PNT to Oroville

Cumulative Miles Hiked: 482

8/5 Skipped a ton of road walking out of Oroville. Dan drove me to 6200’ so it’s a bit of a shock to the system, from blazing hot to pleasantly cool, from low to high(er), from bugless to voracious and noisy mosquitoes and flies. Lots of short haul backpackers out here, nice to see them.

8/6 I woke to a soaking wet tent, a lot of condensation since I camped next to a creek. It’s cool up here but the trail is beautifully designed and maintained. I made it to the historic Tungsten Mine and cabins for lunch, then it started to rain. And rained. For 3 hours over spectacular Cathedral Pass where the wind hit me and my hands got too cold for photos. Guess I’ll have to go back! I hiked down a bit lower before the ranger station and camped, crawled into my bag to warm up as the rain died and the wind didn’t. The rain cut the dust, the Pasayten is beautiful and Cathedral Pass reminded me of a kinder, shorter Pinchot Pass but with uniquely gorgeous rock formations.

Not as rusty as my old mine saw

8/7 I wore all my layers until 11 am. There were some beautiful views but the trail is not what it was. Burn area forever. Oh well. Dead trees, down trees, fried soil turned to ashy sand, no visible path in places. I got some water then found a flat stand of green trees off the trail for a peaceful night. Didn’t get as far as I wanted, so it goes.

8/8 I was in a cloud till 10, so there was no view from Bunker Hill. The blowdown burn area went on forever. In the heat and view less burn area coming down from Bunker Hill, I counted over 150 blowdowns an hour, all day long. Practice clambering over, under and around them makes perfect.

Finally I turned up from the old Pasayten Airfield into a lush living forest. Instant happiness even though I hiked another 7.8 miles just to find a tent site, a sweet little spot out of the blowdowns right next to the trail but with no dead trees threatening to fall on me. And with an annoying babbling stream talking at me all night. Took nearly 12 hours but I made my required average miles, 18, so as not to run out of food over the next couple of days.

See the sign for the trail junction?
Mellow stuff

8/9 Blowdown Showdown! I’ve invented a hiker contest.

All due credit for the name goes to Jason Borgstede, pro snowboarder and business owner (Blue&Gold Boardshop in Anchorage, Alaska—go there for all gear needed to slide sideways, summer or winter) who holds the Throwdown Showdown event for boarders every winter at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, Alaska.

Full disclosure: I declare myself the winner of my age group. Here’s how I did it. Basically it’s a freestyle event—you get points for getting through massive sections of blowdowns using a variety of skills, tricks and techniques. As this event grows and develops you may get bonus points for naming maneuvers. Getting through faster than another hiker gets bonus points, which may be offset though by excessive blood loss.

Try these for starters: Step over the little logs regular, then goofy. Limbo under larger logs. Belly slide under, then slide on your back face up. Creep on all fours, crawl on your knees. Lever your way over like mounting a horse, both feet off the ground. Now get on the horse from the wrong side. For those big piled up log jams, pressure your feet like a climber as you attempt to scale and see over 14’ of tangled branches, pine needles and busted up trees. With hands and without hands. What else can you come up with? No holds barred! Uh, literally.

More blowdowns, hours of them, and 3 big switchback climbs. After 3 days of nearly nonstop blowdowns, I reached the PCT! Tread, real tread, level tread, well designed tread, I nearly kissed that tread. I love the PCT. You really appreciate good trail when you’ve been dealing with not good trail for so long. Like I learned to appreciate a decent dirt road walk on the CDT. And carrying water weight in the desert.

Now that I was on the PCT, I met tons of people, a couple that said they’d started at the southern border in March. I didn’t ask about the Sierra because it sure seemed like enough time had passed for a NOBO thru hike! From Sweden, they said they flew from Europe 2 days before the travel ban. Cool!

I kept going, ecstatic to be back in the North Cascades, such views! I dry camped alone, despite the dozens of hikers I’d seen, at the junction of the PNT and PCT, completing the 14 miles the trails share.

8/10 Last day for the PNT this year and it was all PCT. 14 miles to Hart’s Pass where we’d started the PCT SOBO a few years ago, walking from Hart’s to the Canadian Border 30 miles away, and then turned around and headed back south for good.

Today in the 6 1/2 hours I was on the trail, I counted 39 humans coming towards me (including 1 baby which in some cultures is considered not quite human until age 5 or 6), 9 dogs, and 4 humans going my way, only 1 of which passed me.

PCT, I love you!

And then, back in the van for a few days, visiting Dave and Teresa in Chewelah and meeting Natasha at Hidden Mother Brewery in Spokane. And on a plane 8/14, me to the Sierra, Dan back home to Alaska.

Republic x 3 to Oroville

Cumulative miles hiked: 381.8

Took a zero in Omak. On the way there we passed the sage fire near Tonasket, driving by as a plane dropped retardant, helicopters were sling loading water buckets and multiple fire departments had their trucks and fire fighters mobilized.. Because of Covid, Dan’s birthday dinner was a takeout tuna salad sandwich from Subway. The next day we visited Rockwall Winery, a lovely building amongst fruit trees.

7/30 We drove back through Republic to where trail started uphill from a little campground on Hwy 21. Talked with a guy who had been car camping there for a week and headed up the trail. After a couple miles it joined a gravel road for the rest of the day. I picked up 3 liters of water and carried them until I found a campsite past a junction above the road. A few cars passed by, invisible.

7/31 Fun morning, easy walking on the road, 12 miles in 4 hours! I saw One Gallon’s footprints ahead in the dust. About an hour into the morning, I took a water break in the shade and saw Gasket behind me. We walked and talked the rest of the way to Highway 20 where Dan soon arrived in the van. One of the things I love about hiking is getting to know people I’d never get to talk with in real life, about real stuff, deeply revealing. Gasket is awesome. We all donned our masks for the drive to breakfast at the Knotty Pine in Republic. Then we gave Gasket and One Gallon a ride back to the trail angel Artie’s where everybody has been staying, off and on, since there are 3 different road crossings, all leading to Republic. Goose and Cruise were there, Goose is recovering from a nasty rash and GI trouble, but he’s looking much recovered!

Dan took me back to trail after our breakfast break in Republic. The rest are staying another night in Republic. The hike out was uphill on trail, hot of course, but not a road walk. I managed another 5 miles for a 17 mile day. No place to camp but I managed another creative pitch with a view to the west and settled in.

8/1 So there were numerous comments about the creepiness of the private property signs where the trail joined some roads. Skulls on fences, the typical signs telling me trespassers would be shot twice, junk yards of rotting cars, etc. I heard a dog barking way in the distance but the only one I saw was a bird dog taking herself for a walk. She glanced at me and continued down to her house. No dogs at the numerous private properties tells me nobody is home. I wouldn’t live out here without a dog early warning system in place, just saying. The property owners can’t shoot trespassers if they’re not here to shoot them.

It was hot today as I hiked from trail to gravel to paved to gravel. I pretty much hated this trail today. Stupid route, at one spot, the “primary” turned off perfectly good gravel to an abandoned (remember that means blowdown covered formerly-known- as road) so I looked at a map and kept going a few hundred yards to a dirt road, cleared, shorter, no traffic, that joined back up with the main road. Good choice!

I walked into the Bonaparte Lake campground to where the van was! It didn’t cool off till 8:45 and I still had to eat freeze dried dinner but the company was good. Really nice spot Dan got away from the crowds. And I like this place, kids laughing as they swim and paddle around, largish people walking along the campground road getting their exercise, just a good vibe.

8/2 I walked through the campground to the trailhead. It was good trail to the Bonaparte Lookout alternate. I’ve been excited to see this place. The historic lookout was built in 1914, and the new lookout is staffed, one of the very few still in operation. It was a lot of uphill (duh, lookouts have to be on top of something) but I made it by 12:30. I spent quite a bit of time talking with lookout Jim Watkins, really enjoyable and interesting.

Finally I went back down the trail and eventually joined a nice soft road with Nordic ski trail signs. I had enough water and debated with myself for hours about whether to camp early up in the forest or to continue to Havillah and camp on the church grounds with access to water and a bathroom, I’d get there around dinner time. I’m the only hiker in the area so it’d just be me there. Lookout Jim assured me that Covid wouldn’t stop the church people from being trail angels.

The soft road turned to gravel and cow-calf country. I’m not camping with cows if I can help it, people on foot freak them out, plus—cow pies. And now there are barbed wire fences and cars so no camping. I got to the junction for Havillah, and a sign saying the church (a beautiful white steepled structure a quarter mile ahead) was “Closed to PNT hikers due to Covid concerns.” It was 5:30 and I am now between barbed wire protecting the creek to my left and private property on my right. I freaked out a bit but kept going, knowing it was another 6 miles of gravel road to public land. It was hot, I was tired and hungry and the prosperous looking mini ranches and pastures pissed me off. I face up belly scooted under the fence and got camping water from the creek below and continued another hour, grumbling. And then a dip in the road, mashed down fence to my left and Ponderosa pine and sage brush, not pasture. Whatever a private wildlife refuge is, there couldn’t be anything menacing left in it with a mashed down fence. I camped out of sight of the road in the heavenly smelling sage. So much for Jim reassuring me the church would not close to hikers. Oops, maybe the trail angels in Republic knew, my bad.

8/3 The 19 miles to US 97 outside Oroville took me till 2pm, not a bad day! Gravel to dirt road to trail, almost all downhill although the heat was intense. And there was Dan looking up the trail for me! Dinner at the Oroville Brewery was outstanding—the best coleslaw I’ve ever had. Clyde at the Camaray Motel was very welcoming and gave us the hiker rate and free laundry.

8/4 Zero! Visited Esther’s local winery and the lake park, drove up the “trail” in 100 degree heat, saw One Gallon using the WiFi in front of the library, and got to pet the town cat, who was walking down the sidewalk behind a random couple while proudly carrying a dead mouse. Take out pizza for dinner.

PNT to US 395 to Republic

Cumulative miles hiked: 312.9

7/22 l got dropped off on the edge of the pavement from Metaline Falls at 9 am after a breakfast cooked by Dave. I hiked way farther than I’d intended but it was good dirt road to good trail. There were campsites galore at the top of the climb but it was 3:30 in the afternoon. The PNT digest or guide book claimed there were flat sites in a saddle a few miles down the other side. As happens all too often, that was bad information. The saddle was completely covered in fallen or felled trees, I’d have had to do a major log removal operation to create a patch to sit in. So I kept going to the next listed spot, a primitive USFS campground at the bottom of the trail and junction with the next “forest road.” Camped at 7:30 in an eerily deserted campground. I don’t know why it weirds me out to be in an empty campground with road access and no people.

7/23 I walked 4 quick forest road miles to pavement. Road miles are quick and that helps. It’s interesting walking through ranch country with cows and horses behind barbed wire fences, and there were few cars. After awhile though slapping your feet flat down over and over hurts. I got a new blister on the end of a toe and my left shin started to ache. But an old red dump truck came up behind me, stopped and the driver leaned out with a bottle of water for me. Kindness! I grinned and accepted although I didn’t need it. As the miles went on, I turned onto the highway paralleling the Columbia River and it got hotter and hotter, with the uphill side all Private Property and the downhill side bordered by train tracks and the river. Where would I be able to camp? I satellite messaged Dan my dilemma and he found me a perfect little cabin in Northport for the night, so my attitude improved. I knew I had a bed and shower at the end of a hot, painful 22 mile day.

Is there anybody else besides me who can manage to fall on flat blacktop? Admiring the Columbia River, I failed to notice a little rockfall on the road and tripped on a loose rock, went down and got a bloody knee. I spent my entire girlhood with scabby knees and frequently with scabby elbows too. So scars on scars on scars. Fortunately, there were no cars at the time to freak out at the sight or hear the single word obscenity I yelled. A few minutes later, mini poodle Paisley came running and barking down her driveway to put her little paws on my leg and get a pat. Her mom followed and offered me water from her tap. She said they hadn’t seen any hikers this year and were pretty excited when I said there were at least a dozen maybe half a day behind me.

The walk wasn’t horrible until the last 6 miles of pavement into Northport. Hot, so hot, no shade, uphill. And then, my little cottage appeared as I got to town. I called the owner, got the key code, went inside, showered, rinsed my disgusting clothes, cooked my instant dinner and didn’t emerge till the next morning. So happy!

7/24 Road walk again, at least it wasn’t paved and there were pleasant clouds in the morning. My feet and legs hurt again by 3pm from the pounding, oh well—I much prefer dirt to pavement and I made 23 miles by dinner time. I camped in a weird place down a blocked and abandoned road, out of sight of the road and the occasional dirt biker buzzing on it. And cows today! I love cows, the baffled stares they give me, the calves freaking out and trotting.

7/25 Dan got me near the 395 after about 4 miles and took me for the night to Dave’s in Chewelah. His awesome grandson Tanner was there and I really enjoyed talking with him over dinner outside at the golf club. He’s 12, loved the time he got to go snowboarding last winter and really wants to learn to skateboard. It’s a high probability that he won’t get in-person school this fall, which really bums him out, but when he started talking about learning to skate, he lit up!

7/26 Back to the trail the next morning, or as the photos show, “non trail.” After a bunch of miles up dirt roads on the west side of 395, the route goes on an abandoned, obliterated road, politely described on the maps as not maintained. These 2 miles are my (so far) fourth place nominee for worst PNT blowdown section. After a brief stretch of double track, I walked on my second place nominee (first place for all time will be the blowdown east of Eureka, MT). It transitioned to double track for a bit, crossed Boulder Creek Road, and became the well trod Kettle Crest Trail. All day I was in burn area, as far as the eye can see behind and ahead. I camped by a fire ring in dead trees, hopefully nothing falls on me, but what else can I do? Hot as hell today too.

7/27 I took a picture of last nights camp and then came across a lovely alternative bed, if only I’d known.

I walked through the burn until noon when I got into living trees. And then the bear yodel.

“One Gallon, what are you doing behind me?”

“Zero’d in Metaline Falls and zero’d in Northpoint too!”

Then Gasket, Goose and Cruise caught up. We chatted by a fenced spring piped to a cattle tank. Nice to have hikers to talk to again! The Kettle Crest Trail was good and clear the rest of the day. Hot!

7/28 Happy Birthday, GranDan!

Dan met One Gallon and me at Sherman Pass and took us to Republic and breakfast at the Knotty Pine. I’ll take a zero, skip the section between Hwy 20 and Hwy 21, then get back on.

PNT to Metaline Falls

Miles hiked as of 7/20: 209


6 1/2 brutal uphill hours on trail but since I got a ride from Dan I skipped 9.2 miles of road walking. I could get used to this personal driver thing. There was a spring about 5 miles up so I got enough water to camp and pitched my tent at the third campsite mentioned in Guthooks. About 10 pm, voices and headlamps. Gasket and Backtrack showed up, awesome to have company! They got up at 5:30, so me too.


The Selkirk Mountains are beautiful, granite and alpine, just a few snow patches left on the ridge and fantastic cirque views, oh the rock!

So this “trail” has a bunch of bushwhack sections. The 2 options coming up midday said I should start first thing in the morning since it could take a lot of time. I looked at the maps and saw I could hike to a road at Pyramid Lake, get picked up, drive a few hours, skip the bushwhack and rejoin on a road. So Dan drove me about 72 miles to Priest Lakes to avoid a 5 mile bushwhack, brilliant! I camped next to the van.


And slept fine despite the car stopping by to warn us about a huge cinnamon black bear nearby, never saw her. The tread was actual trail today along the Priest Lakes, then into huge, ancient cedars, 2000 years old the guide says. Then gravel roads for a few miles up of course to a brushy trail. No huckleberries so no bear. That turned into more awesome cedar, shaded and cooler with soft tread. I kind of had to jury rig a tent site but it seems fine. I had a really good day and no bushwhack.


Campsite was fine. After walking an hour or two I heard One Gallon’s bear yodel, “Go away bear!” He caught up and we walked and talked the rest of the day—which really helped because it was a brutal day. I took one bad fall in endless blowdown, raising a lovely hematoma on my shin with blood running into my sock. You’re working so hard and your heart is pumping so it takes awhile for even minor cuts to clot. I got low on water because there wasn’t any where the map predicted and it was another hot day. But we made it to cleared trail and camped by Noisy Creek at last after 12 hours.


One Gallon was up early and out but I left at 6:45 on perfect trail (mountain bike tracks) to the Sullivan Lake campground trail to gravel road. Sometime after hitting the gravel I took a shade break and heard the bear yodel. One Gallon had stopped to swim in the lake. We walked and talked for a few miles down the road until the 3 Sterley boys rolled up in Dave’s pickup and whisked me off to the Metaline Falls grocery store while One Gallon turned down a ride of course. Then off we went to a campground by Boundary Dam about 10 miles beyond. Since the hotel in Metaline Falls was full I took a shower in Dave’s trailer—perfect! Doug, Dan and Dave are here camping and fishing from kayaks, it’s a beautiful place.

One Gallon

PNT to Bonner’s Ferry

Rail to Trail outside Eureka, MT

Miles hiked as of 7/14: 143.6

7/9 Walked up from 1972’s “most beautiful bridge” on a lovely day, but yeah, up. After awhile from below me on the trail I heard a “Go away bear!” yodeled periodically through the brush until finally One Gallon appeared, about 60, walking strong, lightweight backpack with no waist or sternum strap, no sticks. I caught up at the lookout and we had lunch and good conversation. Much later I saw him again when I walked in to camp and he was cooking dinner and then moving on. I had a crap camp spot, but oh well, no bears.


Biggest day so far, over 18 miles, because I couldn’t find a place to pitch my tent. 4 good climbs but I didn’t go up Mt Henry because I couldn’t tell from Guthook’s app, the PNTA maps or the guide whether it was an out and back. Not, as it turns out. It rained today for maybe 30” which is how long I wore my rain gear despite it not being cold. I could tell from the topo map that the top of the last climb would be flat, but there wasn’t any place to put a tent on the jagged rocks and burnt trees. Finally I found an abandoned road on the downside with even a little trickle of water and camped at 7, perfect!


I got to the road to Yaak at 8:30 am, not the planned road where Dan would meet me, but there he was constructing an “x” with sticks and flagging on the non-trail across the road, but listed as the red line, the primary PNT, that made Petra and Retune (and later Click) crazy trying to find it. I grabbed my resupply from the van and he drove me 2 miles where I trudged yet another gravel road for 13 miles, not steep, just relentless. 3 out of 4 cars stopped to talk to me—a guy getting wood, a USFS guy, and a hiker woman who didn’t stop on the way up but gave me Oreos on her way down. The 4th car was a family who parked and walked the short way to the lookout and back and talked to me where I sat before pitching my tent. They said 2 hikers were camping in the lookout (Petra and Retune must have got a ride past me on the road walk, the other 3 cars had only seen a single male ahead of me—One Gallon). So at 8 pm a car drove through the locked gate to their reserved night at the lookout. Uh oh. At 9, pistol poppings, at 10, Petra and Retune looking for another place to camp, bummer!


A lovely 4 miles of trail to another dirt road. Many easy miles later, the only vehicle I saw all day (seriously the locals are so nice here!) stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. I said no and then the back seat window rolled down and Retune and Petra were there, getting a ride to an alternative route. “We hate road walking,” she said.

The wind, I’m sick of it! All day and as I climbed I got cold. I totally lucked out and found a campsite in a little saddle at 6000’, protected and soft, absorbing 4 hours of rain and hail no problem. I’m actually kind of giddy that I found this spot. P & R came by again tonight, they had to abandon the NW Alt because of the wind and will camp a few more miles at a “trail camp.”


In the trail register today I saw that 2 days ahead of me are Backtrack, Gasket, Chance and Cougar. 1 day ahead is One Gallon. Seems like there were more miles today than what the maps show. I did not stop at Fiest Resort, good thing because I later heard they weren’t serving food today anyway. I did meet a local riding his bike with 3 enormous dogs galloping ahead to say “hi” to me. He said I was the first PNT hiker he’d seen all season and that normally he met and gave mostly European hikers rides to Bonner’s. We talked about the travel ban from Europe and Canada and how different summer felt this year.


P &R camped nearby last night with plans to get up early to get to town early. I slept well and got to the top of the climb on good trail by 10 am and messaged Dan I’d be at Hwy 95 by 3pm after walking many miles of dirt roads. After hours of road and no cars at all, I was trudging uphill in the heat and suddenly a pickup truck was parked. I had one of those funny jolts that happen when you’re locked into trail narcosis. In my mind I heard ominous movie music and the audience saying, “Reach for your bear spray, don’t be an idiot!” And in real life suddenly a friendly voice from the huckleberry bushes, “How’s it going? Look at all these berries we’re picking.” Ha ha, first huckleberry pickers I’ve seen this summer.

Dan got me a few minutes late because he’d just given P & R a ride into town, they beat me by about 45”! We first went up to where Dan and his brothers Doug and Dave were camping and fishing and I got to visit awhile before heading to Bonner’s Ferry.

We got a beautiful room on the river and relaxed enjoying watching an Osprey catch a fish and some jet skiers. Shower, laundry, dinner on the deck, happiness.

Dirt bikes allowed on this trail, this looks to be a great way to stabilize it


Zero day! Natasha came up from Spokane to visit—we met and hiked some of the PCT together in 2015 till she had to go home and she hiked Glacier NP on the CDT with me in 2018. She brought most excellent beer from Whistle Punk Brewery. I really like her, she’s happy, smart, extroverted and it was so great to spend an afternoon catching up. Thanks Natasha!

Pacific Northwest Trail


Day 1

Slide Rule drove me out the road from Polebridge so I started the PNT at about Mile 60.5. As we were driving, we stopped and met Backtrack. He hiked by again as I was packing up for the first stretch of my 6 weeks stint on the PNT.

It was wet, soggy and cloudy all day. Who cares? I’m hiking! I was all set to fly to Atlanta and start the Appalachian Trail on April 15. Completing the AT would give me the hiking Triple Crown of the 3 big National Scenic Trails, the PCT, CDT and AT. Instead I’ve spent the last few months like everybody else, socially isolated, masked, weirding out, and chubbing up. At last I formulated a plan to hike responsibly in a pandemic. Dan can give me 6 weeks in our ‘97 Ford Sportsmobile carrying my resupply so I don’t have to hitch or otherwise rely on the kindness of strangers. So I won’t be thru hiking this 1200 mile trail but as I texted Tarcey:

I’m going hiking! I want to hate rain, wind, uphills, being freezing, shitty campsites, bushwhacking, and wandering around hoping my GPS points me in the right direction. I want to yell at the wilderness and listen to audiobooks when it’s boring, not read any news, have every piece of me hurt then fall down and have bloody knees too, surprise deer, elk and moose in the morning, drink Starbucks Via with instant oatmeal mixed in and get swarmed by mosquitoes and biting flies. I want to walk dirt roads and uncleared trails and crawl over blowdowns, kick up ash through burn areas, and find wildflowers suddenly yellow and pink in eroding hillsides. I’m going hiking!

I camped off trail at a campground chock full of people. I could see what looked like a hiker campsite, full, and kept walking around the lake on the road till I found a tent site. It was perfect and quiet. First night on the trail since last September, wahoo!

Day 2

A hard, slow day but sunny. Lots of consolidated snow covering the trail, but at least there was a single set of tracks ahead of me. A few hours into the day, Backtrack caught me, and we chatted and walked together. He stopped ahead of me to dry his tent out, then caught me again. I was stoked to have him set tracks for me. There was an insane amount of uphill and I camped 4 miles early, exhausted. About 1 1/2 hours later, Petra and Retune walked by, I am so glad there’s other hikers out here. I knew from FB there were, but who knows this year, this trail.

Day 3

Well that was a good choice, those 4 miles took me 4 hours in the morning. I got lost on Mt Lowe looking for the trail after 2 miles uphill. The next 2 were downhill through blowdown which was OK till I got to the mother of all blowdowns, massive trees stacked over each other, green growing trees with branches and root wads. I knew the trail headed down a creek more or less but there was no way through and no way to know how long I’d have to keep going over, under, through, around. I got lacerated to bits, fell, stepped in holes, yelled at nothingness, and was pretty sure I’d get stuck and have to activate my SOS for help. After an hour, I emerged, about 0.2 miles later. And then the trail became another wonderful old double track road bed, gently graded about 4 miles downhill to a wide, gravel road uphill another 4 miles to trail again. I camped early, a lovely quiet spot after 16 miles, sore, bleeding, exhausted.

Day 4

A lot of walking in snow on side slopes. Not particularly treacherous, low consequences if I slid, it’s just really, really slow. Uphill, downhill, flat hill, it went on forever. I went up to Mt Kam to an old lookout with a hiker register in it, I saw Backtrack and Mosey had been there the day before!

Finally I made it to Bluebird Lake and thought I saw black bear mama and cub tracks. I went looking for the bear hang and more tracks, freshish. Too tired to walk on so I camped away from the fire ring and pole—paranoid—and ate a cold bagel and cheese, tomorrow’s lunch, rather than cook and send food smells to the bears. 2 hours later, a family of 4 walked in. Yay, do t think they know I’m here and they’re making so much joyous kid noise. Plus they get the good campsite and bears! Then I sprang a leak in my NeoAir because I pitched on a sharp rock in my paranoia. I think I’ve patched it for the night with the repair tape I pack for my dyneema tent, I’ll need to patch the tent floor, but manana. I’ve spent a miserable night before using my pack and spare clothes for insulation from the ground in a similar situation and survived, but yuck. At least I only have to worry about my pad tonight, not bears with the family nearby. I love you guys. Life is weird. 10 miles tomorrow, I can go backwards if the snow ahead is too scary but I’d rather get to the road, Dan and a motel

Day 5

Did it! Easy 2 miles up from the lake, beautiful alpine flowers and views, then a long easy 10 miles to old road and dirt road. Dinner, shower, motel in Eureka, resting my slightly strained right quad and swollen, ridiculously normal-for-me sprained left ankle, rolled on the easy downhill about 3 miles from the end of my day. Damn.


We decided to zero in Eureka since the weather report looked bad. We drive the 50 miles to Kalispell REI where I got the last Xtherm on the shelf and I thanked the REI employee outside the store passing out face masks and the REI checkout employee for the requirement. The restaurants and motels in Eureka believe Covid is a hoax and do not mask up. After taking the plunge and flying from Alaska on Alaska Air where masks were required, but not enforced, and watching cases explode in my State, I’m sick of morons and find a happy little nod of solidarity with fellow mask wearers in stores or wherever makes my day in civilization.

As we drove into our motel parking lot, we talked with 4 more hikers who just walked in! Then met Petra and Retune who also zeroed here. They say Backtrack took the Alternate and is here too. Life is good. Dan and I intend to slackpack tomorrow, from opposite ends, the Rail to Trail few miles, exchange car key and camp.