magic, toilets or cache awaits so I cross.

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PCT Day 46, stream near Seven Lakes to creek near Lake of the Woods Highway, 28 miles

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. – Golda Meir

My spot is absolutely flat and I am oh, so comfortable. Suddenly, a giant in snappy flip flops passes three feet from my head and shines his headlamp at my face.

“Knock it off!” I yell and he slowly flip-flops away. I’m now comfy and wide awake, considering everything that could go wrong in my life, wondering if my reputation is in tatters.

It’s up to me to calm myself down. I cry and then talk soothingly to myself. I’m glad I brought my tiny Kobo reader. I eventually fall asleep and a new day dawns, absolutely crystal clear and cool.

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PCT Day 45, Crystal Creek to stream near Seven Lakes Basin (via Mazama) 23 miles

You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness. – Diane von Furstenberg

A beautiful night of a full moon lighting up my little clearing in the forest. My backpack slumps and jolts me awake to shine my light and use my full-on ‘scary’ voice. It does not help that mountain lions have been ‘active’ in the park. I figure they followed me here.

Just as the sky lightens a tiny bit, two guys walk past and I catch, “I don’t want to go back to San Francisco,” which pretty well wakes me up for the day. It was lovely while it lasted, I think as I organize my gear, have a quick coffee and head to Mazama.

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PCT Day 44, Thielsen Creek to Crystal Creek, 28 miles

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. – Gloria Steinem

The sun lights up the triangular rock fortress of Thielsen while I still lay in my quilt, cozy and lazy. Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ fills my mind on this perfect morning. No one joined me on my hill except one hiker just making dinner before moving on.

I love my solitude, eventually making breakfast and packing up. I cross the stream below a mini-waterfall. Once below, I hear other campers including a barking dog.

The trail heads up and I test my legs, wondering if they’ll balk at such long days of many miles. Up is my strong suit, but I take care to go easy. I hope to get into Crater Lake National Park and walk the rim, but it is a long way from my start.

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PCT Day 43, Oldenburg Lake to Thielsen Creek, 26 miles (+2 off-trail water gathering)

If I stop to kick every barking dog I am not going to get where I’m going. – Jackie Joyner-Kersee

My beautiful, private lake produced a layer of mist and the alicoop is cold and damp, but ali, herself, is cozy and cuddly inside the quilt and puffy. I almost don’t want to get up as the light show begins at sunrise, but a chattery squirrel leaping from tree to tree coaxes me out.

I am so careful packing, that when I leave my orange TP bag behind at my cat hole, I know to go look for it before closing up Olive Oyl. It’s still a good walk to finish the alternate and reach the road at Windigo Pass. Two unfriendly German speakers pass and I recall meeting others in Washington who I overheard ensuring another hiker knew they were Austrians. “That would be as insulting if you assumed a Canadian was an American.” I really wish I’d reminded they were in America and long trails are an American idea as are wilderness areas and national parks. Sadly, I held my tongue.

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PCT Day 42, Shelter Cove to Oldenburg Lake (via Skyline alternate) 16 miles

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope. – Helen Keller

I awaken in my cozy bed to the soft tump-tump of cat paws on the hardwood floor above me. I feel so good having seen my lovely friends and taken a day off to experience a bit of the ‘Hippie Capital of Oregon’ and reorient my perspective on this grand undertaking of walking another long trail.

Tom makes me a cappuccino from his fancy machine and whips up eggs and potatoes while Andrea picks up bagels on her run. Life is beyond good this morning. I read my program from Shakespeare in the Park and want to share a snippet from the dramaturg.

Pericles is about taking risks, falling short and suffering consequences. It’s about having the fortitude to endure the hardships Fate inflicts on us. It’s about losing everything and then – astonishingly, miraculously–finding it again. Adventure, suffering, joy, love, loss, redemption; isn’t that the best we can hope for in life?

Yes, I say out loud and Tom wonders if I mean I want a second cappuccino.

Yes, please!

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PCT Day 41, ‘zero’ Eugene, OR

I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward. – Charlotte Bronte

Cool things I learned today:

My friend Kate sent me an article that states – You might…see walking as a kind of superpower, because when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened.

Ain’t that the truth.

Another friend Gene sent me “40 Expressions of Advice” which puts as number 1, “Walk for 10-30 minutes every day, while smiling,” number 8, “Look at the sky at least once a day, appreciating the majesty of the world that surrounds us.” and number 28, “Appreciate your body, and its marvels.”

I saw so-so Shakespeare in Amazon Park, but I was with my friends so we managed to enjoy ourselves anyway on such a lovely evening of blooming cumulus and wind in the oak leaves. We then talked music over beers and sandwiches – and ended our day with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

Do me a favor – listen to the opening of this masterpiece as soon as you possibly can. The three quarter notes in the timpani followed by that soaring oboe solo is one of the purest expressions of joy I know. You simply can’t listen without smiling.

Life is good. See you back on the trail tomorrow.

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PCT Day 40, Middle Rosary to Shelter Cove Resort, 5 miles (and then on to Eugene)

I may not be perfect but I’m pretty damn good. —Rebecca Roudman

I have one of the best nights of the walk after G-Punk gives me a magnesium drink that relaxes my muscles. My spot is quiet and solitary – just me and moonlight on the water until it rains just a bit. Hopefully enough damp to keep wildfires at bay.

My walk is all down and very short, to a promised breakfast and my resupply. As I walk past the Lower Rosary, I see more and more tents – and more and more loud people – and I feel so lucky to have found a peaceful spot, at a premium this hiking season.

I come to the highway and cross it seeing a sign to the resort just as a huge SUV pulling an equally huge camper pulls up. Yes, friends, I hitch two miles down. I’ve had about enough of the woods just now.

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PCT Day 39, magical pond to Middle Rosary Lake, 27 miles

Always be a first-rate version of yourself rather than a second-rate version of someone else. – Judy Garland

Gretzky wakes me, but he is incredibly quiet. I guess just knowing he’s up and out around 5:00 has me stirring too. The mosquitos are legendary this morning, dive-bombing in squadrons. They have their own civilization and are at top form. It’s a quick breakfast and pack up while Gretzky gives me a winning smile covered head to toe for protection.

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PCT Day 38, Reese Lake to magical pond, 28 miles

What is in other people’s minds is not in my mind. I just do my own thing, – Audrey Hepburn

I am awakened early by Bobby O faffing about in his tent, headlamp on red. The sky is lightening anyway, so might as well pop the air mattress and get on with it. I heat up chococoffee and ‘the kids’ – as Bobby calls them – are already talking loudly as they set off.

Middle Sister looked right into my tent all night. She is so lovely snow filling in her huge multi-colored scars as though poorly applied concealer. The sky was crystal and millions of stars glittered reminding me of my obsidian fields yesterday.

The trail heads down through meadows filled with lupine. The walking is easy and I sing all the way to a gorgeous stream running directly through yet another meadow. It curves and bends over on itself gracefully. I hear everyone before I arrive. They plan out their day ahead, where they’ll go, where they’ll need water. I slot in and purify a liter through my Sawyer squeeze and drink it all at once.

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PCT Day 37, below Lava Rocks to Reese Lake, 23 miles

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. – Katherine Hepburn

The sun was up early, mostly because nothing blocked the horizon and its big pink orb appeared as I packed up in the lava dust. I can’t help but think of that scene in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ when the man falls off his camel in the desert’s anvil and he has to be rescued before the sun come’s up or he’ll be cooked.

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PCT Day 36, Two Sisters overlook to below Lava Rocks (via Big Lake Youth Camp) 17 miles

To live will be an awfully big adventure. – Peter Pan

A perfect night of stars and a little wind and some jerk with his huge ‘security’ light on in the valley wrecking the view. What is it with the need to leave a light on all night, especially one that faces up and out and spatters everywhere destroying the night sky?

Just as I ask this walking out on my private rick verandah to view the sunrise, I notice I left my used floss casually discarded on the ground. Doh! Well, we could all improve I suppose.

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PCT Day 35, Bays Lake to Two Sisters Overlook, 27 miles

I don’t believe in luck. It’s persistence, hard work and not forgetting your dream. – Janet Jackson

The morning breaks with sunlight on my mountain and mosquitos up my nose. It’s a bit brisk camped here next to a lake, but that does not deter these kamikaze blood suckers. Argh, one just flew straight into my eye.

I do a little mossie dance to shake them off while I have another mega tuna packet and chococoffee with an epic view of Mount Jefferson.

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PCT Day 34, Lemiti Creek to Bays Lake, 22 miles

The final forming of a person’s character lies in his own hands. – Anne Frank

I wake to find no one disturbed my food bag. Also, no one disturbed my drying undies hanging in a tree.

The air is cool; the sky crystal clear and that means the mosquitos are still asleep. I make chococoffee and eat a big tuna pack when ‘Froggy’ walks by telling me she wants to go far and fast. I’ve already decided I need to cool it today and not push as hard so I don’t damage myself.

But I catch up to the fast duo of Froggy and Bat Girl collecting berries. We see none here, but she tells me that beautiful golden raspberry I found outside Cascade Locks is called a salmon berry. What bliss it is to graze in these forests! We pass a whole ridge brimming with berries on our first uphill.

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PCT Day 33, wee spring to Lemiti Creek, 28 miles

Dying seems less sad than having lived too little. —Gloria Steinem

The morning comes before it gets light with my camp mates packing up under headlamps. The lovely men carry on in lowish tones about the day’s prep.

“Do we need water?”

“It’s a long way to the next spring.”

“But I got water last night.”

“I think we need more water.”

“Do you want me to get water?”

No sleeping through that, so I finally just go ahead and get up, pack and have a large tuna packet with my coffee before shoving off. Bat is already in the lead.

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PCT Day 32, Lost Creek to wee spring near Forest Road 58, 20 miles

Cherish forever what makes you unique, cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes. – Bette Midler

I slept poorly, even with beautiful, singing creeks in stereo; even with a flat tent site. It was likely the hot chocolate that popped me up in the pitch dark with all the recent nastiness crashing around me.

I tried to talk myself off the ledge, but only reading my book about Grandma Gatewood’s walk of the Appalachian Trail finally had me dozing. Then a crashing sound wakes me before dawn. I sit right up and make my loud, aggressive anti-bear sounds, but I realize it’s just Bat, racing out of here. Big buffet awaits us after a big climb at the historic Timberline Lodge, but I’m not sure why she’s rushing.

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PCT Day 31, Indian Spring to Lost Creek, 25 miles

It is better to be looked over than overlooked. – Mae West

Of course Zach is camping below. I saw him on my way to the privy. Life does improve when there’s no need to dig a cat hole. It’s a bit deep-in-the-bigfoot-woods here, but the sky looks crystal clear.

It’s windy and cold, but my $1 Oxford’s got me covered. I come out onto a ridge and see all three peaks in Washington scrunched close. There is a bit of mist making them appear even further in my past.

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PCT Day 30, Cascade Locks to Indian Spring, 20 miles

Instead of looking to the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then. —Diana Ross

So cozy in a bed, but I eventually decide to get up and organize for a return to the trail and the start of Oregon. The mist is down on the mountains and it’s cool outside and I immediately question if I should have sent my tights and rain pants home.

I liked the Rodeway Inn. It’s scruffy around the edges, but well located, clean, quiet and the couple that runs it is extremely generous, bringing me a set of dishes so I could eat my salads like a real person, giving me a cup of laundry soap snd taking me and two other hikers back to the trailhead in Cascade Locks.

As I walk down for breakfast I notice a candy machine filled with hiker food, including Ramen noodles. I am set on the noodle front, but I stuff myself from the buffet to prepare for a 4,000+ foot ascent in the first ten miles.

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PCT Day 29, ‘zero,’ Stevenson, WA

You always had the power, my dear; you just had to learn it for yourself. – Glinda, the good witch of the north

what I did on my vacation from the trail:

  • 1. soaked in really hot water – four times, then one more time with epsom salts
  • 2. ate a second breakfast (or was that a third?)
  • 3. lounged in the lounge with reasonably decent wifi
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    PCT Day 28, Rock Creek to Cascade Locks, 20 miles

    In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. – Eleanor Roosevelt

    The men are awake and out by 3:15. True to their word, they are absolutely quiet packing up. They’re heading north to ‘meet their wives,’ they tell me from a very snug two man tent. I sleep beautifully in my tiny spot under their clothes line, especially happy they warned me about mice and I hung my food and garbage on a mossy branch.

    Everyone marches out early and I find it difficult not to succumb to the peer pressure to move faster. My body is only tired, not injured, though I have two small infections to attend to – a bear-grass slice on my pinky and an ingrown toenail. Sounds small, but out here it’s nearly impossible to stay clean.

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    PCT Day 27, ‘pool of water’ to Rock Creek, 27 miles

    If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. – Erica Jong

    My morning begins with Zach stirring, wanting to “get up early and bust out miles.” The mist is down and I’m concerned the ladies won’t get the great views. Judy drops by my tent as I sip chococoffee to show me how small her tent packs down. She’s persistent, but I imagine it will make me a customer.

    I forgot to mention that the other day on some endless, muscle bashing descents through the woods, Zach comes up behind me to tell me long-winded groaner jokes. It does pass the time. He says he hates to carry water, but I fill up for the next ten mile stretch, even if it’s all down hill.

    The light is strange this morning, reminding me of my solo walk through Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in the world. It was so quiet and eerie in there, and the light so dim, it felt as if I was in an ancient cathedral. Today has a similar feel of being indoors where a lighting designer has cast a spell.

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    PCT Day 26, Mosquito Creek to forest near ‘crisp, cool, mystical, scoopable pool of water,’ 27 miles

    We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test. —Isabel Allende

    True to its name, Mosquito Creek is a hatchery and I have buzzy ones desperately batting their bodies against the alicoop. Life in the wilderness is constant vigilance. I hate to admit it, but I placed a large rock in front of a hole. It’s three feet from my tent, and the critters that dug it must have a back door.

    I feel a lot better today, rested body and spirit. Just washing my toes in ice cold water works wonders, but I’ve also decided to go easy – reach for big miles if I want to, but set a reasonable pace and take as many breaks as needed.

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    PCT Day 25, Lewis River to Mosquito Creek, 22 miles (+3)

    The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, and dignity. – Ruby Dee

    The stars were crystal and diamonds until the moon peaked over Adams, reflecting on the glacier. The sun just hits the summit white snow icing as I mix cold coffee and chocolate to save fuel. My advice to self: get the 8 ounce gas canister and skip the minis. They run out too fast and I’m pretty sure cold soaked brown rice stir fry is going to be pretty marginal.

    I’m not sure if it’s because I walked the furthest ever in my life yesterday or that I stayed up late with the boys to watch the magical sunset on Rainier, but I am not quite with it this morning. I feel tired and out of step. I’m also distracted by seeing the whole trail, which is impossibly daunting, and scares many a PCT thru-hiker because you can’t dawdle, saunter and take too many indiscriminate ‘zero’ days or you won’t get to the high Sierra before the snows begin.

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    PCT Day 24, Walupt Creek to Lewis River, 27 miles

    A boat is always safe in the harbor, but that’s not what boats were built for. – Katie Couric

    The wind was absolutely wild during the night, careening in like a roller coaster building speed and crashing over the trees surrounding me in my mini perch. The alicoop shook a bit, but was well protected. I clean and clip my nails as the wind thrashes; I put on cuticle repair.

    I wake cold, the mist down, but everything is dry so I pack up, sip my coffee/chocolate mix and have a bar, then head out. Everything is in mist, including a quartet of older men with heavy packs coming uphill out of this Hansel and Gretel forest. Things eventually open to a valley with a pristine lake and thousands of soldiers-at-attention trees. I am in this forest for a long time, up and down and around with few views.

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    PCT Day 23, Clear Fork Junction to Walupt Creek, 15 miles

    The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. – Emily Dickinson

    I wake up late and lay under my quilt enjoying how cozy I feel in here. Cheerio tells me we synchronized slept, turning over and crunching our mattresses on cue.

    I’m glad it was just the three of us – though I’m desperate to be alone at least some of the time. I feel like Downton Abbey’s dowager getting her way and causing that obnoxious young man to leave. My murderous rage has lessened overnight, but I suggest he not mess with me at a cliff’s edge.

    Sadly, we have a bigger problem – Cheerio’s knee is an absolute disaster. She can’t put any weight on it whatsoever, wincing in pain and falling over trying to pee. I don’t know how to talk to her. I’m concerned and think she needs to seek medical attention, but she is focused and refuses to leave the trail. Zach tells her she can just take off a few days and come back but not to mess with this. She remains cheery, but eventually begins to cry. I share my story of being evacuated from Aconcagua and that it was giving up that bothered me the most even as I stared death in the face that cold, snowy night when I could barely breathe. She says that doesn’t help through sobs and I feel a failure.

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    PCT Day 22, Pipe Lake to Clear Fork Junction (via White Pass Kracker Barrel) 20 miles

    If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one. – Dolly Parton

    The morning is pinky orange clouds reflecting off our magical fairy pond. An idyllic spot, but like the Maori legend about the sandflies, this place is a mosquito incubator and it keeps this paradise something one can only pass through briefly.

    One by one we pack up, put on our bug burkas and head into the forest for the seven miles into White Pass where Richard sent me an eight-day resupply for the next section and I can charge my battery and eat junk food.

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    PCT Day 21, Sheep Lake to Pipe Lake, 24 miles

    Beware of monotony; it’s the mother of all the deadly sins. – Edith Wharton

    There is nothing like rising before dawn to clear skies and a dry tent. The lake is beautiful – crowded, sure, since only a few miles from the highway, but a mellow crowd especially our neighbors who hefted chairs all the way here but happily share the view.

    There’s a box on the tree next to my tent that reads, “Mercy – not being treated the way one deserves.” I relate to that, open the door and take out a candy.

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    PCT Day 20, Mike Urich Camp to Sheep Lake, 22 miles

    Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay. – Simone de Beauvoir

    It’s crystal clear; I can see my breath. The moon shown through the big trees last night, lighting up our little tent city. It’s coffee and bars again with my little routine of stuffing my sleeping bag, keeping my body in the still warm liner until the last minute, then stuffing myself in my trail gear, my T-shirt finally getting holes.

    I shove off first, mostly because I love the cool, fresh air, frost in the meadow – but also because I enjoy being alone, talking to myself and singing. It’s the first morning in weeks that the morning opens with sun.

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    PCT Day 19, ‘unused dirt road’ to Mike Urich Cabin, 24 miles

    I get faster as I get older. —Grandma Gatewood

    The rain has (thankfully) stopped. I’m packed having coffee, filling my titanium pot to the brim. Bars for breakfast. They’re heavy to carry, but filled with vitamins and loads of fat.

    The mist is down and I wear the whole rain gear kit. Had I mentioned this trail passes under many high voltage lines and across many dirt roads? I wonder if we will encounter anyone on an ATV. Two hikers stop under the lines yesterday and pick tiny strawberries, bursting with flavor. I long for sun but I’ll make a deal and happily hike in a white-out if it doesn’t rain. It’s cold and my fingers ache.

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    PCT Day 18, Snoqualmie to ‘unused dirt road,’ 23 miles

    We are all filled with a longing for the wild. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

    I wake early, but the bed feels so cozy and cuddly, I sleep a few more hours. When I finally do emerge, I hesitate with trepidation opening the curtains.

    Much to my surprise – and delight – it’s cloudy and misty, but there’s no rain. I busy myself organizing my clean clothes and dry gear – glory hallelujah – and have a really good chat with Richard. He’s well, visiting his family in Houston to celebrate his mom’s 80th birthday. Most important, he’s happy I’m here doing this walk, and supports me whether I go fast, go slow, go to the end or stop in the middle.

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    PCT Day 17, above Joe Lake to Snoqualmie, 10 miles

    Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’ – Audrey Hepburn

    I wake to the full moon just above the range and perking out of the clouds. Once I close the fly, it begins to rain.

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    PCT Day 16, Past Waptus Burn to above Joe Lake, 19 miles

    Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out – Katherine Dunham

    I wake up late having slept surprisingly well in my little space between trees. I need the sleep. Yesterday felt endless in the rain, every step exhausting all the way until I began climbing out of that long forest section.

    There’s no water but a swamp, so I pack up – wet, of course – and find the beautiful trickle of water coming down a rock with fluorescent green moss. Even here, it’s a mosquito nightmare and I’m glad for my bug burka at the ready.

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    PCT Day 15, Deception Creek to past Waptus Burn, 22 miles

    The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity. – Amelia Earhart

    It was such a grand day yesterday, but this morning, just as it’s getting light, it begins to rain. I almost stay in the tent and refuse to move, but I have gear and it can’t rain all day – or can it?

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    PCT Day 14, Stevens Pass to Deception Creek, 21 miles

    I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my own ship. – Louisa May Alcott

    What luxury to sleep in a bed. I didn’t even mind the trains passing, rattling the window and blasting their horn. Early enough I’m up, packed and downing a few cups of coffee in the little lounge area the Cascadia Hotel reserves for us thru-hikers we share with a huge selection of games and a hiker box from which I could have just about done a full resupply. (I did eat two packets of tuna yesterday)

    At first, the road seems too quiet for a hitch. A few cars pass, pulling into the inside lane. Then a guy takes a U-turn and picks me up. I break the cardinal rule and put my backpack in his trunk, but he’s dressed in running clothes and tells me he’s headed up the PCT north for a trail run. I can trust this one.

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    PCT Day 13, ‘zero’ day, Skykomish

    When God is moving you towards a new consciousness, you need to recognize the winds of change at once, move with them instead of clinging to what is already gone. —Marion Woodman

    Today was my day off.

    1. I ate a big, beautiful burger washed down with a local ale.

    2. I took several hot baths.

    3. I talked to Richard – a lot.

    4. I watched various trains pass through town

    5. I laughed and cried with new friends.

    6. I worked on visual-audio essays in the tiny town library.

    7. I sat on a bench and watched the clouds turn pink over the mountains.

    8. I picked through the ‘hiker box’ and scored some protein bars.

    9. I slept in a cuddly bed.

    10. I finished Amy Tan’s new book.

    11. I applied for a job.

    12. I never once put on my sneakers.

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    PCT Day 12, Lake Janus to Steven’s Pass, 10 miles

    Power’s not given to you. You have to take it. – Beyonce

    I finally had the best night’s sleep yet.

    It helps that the ground was flat and there was no rain – and also that Bog Witch loaned me her roller ball and I pushed on my muscles before sleeping. She calls it a little hiker BDSM – it hurts so good.

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    PCT Day 11, Junction at Dishpan Gap to Lake Janus, 20 miles

    You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you. – Mary Tyler Moore

    It was a rough night. Water drips from the ceiling of the alicoop so I placed my rain jacket over my sleeping bag to catch any condensation. I never had this problem in New Zealand, and not sure what’s going on. I am proud of myself I brought a liner – a bit bulky and heavy, but a lifesaver as it kept me dry and warm. The bag is still a bit clumpy damp, but I was toasty warm wrapped in all that gear even as the rain kept up all night and into the morning.

    I am filthy dirty. Sweat and body odor, but also dirt and pine sap on everything.

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    PCT Day 10, Fire Creek to Junction at Dishpan Gap, 23 miles

    What makes you different or weird, that’s your strength. – Meryl Streep

    It was a damp night. I had to wipe down the inside wall of the alicoop as a few drips fell on my face. I was warm enough, but after dark, I rubbed in some muscle relaxant into my left shoulder. Do you think bears like camphor?

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    PCT Day 9, Vista Creek to Fire Creek, 18 miles

    I believe great people do things before they are ready. – Amy Poehler

    It feels late getting up at 5:30, but I just wake when it’s light and we’re deep in the woods. It’s clear and a bit cold. I did my business, digging a cat hole with the orange trowel, and now coffee is heating up. I’m almost certain I can’t keep up this pace. My socks are still wet.

    Richard was right sending me here. It’s hard to think of much else but being in the moment. When I left Saint Paul, I was so bereft I thought joy was forever out of reach. He reminded me when dystonia took over my hands nearly twenty years ago and made my beautiful fluid technique on the flute impossible, I wouldn’t allow him to play classical music in the house.

    It’s kind of phenomenal, then, that I was able to make the leap to a classical music cheerleader and feel pride and joy announcing other people’s performances. When I told Steve Copes, the concertmaster of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra that my job was eliminated, he told me I had been such a positive force for them. I smile now sitting in dirty clothes, my camp shoes covered in pine pitch, remembering how it felt to share my thoughts with listeners and time them perfectly with a sometimes unknown downbeat. It was some of my finest work.

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