More to Come

The Ravens have a little more to say, including Bling and Little Crow.
There are lots of photographs to work on and to add to the blog. However, The Ravens are going to take a little vacation from all things related to our PCT adventure. One of the hardest obstacles of a long thru-hike is coming home. Re-entry into the real world can be difficult. Only a few days have past since the end of our adventure and there is much we already miss of our trail life. There are a few things that we do not miss. Nonetheless, we are homeward bound. Bling and Little Crow will be starting a new school. Mama Raven is nervous about this. Papa Raven has to find a new job. Hopefully, that will not take too long. We have seen the dismal news headlines. We have observed human behavior: people get mad because their food took so long to arrive at a restaurant. Horns are honked because someone is not going fast enough on the freeway or accidentally did something wrong. The stress of the real world is already creeping back into our lives! It can not be avoided. Although I suppose the trick to surviving stress lays in how one handles the burdens that cause it. And we must remember the simplest act of kindness is mighty powerful. So hopefully we have learned something on our adventure and we can rise above it and simply enjoy our lives. At the end of The Return of the King, Frodo says to Sam . . . “you still have much to enjoy, to experience and to be”. That is what The Ravens will do.

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Oh Canada!

Day 173 – 9/30/15
Manning Park
Miles – 17.1
Total Miles – 2737.8 (PCT 2658.9)

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We had another difficult, cold night. The problem was not mice. Not a one showed up. The problem we had was Mama Raven throwing up all night. She had not been feeling well yesterday.  Dizziness and tiredness were her biggest problems.  Around 10:30 pm she felt very nauseated and got up.  Less then an hour later it hit her again, buy this time she barely made it out of the tent. The last time she threw up was around three in the morning.  It was not an easy night.  We were very slow getting out of the tent.  All Mama Raven wanted to do was to sleep.  We finally got going at 8:15.  There was only 8 miles to the Canadian boarder, with only one small up and the rest was down.  Despite Mama Raven being sick, we were moving along at a good pace although a number of other hikers past us.  Everyone was hiking fast to get to the boarder.  Just after noon, we saw the boarder clear cut which is a 20′ wide clear cut running along the whole Washington\Canadan boarder.  Three switchbacks later we came to monument 78, it was 12:24.  As we walked in, all the hikers that were there applauded and cheered. There was about 15 people.  We put our packs down in the only patch of sun and started looking at the trail registry for the names of those we knew.  We signed it: The Ravens, Little Crow, and the spirit of Bling!  We had carried out special drinks for this occasion, Mama Raven had apple flavored sparkling water, Little Crow had an Arizona fruit punch, and Papa Raven had a small box of white Zinfandel wine.  Most of the other hikers we did not know but a few we did: Oso, Allsgood, and Papa Smurf who we had not seen since early on in Southern California.  Whole Roll and Rebo arrived later.  Papa Smurf was dressed as a taco and had a bottle of champagne to celebrate with. Oso played his guitar as he sat atop the monument. It was a very special moment for everyone.  None thru-hikers often ask “how’s the hike going?” We are never sure how to answer that other than its going great!  How does one explain what it is like to follow by foot, a twenty-four inch wide path from Mexico to Canada for five and a half months?  Throw on top of that the fact we decided to take along two kids.  That path we followed for so long became our home and The Ravens truly loved it.  It was not an easy path.  Many hurdles and obstacles were thrown at us and to all hikers who followed the path, but those who could stick with it found a grand reward around each turn.  Obviously, our most difficult challenge was losing Bling so close to the end of the trip.  Hikers from all over, began the adventure with heavy burdens from their normal lives.  Those cares and concerns disappeared like magic. The wild places we encountered soothed the heart and soul!  However, there is more to it than just the wild places that heal, it is the hearts of each person we crossed paths with that really taught us a lesson and brought us the greatest joy!

Foxtrot

Foxtrot

Papa Smurf in a taco costume

Papa Smurf in a taco costume

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So many passes

Day 172 – 9/29/15
On a ridge before Hopkins Pass
Miles – 20.9
Total Miles – 2720.7 (PCT 2641.8)

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Last night was a very long, mouse, ridden night. The varmints  started to come around just after I went to bed.  We were up many times during the night battling them.  One got into the tent and we had to catch it in the cook pot. Instead of tossing it out, I put the lid on the pot and left him outside.  One less mouse to worry about!  At around 3:00, Mama Raven felt sorry for it being trapped in a cold metal pan when it was freezing outside so she got up and walked quite a ways from the tent to release it.  She said the mouse walked away but it was moving very slowly. We tore up a tortilla shell and set it out for the rest of the mice to eat and they did, all night long.  In the morning, we packed up and started hiking just as the sun rose up in the sky. Of course the trail went to the west side of a mountain and we hiked in shade for an hour or so. The trail followed a ridge and we hiked through many passes.  There was Buffalo Pass, Windy Pass, Foggy Pass, Jim Pass, Holman Pass, Rock Pass, and Woody Pass.  We have two more passes tomorrow.  None of the passes were very hard, we mainly contoured from pass to pass, except for Rock Pass which was a 1,500′ climb.  As the day went on, we meet a lot of thru hikers heading south.  Many hikers did not get the papers to enter Canada so they have to hike to the boarder then turn around and hike back to Harts Pass.  We saw several people who we have not seen for a 1,000 miles or more. There was Foxtrot, Day Dreamer, Hiccups, Boomer, and Lancelot. Right now we have 8 miles to monument 78 and then 8 more to Manning Park. The Ravens are excited and sad.  Bling will not be with us.

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Mad Dash is On!

Day 171 – 9/28/15
Trail junction to road
Miles – 21.6
Total Miles – 2699.8 (PCT 2620.9)

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Our 6:00 morning wake up calls are now pitch black and very cold.  This morning, everything outside the tent was frozen including the ground.  We had a good bit of condensation on the tent but it turned into ice overnight.  We were able to shake off a lot of the frozen water after we took the tent down. The sun was just rising as we hiked out of camp. Since we are at the top of a pass, out path lead down into a valley. Of course the trail would have to be on the east side of the valley were it is in permanent shade.  It was frigid!  About 5 miles down the valley, we finally broke into the sun and we stopped to warm up and eat.  We finished three miles of down and then started the big up of the day, about 2,200′ in 5 miles.  The trail worked its way up a valley and then laboriously turned up the side of a mountain. We got to the top in about 2.5 hours. Not bad. For the rest of the day, the trail was a little easier. We meandered along ridges and worked our way up a few saddles. Finally we headed down to Harts Pass. Harts Pass is the last pass that has a road to it.  Some thru-hikers, who do not have visa papers to enter Canada from the PCT, have to hike back here from the boarder so they can get a ride out.  There are going to be a lot of people at Harts Pass tonight. We know this because The Kid said that 16 tents were setup where they camped last night and most were heading to Harts. The weather we are having right now is perfect.  There is not a cloud visible in any direction.  However, this will not last long. The next storm is coming in Friday and with the cold temperatures we are experiencing, it most likely will snow.  A mad dash to the Canadian border is on for the thru-hikers.  We wanted to avoid the crowd of people at Harts Pass, so we hiked on a bit further.  Not as far as I would have liked, but the sun sets so early now, about 6:50, that we stopped because of no more light and it was really getting cold.  I suppose if we were hardier hikers, we could have hiked by the light of the full moon but it was just plain freezing!  Despite the cold, we did hear two hikers pass by our tent around 9:00 pm.  Our light was on, and they yelled over to us “good evening hikers” and then they were gone. I am sure they were on a mission to reach Canada as soon as possible!  We are camped on a small level area just beyond a trailhead parking area.  We will make it to the Monument 78 the day after tomorrow. This is the point at which the PCT crosses the Canadian boarder. It is called Monument 78 because it crosses the boarder seventy-eight miles from the ocean.  It has the same wooden monument that was at the Mexican boarder at the southern terminus of the PCT.  The high spirits of all the hikers, so close to the end of their journeys, is vibrating strongly up and down the last few remaining miles of the trail.  Everyone is so excited and happy!

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Eclipse

Day 170 – 9/27/15
Methow Pass
Miles – 12.2
Total Miles – 2678.2 (PCT 2599.3)

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It was a clear morning which made it perfect way to set out on our last section of the PCT.   If the weather reports are accurate, we should make it to Canada before the next storm comes in.  We were planning on leaving around 8:00 in the morning, but it was closer to 9:00 when we finally left.  Aunt Florence who was driving us back up to Rainy Pass, had to work late last night and thus things took a little longer this morning. Florence also wanted to hike up to Cutthroat Pass with us.  We were happy she would be with us. The most difficult part of the morning was saying goodbye to Bling.  We told him we will be back Wednesday or Thursday.  We could see the look in his eyes how sad he was, but being as stoic as he is, he would not say a word regarding the matter. Once on the road, a stop by the Mazama bakery for breakfast was a must.  We bought some glazed pumpkin doughnuts that were so fresh, they were still warm.  They were amazingly delicious!  We reached the trailhead parking lot, unloaded and were hiking by 9:50.  It was very cold in the valleys around Rainy Pass. There was ice on everything. Mama Raven and Florence hiked in the lead while Little Crow and I took the rear position.  We pushed on and finally reached the sun up near the top of the pass. We stopped at the top for lunch and enjoyed the amazing views.  We said our good byes to Florence and headed up the trail.  Quickly we came to Granite Pass and then we started a long contour toward Methow Pass.  A day hiker told us that there would be a lunar eclipse tonight.  At about 5:00 we reached the top of Methow Pass and found some other thru hikers setting up camp.   The  pass is a very wide saddle with great views eastward.  It was a perfect spot for eclipse watching.  If we continued on, we would be down in a deep valley cutting off any views of the eclipse, so we decided to stop early and stay up here with the other hikers for an “eclipse party”.   Two of the hikers are Aunt Jamina and Sando who we last saw at Sonora Pass in California. We were not disappointed by the eclipse, it was a beautiful sight in a beautiful surrounding. Unfortunately, Little Crow fell asleep before the night show began.  It will be a cold night, it is already below freezing outside.  A few more days and we will be in Canada.

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Doc and Turkey

Doc and Turkey

Zero days in Winthrop

Day 168 and 169 – 9/25/15 and 9/26/15
Winthrop
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 2666.0 (PCT 2587.1)

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9/25/15
This was a work day. We worked on our re-supply box, and cleaned out the packs, and other gear.  We did laundry. We all took showers, except for Bling who washed his hair and took a sponge bath. We dried and aired out the sleeping bags and tent.  And we had a good dinner with the cousins.

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Pig Pen and Songbird

9/26/15
Early this morning we headed over to Lewis’s and picked up their van. Today we will drop our car off at Manning Park,  British Columbia, which is the last destination of our PCT adventure. Little Crow stayed with the cousins in Winthrop. While I drove the van, Mama Raven and Bling went in the Prius. We had a 4 hour drive to Manning Park and then 4 hours back. We left early in the morning. Our first stop was the gas station in Twisp and then over to the bakery for breakfast. Next we drove 2 hours to the Canada boarder. This is where things slowed down a bit. Taking a car into Canada and leaving it is not normal and they decided to take a closer look at us. They questioned me on what was in Lewis’s van. I had no idea and told them that. They made sure I knew that I was responsible for anything in it. They asked about guns and money and I said that there should not be any. They searched both cars and returned to ask me about the computer in the van. I knew that they were hooking up in new computer so I assumed that the one in the van was broken; which it was. The boarded guards ask if they could hook it up and run some programs on it. I said yes however it is hard to run programs on a computer that will not bootup. Finally the boarder guards asked to see our entry papers for the PCT. I did not bring them. We were driving in and I did not think they would be needed. They asked if I could get a copy of them faxed over or a picture of them through email. I called Florence and had her take a picture of the first page then. She had to wake Lily up to show her how to send it, she texted and emailed out to me. I was having troubles receiving it. I did not have a data connection. I tried walking to different areas outside but no luck. Finally I had Florence send it straight to the boarder agent. After a very long wait, he never did receive it. I checked the spelling of his name, we had it wrong. Florence then sent out to the corrected email address and he got it. Now the only problem was that they need the second page and at a higher resolution. Florence took care of that. Finally they had what they needed. They noticed on our paper work that our exit date was September 19 and was well beyond that date. We explained that we were slowed up with Bling’s leg. Luckily Bling was with us in his full leg cast for proof. With a great sigh of relief on our part, they let us go on into Canada. The whole process took 1.5 hours. We had no more problems driving to Manning Park. We dropped the car off at the trailhead and then drive over to the lodge. When we were in the lodge we ran into Shadow Hawk who finished the trail yesterday. We were happy and relieved to see him. He had hurt his knee at Timberline Lodge in Oregon and ever since, he has been in a lot of pain. He says he has been living on vitamin I (ibuprofen). With the trail over with, he can now take time off to heal. He told us that we should place our car behind the lodge instead at the trailhead. It would be safer there. Not wanting any problems, we checked with the management of the lodge which said that would be fine. Thus, we went back to the trailhead, picked up the car, and moved it to the lodge. We started the long drive back to Winthrop. After stopping for lunch, we got to the US boarder crossing. Once again we were asked a number of questions, but this time the boarder guard quickly past us on. We were back in the US. We got back to Winthrop by 6:30. We stopped at the grocery to pick up something for dinner and back to Uncle Lew’s house we went. This whole process took 12 hours, a lot longer than we thought it would. Tomorrow we head back to the trail to finish our last section of the trail, the sad part is we will be without Bling.

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Little Crow, Bling, Noah, and Finlay