GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

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mjirving
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GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by mjirving » September 24th, 2018, 6:25 pm

Hi All,

This hike was pretty much my dream hike, as I was able to do a section of the PCT with my daughter, just before she headed off to college. It's the first time I've fundamentally had someone in my immediate family on a section hike with me...or even an overnighter for that matter, so it was a big deal. I also have all the stories of my hiker trail magic of giving trail magic out to all the nobo PCT thru-hikers I met 120 thru-hikers on this hike and brought my tally of trail magic given to thru hikers to somewhere around 2,500 since 2013. This is a long post, so don't feel obligated, but hopefully you'll enjoy the show!

Happy Trails!
GoalTech (aka Mike)

2018.27 - PCT21 - Day 1 - Stevens Pass to Mig Lake
“Smoke out!” 


8/20/18
Rating: 3 Stars


Miles: 7.4
PCT Miles: 7.4
PCT Miles: 2462-2454
Time: 4 hrs, 45 min
Avg MPH: 1.6
Elev Min: 4,000'
Elev Max: 5,300'
Total Ascent: 2,260’
Total Descent: 1,650’
Elev Change: +610’
Steps: 21,100
Flights of Stairs: 88
Time Up: 4:40am
Sleep Hours: 4
Start Time: 12:05pm
Temp Low: 70
Temp High: 75
Thru-hikers: 17/17
Other hikers: 5/5
Male:Female hikers: 77%/23%
Hikers with a trail name: 100%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 1:15
Wildlife: Pica, Birds, Great Blue Heron, Pacific Fritillary Butterfly, Blue Butterfly, White/Black Butterfly, Dragonflies
Chips: 13/13
Via: 3/3
Nips: 1/1
Declines: 0/0
Duplicates: 3/3 (18%)
Verizon Cell Service: LTE in the ski area, and spotty 3G/1x further away, no service at Mig Lake
Approach Road: Paved highway
Parking Permit Required: Unknown
Parking Lot: Large ski area
Bathrooms: Lodge


Hiker Haven * Stevens Pass Ski Area * Alpine Lakes Wilderness Entry * Lake Susan Jane * Lake Josephine * Mig Lake


Opening Shot: The Foursome, wishing us safe travels…thank you SO much for all your support!
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We were up early at 4:40am in Portland to get on the road for our next PCT adventure. At least we’re getting further south down Washington, which makes for shorter drives! I’m super excited for this hike since I’ll be going with my daughter, Paintbrush. She starts college in month, so it will be some great father/daughter time before she has to leave. We picked up The Foursome before we headed north on the Interstate. That would be my parents, Pilot and Shotgun, and our good friends Magellan and Mama Bear. They will be exploring the local area, while we hike.


Needless to say, the early rising didn’t phase Paintbrush as she pretty much literally slept the entire way…yes…the entire way.
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We made a quick pull-out in Baring, on our way to the pass, to see the property of the famous trail angels, The Dinsmores, and their Hiker Haven location where they host thru-hikers each season. It was fun to see this famous location even though I didn't have time in my schedule to stay there.
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We got up to Stevens Pass right on schedule, at about 11am. We ordered paninis at the ski lodge to eat while we got prepped to go. When we were ordering, I saw a thru-hiker in line that looked very similar to one I had met down in Southern California back in 2014. Knowing that she had thru-hiked then, I thought the odds would have been very low that it was her, so I didn’t say anything.


Paintbrush and I got ready down in the parking lot while we were waiting for our food to be ready. Here are the starting weights:


GoalTech: 
Full Pack Weight: 27.8 pounds
Trail Magic: 7.9 pounds
Total Pack Weight: 35.7 pounds


Paintbrush:
Full Pack Weight: 25.6 pounds


As the Foursome returned with the food, Pilot mentioned that when discussing my trail magic duties in line for the food, that a girl had overheard him and said, “Are you talking about GoalTech?” What do you know…it was Tick Tock from my meeting in Southern California! She came down with her friends and it was so fun to catch up!
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We started off on our hike just after noon. It’s always fun to come back to where I left off the prior year…it’s always hard to believe that it’s been a full year.
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Right where we started was a dual charging station for electric cars…on a chairlift frame! How cool.
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We had to go to the other end of the parking lot to get to the actual trail…so here is our official starting photo.
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Dad and daughter…I love it!
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Up the trail I go…it’s always “up” when you start at a pass unfortunately.
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We started off with some Claspleaf Twisted Stalk, which I’ve identified only once before, and this was the only time I saw it on this hike.
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Quickly we arrived back towards the ski area so we could wave down to our support team as we headed up the hill.
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Our first of the always plentiful Fireweed was here.
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Up we go, under the chairs. I always like hiking in ski areas, since I’ve been such an avid skier pretty much all of my life. I’ve never skied here, but I must make that a priority this winter! Paintbrush was hauling, and getting out of sight of me as I had already stopped to take a few pictures.
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This is our last view of the base area before disappearing into the forest.
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Our first thru-hiker was Grasshopper from Japan.
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As we wound around on several ski runs and under another chair lift I found that the run was very appropriately named!
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We switchbacked under this chair I think three times. This was about the steepest part of the day.
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As we approached the top, we saw Elderberry,
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and a Pacific Fritillary Butterfly on Pearly Everlasting.
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It’s not often you get a picture of me with all my trail magic, this is 74 bags, after giving one to Grasshopper.
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At 1:30, we finally made it to the top of the ski area. Sitting there was Old Goat. He has hiked the PCT in its entirety before and enjoys section hiking as he is from the local area. He was pretty chatty, so we had quite a conversation. I saw his wilderness permit had the name “Dick Burkhart” on it. It made me wonder if he was related to Ravensong (Carolyn Burkhart), who was the first woman to solo thru-hike the PCT back in 1977. Sure enough, he is her brother! What a fun connection to make. I feel like I could talk to him for hours to hear about all of his adventures back in the day. Their whole family is quite the hardcore outdoor adventurers. Old Goat even mentioned that he had climbed to the summit of Mt Hood from Government Camp in only 4 hours back in his younger years. The other fun connection is that they are the same Burkhart family name that owns Burkhart Dental dealership that my company, A-dec, sells dental equipment to…what a small world. Burkhart Dental is one of our largest dealerships that we sell to.
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While chatting it up with Old Goat, I met Peanut Butter from Massachusetts. Of course Paintbrush was getting a little tired of my chattiness and took off down the trail.
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I figured I better get going if I was to catch up to her. On a side note, I was really impressed with her confidence in hiking alone without me. That took me some time to build up that courage, but it didn’t seem to phase her a bit…love it!


On the way down the slopes I saw this berried plant which I’m not sure of its name. Any help?
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The smoke was apparently a lot better today than yesterday, according to the hikers. I was afraid that it would block even our close views, which would be a big bummer! Fortunately, we could see the close peaks, but even they were in a haze from the forest fire smoke.


Next I met T-Bone from Germany, just before I left the boundary of the ski area.
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Monkey Flower was in the area, I seem to find it near water sources mostly. I see it in yellow much of the time too.
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As I came down the slopes on the trail to the left, I looked back to see the summit of Stevens Pass Ski Area where we met Old Goat.
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Fringed Parnassia was in the area, a rare flower that is one of my favorites.
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Paintbrush was waiting for me at Lake Susan Jane, taking a break. I never could catch her, even though I hiked fast in between hikers.
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On our way out we saw and heard our first Pika in their rock home that they always inhabit.
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As we wound up some curvy and tight trail, a female hiker blew past me without a pause. I told Paintbrush that hardly ever happens…less than 1% of the hikers I meet. Just a minute or so later, I saw another gal heading our way. I recognized her from a hiking blog I follow and said, “Are you Muffy?”. She said that she was and was wondering how I knew her name. I said that I follow Carrot’s blog that she’s in frequently. She said, “Did you see her ahead of me?” I said that I had, but I didn’t realize it was her as she went by so fast.  Muffy’s trail name is Tuffy and I gave her trail magic and also asked what Carrot would want. She said it was Fritos for sure, so I was glad I didn’t miss out on a magic opportunity like I thought I had. I met Carrot in So Cal in 2014, so it was my second time seeing her on-trail. (This, of course, is Tuffy in the picture.)
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As we continued to gain elevation, we passed Lake Josephine,
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some Lupine,
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and Salmon Berries. (Yes I had a few)
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Can you find Paintbrush up on the trail in this picture?
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Then we met Bud Light from the Netherlands, and Prince and Bazinga from Yakima. I met Bazinga last month down near Etna, but now he was hiking with his son…very cool. Prince got his name from his dad seemingly doing everything for him, so he “lives like a prince”. Ha!
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Here is a comparison shot from Etna to Washington for Bazinga. He blogs at www.manseekingmountains.com. His Etna post with me in it is “Day 96”.
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Then we met Black Hole from Barcelona. It’s rare to meet people from Spain on the PCT. This was extra fun since Paintbrush spent time in Spain this summer, so they got to compare notes.
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We were on our final approach to camp through some pretty meadows.
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Some Spirea was in the area.
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We rolled into camp at Mig Lake just before 5pm and we were the first ones there.
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Paintbrush quickly went to work getting her tent setup and getting ready for the night.
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The sun was a little eery as we saw it through the smoke.
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Foxtrot from New Hampshire rolled through camp and kept going.
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There was even a Great Blue Heron on the lake! (edit: I saw a picture of this lake a week or so after our hike with this same bird there, must be his turf!)
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Old Goat came through camp too, but decided to move on ahead to Hope Lake, which was about a mile ahead. Once camp was good to go, we jumped in for an evening swim which felt pretty darn good!
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Just as we wrapped up our swim we met Pecorino from Philadelphia (who I met in Etna), Skinny Dip from North Carolina, her friend Duke from Leavenworth who hiked up with her just for the night, and Hot Pants from the Bay Area. They were all super friendly and all set up camp with us for the night. (and yes, she did it…ha!)
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Here's Pecorino's before and after.
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Next through camp was Mission from Monterey,
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and Ferrari from Italy who I also met in the Etna area. He also camped with us. Here is his “before and after” too.
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It was an evening of good conversation with the hikers, particularly Hot Pants who camped right with us. As the day turned to night we rolled in to bed. Paintbrush went with no rainfly which again impressed me as it took me a couple years of backpacking before I’d sleep without the rainfly. There’s something about that which creates a security barrier. Paintbrush did great today and really seems to be a budding thru-hiker! 
:-)
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Summary:
A nice hike with quite a bit of variety. Not a “stunning” day, but a good solid hike.


Favorite experience of the day:
Winding through the Stevens Pass Ski Area on the trail. 


Least favorite experience of the day:
The smoke, hampering our views. 


Paintbrush's Report:
Wading out into Mig Lake after a day of hiking was by far the best part of day one. The fact that our campsite also had a pit toilet seemed like a luxury. ;) Something that put a damper on day-one was the ever constant smoke. Although everything was still beautiful, I couldn’t help but think I was missing out on some views. On another note, this was the last day I could use social media. As we hiked away from my beloved “LTE”, I realized my social media presence would disappear for the duration of the hike...a weird feeling to someone who is constantly on her phone. After a few miles, the dreaded “3G” came, followed by the “1x”, and then the horrific “no service.” Without the typical phone vibration every so often, it became a little easier to get lost in my thoughts. I thought to myself, maybe this hike will give me the social media cleanse that every teenager needs, but denies; I can tell you it surely did. As I drifted off to sleep later that night, I couldn’t possibly imagine sleeping four more nights pillowless, surrounded by sweaty clothes in my cramped tent that I could barely crawl into. I guess I made it though. :) 


Today's route (top-to-bottom):
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track:
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-GoalTech
www.GoalTechHikes.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)


2018.28 - PCT21 - Day 2 - Mig Lake to Deception Pass
“Tramily” 


8/21/18
Rating: 4 Stars


Miles: 14.1
PCT Miles: 14.1
PCT Miles: 2454-2440
Time: 10 hrs, 20 min
Avg MPH: 1.4
Elev Min: 4,300’
Elev Max: 5,900'
Total Ascent: 3,810’
Total Descent: 4,000’
Elev Change: -190’
Steps: 36,700
Flights of Stairs: 191
Time Up: 5:30
Sleep Hours: 6
Leave Camp: 7:30
Temp Low: 50
Temp High: 80
Thru-hikers: 34/50
Other hikers: 12/17
Male:Female hikers: 74%/26%
Hikers with a trail name: 97%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 2:05
Wildlife: Squirrel, Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies
Chips: 25/37
Via: 4/7
Nips: 4/5
Declines: 1/1
Duplicates: 6/9 (18%)
Verizon Cell Service: None


Hope Lake * Trap Lake * Trap Pass * Surprise Lake * Glacier Lake * Thunder Mountain * Surprise Mountain * Piper Pass * Mt Hinman * Mt Daniel * Lynch Glacier * Deception Lakes * Deception Pass


Opening Shot: Mig Lake at the start
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We had a perfectly quiet night and Paintbrush fortunately didn't inherit my propensity for insomnia on the trail. She was succussfully sacked-out all night.
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As we got ready for the day, a fun group of thru-hikers cruised through. I had met them all at Seiad Valley as I started my section hike last month. It was Squeaks from Tahoe, Seeker from Colorado, Pace Car from Colorado, Groova from Colorado, and Everest from India. As a reminder from my Nor Cal blog last month, Everest is the first PCT hiker from India that I've met. This group referred to themselves as a "tramily"...as in...trail-family. I hadn't heard that before; I liked the term.
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We left camp at the same time as Hot Pants, so we all hiked together for the morning. Hot Pants was super friendly and fun to talk with. We pretty much had a running conversation the whole morning. She is half Filipina, just like Paintbrush, so that was a fun connection too. She got her name from drying her pants by a heater early on in her hike and she got them too close and they overheated and got a hole in them.


First up, we met Nocello from Hawaii. When he hiked the AT, his dad would bring him his cello to play at night for the hikers from time-to-time. That can't happen on the PCT, so he is Nocello. 
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We quickly passed by Hope Lake where Old Goat had camped the night before. He was already gone, so we didn't see him.
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The talk continued with Hot Pants down the trail. She mentioned that she considers herself the "grandma" of the trail as she takes care of the young 22-year-olds who make up so many of the thru-hikers on the trail. This "grandma" is the ripe old age of...29! She has a stuffed bear strapped to her pack. His name is "Larry Bear" and he is a Canadian Mounted Police. His trail name is Smokey. Here are the lovely ladies, Hot Pants and Paintbrush. You can see Smokey on Hot Pants' pack.
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Here's a picture of us in front of Thunder Mountain.
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Here is a direct shot of Thunder Mountain,
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and Hot Pants and I heading down the trail. It was great to have our own "tramily" for the morning.

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Of course I had to get a picture of Paintbrush in front of the Paintbrush.
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Next up was Decimal from Rhode Island, which is a pretty rare state to see hikers from.
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Trap Lake was just before our first break of the day at Trap Pass, the end of our first climb.
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These two twin brothers are Hard and Core from Germany. They were very friendly gentlemen and reminded me of one of my best friends and hiking partner, Mountain Goat in both appearance and demeanor.
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Trap Lake was a great spot for our hot breakfast.
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Coyote from Japan was there along with some section hikers.
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As we went down the other side of the pass, I saw Easy from Indianapolis for the second time. I had previously met him on my hike by Odell Lake during my trip there earlier this summer. He was the guy who bought my sit-pad from me since he couldn't repair his sleeping pad on the trail and needed something. (He's since then trashed my old pad as he must have figured out a better solution.) Here is Easy's before and after shot from each time I saw him.
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Since I stopped to talk, Paintbrush and Hot Pants had cruised ahead. When I passed by Surprise Lake, I saw this beautiful plaque mounted to a tree on the north side, so most, if not all, of the nobo hikers would not see this. The craftsmanship is amazing. After doing some internet research when I was home I found Robert Nelson, from Morton, Washington, which is right off the PCT, west of White Pass, graduated in Civil Engineering from University of Washington and started the Nelson Erection Company with his father, Paul Nelson. Their first project was a bridge in Forks, Washington. One of their projects was building the PCT south out of Stevens Pass which explains the sign.
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I was catching Paintbrush, see her in the rocks?
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Instead of catching her, I met T-bone from Ashland just above Surprise Lake.
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Then it was Sensei and Cat Paws from Canada. Guess what Sensei is? He is a retired Canadian Mounted Police! I found out later on a break with Hot Pants that he picked right up on Smokey on her pack!
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I caught up with Paintbrush and Hot Pants at the next water source for a quick break. While there I met 8-Ball from Czech Republic, Glamour Puss from Australia, and Cool Blue from Sacramento.
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After leaving the break, I met Bumper from Seattle and Croc from Boulder, and I must have forgot to get their picture.


Then it was Wifey from Toronto. He got the name as he takes care of the other guys in his hiking group.
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Next on the trail was Sunrise Chardonnay and Boy Scout Wheelchair from France. They were very friendly and we had a long chat...making it even harder to catch Paintbrush. They blog at www.trailevasion.com.
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I came down to the base of 6,556' Thunder Mountain, 
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and met three guys from Nonchalant Team from Israel.
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I came out from the trees to see where the trail winds up to 6,330' Surprise Mountain.
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I heard a voice from upon high...no it wasn't God, it was Paintbrush yelling "DAD!" down to me. I had to hunt her out from among the rocks, but I finally found her. Did she wait? Of course not...hikers don't wait! I started making my way up the switchbacks and met two more guys from Nonchalant Team from Israel. They were about speechless with my trail magic. One of them said, "You are crazy! You are crazy and amazing at the same time!"
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Getting to the top of Surprise Mountain, I had a great view of Thunder Mountain across the valley.
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Crossing the pass afforded nice views down to Glacier Lake.
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Then I met Tinker from Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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Ranger from Sweden was next, before we got to Piper Pass where we had lunch.
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In this area we saw Serrulate Penstemon,
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and Columbine.
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Skinny Dip finally caught up to us at lunch and cruised off to try to catch Hot Pants as they were trying to get big miles in to catch up to their regular pace. We rounded the corner after Piper Pass to see our new valley (through the smoke). it contained 7,492' Mt Hinman, Lynch Glacier, and 7,899' Mt Daniel, which is the tallest mountain in the wilderness.
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We wound down to the beautiful Deception Lakes to get some more water. 
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We met Cruise from Redding while we were there, who I had also met down in Etna, but in the excitement, I guess I forgot to get his picture.


Before we left, we also met Red, from Iowa.
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Paintbrush had a good eye to see these heart-shapes within the leaves of this plant.
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There were Thimbleberries in the area that supplemented my diet for the day.
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Next up was Panther from Germany,
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and a Police Moth on a Fleabane.
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On down the trail was Boo Boo from Texas.
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Paintbrush was slowing down a bit as we neared the finish line. Can you find her in the picture?
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Arnica was in the area.
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Austin from Los Angeles was our last hiker to meet on the trail before we arrived at camp at Deception Pass along a small pond.
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We ended up camping with Dr Pepper from England and Chariot from Michigan. I met both of them down in the Etna area on my last hike. I learned what a "Ramen Bomb" is from Chariot. (A brick of ramen and spice with a 1/2 instant mashed potato mixed into to it.)  It was funny to hear them chatting in camp as they discussed global politics and the notion of being the favorite child in a family. Chariot proudly proclaimed that he was the favorite child in his family. He was quite convincing until he let on that he was joking. But of course that led them into that discussion and if it was a thing or not. When we met Dr Pepper in California, we let him know that Federer has lost in Wimbledon. He informed me that he had just gotten over that, now that he was half-way through Washington! He gets his name as he loves Dr Pepper, which is not available in England. Chariot gets his name from carrying a chair to sit in on his hike that weighs almost 2 pounds.
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Here's the before and after of Dr Pepper,
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and Chariot. I've camped with Chariot twice now...I think that's a first!
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I had brought along a special treat for Paintbrush. We each had a freeze-dried ice cream sandwich. They are the real deal! They were quite good!
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We climbed into our tents for bed at 8:30, here was our location for the night.
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It was another great day on the PCT!
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Paintbrush's Report:
On day two I found myself getting further and further in front of my dad hehe. :) As I began to embrace hiking alone I couldn’t help but feel a little proud of myself for maintaining such a lead over my father. My favorite part of the day was an insignificant moment, but one that I still remember. After hiking through a sort of rocky meadow I began to sharply ascend up a rocky hill. I had to keep the lead over my dad. This was when I started to notice how much faster I would hike when in front - it became kind of like a game to me. Anyway, when I had reached a certain elevation on the rocky hill, I was able to look down into the meadow I had crossed previously. After a bit of searching, I spotted my dad, shouted his name and waved my trekking poles. Awhile later he finally spotted me. It gave me quite a sense of satisfaction knowing I was that far ahead. :) Needless to say, after day-two, I realized how much more drive I had when in front; I liked finishing first. The worst part of day-two was the last mile before reaching camp. Let’s just say I’ve had a pretty lazy summer and exceeding 10 miles killed my feet!


Summary:
Better smoke today, great fun hiking with Hot Pants, beautiful mountains and alpine lakes. 


Favorite experience of the day:
Getting to hike with another sobo, Hot Pants. 


Least favorite experience of the day:
The smoke still being a factor with views (but much better!)


Today's route (top-to-bottom):
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track (bottom-to-top):
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-GoalTech
www.GoalTechHikes.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)


2018.29 - PCT21 - Day 3 - Deception Pass to Waptus River
“‘Flying’ down the trail” 


8/22/18
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Miles: 14.7
PCT Miles: 14.7
PCT Miles: 2440-2425
Time: 10 hrs, 40 min
Avg MPH: 1.4
Elev Min: 3,000’
Elev Max: 5,600’
Total Ascent: 2,440’
Total Descent: 3,890’
Elev Change: -1,440’
Steps: 35,600’
Flights of Stairs: 158
Time Up: 5:00
Sleep Hours: 5.5
Leave Camp: 6:50
Temp Low: 60
Temp High: 85
Thru-hikers: 33/83
Other hikers: 29/46
Male:Female hikers: 64%/36%
Hikers with a trail name: 91%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 1:15
Wildlife: Pacific Fritillary Butterfly, Birds, Chipmunk
Chips: 19/56
Via: 7/14
Nips: 3/8
Other: 1/1
Declines: 3/4
Duplicates: 1/11 (3%)
Verizon Cell Service: None


Cle Elum River * Mt Daniel * Lynch Glacier * Cathedral Rock * Chimney Rock * Deep Lake * Spinola Creek * Waptus River * Bears Breast Mountain


Opening Shot: Paintbrush leaping Cle Elum River
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We started the morning by meeting Trey from New York, before heading down toward the headwaters of the Cle Elum river that comes down from Lynch Glacier on Mt Daniel.

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We saw some Thistle on the way.
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Looking down the canyon of the Cle Elum river during the sunrise was quite nice, even with the smoke.
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I saw Cascade Canada Goldenrod for the first time.
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We had heard that the Cle Elum river could be a challenging ford, so we were wondering what it would be like. Here is Paintbrush crossing a make-shift bridge over a portion of the headwaters of this river.
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We followed some rock cairns and found a reasonably good spot to cross to keep our feet dry. I led the way by making the jump pretty easily. of course my legs are longer than Paintbrush's, but I thought she too could handle the leap. Here she is making it look easy!
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As we reconnected to the trail, we met Ultraviolet from the UK.
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Just after her was Hangman from the Bay Area
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While we were talking, Old Goat joined us and we hiked with him for a bit and visited more. It was fun to connect with him a couple times each day. The smoke was better today, which improved our views of Mt Daniel.
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We took what we thought was going to be a quick break for second breakfast, but it turned into a whole hour with the parade of hikers coming through. First up it was Sea Bass from Vienna (on the right) and Peter from Zimbabwe. Peter is the first PCT hiker ever from Zimbabwe. He blogs about is adventure at http://6millionsteps.co.za. He is hiking to raise money for childhood cancers.
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Then we met Ninja Fabric from the Bavaria area of Germany (she makes all her own clothes), Slow-mo from Israel (he said that it's rare for him to be in front), and Swede from New Jersey. They were all a very friendly group, which led to our extended break.
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Finally we got moving again; we met Rocket from Germany, Hummingbird from Vienna, and Finn from Washington.
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Mt Daniel was continuing to serve up nice views through the smoky haze.
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We were climbing in earnest as we crested around 6,724' Cathedral Rock.
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Here are Flip Flop and Detour, both from Michigan, with a nice backdrop of Cathedral Rock again.
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The tall peak on the left is Chimney Rock at 7,569’…remember that name.
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Next was Paint Peeler from Munich. 
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I started dropping down to Deep Lake, which was the most beautiful part of the day. Chimney Rock is right in the center of this shot.
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Four Eyes from Florida was next. I asked her if she had seen my daughter ahead, but she didn’t think so. This worried me a bit until she exclaimed that it could have been since she was off-trail taking a poo. Ah the things hikers are comfortable talking about!
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There were long waterfalls coming down off of the mountains bringing water to the lake. Obviously, the smoky haze was still impacting our views.
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Winding down to the lake, I met Kenny from the UK,
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and saw this flower with an unknown name…any help?
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River from Australia was next. She blogs at http://thisramblingrover.wp.com
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Then it was Butters from Vancouver, Washington,
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and Horses*&t from Boise. He actually introduced himself by his real name, but said that he had talked to a hiker up ahead of me who asked him 2 questions. (As soon as he said that, I knew it had to be Hot Pants, as we had talked about her “two questions” that she always asks.) She asked him what was going to miss the most when he got off-trail. He responded by saying that he would miss not having to be a slave to other people’s email and listening to their horses*&t. He then said that this other hiker (Hot Pants) suggested that his name be Horsesh*&t! And lo and behold, I was the first hiker he used it with!
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I met 5th Course from BC, but he quickly exclaimed that he didn’t accept trail magic, as he has a problem with people who leave it unattended on the trail as it leads to litter and animals getting into it. Obviously that wasn’t a problem for me…but…whatever. Dr Solo from Colorado was next.
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Then I got to the outlet of Deep Lake. Paintbrush was waiting for me there patiently. I’ve been so impressed with her confidence of essentially hiking solo for good chunks of the day without even thinking about it. We had a nice lunch at this comfortable spot and watched a few hikers come through on the stepping stones. Paintbrush was warning them about an unstable one and the log that would roll when stepped upon. The last guy we saw come through brushed off her warning proclaiming that he had hiked the Sierra in the snow and was well versed in water crossings. He deliberately stepped on the wobbly stone (which took him by surprise), and also onto the rolling log, even though he could have avoided it all-together on the stones next to it. He almost bit it on the log when it rolled, but he managed to catch himself. I’m not gunna lie…I would have chuckled pretty good had he fell it to the creek! Just his losing his balance was enough to give us satisfaction that he realized he should have listened to her. Out we went from the creek with Paintbrush managing the stones with no problem.
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We met Yoseki from Pasadena, while we enjoyed the view down to Deep Lake.


Hot Shot from France was next. He lamented the fact that he’s only had one clear day without smoke in Washington on his hike.
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We wrapped around and hiked down along the deep canyoned Spinola Creek. We had hiked for quite some time without seeing anyone as we approached Waptus Lake. But then we met Pharma and Hashtag from Cle Elum along with Solo from Maine. The gals were hiking right by their home town! They also know the son of one of my best friends from high school who lives in Cle Elum now. Solo appreciated the trail magic a lot. He asked me, “Do you like caffeine?” I said that of course I did! He gave me three packets of a powdered drink called “Razzle Dazzle”. Apparently it was a project of the girls’ relative that never made it to market, so they had a large supply of them that they were using up and giving away. I decided to save them for Paintbrush to try on our long climb and 18-miler tomorrow since she doesn’t like coffee.
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Here is a variety of Heather I believe.
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Somehow I missed this gentleman’s name.
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Following him was Rat, from New Hampshire.
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Yala Yala from Israel was next. His name means, “Let’s go, let’s go!” in Arabic.
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We were getting close to the finish and I met Tenderfoot from Sweden, and Sideways from The Netherlands. I again asked if my daughter was ahead. They paused a moment to think, and then Tenderfoot said, “Oh…the pretty girl…yes, she’s just ahead.” (Dad smiles)
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Last up was Ren from Salt Lake City.
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We got to camp, which was right off the river, at 5:30 which is great timing for a relaxed evening. It was a really nice site, so we were quickly staking our claim and setting up camp. Ramen Shaman came through from Saudi Arabia. He said that he is the first PCT thru-hiker from Saudi Arabia and that people back home think he’s crazy.
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Keeper from Georgia was our last hiker for the day.
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Once camp was setup we both went down to the river to go for a brisk swim to freshen up…and I do mean brisk! I’d guess that it was about 55 degrees. Let’s just say it was a rather short swim! We had nice views of Bears Breast Mountain (7,197’) during the sunset.
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Here’s a video right by our campsite.
2018-08-22 PCT21 Day 3 Sunset on Waptus from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


The moon looked great too through the haze.
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Old Goat stopped by camp to visit as he was setup just down the path. Two other section hikers were just up above us too. We’re continuing our streak of not camping alone.


Paintbrush Report:
By far the best part of day three was crossing the Cle Elum river. As we approached the river the previous day, several thru-hikers gave us information on the conditions of the somewhat difficult crossing; it really was the talk among all of the hikers. I was excited to finally see what everyone had been talking about. Once my dad and I finally reached the crossing, we traversed across some rocks with an amazing view up into burnt orange valley graced with a waterfall. Here’s a photo I snapped of my dad with the stunning view in the background. 
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In particular, one moment that thrilled me, was when I had to jump from one rock to another quite a distance away. I’m not going to lie, it had me a little scared. My dad managed to capture a picture of me mid leap- thanks dad. :) 
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As our day of hiking came to a close, my feet ached all over and I realized that a blister was starting to form. Needless to say, the worst part of day-three was embracing my hiker-hobble as I walked around camp very slowly with a blistered foot. Soaking my foot in the Waptus River at the end of the day was so cold and satisfying. I couldn't wait to fall asleep. I knew day-four would be full of challenges; my dad and I would be hiking 18 miles tomorrow. I did not feel prepared...at all.
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Summary:
Another smoky day, but at least we can see the close mountains in the haze. Lots of cool features to see, better that yesterday. 


Favorite experience of the day:
Being able to at least see the main features through the smoke. 


Least favorite experience of the day:
The smoke rendering the close views in haze and the far ones non-existent. 


Today's route (top-to-bottom):
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track:
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-GoalTech
www.GoalTechHikes.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)


2018.30 - PCT21 - Day 4 - Waptus River to Spectacle Lake
“A thru-hiker is born” 


8/23/18
Rating: 5 Stars


Miles: 18.7
PCT Miles: 17.6
PCT Miles: 2425-2408
Time: 10 hrs, 25 min
Avg MPH: 1.8
Elev Min: 3,100’
Elev Max: 5,600’
Total Ascent: 5,025’
Total Descent: 3,620’
Elev Change: +1,405’
Steps: 42,300
Flights of Stairs: 258
Time Up: 4:45
Sleep Hours: 6
Leave Camp: 5:50 (70 min prep)
Temp Low: 65
Temp High: 75
Thru-hikers: 16/99
Other hikers: 13/59
Male:Female hikers: 59%/41%
Hikers with a trail name: 81%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 1:20
Wildlife: Mouse, Small Birds, Deer Tracks, Pacific Fritillary Butterfly, Garter Snake
Chips: 9/65
Via: 3/17
Nips: 3/11
Declines: 1/5
Duplicates: 3/14 (19%)
Verizon Cell Service: None


Bears Breast Mountain * Little Big Chief Mountain * Waptus Lake * Three Queens * Solo Tarn * Lemah Mountain * Four Brothers * Chickamin Peak* Chimney Rock * Overcoat Peak * Summit Chief * Whinnimic Falls * Delate Creek Waterfall * Spectacle Lake


Opening Shot: The ridge line we viewed for most of the day. 
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It was time for our big day! We were up early at 4:45am and got ready in the dark as we wanted to make sure we had time to get in our big miles for the day. We left camp at 5:50am, just as it was getting light enough to see. Paintbrush mentioned that she had a mouse visitor during the night scampering on the outside of her tent. I’m sure glad we didn’t keep any food in our tents as those suckers won’t think twice about chewing a hole through to get at the food! We wished Old Goat a good morning as we passed by his camp on the way to the bridge-crossing of the Waptus River. You definitely don’t want to rely too much on the railings. Ha!
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Paintbrus tried her first serving of Razzle Dazzle this morning, from the caffeine drink packets that we had gotten yesterday from the hikers we met. Up the hill we went, with trail magic in tow.
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There were nice views of Bears Breast Mountain as we climbed up away from the river.
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We had our first view of Waptus Lake as sunrise hit. It was strange that we hiked along the other side of it for probably an hour yesterday, but we never actually saw it, as the trees were too thick.
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Even though the smoke was improving, we still had reminders of it as the sun crested the horizon.
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The views improved as we climbed, with Little Big Chief Mountain (7,225’) coming into view.
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Bears Breast was also looking more impressive with some snow tucked in there too.
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Our first thru-hiker of the day was Linner (Lunch and Dinner combined) from Sequim. While I was talking with Linner, Paintbrush moved on ahead up the trail. 
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Once I moved on too, I sped up my pace to reel her in. This was a morning where we were really “eating our mountains for breakfast”, as our day started immediately with a 2,500’ climb. I passed some local backpackers that were coming down just before the trail started to even-out at the top. I still hadn’t seen Paintbrush, but I did have a reunion with Soda Pop from Japan who I had met down in California last month. He let me know that his favorite sodas in the United States are root beer floats. Here is Soda Pop from his California picture to his Washington picture (i.e., before and after).
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Then I met a very friendly younger couple that were section hiking the opposite direction. The man was all covered up with hardly any skin showing. He let me know that he had to do that due to the light sensitivity of his skin due to his cancer-fighting drugs. Eight years ago he had been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer, with little chance for survival. He went on an experimental drug that he reacted well to and has been fighting it off ever since. He’s not out of the woods, but he’s still successfully barely holding it at bay. He said that it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him as it caused him to live his life to the fullest every day…now those are some powerful words, what an inspiration.


I entered into the “fragile area” that does not permit camping. It was stunningly beautiful. I kept looking up-trail for Paintbrush, but I still couldn’t find her! I was really truckin’ in between hikers too! Here is a high lake with the sun coming up,
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and looking down into the meadow of the fragile area.
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Look who was sitting there on the rock, all relaxed and waiting for me! I heard a, “Look who decided to show up!” comment. My…gettin’ cocky I see!
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I took a short break too before we got going again as it was so gorgeous. Paintbrush told me that as she passed up the local backpackers, she heard one say “Show-off.”, somewhat jokingly as she cruised by them with ease.


Just as we were getting going again, Magpie from Canada was comin’ in hot on the trail. I used my tactic of semi-standing in the middle of the trail and mentioning the magic words of “trail magic”, and she stopped a few feet after passing me. She said, “Sorry for being rude”, regarding her blazing past me without intending to stop. This made me chuckle a bit as I also met her down in California…and had the EXACT same experience, even with the exactly same worded apology! Ha! She inexplicably passed on the trail magic this time though as opposed to her time in California.


The morning light in the meadows were just perfect as we transitioned through and out of them.
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We met Pack Mule from Pennsylvania,
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and Ice Bear from Germany.
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Here’s an action shot of Ice Bear and my capturing the details of our visit in the Notes app of my phone. :-)
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We were just about flabbergasted as we crested Escondido Ridge…the views to the south were stunning!
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Here’s a video clip to see the massive views too.
2018-08-22 PCT21 Esdondido Ridge from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


Old Goat told us about his secret spot at the top of the ridge. It’s his favorite swimming hole in these parts, nicknamed Solo Tarn. It’s a tarn that is just out of sight and off trail at the summit of the ridge. We broke off to go there for our second breakfast. We saw this little guy on the way.
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It felt great to jump in and take a swim before my hot oatmeal and coffee breakfast.
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Here we are, just as we are heading back out to the trail.
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We started down the long switchbacks to lower down into the the Lemah Valley and Lemah Creek. We had front row seats all the way down of the mountains left-to-right of Lemah Mountain (7,169’), Four Brothers (6,490’), Chickamin Peak (6,923’), Chimney Rock (7,569’), Overcoat Peak (7,320’), Summit Chief (7,464’), and  Little Big Chief that we saw earlier. Wow! What a sight! We also could see the long and winding Whinnimic Falls coming down out of the mountains.
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Here is a video of the landscape too.
2018-08-22 PCT21 Lemah Valley from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


Can you see the falls in the middle of this picture?
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Here are the Four Brothers on the left and Chickamin Peak on the right. Our camp will be right at the base of the Four brothers…we’ve got a ways to go!
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Here are the Three Queens (6,690'), which we will have excellent views from our camp.
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As I quickly descended, I still couldn’t catch Paintbrush. She was a tad disappointed she missed out on getting her first “10-by-10”, which is the gold standard target for any thru-hiker, to get 10 miles completed before 10am. After looking at my watch, I did see that I had a chance to get a 12-by-12. I picked up the pace even more…but then I started running in to thru-hikers. First was Chuckwagon from Michigan.
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I figured I could still make it if I didn’t meet anymore hikers…and then there was Red Beard from Minnesota and Lead Dog from Georgia. I met Red Beard down in California. Let’s just say I was more efficient with my trail magic offerings!
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Here's a before and after from meeting "Redmond James Beard" earlier in California.
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I literally started running…the trail tread was good and I was so close! I ran until my watch chimed noon. I looked at my mileage…12.12 miles…I did it! My first 12-by-12! (Of course technically Paintbrush got her first one before me as she was still in front of me.) Lowering down more into the valley brought us into the trees and other green growth. It also brought better views of Whinnimic Falls.
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I had finally caught up with Paintbrush…her Razzle Dazzle must be wearing off! We hiked together and met Speedy Gonzalez from Korea,
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and Sea Biscuit from San Diego.
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We saw our first snake…a boring Garter Snake.
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While there was a ton of Vanilla Leaf on the hike, this was literally the only one I saw that had remnants of its stalk still on it.
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Just before Lemah Creek we met Spice Man from North Carolina. He had paid a visit to Eugene, so Paintbrush needed to get a picture with the appropriate attire for her university.
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We had heard that Lemah Creek had a washed-out bridge and could be a tricky crossing, but it turned out to be a tame piece of cake this late in the season.
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Here’s a video of Paintbrush making the crossing.
2018-08-22 Lemah Creek from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


We had a nice relaxing lunch and re-filled our water before getting back on the trail and meeting Mac from Seattle and Jim from New Zealand. 
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We were in Lemah Meadow now with lots of Fireweed and expansive views, it was a big transition from the forest.
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As we switchbacked up the hill we met Johnnie from Switzerland, who’s lost 40 pounds so far on the trail.
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We got to Delate Creek Falls where some thru-hikers were taking a break.
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Here is a video of the falls.
2018-08-22 Delate Falls from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


And here are Mule and Olaf from Belgium getting their chips as they took their break below at the creek.

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Off we went…in the final stretch of the day…up more switchbacks.
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We reached our turn-off from the trail as our campsite was planned to be down at Spectacle Lake, which is a half-mile off trail. What we didn’t know, was that our campsite was even further, out at the end of the peninsula, making it 0.9 miles off the trail. The views going down to the lake made me pretty excited about our goal for the day being worth the almost 19 miles of hiking.
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Here comes Paintbrush…she’s slowing down to her hiker hobble!
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We camped out at the end of the peninsula that sticks out into the lake. We arrived at our camp just after 4pm…one of our earliest finishes ever! It’s amazing to say that after an almost 19 mile day with 5,000’ of elevation gain!
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Here’s a video to give you a better perspective.
2018-08-22 PCT21 Spectacle North from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


This is the view to the south from our campsite. The Four Brothers are straight ahead, and Lemah Peak is in the upper-right corner.
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Here is a video view to the south, from our campsite for better perspective.
2018-08-22 Spectacle South from Michael Irving on Vimeo.



As we set up camp, the clouds started to gather more and the gusty wind picked up. It got more chilly, but also provided a cool looking spotlight to the lake.
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Even though it was getting colder, I couldn’t pass up such an amazing view of a swim.
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Even Paintbrush went for a dip.
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We quickly got changed into our warm clothes to warm up as it was cooling off in a hurry. (with Lemah Peak in the background)

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Three Queens is the featured mountain in this shot,
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It was nice to have some extra time to relax in camp.
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We cooked up some dinner and I shared my trick of putting the freeze-dried meal with boiling water inside your jacket as a “hot water bottle” while it cooks. Of course it was an epic fail on my part as I didn’t get the Ziploc correctly sealed and got dinner on my puffy jacket. Oh man, I was so miffed that I had messed that up…hopefully it won’t attract critters in my tent.
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We enjoyed a nice sunset with each other, catching up on a successful day.
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Just us and Three Queens.
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Time for bed…another great day on the Pacific Crest Trail. I think it’s safe to say that a thru-hiker was born today!
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Paintbrush Report:
Day-four was a day full of triumphant experiences. Not only was I able to complete the 18+ mile day of hiking, but a majority of the time was spent hiking alone in front, since my dad was unable to keep up with my speed hiking ;). This was all possible because of a miracle-working energy drink powder called Razzle Dazzle that a hiker gifted my dad the day before. I should preface this by saying I am not a coffee drinker and drink almost no caffeine. After indulging in the tart red drink at 5am, not only was I wide awake, but I was hiking faster than ever before. Oh the miracles of caffeine :). The previous day I had heard a couple hikers exclaiming their joy of hiking ten miles before 10am (a 10-by-10). I like to say that if I didn't have to stop and wait for my dad at the top of Escondido Ridge, then I would have completed the holy grail of hiking. I was so proud of myself when I reached the top of that ridge. As I waited for my dad to catch up, I perched myself on top of a rock ready to brag of my accomplishments.
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Needless to say, he was very proud of me, He had actually been worried something might have happened to me since he hadn’t caught up to me at his usual hiking pace. As the day continued on, we were met with some incredible views which were by far the best of the entire hike. Among these were Solo Tarn and the mountains off the ridge to the south in the picture below.
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As we approached Spectacle Lake, our campsite for the night, my feet ached like never before in my life and I could barely walk at all. Sadly the effects of the Razzle Dazzle had worn off. I never thought I would look forward to a falling asleep in a cramped tent and eating sub-par freeze-dried food; by the end of the day I could not wait for it. By day-four, I had finally embraced everything that being a section hiker entailed, and I was proud.


Summary:
What a day! It was long, but Paintbrush crushed it! I could hardly keep up. The smoke cleared a lot, which was awesome. The rugged mountains in Washington are AMAZING! And Spectacle Lake is AMAZING!


Favorite experience of the day:
The smoke cleared, just in time for the  best parts!
Grace crushing it in true thru-hiker form!


Least favorite experience of the day:
It was cold (60) and windy when we got to camp, so our swim was abbreviated. 


Today's route (top-to-bottom):
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track:
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-GoalTech
www.GoalTechHikes.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)


2018.31 - PCT21 - Day 5 - Spectacle Lake to Ridge Lake
“1,300 Miles on the PCT” 


8/24/18
Rating: 5 Stars


Miles: 10.9
PCT Miles: 10.0
PCT Miles: 2408-2398
Time: 8 hrs, 30 min
Avg MPH: 1.3
Elev Min: 4,200’
Elev Max: 6,005’
Total Ascent: 3,950’
Total Descent: 3,100’
Elev Change: +850’
Steps: 31,200
Flights of Stairs: 276
Time Up: 5:45
Sleep Hours: 6.5
Leave Camp: 9:30
Temp Low: 45
Temp High: 50
Thru-hikers: 12/111
Other hikers: 14/73
Male:Female hikers: 46%/54%
Hikers with a trail name: 100%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 2:05
Wildlife: Big white bird, small birds, Pika, Marmot sounds, Squirrels
Chips: 7/72
Via: 2/17
Nips: 2/13
Declines: 1/6
Duplicates: 5/19 (26%)
Verizon Cell Service: None


Three Queens * Spectacle Lake * Hibox Mountain * Park Lakes * 6,005’ High Point * Joe Lake * Alaska Mountain false summit * Alta Mountain * Mt Thomson * Alaska Lake * 2,400-mile PCT marker * 1,300-mile milestone * Gravel Lake * Ridge Lake


Opening Shot: 1,300 PCT-mile milestone
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Today was to be a short day so we slept in and had hot breakfast in camp. 
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We didn’t leave camp until the late hour of 9:30. 
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We hiked back down the peninsula much faster than the time it took us in our tired state to get out on it last night. My plan was to use the toilet on the way out, but there was actually a line for it. Forget that...I’ll dig my own toilet just down the trail! We got back out to the PCT and headed south. Paintbrush had a Razzle Dazzle for breakfast and she was off like a rocket while I used the local facilities. I met Junk from Philadelphia as my first hiker of the day. 
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It was another morning climb, but climbs bring views. I got a nice view back to Lemah Meadow that we had come through the afternoon yesterday. 
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Three Queens was out, but just barely, with clouds swirling around the summit. 
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Next, I met the brother and sister combo of Ramblin’ Rose and Catfish John from Arizona. I love seeing siblings hiking together...very cool. 
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The climbing continued and I met Early Bird from France. You can see Spectacle Lake behind her, where we camped. We were out on the end of that peninsula. 
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Here is a zoomed-in shot. You can see an orange tent out towards the end. That’s about where we were. 
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And one more at the top of the crest, before leaving the lake behind. 
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I passed by Park Lakes. 
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This is looking back at Three Queens,
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and looking forward to Hibox Mountain (6,642’) on Box Ridge.
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At this point, I was wrapping around the shoulder of of the last of the Four Brothers that we could see from camp last night. Alas…they were in the foggy clouds. I also passed Mark and Todd, who we camped with on the third night at Waptus River. Still…there was no sign of Paintbrush. As I made my final push to the pass, I saw her once again waiting for me, visiting with Hike Alone from Port Townsend. She was a very friendly lady; we had quite the conversation both before I arrived, and during the time I was there. She’s been section hiking the trail to complete the whole thing and is almost done. What a great connection.
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At this pass point was where the clouds were stacking up too unfortunately. On our side, the clouds were pretty high, keeping the views decent. As we crossed the pass, it was socked in on the other side…bummer! It was starting to get pretty cold with the breezy fog, so we donned our jackets, which felt real nice compared to my hiking shirt. We started along the hillside slope in the steady talus rock in the new fog.
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See Paintbrush out there in the lead…as usual?
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The clouds lifted a few times to give us some peeks at views.
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We met Team Blue from Seaside, Oregon. I met them also in California. Here is their before and after shot.
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Then we met quite the character in Crazy 71 from Hong Kong. He attempted to hike the PCT last year when he was 71 years old, but could only muster an average of about 11 miles per day, so he didn’t finish in time. This year he came back for Crazy 71, Part 2 and is averaging closer to 15 miles per day. He did end up successfully completing the trail this year on September 17th. Well done Crazy 71! Here is a picture of us that he took and posted to his Facebook page along with the story behind the picture…pretty fun.
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The fog continued to lift from time to time to give us a view or two.
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This video will give you a little perspective of the chill.
2018-08-24 PCT21 - Chickamin Ridge from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


This Pika let me get closer than any other one I’ve seen by far.
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I saw Harebell here at the only point on the entire hike,
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with some Yarrow to follow.
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The eerie sights continued in the clouds.
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Here comes Paintbrush around the curve.
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A new flower that I’ve never seen before was Pacific Stonecrop.
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We made it to the highest point of our hike, 6,005’.
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We met Cave Man and Hot Lips from Redding. They were finishing up their hike from last year and they recognized me. After a brief discussion, I remembered that we had met just south of Splinters Cabin in Southern California. Here is their before and after.
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The talus finally came to and end as the clouds continued to rise.
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We met Wendy of the Lost Boys from Australia. She talked about the how unique all the animals are in the United States, compared to Australia. She casually used the example that there are no squirrels in Australia. I just about had to pick Paintbrush up off the ground she was so surprised.
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We came up and around a very cool looking lake called Joe Lake.
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Here’s a video of the surrounding scenery.
2018-08-24 PCT21 Joe Lake from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


Hey…guess who’s in the lead?
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Here is a flower that I’m not sure of…any ideas?
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I don’t know what this is either??
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Okay…how about a common Daisy for this one?
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Next up was Secret Vice from Australia. I met here in California hiking with her dad…she still wouldn’t tell me her secret vice! Here’s her before and after.
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We passed the 2,400-mile marker for the northbound hikers as we made our way through the trees.
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We climbed up to pass very near to the summit of Alaska Mountain (5,745’). I thought for sure there ought to be a social trail up to the summit. There appeared to be a faint one, so we checked it out. It wasn’t as simple as I had hoped it would be. It was on a pretty good side-hill and was slow going. We did make it to a false summit, but figured it wasn’t worth the effort to get to the true summit, only a few feet higher, this late in the day. So here we are on the false summit of Alaska Mountain.
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This is looking across the valley to Alta Mountain (6,152’).
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Here comes Paintbrush on the steeply sloped trail.
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Then I hit my 1,300-mile mark on the PCT! I am so close to being half-way complete.
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There were plenty of (Bilberry/Huckleberry/Blueberries??) to snack on along the trail.
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We found some Paintbrush for Paintbrush
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Our last mountain to pass by was Mt Thomson (6,554’),
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and Alaska Lake.
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We finally made it to Ridge Lake at about 6pm…2 hours later than yesterday when we hiked 8 additional miles! It seems like that always happens on “easy” days. I always have to keep that sense of urgency going on section hikes, even on the “easy” days. The foggy wind was blowing up the hill on the other side of the trail by Gravel Lake over to us on Ridge Lake. We were pretty protected, but my visions of a lake swim had been dashed as it had been pretty chilly all afternoon and into the evening. We set up camp overlooking the lake and had a nice dinner together visiting. This would be our last night on the trail, so we wanted to make the most of it. Good night from Ridge Lake!
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Paintbrush Report:
Day-five once again began with a dose of Razzle Dazzle energy drink and a climb. Once I had finally made it to the top of the hill, the view of Spectacle Lake from of up above was quite a sight. We could actually see where we had camped the previous night. I took off again hoping to keep the lead over my dad. After awhile, I soon approached an abundance of talus along with another climb...not my cup of tea. As I approached the top of the ridge I could see Park Lakes that I had just walked by not too long ago along with a nice sweeping view of the whole valley. However, I was disappointed to see that on the opposite side of the ridge no views could be seen due to fog. After chatting with another section hiker, named Hike Alone, at the top of the ridge, my dad and I took off into the fog. Sadly, any views for the remainder of the day where almost impossible to see due to the weather. Although this was a disappointment, Ridge Lake that we camped at was a nice view for the night. I was so ready for the sixth and final day of hiking tomorrow. I just couldn't wait to take a shower.


Summary:
I was quite concerned with the clouds in the morning, but it turned out to be an okay day...I didn’t feel like we missed anything major with our views. This was a stunning day on par with yesterday. It was an easy day that classically got away from us as it was our latest arrival to camp of the trip. Today marks only the second day that the number of female hikers has outnumbered male hikers. Last year in Washington was the first time I had encountered that.


Favorite experience of the day:
Seeing Joe Lake and the big mountains and valleys around it under the fog. 


Least favorite experience of the day:
The fog replacing (and being worse for views) the smoke. 


Today's route (right-to-left):
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track (bottom-right to upper-left):
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-GoalTech
www.GoalTechHikes.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)


2018.32 - PCT21 - Day 6 - Ridge Lake to Snoqualmie Pass
“The race is on!” 


8/25/18
Rating: 4 Stars (due to fog)


Miles: 7.9
PCT Miles: 7.5
PCT Miles: 2462-2454
Time: 3 hrs, 45 min
Avg MPH: 2.1
Elev Min: 2,900’
Elev Max: 5,500’
Total Ascent: 810’
Total Descent: 3,100’
Elev Change: -2,300’
Steps: 35,000
Flights of Stairs: 40
Time Up: 5:00
Sleep Hours: 4
Leave Camp: 6:30 (90-min prep)
Temp Low: 45
Temp High: 60
Thru-hikers: 9/120
Other hikers: 99/172
Male:Female hikers: 65%/35%
Hikers with a trail name: 100%
Longest time without seeing a hiker: 1:20
Wildlife: Ptarmigan, Pika, Small Birds
Chips: 3/75
Via: 0/17
Nips: 5/18
Declines: 1/7
Duplicates: 0
Verizon Cell Service: Didn’t check
Approach Road: Interstate
Parking Permit Required: Didn’t check
Parking Lot: Large trailhead, but packed
Bathrooms: Pit toilets at trailhead


Kendall Katwalk * Guye Peak * Paintbrush’s Teacher * Alpine Wilderness Boundary * Snoqualmie Pass * Summit Inn * Pie for the People * Aardvark Food Truck * Snoqualmie Falls


Opening Shot: Paintbrush and GoalTech at the finish!
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We were out early at 6:30 as we wanted to make good time to get to Snoqualmie Pass and get a shower before check-out time at 11am where The Foursome was staying at the Summit Inn to pick us up at the end. We heard some rummaging around down at the lake and found Old Goat getting water on our way out. It was so good to see him to say goodbye on this last day.  
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We started in the fog, heading towards the infamous Kendall Katwalk. I was very excited to see this, although I was a bit bummed that it would be in the fog. This part of the trail was finished in 1979 and is a 150-yard long narrow pathway, just across the valley from Kendall Peak. Here is Paintbrush at the beginning of it.
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She dashed off in front of me as usual.
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Here is a video clip of walking along the Kendall Katwalk trail.
2018-08-25 PCT21 Kendall Katwalk from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


Here is a Google Earth shot of our GPS track on the Katwalk to give you a better perspective of it. I’ve got to get back here someday soon without the clouds!
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I had to scurry along to catch up with Paintbrush. It literally felt like walking on a catwalk through the clouds.
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I love this picture of Paintbrush hiking ahead in the tall timbers in the fog. We had just dropped back into the trees to descend down to Snoqualmie Pass to complete our hike.
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Our first hikers of the day were Sensei from Montreal and Gazelle from the Bay Area. Gazelle gave us all the tips on the food at Snoqualmie. She apparently took the gourmet tour. Our mouths were watering!
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This is the only spot I saw mushrooms like these.
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And fir cones that apparently were a squirrel’s breakfast.
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Our only mountain view this morning was of Guye Peak (5,010’). This was also when we started running into all the day-hikers making their pilgrimage up to the Katwalk.
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We met a super fun group from Austria that included Engine from Vienna, Cucumba from Styra in Austria, which is where Arnold Schwarzenegger is from, and Hot Hat, also from Vienna. Cucumba got him name as he always hikes in the middle. Cucumber sandwiches are quite popular in Europe and someone from Europe gave him that “sandwich in the middle” name using the local spelling of it in their language.
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My only Soloman’s Seal was next,
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This is just as we were leaving the Alpine Wilderness. I can always tell we’re getting close to the end of a section hike when I can hear the high-speed highway traffic of cars that starts about 3 miles from the finish. With all the day-hikers we passed, we both remarked that they smelled so good and fresh! I’m pretty sure that was the opposite of our smell!
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Next, we met Rocket Man from Quebec.
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Then I heard Paintbrush exclaim, “Hi Ms Baker!”. She met her high school chemistry teacher on the PCT! How cool is that! Ms Baker had just retired and was working on her section hikes to finish the entire trail.
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Next up was Rabid Rabbit from Park City,
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followed by Silver from Denmark.
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Paintbrush then took it to the next level. I think she was smelling the barn as she took off running down the trail. I was running after her as we both wanted to make our 10am finish goal to get our long, hot showers. Everything was fine until I got tangled up in my trekking poles and biffed it on the ground. Of course Paintbrush was STILL way ahead of me. I yelled at her, but she didn't hear me. I was just laying there hoping I was fine and waiting for the instant pain to subside. After a 1/2-minute or so, it seemed that I wasn't going to die, so I lifted myself back up, brushed off, and took off running again (not using my trekking poles this time!)
2018-08-25 PCT21 Paintbrush Running from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


We got down to the trailhead and headed off toward the pass to get done before our goal time…we thought we could do it! After getting 2/10ths of a mile down the trail I had a weird feeling. I checked my maps, and sure enough, we were off-trail. Back we went to find the real trail and the last couple of 10ths of a mile to the freeway at the pass.
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We made it! We cruised easily along the freeway checking out the Snoqualmie Pass ski area. This will be another spot I need to check out this winter!
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We got up to the Chevron where The Foursome was waiting for us. We made it!
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We got showered up at their hotel…which felt really, really good! Then we headed over to Pie for the People for our gigantic slices of pizza.
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Of course we also had to check out the Aardvark Express food truck!
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We had the Teri-Bowl, which is a teriyaki chicken bowl…so good!
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Before leaving, we went back to the Snoqualmie Inn to sign the PCT logbook. 
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Check out all the hiker boxes waiting to be picked up by thru-hikers!
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On our way out, we decided it’d be a shame to not see the famous Snoqualmie Falls since we were in the neighborhood. It was cool to see these falls that I’ve seen on the internet so many times.
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Here is a video clip of the famous falls.
2018-08-25 Snoqualmie Falls from Michael Irving on Vimeo.


Thanks mom for checking them out with me and for supporting me on these hikes!
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Of course I had to save some room for a pit stop on the way home for my veggie-loaded Subway Club with a large Mountain Dew…so good!
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It was such a special experience to hike with my daughter, Paintbrush, before she heads off to college. It was a fantastic hike that will provide memories for a lifetime. I also want to give a huge thank you to The Foursome: Pilot, Shotgun, Magellan and Mama Bear, who provide all the logistics and finance all the trail magic…we couldn’t do it without you!


We’ll see you all next spring when I do California Section B from Cabazon over Mt San Jacinto, through Idyllwild and down to Warner Springs.


Our ending pack weights were as follows:


GoalTech: 
Beginning Pack-only Weight: 27.8 pounds
Ending Pack-only Weight: 15.2 pounds (-12.6 pounds)


Beginning Trail Magic: 7.9 pounds
Ending Trail Magic: 3.5 pounds (-4.4 pounds)


Beginning Total Pack Weight: 35.7 pounds
Ending Total Pack Weight: 18.7 pounds (-17.0 pounds)


Paintbrush:
Beginning Pack Weight: 25.6 pounds
Ending Pack Weight: 17.5 pounds (-8.1 pounds)


Paintbrush Report:
Day-six was a day filled with fog and running. If we wanted to get to my grandparents' hotel before their check out time, we had to book it to Snoqualmie. I was not about to miss out on a shower before a four-hour car ride home. I ran down that hill as fast as possible trying not to trip on roots or shrubbery. Running over the remaining talus was quite difficult, but I had some great motivation. Walking on the Kendall Katwalk was definitely the highlight of the day. Although any views were hindered by fog, the white mist almost made it seem as if we were walking through the clouds...almost a cooler experience. As we approached the pass, the sound of the highway, along with the buzzing cars, got me excited; we were almost there. A couple miles before Snoqualmie I actually had the chance to meet my sophomore year STEM chemistry teacher who is section hiking the trail. It was nice to catch up with her. She is quite an inspiration, as she told me she was hiking this section in between her chemotherapy treatments. After catching up, my dad and I once again took off running. At one point I was running so fast, my dad actually took a tumble and yelled out my name, but I was too far in front to know he was in trouble…my bad :/. Finally, after my dad’s fall and subsequent recovery, we reached the road and took a short walk along the highway to my grandparents' hotel. A hot shower, a slice of pizza, and a Hawaiian bowl later, I finally sat in the back seat of our Expedition, ready to scroll through six days of social media and to take a four-hour nap. I realized that during the hike I really didn’t miss my constant obsession with Instagram and Snapchat. It was a nice break. As I drifted off to sleep, I couldn’t help but feel proud of all of my accomplishments in the past six days. It felt very empowering and just good overall. Thank you, dad, for almost forcing this hike upon me. It is an experience I will forever cherish and never forget.


Summary:
It was a foggy day which blocked our views, which was a bummer, but the Kendall Katwalk was still very cool and it was great to finish and catch up with The Foursome. It would be an amazing day-hike to the Katwalk and back, but get there early as it is packed! Be sure to swing by Snoqualmie Falls too!


Favorite experience of the day:
Experiencing the Kendall Katwalk...even if it was in the fog. 


Least favorite experience of the day:
Having the fog block our amazing views. 


Today's route (top-to-bottom):
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Today's elevation (right-to-left):
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Google Earth with Track:
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-GoalTech
www.GoalTechHikes.com
@goaltechhikes (Instagram)

Limey
Posts: 584
Joined: December 19th, 2012, 2:34 pm

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by Limey » September 25th, 2018, 8:09 pm

Great report as usual. What a wonderful way to send your daughter off to college, memories for a lifetime. I liked the way you included her reports too. Nice to see from her perspective. Can't believe I'm recognizing the names of thru hikers you've run into before and I love the before and after pictures of them, helps show the toll it takes on the human body.

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mjirving
Posts: 966
Joined: July 5th, 2011, 10:40 am

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by mjirving » September 25th, 2018, 8:32 pm

Thanks Limey, frankly, her reports were the best part. ;)

Mike

Webfoot
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Location: Troutdale

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by Webfoot » September 26th, 2018, 4:18 am

I've been reading this over the last two days, and finally finished. Thanks for a fun vicarious journey. How long have you been doing this "trail magic" thing and do others do it too? Nice of you in any case. How did your daughter get her trail name?

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mjirving
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Joined: July 5th, 2011, 10:40 am

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by mjirving » September 26th, 2018, 5:24 am

Thank you for the comments, I’ve been doing my trail magic since 2013. I started my section hiking of the PCT in 2011. I got the idea to bring chips as I always pass so many thru-hikers going the other way. I loved hearing their stories and they’d always be so grateful for any food. I’ve never heard of anyone else doing it like I do as most set up shop at a fixed location for trail magic.

Good question on Paintbrush. She took a very deep art program through high school and has been doing art in her spare time almost her whole life. The Paintbrush flower is also her favorite on the trail, so it’s a combination of both. She will take my pictures from our hikes and turn them into paintings either realistic or abstract. I’m thankful for that skill of hers as I am terrible in that category outside of the camera department. Thanks for asking.

Mike

Chazz
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Joined: May 26th, 2013, 12:53 pm

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by Chazz » September 26th, 2018, 6:29 am

Mike,

A really excellent trip report and experience with your daughter. Memories like the week you shared with her on the trail will last her lifetime and yours.

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Chip Down
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Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by Chip Down » September 26th, 2018, 6:37 pm

I can imagine the following exchange:

Hi, what's your name?

Chip.

Well, yes, I do have chips, but can I get your name?

Chip!

Look buddy, I don't have time for your games.

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mjirving
Posts: 966
Joined: July 5th, 2011, 10:40 am

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by mjirving » September 26th, 2018, 6:54 pm

Ha! Good one “Chip”

olderthanIusedtobe
Posts: 481
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Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by olderthanIusedtobe » September 28th, 2018, 1:09 pm

What a great experience with your daughter. I've heard the Snoqualmie to Stevens section is really nice. I've hit quite a few bits and pieces of it, there are a whole bunch of feeder trails that allow access to various portions of it.

Interesting, I've never seen those water crossings south of Deception Pass referred to as Cle Elum River before. Of course it end up there. Actually I've never seen any name attached to it, just a reference to several stream crossings. That one in particular is very striking with the deep cleft in the rocks above the trail, kind of a savage narrow canyon.

I realize thru hikers have to continue making progress toward their destination because they have a lot of miles to cover. I always feel a bit bad for them because there is so much they are missing just off of the PCT. That section you went thru, there are several of the most amazing lakes you could ever hope to see, some on trail and some a bit of x-country. You could probably just about double your distance if you did all of the worthwhile side trips, so of course there isn't time to do that.

These are just random musings that pop into my head after reading your trip report. I've been up to Cathedral Pass a bunch of times. Going south from there down to Deep Lake is kind of crazy, there are so many switchbacks and the grade of the trail is such that it really doesn't even feel like it's going downhill.

mjanardh
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Joined: September 8th, 2015, 8:56 pm

Re: GoalTechHikes PCT Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass - Hiker Trail Magic Mega Post

Post by mjanardh » September 29th, 2018, 9:39 pm

another incredible trip report...

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