Cascade Locks

Day 134 – 8/23/15
Cascade Locks
Miles – 15.4
Total Miles – 2211.9 (PCT 2144.4)
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It is a town day! Despite the joy of town day we are dismayed over Bling’s leg that is no better. We all know it will be a slow fifteen miles to Cascade Locks.  Bling is starting to get frustrated over his leg. We headed down the trail. It is a very steep trail that goes down from Indian Springs Campground down to the Eagle Creek trail. We worked our way down the trail. We had to stop several times to rub out Bling’s leg. The messaging of his leg has become a regular routine now. When we got to the Eagle Creek trail Bling had an easier time walking because it is not as steep. Nonetheless, his leg did not stop getting tight and we had to keep stopping to rub it out. We had to rub out Bling’s leg 11 times to make it down. The Eagle Creek trail is very rocky and the twisting made his leg hurt more than a smooth trail would have. Despite the struggles of Bling’s leg, the Eagle Creek Trail was very unique and beautiful. The trail is lined with ferns and moss growing over everything in its path. Mosses hang off of all the trees up above. There are waterfalls galore, even one that you get to walk behind. The environment felt pre-historic and the only thing missing were dinosaurs lurking around. We had lunch with Orgami, Snow White and Wall-ee. We finally walked (Bling hobbled) into Cascade Locks around 3:00 and went to the room we had reserved.
We have not taken a zero since Castle Crags, back in northern California, so we will be taking tomorrow off. Hope that it will give Bling’s leg time to stop cramping up.

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Wall-ee

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Snow White

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Swampwater

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Jessie

8-23-15

Origami

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A Day of Old and New Friends

Day 133 – 8/22/15
Indian Springs Campground
Miles – 20.9
Total Miles – 2196.5 (PCT 2125.1)

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We woke to smoke and a lot of it!  In fact we could hardly see the surrounding mountains. We headed up the trail and quickly found that Bling’s leg was no better. With him unable to walk at his normal speed we knew that this would be a slow day. Over the course of the day we had to stop 10 times to rub his leg. He would feel better for awhile but then it would get worst and worst until we would have to stop and rub it out again. He was good for about 2 miles per a rubbing. Rabbit, Sky Pilot and Canyon got too far ahead of us to catch up with Bling’s bad leg. For the short period of time we hiked with them, we enjoyed their company. Little Crow especially was having fun with Rabbit who is a really fast hiker! The two of them would take the lead and fly down the trail together. It was a good experience for Little Crow. She discovered she could go fast even though she is so short. Thank you Rabbit!! When we got to Lolo Pass we stopped to rub Bling’s leg when some people drove up. There were Tammy, Steve and Ted. They were out for a Sunday drive from Portland. We started to talk with them and we soon found out that Tammy knew holistic message therapy so she took a look at Bling’s leg. She put pressure on the main knot trying to get it to loosen. She rubbed it in a different way than Mama Raven or I did. She showed us how to and the goal is to “reset the muscles”. All and all, she was very helpful and it did help Bling for a while. Will was able to hike more than two miles after her message. Steve wanted the kids to have a treat so he asked if he could give the kids some money to get ice cream at the next town. Awkwardly we said yes. At the time, Mama Raven and I assumed that Bling and Little Crow got a couple of dollars each. Later that day Bling asked, “Do you know how much money Steve gave us?” We replied no. Bling responded with twenty dollars each. Wow, that will be alot of ice cream! Bling suggested that at the end of our hike we go back to Timberline Lodge and have another breakfast with the money. I said there is enough money for that plus a little extra for ice cream at Cascade Locks. As we said our good byes to them we informed them they had just become trail angels. They liked their new job title. We had several good sized ups, but other than that the hiking was not hard. We moved a long the best we could considering Bling’s leg. Getting to Indian Springs was our main goal. If we could have gotten down to Eagle Creek that would have been even better.
It was getting late when we got to Indian Springs Campground, the sun was about gone, there was a cold, strong wind blowing, we were hungry and we just wanted to eat and go to bed. When we came off the trail and into the old abandoned campground we see Dundee. Mama Raven and Little Crow arrived first, and when Little Crow heard Bling and I coming down the trail she ran up to us yelling, “Dundee! Dundee! Dundee is here.” We have not seen him since Sierra City. We all were excited to see him again. A friend of his had met him and bought a bunch of trail magic. The Ravens ate and cleaned him out. There was chips and salsa, macaroni salad, green salad, shredded turkey, elk stakes, huckleberries, orange slices, and cheese. We ate until we were full. It was great! As it was getting dark. we set up our tents and got ready for bed. Bling worked on his leg in the hopes that it will be better tomorrow. We have 15.4 miles to Cascade Locks tomorrow. The day was very frustrating because how slow we went and all the very thick smoke we were in. Despite our disappointments of the day,  actually the day was a pretty good one because of all the good people along the way!

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Arrow and Dundee

Arrow and Dundee

Cope

Cope

Trail Bride

Trail Bride

Cosmic Bubble

Cosmic Bubble

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Tammy working on Bling

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Tammy, Steve, Ted, and The Ravens

Timberline Lodge

Day 132 – 8/21/15
Ramona Falls turn off
Miles – 15.6
Total Miles – 2175.6 (PCT 2104.2)

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Breakfast at Timberline Lodge was on our minds so we got up a half hour early and hit the trail as quick as we could.  As early as we left, two hikers past us before we even got out of our tent. We knew were they were racing to. . . breakfast.  A few minutes from camp, we crossed a highway and a clearing of trees where we noticed it was a cloudy day.  The visible hill tops were completely blanketed by clouds. The good news was there was no smoke anywhere.  We started the 5 miles of up to Timberline Lodge.  The climb was not hard and we made good time except for the mile or so of deep sand right at the end hikers have to drudge through before you reach the lodge. Along the way, we passed the Smiths who were finishing packing their gear.  They would be passing us soon.  Bling wanted to make it to Timberline Lodge before The Smiths, so he pushed forward up hill, hard and fast.  The wind was blowing hard in the morning so the sand blew into our eyes as we made are way forward.  We got to the lodge around 9:00 and went straight to breakfast.  And what a breakfast it was!!!  What we liked the best was the orange chocolate pancakes, we even carried out 4 of them to eat on the trail.  It was a feast:  sausage patties, ham, potatoes, the house hot chocolate (Mama Raven says it was the best hot chocolate she has ever had.  Bling and Little Crow agree), home made yogurt with fresh berries, fruit smoothies, granola, oatmeal, waffles and every topping imaginable, eggs with mushrooms and cheese, pastries.  At the end of the feast, we were so full we could barely move.  It was the best breakfast we have had on the trail.  No, that is not right, it was the best breakfast we have ever had!   When we were done, we finally took the time to look around, the dining room was filled with thru hikers:  Wild and Brotein, DNA and Etch-a-Sketch, Cosmic Bubble and Dingo, Rabbit and Sinatra, Orgami, Trailbride and Cope, Teflon, The Smiths, Beeker,  and many others we did not know.  There were more thru hikers than regular guest of the hotel. Some of the hikers have been here several days, just hanging out waiting for the next meal to be served. Mama Raven and I went down to the lower building to get our re-supply box. We got two boxes, Mama Raven’s new shoes and some socks, but no food box. Mama Raven looked through their list of names while I went in back and looked for the box. To great relief, we found it. The lower building was much quieter than the main lodge so we spread out on a table to sort and organize. While we were doing this the kids were up in the main lodge with the packs. They had met another family that is hiking the trail: Canyon, Sky Pilot, and eleven year old Rabbit. They have been wanting to meet us but we were to far in front, however they skipped most of northern California and got ahead of us. They spent several hours with us and then we decided to hike out together. My hope was to get hiking by 12:00, however, we did not leave until 2:30. Just before we hiked out we swung by the Blue Ox bar and ordered a pizza to go and a second one to eat while we were there. We hiked around Mt Hood with Rabbit in the lead and Little Crow right behind her. Bling and I were at the back of the pack. Bling was having a problem with his leg. We keep getting farther and farther behind everyone. That is not like Bling. I keep asking questions about the pain he was feeling and we finally figured out that one of his leg muscles was cramping up. He had never felt a muscle cramp before so he could not tell me what was hurt. We had to stop several times to rub it out. That helped a bit. It took two more rubbings and a long down hill to get him feeling some what better. I rubbed it out before he went to bed. Hopefully it will be better in the morning. We are going to head to Cascade Locks and take a zero there. We have not had a zero day off since Castella in Northern California. It is time for some time off.

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Rabbit

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Sky Pilot, Bling, Rabbit, and Canyon

A good day

Day 131 – 8/20/15
Barlow Pass Trailhead
Miles – 27.0
Total Miles – 2160.0 (PCT 2089.5)

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We got up late, but we’re able to pack quickly and leave camp right on time at 7:00. We quietly past The Smiths and Teflon, who were still sleeping in their tents. The trail climbed for the first part of the day and then we had a very long down. For the most part there was very little elevation change. We spent hours working our way down toward Timothy Lake, a big reservoir.  As we drew close to the lake, the Smiths and Teflon caught up with us. They are trying to get within 2 miles of Timberline Lodge so they will not have to stress about making it to the buffet breakfast. To do that, they will have to hike 30 miles today. That is well within their range but not ours. The Smiths have hiked many 30’s and even some 40’s.  We are hoping to get to the breakfast also but we know thirty miles is out of our reach. Meanwhile, we agreed with The Smiths and Teflon to meet them at Little Crater Lake for lunch in about 6 miles.  We all pushed on and made it by lunch. The aquifer named Little Crater Lake, is about 50′ across and about 45′ deep. You can see clearly dead trees at the bottom. The water is 34° and the most beautiful shades of blue and aqua.  Some hikers even go swimming in it.  After lunch, we all packed up.  The Smiths are off to do 15 miles for their 30, it is 2:00.  As the afternoon goes on, we found ourselves climbing a set of ridges were we finally had a great view of Mt Hood.  The wind had been blowing from the northwest so there was no smoke anywhere.  Mt. Hood stands out crisp and clear.  We will be up there tomorrow morning.  Finally, as the sun was about to set, we pulled into a trailhead parking area with a picnic table and trash cans.  We have a decision to make: hike on another mile to get closer to the lodge but there is no place to camp, hike three miles where there is camping and get our first thirty mile day in or stop right were we are and be content with a twenty-seven mile day.  We chose to stop, mainly because we do not want to hike until 9 or 10 tonight to get the 30.  Twenty-seven miles is not bad!  It is all up hill and we do not hike fast up. If it was level or down, we would have gone for the 30. Tomorrow it is up early and off to breakfast.

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Teflon

Teflon

Mama Goose

Mama Goose

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Warm Spring River

Day 130 – 8/19/15
The small spring after Warm Spring River
Miles – 25.3
Total Miles – 2133.0 (PCT 2062.5)
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Everyone was very tired from yesterday’s hard day.  The Ravens had a difficult time waking up this morning.  Although in about 6 miles, there was a little store at Olallie Lake with food to be eaten.  It is a big incentive to get moving!  That was our first stop of the morning.  We had cookies, ice cream and sodas while we were there but we also purchased fruit pies, and something we have never had before . . . Moon Pies for the trail.  After eating and drinking our fill, we headed back to the trail.  Today’s trail was mostly level.  The ups and downs were not big and were able to hike at a good speed all day.  The best thing that happened today is the wind shifted.  For several days now, the wind has been from the east where there is a fire burning and the wind had been blowing its smoke over us.  Goomily, since Aug 29th, we have had smoke everyday except two.  It has been difficult to see the mountains around us when they are all covered in smoke.  All the hikers are constantly breathing in the smoke as they hike. Eyes are constantly watering and throats are sore.  The news up and down the trail does not give us any hope for things to change regarding the smoke because there are so many fires in both Oregon and Washington.  The best we can look forward to is an occasional clearing.  And today, that was around lunch time.  The wind shifted and started to blow from the northwest.  This blew the smoke that was around us away and did not bring in any other smoke.  By the end of the day we started to see the mountains around us, the main one being Mt Hood.  That is the next mountain we need to pass and we have yet to see it even though we are right next to it . Our next food drop is at Timberline Lodge, which is on the side of Mt Hood.  We are planning on getting there the day after tomorrow, in the morning, just in time for their famous buffet breakfast.  We will have to have a good day tomorrow hiking if we want to make that.  Tonight we are camped with Teflon and the Smiths.  The Ravens and our fellow hikers are going to bed tonight, dreaming about breakfast!

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Bushwacker

Bushwacker

Who, Who

Day 129 – 8/18/15
Pond above Brettenbush Lake
Miles – 22.8
Total Miles – 2107.7 (PCT 2037.4)

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We woke at dawn and our view of Mt Jefferson was incredible.  We just flipped open the tent and watched the sun light up the mountain. The wind shifted over night and blew away the smoke.  Mama Raven keep popping in and out of the tent to take pictures.  At one point, I looked down the slope and saw two male elk, walking toward us.  The moment they saw Mama Raven, they turned and ran the other direction.  Today we hiked up to Mt Jefferson, then we hiked from valley to valley as we crossed the west side of the mountain.  Finally we hiked up into Jefferson Park, a beautiful area on the northern side of Mt Jefferson.  It has many lakes and low green hills with the mountain rearing up to the south.  It is a very popular location for people to come.  As we were hiking across a tree covered hill, Bling looked up and saw two young owls sitting on a tree branch.  They were no more then, 20′ away. The young owls had flight feathers but also a lot of downy feathers around their heads.  Their coloring made them blend into the tree bark.  The two of them just sat there watching us, as we watched them.  Their heads would turn and bobble up and down.  Mama Raven took a bunch of pictures of them.  We hope one is good.  Late in the day we came to Russel River.  This river is fed from the glaciers up Jefferson. As the day warms up the river rises.  It is best to cross rivers like this first thing in the morning when they are at their shallowest, however we got to it in the mid afternoon.  The river was flowing fast and strong. The water was a thick, milk chocolate brown, so you can not see into it to judge how deep it was.  We walked up and down looking for a place to cross.  Finally we decided our entry point.  There were three other people who were trying to cross also. One of them crossed and we saw that the water came up above her knees.  That is not too bad.  The man from their party crossed, and then the girl. The final girl was having a problem.  She would head out and then come back out of fear.  The river is very intimidating looking. I lead our group to the crossing.  First I went across. The water was very cold. The crossing was not as bad as it looked. I next helped Little Crow across.  The water came way up on her legs but she made across without any problems.  Next came Bling, who crossed easily.  Next came the other girl.  She slowly inched her way out. I moved to the center of the river and reached for her hand.  She took hold hard and fast, she was not letting go. I worked her across. By this time, my feet were really hurting from the cold.  I went back to help Mama Raven across, she had no problem and soon everyone was across.  I got to the warm rock and quickly took off my Crocs. My toes were stinging badly from the cold water.  Ten minutes past before they stopped hurting. We continued on our days hike and got to camp after the sun had set. We camped near a hiker named Bush Wacker.  Pebbles and Bam Bam are nearby somewhere because we saw their foot prints in the sand in front of us. It was not a big mileage day but we had just hiked 10,000′ of elevation change.  The Ravens are tired!  This is the most tiring day we have had in a long time.  At some point today, the wind shifted and brought back the dreaded smoke. It was so thick, the huge Mt. Jefferson Peak was not even visible.

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Granny and Pickles

Day 128 – 8/17/15
A ridge with a great view of Mt Jefferson
Miles – 20.0
Total Miles – 2084.9 (PCT 2014.6)

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We started the day with about 4 miles of level ground. Once we got to Santiam Pass, we found a sign saying that there was trail magic over in the parking lot of the trail head. Of course we headed over to check it out.  We found Granny and Pickles with a picnic table full of food. It was time for a second breakfast. We had fruit, yogurt, bread, brownies, pasta salad, fried chicken and apple pie.  It was a feast fit for a thru hiker!  Papa Raven packed out a bag of fruit that we ate at lunch time.  We stayed there longer than we should of but we were having a good time eating and talking. The Smith,s and DNA and Etch-n-Sketch were also there.  We just missed Cat Water.  A few minutes before we left, our good hiking friend Gi Gi showed up.  We have not seen her since Old Station.  She had spent two days in Bend for her birthday and anniversary with her husband and she was getting back on the trail here at the pass. She was having a difficult time parting from her husband so we tried to get her mind off the situation as best we could.  After leaving Santiam Pass, the trail went up and stayed up for the entire day!  It started going up in a burned area, then into trees, and back to a burn.  It was not a fun climb. The day was hot with very little shade because of the dead trees. The up seemed to go on forever. The climb went up the side of Three Fingered Jack and then around it and for our short down of the day, descended down the back side. Next we headed up ridges toward Mt Jefferson. The air was thick with smoke today.  For some reason we were hiking very slow today. Maybe it was all the food we had provided  by Pickles and Granny, maybe it was the big up, maybe it was both. I don’t know, but we will have to pick up the pace tomorrow. To make 20 miles today, we had to hike right up to dark. The sun had set as a big red ball when we came to a flat place with a great view of Jefferson. The smoke luckily cleared out in the direction for us to see the mountain. There was still smoke, but it was to the east and some to the west. I do not know where the fire is but the smoke has been thick up here.  After setting up camp, I fixed a big pot of spaghetti for dinner and eagerly went to bed.

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Little Crow, Bling, Granny, and Pickles

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Bling and GG

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Mystery Trail Angel

Day 127 – 8/16/25
Old Santiam Wagon Road
Miles – 18.5
Total Miles – 2064.9 (PCT 1994.6)

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Last night was cold.  There was a breeze that blew most of the night.  There was very little smoke in the air. In the morning we put on coats and gloves before hiking out. After 15 or 20 minutes we hiked into one of the lava fields and it instantly got warm.  Of course we got too hot with all of our cold weather gear on thus we decided to remove our coats.  The trail headed up to Matthieu Lake and then headed into the shady side of the mountain where the temperature dropped and got colder and colder. By the time we came to the sun our arms and hands were numb.  We stopped in the sun in the lava field to warm up.  Lava fields are not fun places to hike. There are many rocks that twist and turn under foot. Today’s lava field we hiked was eight miles long and by the end, our feet hurt and we were very tired. It also took a lot of time.  Bling took a big fall and scraped his knee pretty good at one point.  Hopefully, this will be the end of lava fields for us. Halfway through the lava field, Brotein and Wild caught up to us. They had spent a couple of days in Bend and got back on trail at McKenzie Pass. The last time we had seen them was in the Sierras back in California. We hiked with them and had lunch together.  We had a food drop at Big Lake Youth Camp today.  We pushed to get there as soon as possible so we can get a shower, do laundry, and get something to eat.  They are known for their great meals they provide for the hikers. They do not charge anything except for a good will donation! We walked in a few minutes after four. There was no staff around, just hikers.  Come to find out that the kids of the camp left for home yesterday and the counselors were off for two days.  They left the showers and laundry open as well as the room with everyone’s re-supply boxes.  Sadly, there was no food to be had.  There was a strange feeling about this place because it seemed to be abandoned.  No officials were around.  There was only a few hikers and a small dog. The hikers were hoping someone was around to take care of the dog.  We got our box and a package from mom.  Mom had made two pairs of gaitors. One large and one small.  We will be trying them in the next section.  We had to hunt around to find soap for our shower and we came across towels so off we all went to get showers.  Next we did laundry.  The last thing we worked on was our box. While waiting for the laundry to finish, I cooked up a batch of Vodka Pasta Sauce for dinner. Pebbles and Bam Bam were here along with Cat Water, Xactly and Velcro, Etch-a- Sketch, Dino DNA, Starfish, Scooby, Trail Bride and Cope.  After the clothes were finished and we were almost packed, I found out that Little Crow’s hip belt buckle on her pack broke. So I ordered a new one. By the time this was finished it was nearly dark.  We hiked out of there and headed up the road to find a camp spot for the night.  A mile or so later, by the light of our headlamps we found one and set up camp. Back at the Big Lake Youth camp, a couple of hikers mentioned to us there was a trail angel at Lava Camp which was on the far side of McKenzie Pass. Lava Camp is off trail so we did not go to it.  Also it was only 7:30 in the morning when we went past. Nevertheless, the trail angel there is supposedly someone we met very early on in our PCT hike.  She had some feet problems and had to get off the trail.  She is following our blog.  She was hoping to bump into us and she even had snowballs for us after reading how much The Ravens love them!  What a sweet act of kindness for thinking of us that way.  All The Ravens are sorry we missed her and want to send out one big THANK YOU!

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Wild and Brotein

Wild and Brotein

Bam Bam

Bam Bam

Pebbles

Pebbles

Grumpy Papa Raven

Day 126 – 8/15/15
Somewhere in the lava fields
Miles – 25.0
Total Miles – 2046.4 (PCT 1976.1)

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Disappointed, we woke to clouds. We are not looking forward to another cold day.  We packed up with all of our cold weather gear on and started the morning with a climb. The trail lead up to the top of a small mountain consumed by fog.  As we approached the top, the sun started streaming through the trees and the fog. It created great beams of sun light. It was an impressive sight. When we reached the top, we found ourselves above the clouds.  It was beautiful. We also ran into Velcro and Xactly enjoying the same scene.  The two of them wake up at 4:30 every morning and are on the trail an hour later.  They always silently pass by are camp in the morning while we are still asleep.  These days, we are waking up sometime between 5:45 and 6:00. Our goal of 5:30 does not exist any more.  The days are getting shorter and the 5:30 in the morning spot has become nearly dark.  Our trail dropped down to a set of lakes where we took a snack break. We have hiked this section three times before and are familiar with it.  Even Bling and Little Crow kid keep remembering places as we go by them. After leaving the lakes, we approached the South Sister by way of Wikiup Plain.  South Sister is the first of three volcanoes we pass today.  The trail goes up on the west side and crossed the volcanoes valleys and ridges.  The Ravens love hiking in this area of Oregon. Our favorite stopping spot of the Three Sisters Wilderness is Obsidian Springs. It has some of the coldest, best testing water on the whole trail. It was late afternoon when we arrived. We filled out bottles and ate a snack. Cat Water showed up just as we were getting ready to go. She hiked with us for the rest of the afternoon. I believe we have mentioned before she is from Anchorage Alaska, but I don’t think we said she is 61 year old anthropologist and a snowboard official who is a avid snowboarder herself.  Both Papa Raven and I enjoy Cat Waters company. As we left the spring, all the rocks around us was obsidian and shining in the late afternoon sun.  All the  surrounding hills were obsidian too. We were walking in a field of black glass. It was absolutely amazing to see!  We pushed on until the sun was down. Cat Water found a spot to camp before the lava fields. However, we wanted to get as for as possible tonight to make tomorrow shorter into the Big Lake Youth camp, our next food drop.  The tricky part was all the lava fields which you cannot camp in however we found a good flat area just after one of the them.  We setup camp, ate dinner, and then Papa Raven had a battle with our tent’s zippers.  Our tent has 6 zipper pulls, 3 of which are not working.  Papa Raven ended up tearing apart one end of the tent zipper trying to get at least one zipper pull to work.  Neither Papa Raven and I are looking forward to sleeping with big black ants crawling across our faces at night while we sleep.  It took several hours but he got one to work. Papa Raven finally got to bed at 11:30. Papa Raven was terribly grumpy over the whole issue and I cannot blame him.  The big question is how long will the fix last?

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Cat Water

Cat Water

Elk Lake

Day 125 – 8/14/15
Elk Lake trailhead #2
Miles – 24.1
Total Miles – 2021.4 (PCT 1951.3)

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We woke this morning to clouds rolling over the mountain above us.  A cold wind was blowing through the trees.  There was very little sun and what sun we did have was weak. The weather has changed very quickly.  Both tents were wet with condensation, but we packed them anyways.  We can dry them later or just pitch then wet tonight.  Our objective today was getting to Elk Lake Resort.  We do not have a food drop there but there is a restaurant and food is calling us! We need to hike 22 miles before they close and we are not sure what time that is.  These days we are hiking with Cat Waters, Xactly, and Velcro. They also are going to Elk Lake for dinner.  Wall-ee and Snow White are a couple of hours behind us. First thing thing this morning, the trail began with a steep climb.  At the top of the climb was Stormy Lake and it was cold and windy just as it names implies.  Next, we dropped down to lower elevations. In the flats we hiked by many ponds and lakes.  This area is littered with them.  Most of the lakes are very shallow due to the drought, therefore the water in them is very warm. At one of the lakes we stopped at, the water was warmer than the air. It would have been nice to swim in but it would be very cold getting out. And as usual these days, we are always trying to make miles to get somewhere by a specific time which unfortunately leaves very little relaxing time.  We spent the day leap frogging Velcro and Xactly.  At one point today, we past a group of horseman hauling gear for the pack service and I asked them about the weather.  They said that it would be overcast all day today and clear tomorrow. It is hard to believe it is August since it is so cold. We made it to Elk Lake Resort, which is a mile off trail, around 6:00 and went straight to dinner. Cat Water was already there and she sat down with us.  Just as we were about to order, Velcro and Xactly came in. They too joined us at our table.  We had a very good dinner of hamburgers for Little Crow and Papa Raven and fish and chips for Mama Raven and Bling. The Ravens also had three milkshakes: chocolate for Little Crow and huckleberry for Mama Raven and Bling. Papa Raven had a beer.  The conversation was mainly about the big fire up in Washington near Stehekin that has closed about twelve to fifteen miles of the PCT. The detour is 100 miles, with sixty of those miles being on highway 20.  All PCT thru hikers are very concerned with this but we will all have to wait and see what happens about the situation. We were very full walking out of the restraunt.  We were getting ready to fill our water bottles and hike back to the trail when Wall-ee and Snow White walked in. They had just hiked a 29 mile day to get here in order to meet a friend.  Everyone is hiking out tomorrow, however we are leaving tonight. Staying at resorts too long becomes very expensive. Hence we are in and out as fast as we can. We will be seeing our friends through out the day tomorrow.  We are camped a little shy of the PCT and our mileage is a little low for the day, but we are going to bed tonight with full stomachs after an awesome dinner.  It is a perfect way to end a day on the PCT!

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Billy Goat

Day 124 – 8/13/15
Near Irish Lake
Miles – 25.1
Total Miles – 1997.3 (PCT 1929.0)

Billy Goat

Billy Goat

It was a warm night on the ledge overlooking the lake.  We left the door to the tent open all night.  Mama Raven got everyone up at about 5:30.  Little Crow had a hard time with this. Nonetheless, we still managed to get out of camp sooner than normal.  We hiked up to Middle Rosary Lake and ate our power muffins we bought yesterday. The muffins each had 740 calories.  They were banana nut with huge chunks of chocolate.  Each Raven got their own. When we were done with them, we wished we had another one.  We can really pack away the calories these days.  We next hiked up out of the Rosary Lakes valley and on over to a really fun shelter. It has eight sides and big windows in five of them.  There was a loft, wooden floors, and a wood burning stove. It is quite roomy and clean.  As the morning went on we took a short detour to Bobby Lake and had a nice break.  We were hiking to Charlton Lake when we met a thru hiking legend, Billy Goat.  He is in his upper seventies and last year had triple bypass heart surgery. Billy Goat started to hike in his early fifties after he retired.  Since then, he has hiked the PCT more than 6 times and has walked more than 40,000 miles.  This summer, he is doing a 600 mile section of the PCT and then will go to Florida to do some hiking during the fall season.  We talked to Billy Goat for almost an hour. After talking with Billy Goat, we hiked on to Charlton Lake and filtered water and ate a snack. This is a very shallow Lake and the water was warm.  Sadly, we did not have the time to go swimming.  We were way behind on our daily miles. Upon leaving Charlton Lake, we hiked into a big burned area. We past through miles of white, skeleton trees covering all the hills around us. The fire had killed the trees and all the bark had fallen off, leaving the white trunks.  Upon exiting the burned area, we started to look for a camp site.  We found a good flat area a little after Irish Lake and settled in for the night.

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Little Crow and the 740 calorie muffin

Little Crow and the 740 calorie muffin

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Shelter Cove

Day 123 – 8/12/15
Odell overlook
Miles – 17.5
Total Miles – 1972.2 (PCT 1904.5)

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Overnight the smoke moved in and the morning was hazy.  We packed and headed for the nearest water, a spring about 3 miles away.  All four of us were almost dry. We climbed up one side of Diamond Peak and then contoured over to the spring. The water was cold and clear. After filling up and washing socks, we hiked hard and fast down the mountain trying to get to Shelter Cove as soon as possible. It was afternoon when we walked into the resorts parking lot. Many hikers who were behind us had gotten here before us. They had taken the Oregon Skyline Trail. That cuts many miles of the trail and stays at a lower elevation. We try to stay as true to the PCT as possible. Diamond Peak reminded us of a small dose of the Sierras of California.  After we past the peak, we were rewarded with high alpine lakes and ponds.  It was beautiful scenery. Some of the ponds were low or even empty of water because of the four year drought.  There are many days of hiking the PCT that are extra glorious and today was one of those days. There is no place we would rather be than right were we are. We arrived at Shelter Cove and was greeted by many of our hiking friends: Wall-ee and Snow White, Xactly and Velcro, Cat Water, The Smiths and Teflon. We got our box and a small package, picked up some drinks, hot dogs, and burritos, went over to the shore of the lake and started to work on the next food section. There should have been one more box with a pair of sandals in it, but the store had no record of it arriving. I had ordered the sandals almost 10 days ago and had them shipped two day delivery. They should have gotten here by now. I called REI and had them track down the shoes. Their records showed it was delivered August 6. I went back into the store to talk to them again and they let me search the back room myself since they could not find it. It took awhile but I found it. Now Mama Raven has her new sandals. She says she is done hiking in tennis shoes because they all hurt her feet. There are several hikers that have hiked the whole trail in sandals, Mama Raven has been busy asking them questions about their decision to go with sandals instead of regular hiking shoes.  She has decided to try them.  Mama Raven and I finished packing while the kids took showers, then Mama Raven and I got ours. Just before 6:00, closing time for the store, Little Crow, Bling and I headed over to get a pizza, muffins, and ice cream. They would not make the pizza because it was to close to closing time. Disappointed, we walked back to Mama Raven, with no dinner, only to find Mama Raven sitting there with half a pizza.  A woman sitting near us, could not eat all the pizza she had so she gave the rest to Mama Raven. Her name was Jo and we call her the pizza angel. Trail magic happens when you least expect it. After eating we hiked out. It was late, about 6:30 so we did not get far. We stopped on a overlook of Odell Lake. It is a rocky ledge poking up above the tree tops. We had a beautiful view of the lake. There also was a mystery bouquet of red roses in a vase just sitting on the rocks. As Bling and Mama Raven were in the tents, Little Crow and I made a no bake cheese cake. I put two candles in it and Bling, Little Crow, and I sang happy birthday to Mama Raven. We all stood on the rocky ledge with the amazing view of the lake below and ate cheese cake. Happy birthday Mama Raven.

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Happy Birthday Mama Raven!

Almost no smoke

Day 122 – 8/11/15
Crater Butte trail
Miles – 26.8
Total Miles – 1954.7 (PCT 1891.2)

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It was noticeable clearer today. We cold see details in the mountains as we past by. Looking back to the south was still very smokey. A group of bicycles were coming over one of the dirt roads that cross the mountains and they told us that yesterday the Crater Lake park service closed the campground at Mazama because of extreme, thick smoke. We wonder what they did with all the hikers. They do not have any way to leave and if the store closed tthey could not get their food. We’ll see what happened when someone catches up with us. We saw three hikers today we have not seen since Whitewater Preserve in Southern California. They were Brother Dude, Coppertone, and Day Dreamer. That was so long ago we vaguely remember them.  It was a hot day and all the hikers were standing in a pool of water that was once a fish hatchery. Today’s hike was pretty easy. We traversed around to Six Horse Spring. This spring is .4 miles off the PCT and down 300′. We left our packs at the top and hiked down. It was quite a climb up carrying full water bags. The trail next wrapped around the mountain and dropped down to Windigo Pass. This is where we met the cyclists. They were taking a detour because of the smoke however the dirt/gravel road was to much for them. They were waiting for a van to come and pick them up. As one of them was riding in, he blew out the side of his tire with a loud bang. We left Windigo Pass and headed up over the next small range of mountains. This dropped us down to Summit Lake. We hiked to the far end and then headed up the next ridge. Partway up this ridge is where our day ended. We are about 13 miles for Shelter Cove and we should get there just after lunch. I think all we will do is sort our box and get showers, then hike out.

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Brother Dude

Brother Dude

Coppertone

Coppertone

Day Dreamer

Day Dreamer

Smokey

Day 121 – 8/10/15
After North Umpqua trail
Miles – 26.0
Total Miles – 1927.9 (PCT 1865.3)

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We woke this morning to clouds and lots of smoke. There was a good bit of condensation on the insides of both tents. We have not had condensation in awhile. Our trail this morning ran flat for almost 8 miles and then headed up Mt Thielsen which is the core of a very old volcano.  It towers up above the trees and dominated our view for most the day.  Finally, after wrapping half way around it, we started hiking down ridges north, away from it. One of the biggest problems of the day was the smoke.  For thirteen days now we have had  smoke. Some days it was flowing through the valleys as we hiked above it, others we were in the thick of it. Sometimes we would have clear mornings and then the smoke would move in on the afternoon.  This was one of the smokiest days we have had. It got so bad that our throats and nasal passage ways would sting. Two weeks ago a lightening fire started in the Rouge River area. It’s smoke was being blown down toward Ashland and into the mountains to the east. Then, ten days ago several fires stared north west of Crater Lake. These are the fires that are giving us problems now.  Yesterday, as we hiked the rim, we could see smoke billowing thousands of feet in the air, then the winds would blow it east straight towards us. This has made the air here hard to breath and dropped visibility dramatically.  We talked with a Sobo today and said that the smoke lasts for about 40 more miles.  It will be nice to walk away from this and be able to see the surrounding country again.

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Burnout, Caution Tape, and Big Tuna

Burnout, Caution Tape, and Big Tuna

Phoenix

Phoenix

Slackers

Day 120 – 8/9/15
A ways before Hwy 138
Miles – 16.4
Total Miles – 1901.9 (PCT 1839.3)

Snow White, Wall-ee, and The Ravens eating donuts

Snow White, Wall-ee, and The Ravens eating donuts

Very early this mooring, around 6:00, Mama Raven and I went down to get our showers since we did not get them in yesterday. Unfortunately they did not open until 7:00.  Aquanaut, Malibu, Queen Bee and Cat Water showed up to finish recharging equipment before they went back to the trail. We talked with them a few minutes before heading back to our campsite. Shortly before seven we headed back to the showers. They were opened and freshly cleaned. We used the correct showers, the second and the fourth. They were still broken and would work without putting any money in for as long as we wanted a shower. It was a good hot shower and it felt good to just sit under the water.  Mama Raven said there were two other women taking showers that were upset they did not have hot water and they wanted their money back. Mama Raven had plenty of hot water for free so she kept quiet and enjoyed her shower. On the way back, we picked up food for breakfast and extra snacks for the trail. Everyone was up when we got back to camp. We cut up the second half of cake and everyone eagerly had it for breakfast. At the store we also bought milk, yogurt and a bag of BBQ potato chips which we also ate for breakfast. The doughnuts and snowballs we saved for today’s hike. Wall-ee had a plan for today that they were going to slack pack (hiking without a backpack) up to Crater Lakes rim, Andy would meet them there and then they would slack pack to where the trail crossed the road at the end of the Rim Trail.  They asked us to join them. We said yes. The only differences would be instead of spending another night in the campground like Wall-ee and Snow White were, Andy would have our backpacks in his car and we would hike on. We packed our packs and were hiking by 9:00. A little late but not that bad. The hike up to the rim was not hard except for the last mile that became very steep. We met Andy who drove up and ate lunch at the cafe before we headed out around the rim of the lake. There was a bit more smoke then the last few days so the views across Crater Lake were not that good. We did not hike fast. We relaxed and took a couple of rest breaks along the way and reveled in the beauty of Crater Lake. Once we reached our goal,  Wall-ee and Andy hitchhiked back to the car while Snow White and The Ravens sat on the edge of the crater eating donuts watching the beautiful lake despite the smoke. When Wall-ee and Andy returned with the car and our gear, we loaded our packs on, said good bye, and hit the trail. Our loads are heavy and we did not get very far before calling it a day. We only went another 7 miles and stopped with a good few hours of day light left. It seemed appropriate for a laid back day of hiking. A rare event on the PCT.

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Wall-ee, Snow White, and ?

Wall-ee, Snow White, and Andy

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The Sims at Crater Lake

Day 119 – 8/8/15
Crater Lake
Miles – 18.4
Total Miles – 1885.5 (PCT 1828.4)

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We woke an hour early to get a jump on the miles.  We had 18 miles to do before 4:00 and we would have to move fast to succeed.  All Ravens cooperated and we quickly got out of camp early.  The miles rolled along as the morning went by. Wall-ee and Snow White were hiking with us. As we got closer to Crater Lake, Cuban B and Malibu hiked with Little Crow and me.  They are both fast hikers and we offered to pullover and let them by but they said no they just wanted to talk to us for a while. Wall-ee and Snow White are also meeting a friend at Mazama at 4:00. By the early afternoon, we realized that we would not only make it, but we would be about an hour early.  And that is exactly what happened, we came into Mazama Village a few minutes after three.  Within minutes, Karin and Hannah greeted us. After saying hello, they told us that Welden and David had hiked up the trail to meet us, so Mama Raven and I dropped our packs and headed up the trail to find them. On the way, we saw Cuban B and he told us that two people were up at the trail junction looking for us. After a half mile of climbing, we ran into them coming down. After saying hello, we all headed back to their car where Mama Raven and Karin were.
The Sims had brought fresh grapes and Bling’s favorite soda to drink, Izzie’s. We sat and talked for a while. They knew we had to get some work done, so they helped us get our boxes and start sorting for the next section.  We got a lot of boxes at this stop: our food box, Mama Raven’s new umbrella, new hip belts for Mama Raven’s and my backpacks, new mp3 players, and a missing credit card. Welden used one of their computers to pull all Mama Raven’s pictures of her memory cards and he also moved music between cards so we could use the new mp3 players.  Having access to a computer was a big help.  As we worked on the boxes, we also got everyone changed into their town clothes and created a load of laundry. Karin and Weldon wanted to take us out to dinner.  It was starting to get late so we quickly got the laundry started.  Mama Raven and Karin headed over to the restaurant to discover there was an hour wait for dinner. Trying to make the most of the time, we quickly sent Bling and Little Crow into the showers.  We had heard for other hikers that the best shower stalls were second one in the men’s and the fourth in the women’s.  We did not fully understand what they meant.  The showers were .75¢ for four minutes. Joon used $1.50 for 8 minutes, but Bling’s was free for unlimited time. He used shower number two and the coin machine was broken.  Now we understood we should use stall two and four when Mama Raven and I take our showers.  After the kids showers, we were called for dinner.  We all had a very good dinner, burgers, salads, and pasta. At the end of dinner, Karin brought in a chocolate cake for Mama Raven’s birthday. We all sang and then ate half the cake. It was delicious. David had picked it out. We had good food with good friends. We are happy the Sims  met us at Crater Lake. It was getting late and the Sims still had to drive to Redding, five hours away. They helped us move are packs back to a camp spot, before heading out. It was great to see them and we all had a fun time. Bling got to hang out with his buddy David.  We are sharing a campsite with Wall-ee, Snow White, and their friend Andy. This was very helpful on a busy afternoon. It was late when we setup the tents. We went straight to sleep. It has been a really good day.

Snow White and Wall-ee

Snow White and Wall-ee

Big deer

Day 118 – 8/7/15
Small camp at Honeymoon Creek
Miles – 22.0
Total Miles – 1867.1 (PCT 1800.7)

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The hiking today was very similar to yesterday with the only difference being we hiked onto a narrow ridge. It was only about 25′ wide and dropped off steeply on both sides. The whole ridge had burned at some point so it had a lot of skeletal trees. We would have had great views if it were not for all the smoke. As we hiked out of camp this morning we got a break from the smoke, which is still all around us but is now below us. We could see way off in the distance.  But, as the day went on, the smoke moved in and we lost our views.  It will be nice when we move north of the smoke.  I think that should happen in a 100 miles or so.  The breathing of all the smoke is giving us sore throats.
Will saw something he has never seen before, elk. Mama Raven, Little Crow, and I were hiking out in front and Bling was back a bit.  A small herd of elk saw Mama Raven, Little Crow, and I and started to run.  They ran toward Bling.  When they saw him they turned and ran down the hill. Bling said that there was a big male and a bunch of females.  Mama Raven, Little Crow, and I never saw any of them.  We just heard them running down the hill.  Having never seen elk before, Bling thought they were big deer. He was excited to find out they were instead elk.  Today was the first encounter of ripe huckleberries on the trial. Mama Raven and Bling constantly stopped to pick and eat them. The berries are at their best when you get a big handful of them and spill them all at once in your mouth.   As we cooked dinner by a small creek, we looked up the trail and we saw Milkshake and Sticky Buns coming our way. These two young hikers we have not seen in a long while. It was at “A” Tree spring back in northern California when we last saw them. It was good to see them after such a long time.  We were surprised to see them behind us since they are such fast hikers. Milkshake noticed Mama Raven’s knitted beanie and asked if by chance we had found it by a stream in the Marble Mts? We said yes!  He replied that he is glad a fellow thru hiker found it.  Mama Raven offered it back to him but he said he already got a replacement for it therefore did not need it back.  Mama Raven said she will proudly wear Milkshakes beanie.  We will get to Crater Lake later tomorrow afternoon. Our friends the Sims went to Portland on vacation and are trying to meet us at Crater Lake tomorrow. We have to hike 18 miles by 4:00.  That is going to be a little difficult but I think we can make it.  Tonight we are camped with Wall-ee and Snow White. We provided the hot chocolate and they supplied the Oreo cookies for a bed time snack.  Life is good out on the trail!

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Milkshake

Milkshake

Rocks

Day 117 – 8/6/15
Twin Ponds trail junction
Miles – 24.1
Total Miles – 1845.1 (PCT 1778.8)

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So far Oregon is proving to be as easy as we remember. All the ups are low and rounded. We are able to hike at a good pace all day. Today we hiked through the first lava field in Oregon. Lava fields are not an easy place to walk because they have many small rocks that twist and turn your feet. The bottom of shoes really take a beating. And also the trail has to swerves in and out through piles of jumbled rocks. As we were hiking through one of the lava fields, we heard a raven call form behind us. We turned to look and saw Wall-ee. We all starred at him for a moment then we all turned and started running up the trail screaming “Run away!” After a few seconds, we all stopped and had a good laugh. Wall-ee asked if we had planned that. We told him we had. It has been a long time since we have seen Wall-ee and Snow White. We spent a long time catching up on what we all have been doing and who we have been hiking with. Ever since The Smiths told us how close Wall-ee and Snow White were to us, Bling and Little Crow were constantly looking over their shoulders for them to appear. All The Ravens were very happy to see them! For the last 3 days we have been hiking with Cat Water. We have developed a fond relationship with her. She is about ten years older than Papa Raven and I are and is from Anchorage Alaska where she is a snow board official and an anthropologist. We found out that Catwater’s friend, Jackie, is going home at Hwy 140. Her husband is picking her up. We have had a problem for awhile now. Mama Raven needs to mail some things home. The “problem”, is up out of Seiad, about 130 miles ago, Mama Raven found some really unique and beautiful rocks that she could not resist packing some out. Her excuse was that Bling needed them for his rock collection. Mama Raven is a closet rock hound. I have always said Mama Raven should go back to school and study geology. At this point she has had about 8 to 10 pounds of rocks in her backpack. This makes her backpack really heavy. Since Jackie wads going home soon, we asked her if she could mail a package home for us. She said she would gladly do it, and Mama Raven now has a pack that is a lot lighter. Bling, Little Crow, and I are going to try hard to keep rocks out of Mama Raven’s pack. We think Mama Raven should take the trail name of Rock or Rock Head!

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Cookie and Mystery

Cookie and Mystery

Hyatt Lake

Day 116 – 8/5/15
Somewhere
Miles – 18.6
Total Miles – 1821.0 (PCT 1754.9)DSC03167-8-6-15 We were in no hurry to get up this morning. The resort does not open until 8:00 and we only had 2.2 miles to go to get there. So after a somewhat leisurely start we hiked to the road that would take us to the resort. Then a nice long road walk we arrived at their door only to find it locked, it was 8:10. The sign on the door said that they open at 9:00. We pulled chairs into the sun and sat down to wait. The office opened sometime after nine. We got are box and checked out the very little store. We all got drinks. When we opened our box we were surprised to find new clothes and socks. We thought that they would be coming in the next box, Mazama (Crater Lake). It was a nice surprise. Everyone but Little Crow has been wearing the exact same clothes we began the trip in. When we were done sorting the food we stopped in the store for a few treats (Twix bars, Skittles, and bag of potatoes chips) and more drinks, then we headed back to the trail. On the way back to the trail we bumped into Whole Role. He is always helping somebody out. This time he was carrying out the trash of a group of hikers up the trail a little ways. It was noon by the time we were hiking the PCT again. Food drops never are quick. In fact, they are frustratingly time consuming, especially for four people. Once we were back on the trail we bumped into The Smiths who were taking a snack break. They asked if we had seen Wall-ee or Snow White. We had not and in fact we had not seen our good friends since Lake Tahoe. We were surprised to find out that they were just behind us. All four Ravens were excited with the news. Uncertain as to how close or far they were behind us, we continued forward knowing at some point soon we would see them.
The hiking in Oregon is not hard. The ups and downs are not long or steep. Today proved that. Every time I looked at a climb or a drop the trail on the map looked harder then it really was. I hope this holds true for the rest of the state. If so, we should make good time across Oregon. We ended our day camping up the trail from Cat Water and Jackie and Wood Pecker and Cricket who were camped at a spring.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

The Smiths

Whole Roll

Whole Roll

Cat Water

Day 115 – 8/4/15
Just outside Hyatt Lake
Miles – 24.2
Total Miles – 1801.5 (PCT 1739.3)

Hiking along Hwy 5

Hiking along Hwy 5

We woke up early and finished packing our packs. We hiked out of Callahan’s a little after seven. We wanted to be on the trail before they started breakfast. If we were gone than we would not be tempted to stay. We hiked along Hwy 99 for more than a mile and past under Hwy 5 for the second time while hiking the trail. As we hiked up to Pilot Rock we started to get a feel of what Oregon hiking will be like, easy short ups with a lot of level hiking and a few downs. We were able to move along easily. The valleys were filled with smoke. The worst of it was of to the west. There were times we could barely see the next mountain over. It was a little clearer to the east. Most of our day was spent hiking northeast. I hope in a few days, as we get closer to Crater Lake, we will move beyond the smoke. We had an early dinner next to a pond. We kept watching birds land on reeds on the edge of the pond and quickly dunk themselves and flap their wings rapidly in the water. As we hiked on in the evening we bumped into Cat Water and her friend Jackie. Cat Water is from Alaska and she is a little older than I am (Mama Raven). Jackie, who is from Oregon is section hiking with Cat Water. As we talked to them we discovered Cat Women started the PCT the same day as we did and we have never seen her until today. We enjoyed our brief encounter with them. The sun was going down, so we had to move on before it got dark. We are camped less then a mile for Hyatt Lake. Tomorrow we will hike to the resort, get our box, sort it, and hike out. We might stop in at the restaurant for something to eat. We’ll see. Since we took so much time off at Callahan’s, we will make the Hyatt Lake stop a quick one.
Bling got his first blister of the whole trip. He is no longer blister free! Bling was the only one of The Ravens to not have had any until now.

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Flynn

Flynn

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Woodpecker and Cricket