From rock creek to campsite on a saddle
‘Twas the night before hiking
And all ’round the campsite,
It was all to my liking
All tucked in for the night –
When outside of my shelter,
I heard a great clatter!
Everything now helter-skelter
Lights and shouting, feet a patter!
From Gilette Lake to Rock Creek.
Old routines, new again, old again. We filter our water, pack our packs. Uphill today – we’re starting the climb away from the Columbia River, heading towards high country. We’ve gotten up sort of late, as usual, and the day is warm. Last views of the Columbia, friends. We’re headed north.
The Columbia disappears behind us. My legs feel heavy and sluggish. Some of the other hikers who had been at PCT days have caught up with us, and we leapfrog with 3D and the Reverend Blisster. (We were a couple days behind the Reverend for all of Southern California, and read his name on countless trail registers. And here he is!) The forest here is still sort of dry, not too different from where we left off in northern California. Our views for the day have turned out to be brief, and we walk through the woods, warm sunlight filtering in onto our sweaty heads and backs.
From holcombe creek to deep creek hot springs
In Ray Jardine’s book on tarp camping, he harps endlessly on how ventilation is the point of a tarp. Supposedly, this is to prevent condensation inside your tent. I’ve had a sneaking feeling that maybe Ray’s wife just got tired of being hotboxed with rehydrated bean farts.
Last night, though, J and I chose not to follow Ray’s instructions on keeping the tarp ventilated, and we closed off both of the tarp’s open ends, one end with the insert (the batwing), and the other with our umbrellas. We were so cold. I woke up in the middle of the night with condensation raining down on me. Whoops. Should have gone with the ventilation after all. It got cold enough that the condensation froze for a while – it was a chilly night.
Deciding to hike the Pacific Crest Trail turned out to be just one of many decisions. My initial online sleuthing sent me out into deep morass of innumerable options. The internet quickly informed me that the backpacking gear I already owned wasn’t good enough, light enough, or awesome enough, but couldn’t seem to come to a consensus about just what gear WAS good enough, light enough, or awesome enough.
About this time, I ended up randomly chatting with a guy at a coffee shop who had hiked the PCT the year before. Not only that, he’d managed to squeeze all 2,660 miles in his summer break from med school. His secret? The Ray-way, pioneered by Ray Jardine.
“He’s the king of backpacking ultra-light,” said random guy. “I carried less weight and hiked 30 miles a day.”
I’d heard Ray Jardine’s name before, but only in a climbing context. He invented a new piece of gear, the “Friend”, that ended up revolutionizing traditional rock climbing. I’ve taken falls on them before myself, and a Friend in need truely is a friend indeed.
Anyhow, gotta trust somebody.