Stehekin

Day 28 – 8/3/16
Stehekin
Miles – 9.6
Total Miles – 429.8 (PCT 2569.4)
It was a warm night and we slept soundly after our twenty-five mile day yesterday. With a sigh of relief, we saw blue sky with only a cloud here and there when we poked our heads out of the tents. It looks as if the unexpected storm had passed. We packed up quickly and got hiking. We wanted to catch the 11:00 bus into Stehekin so we had to push ourselves to make it on time. The trail dropped all the way to High Bridge. It is not a steep drop and is easy hiking.  High Bridge is where the bus would pick us up. We made only one stop to eat on the way down. Bling and Mama Raven made it to the bridge first at 11:06. We missed the bus!  We would have to wait for the next one. Gloomily, we hiked on down to the pickup point. There was a bus schedule posted and we noticed that there was not an 11:00 bus, instead it did not arrive until 12:30. Everyone was a lot happier knowing we were not late after trying so hard to be on time. Also we were eager for food, and a place to get clean and to dry out the gear. Stehekin is a small resort located at the North end of Lake Chelan, which is 41 miles long. No roads go into Stehekin. The only way to get to it is by sea plane or boat. The buses and cars that are in Stehekin came over on barges.
On the way into the resort, the bus stopped at the famous Stehekin bakery.  Martha Stewart visited it many years ago and claimed it as one of the best bakeries she had ever been to. Long before Martha Stewart’s discovery of the bakery, long distance hikers on the PCT knew how good it is. Up and down the trail, it is well-known as one of the best places to eat. For hikers, it is a legend. We got pizza, two big ham and cheese croissant, a blueberry Danish, and fruit kuchen.
When we got into Stehekin, we started to look for a room. We disappointedly found out that the lodge was full. Next we tried the ranch, it too was full. We needed showers and clean laundry!! What to do?  The boat from Chelan came up and we went to see how much the fair to the other end of the lake to the town of Chelan. The only problem was that they boat was working on only one out of the two motors and will take twice as long to get there. That would between 8:00-9:00 tonight. So that would not work. We really wanted to clean up. It has been six days of sweat, dirt, mud, bugs and plants in hair. We stink!  We were feeling very sub-human.  Mama Raven said how about look into a sea plane to Chelan.  That would be a treat for every one. The sea plane was $120 per person one way. Too expensive!  Somebody told us about the public laundry and shower and off we went.  There was only one shower and one laundry machine, and of course there was a line of people waiting. Luckily, we were the only ones needing laundry.  We cycled each of us through the shower, one dollar for 5 minutes. As this was going on, we sorted our box. After several hours, we finished and decide to stay at the campground. We walked over and found a spot. At least we had somewhere to stay and we were now clean!  We were human again! We went over to the lodge for dinner around 6:30 and found that Lord Vader was there. We sat and ate with him.  We all had a wonderful time sitting and talking about trail life and life after long distance hiking, especially trying to “melt back into the world of muggles.”  (what thru-hikers affectionately call non thru-hikers).  It is more often than not a difficult transition. Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our evening with Lord Vader.
We will be back to the trail tomorrow morning. Rain is forecasted for Sunday, we will be nearing the boarder that day. I hope it waits a bit and let us get to Manning Park before it rains.

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Leavenworth

Day 21, 22 – 7/27/16
Leavenworth
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 322.3 (PCT 2461.8)
Even through we are not hiking today, we still got up at our normal time. It is a town day and excitement is high!!! Nonetheless, we leisurely packed up and headed over to Stevens Pass Ski Resort before 8:00. This year and last year, the PCT passed through many ski resorts causing Bling and Little Crow to want to try the sport. Papa and Mama Raven use to ski and both love it. However that was many years ago, before owning a house with a mortgage, bills, years of private school tuition, kids and now unemployment. Our response to the kids has always been “one day, it sure would be fun to ski!”  Anyways, we cleaned out our packs of all trash and waited for the store to open at 9:00. When it did open, we ordered four smoothies, ice cream, and our box. We sorted out the box and got the packs ready to go.
At about 8:00 this morning, we started to tried to get bus reservations. Stevens Pass is not a regular stop, so Papa Raven had to line it up ahead of time so the bus driver would stop for us. Everyone he called could not figure out how much it was and they kept having him call a different company. It took four different companies before
he was able to buy the tickets. Next, we just had to wait until 11:30 for the bus to come. By 11:50, the bus had not arrived so we called the bus company to see if we missed the bus or was it late. Come to find out, the Seattle traffic had held it up. We were relieved we had not missed it. Finally, the bus arrived a little after noon. Once we were in Leavenworth, we quickly found a room in our price range and Mama and Papa Raven took showers so we would not stink when we went to the medical clinic. We had no time to wash clothes, so hopefully most of the smell was on our bodies and not the clothes. It was the best we could do under the circumstances.  We left the kids in the room, as we walked over to the clinic. We walked in to the clinic at 3:00 and right away we got to see a nurse practitioner. She said what needed to be done was to remove a quarter of the nail on the side that is causing the problem. However, she was hesitant to recommend this because we would be hiking with an exposed nail bed and that will be uncomfortable; also would be hard to keep it clean. Mama Raven said let’s have the procedure done anyways because hiking with it the way it is has become unbearable. Thus, the job was done in 15 minutes. Mama Raven said the worst part of the procedure was all the nerve block shots to numb her toe. After that, it was easy!  At the end, the nurse put a big, fat bandage on Mama Ravens toe. It was so large it would not fit into her shoe. They gave her a hospital sock to put on. And that is how we left the hospital: one shoe on one foot and a sock on the other, hobbling down the road.  Good thing we only had to walk a mile back to the room!

7/28/16
Leavenworth
We spent a quite day in Leavenworth. Mama Ravens toe is feeling much better. She is very happy we had the ingrown nail trimmed back. Around lunch, everyone walked into town. We wondered in and out of the shops and played the tourist. We worked our way to the far end of town so we could stop by a Safeway, for some extra food for the next section, and hardware store for epoxy and duct tape to repair Bling’s and Mama Ravens hiking poles. We all returned to our room and relaxed. All and all, it was a good day of not doing much of anything.

Snoqualmie

Day 15 and 16
7/21/16
Snoqualmie
Miles – 5.5
Total Miles 251.2 (PCT 2390.7)
We had sunshine first thing this morning. That has not happened very often this trip. Since it is a short five miles to town, we were a bit slow getting out of camp.  That is at least Mama and Papa Raven were. Little Crow and Bling were so excited for town day they were up and ready at record speed!  The hike to town started with a simple traverse. The only problem was with the dew. Washington is the only place were you can hike on a clear day and still get totally soaked. The trail is often overgrown and dew collects on the leaves. As we hiked through them we got wet.  The vegetation up here is green and beautiful with lush ferns, mosses, clover and grasses. There are wildflowers of every color.  One of our favorite has been there Bear Grass.  A tall stock grows out from the center of a clump of dark green grass. The stock ends in a explosion of hundreds of tiny white flowers. When we came through here last September, the Bear Grass was long gone. Vast variety of mushrooms are up here too.  The local residents know which ones are edible and they come up and gather them. We are clueless about them so we are not about to try any of them.  There are also berry bushes galore:  huckleberries, blueberries, black berries, salmon berries, thimble berries, and ones we do not even know their names. This is how today’s trail went until we crossed over to the eastern side of the mountain. Once over to the sunny side, our paced picked up and we passed under the Summit Ski lifts. By 10:00 we dropped down the mountain and hiked into Snoqualmie Pass.
First thing we did was to stop by the gas station to pick up some drinks and something to eat. Papa Raven went over to the hotel to see when our room would be ready. It will not be ready at 12:30. He picked up our re-supply box and we sat at a picnic table and sorted through it. This did not take long, so we spent a lot of time just sitting and waiting. Finally 12:30 came, and we got into our room. Showers and laundry were the most urgent tasks completed. Bling and Papa Raven got their new shoes. The old ones were eagerly thrown in the trash. We had dinner at a restaurant across the street called the Commonwealth. It was excellent and we plan on eating there tomorrow night as well. The sunshine we woke up to this morning disappeared to dark gray cloud cover. It did not rain. That comes tomorrow, while we will be dry inside the hotel room!

7/22/16
Snoqualmie
Zero
We did our best to do nothing. We ate. We did some repair on the  equipment. We sat and rested the feet. We watched TV. We watched Discovery Channel’s Alone, Deadliest Catch and Alaskan Bush People.  Mama Raven worked on photographs for the blog. That’s about it!
We did pick a good day to take a zero. We woke to rain. The clouds stayed very low all day and it rained several more times throughout the day. We were glad that we were not hiking in this wet weather.
Around 1:00, Bling started to feel sick (nauseated). He took a nap and stayed in bed and by 6:00, he felt better and wanted dinner. It was kind of weird, not feeling well for 5 hours. We hope that is the end of that ailment for Bling. We ate at the Commonwealth restaurant again for another awesome dinner. The Raven’s favorite part was the carmel apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.

White Pass

Day 9 – 7/15/16
White Pass
Miles – 10.4
Total Miles – 152.3 (PCT 2292.4)
We had another dry night. Two dry nights in a row!  We can get use to that. Quickly we got out of camp because we were looking forward to getting to town as fast as possible. Town days are exciting for hikers.  The main reason is food!  The visions of pizza, hamburgers, French fries, sodas, and ice cream were dancing in our heads. The trail led up a ridge past Shoe Lake.  After that it crossed a bowl with few snow patches.  When we entered the bowl we saw nine mountain goats near the trail. They noticed us right away and ran up the cliffs above.  They perched themselves on the craggily knife-edge, watching us as we marched by them far below on the trail. Next, the trail went near several ski lifts.  We took one break at an open area where we had views north and east. We noticed that a fire is burning out in the Washington desert. After eating, we set off to town. As we were going toward the White Pass, we saw Joe, who helped with Bling’s rescue last September, riding his horse toward us. He was a bringing gear for a PCTA trail crew. He told us that we could camp with him and Cindy, his wife if we liked. He also said we could come by for dinner. We parted company, hoping to meet later and walked the last few miles to White Pass. Shortly after Joe we ran into some more horseman who greeted us with a big “hello Ravens!” It was Doc and Matt, who also helped in Bling’s rescue. It was good to see them. We talked a few minutes before we continued on. At White Pass is the Kracker Barrel store which has food, groceries, and our re-supply box. Since it was around noon we picked up sandwiches and drinks. We sat at one of the tables inside and ate. There is a lodge just above the store and Little Crow and I went to see if we could get a room. All The Ravens need a bath and we also need a place to spread our gear out. There was one available and we took it. Soon we were all in the room, emptying packs, getting showers, and sorting out the food box. This took longer than it should because we just wanted to sit and get off our sore feet. We hand washed the most important things in the sink and dried them the at the store. If we had done a full load of laundry at the store, it would have been seven dollars.  Around 6:00, we walked the short half mile over to Joe’s camp. We stayed for several hours and talked with all the horseman that had come up for the weekend. We had a delicious feast of baked beans, pork chops, salad, and Jello side dishes. The dinner wrapped up with a homemade blackberry pie. It will be a meal we dream about and long for while we are hiking. We all had a great time. Finally we walked back to our room and settled in for the night.

Trout Lake

Day 5 – 7/11/16
Trout Lake
Miles – 10.1
Total Miles – 82.2 (PCT 2226.4)
With only ten miles to go to get to Road that leads to Trout Lake we did not need to get moving too early. Nonetheless, we did anyways, at least earlier than the last four days. Every morning so far, we have woken up to rain and had to stay in the tent until it stopped. Once again, we had rain over night.  A light drizzle.  Enough to get the tents all wet. Despite the condensation falling on us, we packed up early and headed for our ride to Trout Lake.
The trail was easy. We had a medium size up and a really big down. The sun was coming out every now and then as we hiked.  We took a short break underneath an old growth pine tree whose girth was enormous.  There are not too many trees left like him.  Last year, we stopped for a break underneath it also. It was good to see him again.  We got to the trail head just before 1:00. That gave us a two-hour wait. I did try to get a phone connection but it was not strong enough to make a call. Since our gear was saturated with water, we pulled it out and dried it in the sun. Our back packs even had a chance to dry. The time passed quickly. Gary arrived at 3:00 and we put our packs in his truck, then it was off to Trout Lake. On the way to town we had a good conversation with Gary, the gentleman that picked us up.  He had been a forest fire fighter for thirty years, but now he is retired .  When the space shuttle Challenger exploded over Texas, he was called in to search for shuttle debris. He also worked in the evacuation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.  He has fought forest fires all over the country, including San Diego. He now spends his time during the summer shuttling hikers back and forth. We tried to pay him for the gas, but Gary would not accept any thing. As we walked in the store, Bev, the owner, gave us the same room we had last year, it is at the back of the grocery store. Actually, the room belongs to “Mikey” the cat.  He just lets us borrow it from him. The kids loved his company last year, and this year was no difference. We dropped our packs and started to make a laundry pile as everyone cycled through the shower. Just before 7:00 we walked over to the cafe for cheese burgers and huckleberry pie. After dinner we worked on our re-supply box and then it was off to bed. Just what you need for a re-supply stop food, a shower, and a warm dry bed.
The only problem for the day was Papa Ravens foot. We think that one of his heel blisters got infected and his ankle has swollen up a bit. We will look at it tomorrow. Mama Raven also noticed she has some Poison Oak from the first day of our hike. Despite all the rain we have had since we began our hiking trip five days ago, we are thankful to be here. The Ravens are happiest, when they are hiking.  It is amazing how content we are out here. We simply are walking in peace and beauty. Concerns and problems melt away. I (Mama Raven) dread the day we have to go home.

Skykomish

Day 160 – 9/17/15
Skykomish
Miles – 13.5
Total Miles – 2540.5 (PCT 2461.6)

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The rain storm that was suppose to come yesterday came early this morning, sometime after midnight. With that type of moisture in the air, condensation in the tent was great. Packing wet sleeping bags and tent this morning was unavoidable. We had thirteen miles of ups and downs to Stevens Pass, our next re-supply. The sky above us all morning was ominous looking. However it did not start to rain tell sometime after lunch. We held up for a while under some huge pine trees in front of a lake. The reflection of the blazing autumn foliage in the water was beautiful. It continued to rain the rest of the day. We arrived at Stevens Pass just before it closed. So did Bear Can, Honest Abe and Moose-lee. As we started to organize our gear, Mama Raven realized that her water bottle that had a liter and a half of water was completely empty and had leaked out. Despite every precaution we made to stay dry from the rain was useless because in the end everything was soaked inside Mama Raven’s back pack. Water could be wrung out from her sleeping bag it was so wet. With the wet weather we were having, it would have been impossible to dry it out. The only solution was to hitch hike fifteen miles west to Skykomish and get a room and dry out. This was our first hitch of our entire trail. Before we began Honest Abe made us a Skykomish sign and gave us some tips on the art of hitch hiking. Little Crow was so excited. The three Ravens stood in the cold rain for over an hour trying to get a ride. Little Crow quickly lost her thrill of the job at hand after the first fifteen minutes. Two other hikers joined us after an hour passed. They were Stone-fly and Chickadee. In our minds we thought this would make matters worse because now we were five soggy hikers needing a ride to town. Instead, shortly after they arrived, all at one time, three cars pulled over to give us rides. When we got the town our first job was to put all the wet gear in two driers. Within an hour we were dry, yea! We had a good dinner at the dinner in the hotel. Tonight we our out of the rain in Skykomish, tomorrow we had back to the trail.

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Moose Lee and Honest Abe

Moose Lee and Honest Abe

White Pass

Day 150 – 9/8/15
Beyond Dark Meadow Trail
Miles – 16.4
Total Miles – 2371.4 (PCT 2294.0)

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It looks like having all three of us in one tent will work.  It is a little cramped but we can sleep without to much bumping into each other.  It was a cold night and we woke up 40 minutes late.  So it was a bit of a slow start for our day.  Today’s hiking was relatively easy.  The trail dropped for a while and then climbed up above Shoe Lake (a lake shaped like a horse shoe).  As we rounded the top, we scared a mountain goat who went running across a tallis pile. The trail then passed through a wide open tundra area and very few, it any, trees. Finally we turned and headed down back into trees toward White Pass.  As we dropped, we hiked next to ski runs.  We could see the lifts above us. Around 3:00 we hit Hwy 12 and walked up to the store.  We picked up two packages, one with all our food and another from Suresh, a co-worker from Cymer.  He had been up here on vacation and was trying to meet us, but with all the rain and the problems with Bling’s leg it never happened.  So he drove over to White Pass and dropped off a package.  Suresh left us two packets, one with dried apples and strawberries, and the other with dried cherries.  Little Crow loves the dried apples, I go for the dried cherries, Mama Raven liked it all!  There was also a $25 gift card from Cymer.  Thanks to all of you.  There were a few hikers at White Pass we knew:   Whole Roll, Rabbit, Night Shift, and Rebo.  We met Sketch from Japan who likes to sketch for his journal instead of writing.  Mama and Papa Raven worked on the box and got ready for the next section.  We pulled out the food that was allotted for Bling. There was no reason to carry it.  We placed the extra food in the hiker box at the store and it was quickly grabbed by other thru hikers.  Our resupply box was a big one. It had all our cold weather gear, heavier rain coats, rain pants, and fleece jackets.  We put together a box of clothes we did not want and mailed it to uncle Lew’s house, just to have to close at hand if we need it. We finished sealing the box and were ready to hike out in two hours. That was one of our fastest resupply ever. However it took another hour before we left making phone calls and talking to other hikers. Oh well, still three hours is not too bad!

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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

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!

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

Castle Crags, again

Day 103 – 7/23/15
Castle Crags State Park
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 1559.0 (PCT 1498.7)

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The plan was to leave late in the day today and get 5 or 6 miles up the trail, just to shorten the up out of Castle Crags which is 4,500′ in 19 miles. The steepest part is in full sun. By leaving late, we would miss the heat of the day. Consequently, the kids got to sleep in. They both stayed asleep till 8:00. Once everyone was up, we walked over to the store for breakfast burritos which we had for dinner last night. The small store does not have many options for meals. After breakfast, we headed back to camp to get ready to hike out in the afternoon. As the day went on, there was always one more thing to do. Sometime during the morning, a large dog showed up. His tags said his name was Leo. He was really friendly and the kids had fun playing with him. Will and Little Crow took him through the entire camp trying to find his owner. They returned unsuccessful. They continued to play with Leo. Since the 5 freeway was just 100 yards from the campground, we got a lot of car and semi truck noise. We were lucky to have phone service because Mama Raven’s dad’s hospice care called. It is always unnerving to receive a phone call from hospice care. Luckily, this time, the problem was not serious. Mama Raven’s dad has gotten physically weaker and is falling a lot more these days. Last night, when the nurse went to check on on him, Lew had gotten up at some point and had fallen down. He was not hurt. He simply feel asleep there on the floor. He told the nurse that he wanted to sleep on the floor. Anyways, the memory care facility is concerned with his falling, they want to move him closer to the nurses station. They also want to put a monitor on him that lets the staff know when he gets up. Mama Raven agreed to it all. However getting off the phone, she said her dad will never leave the monitor on. Anyways, we are relieved the phone call from hospice was simple and non-traumatic. Around 2:00 in the afternoon, we again headed over to the store for lunch and Leo followed us. We first stopped by the PO to mail our bump box. A bump box is a small box of resupply items that we mail to our selves every 3 or 4 towns. It has extra batteries, sun tan lotion, bags, Band-Aids, and such like. This avoids having to buy these items which are expensive in all the little towns we pass through. After mailing the box, we took Leo over to the park headquarters. They knew about Leo. He belongs to a local and likes to periodically hangout at the campground. They took him and were going to call the owner. We headed back to the store for lunch without Leo. After lunch, we went back to camp and looked at the maps. We could camp just 2 miles up the trail or about 8 miles up the trail. We did not have time to hike 8 miles and 2 miles was not worth it, so we decided to stay the night and leave very early the next morning. With some time on our hands we decided to walk down to the Sacramento River where Will and Little Crow fished for a few hours. They caught nothing, but the rocks did catch Will’s hook. It took him some time and effort but he got it loose. After fishing, we walked by the store to pick up some dinner and breakfast. Tired of breakfast burritos, Mama Raven and I got a small box of Honey Nut Cheerios and milk. The box of cereal cost a whopping $7.00. Will and Little Crow got more breakfast burritos. We also picked up some Hostess goodies. Our favorite are the Snowballs, crumb and glazed doughnuts, and fruit pies. Everyone headed to bed early due to our early wake up time.

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Castle Crags

Day 102 – 7/22/15
Castle Crags State Park
Miles – 20.0
Total Miles – 1559.0 (PCT 1498.7)DSC00889-7-22-15 Yesterday must have been harder then I thought because we woke up more than a half hour late and then we were slow in getting packed up. In the last week or two, we keep getting up late. As with most mornings, today began with an up and a good sized one. It took several hours to get to the top of the ridge then we headed west and started a long down to Castle Crags. Our first sign of civilization was a train horn. A half hour later we started to hear trucks on Hwy 5. Noises coming from a town get to be real exciting for us because we are close to real food and showers. As we stopped for a snack along the trail a hiker named Ciervo stopped and talked to us before he went on his way. He is what we describe as a trail rocket because he travels so fast. He hikes thirty to thirty five miles a day. Most hikers who hike big miles usually do not even take the time to talk to us. Ciervo did and we had a fun conservation about thru hikers favorite subject: food. Soon he moved on and we hiked on over to Hwy 5. Our food box is at the gas station store next to the PO. Most hikers usually hitch a ride to Shasta City and get a hotel room. We did not because towns like that are vortexes that hikers get stuck in making leaving back to the trail hard. Also they become very expensive. We hiked along a frontage road until we came to a pedestrian tunnel going under Hwy 5. This lead straight to the Castle Crags State Park campground. We took one of the first spots we found and setup camp. Next we walked over to the store. The convent store had the usual food but they also had deli sandwiches and homemade burritos. We picked up something for lunch, even though it was after 3:00. After eating that, we then returned for pop cycles, our food box, and something for dinner. At camp we stared cleaning out the packs and getting the food ready to go. As night fell we ate dinner and then headed over to the showers. The showers are coin operated, .25 for a minute. We only have two small towels so as one person took a shower the other was washing cloths in the sink. Of course the boys shower only had cold water and the girls had hot. Great. Then it was off to bed.DSC00882-7-22-15

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Mt. Shasta

Ciervo

Ciervo

Pushing onward toward Burney Falls

Day 98 – 7/18/15
Burney Falls
Miles – 23.5
Total Miles – 1471.6 (PCT 1416.6)DSC09933-7-18-15Ann and I really enjoyed last night, Joon, not so much. We had camped on a wide open plain under a juniper tree. It was a very warm night so we opened up all the vestibules of he tents. Just about sundown, a large thunderstorm started off to the east. We could see the lightening that would make the clouds glow. While Mama Raven and I lied n the tent,  we watched the lightening out both sides of the tent. However, Joon was not enjoying the weather at all. She just wanted it to stop. Finally everyone feel asleep. At 1:30 a.m., big fat rain drops started to hit the tent. Everyone woke up and we closed the vestibules. The lightening storm to the east was still going on. It must be really big to be still going after 7 hours. With every flash of lightening, Little Crow would ask if it could come over our tent. Little Crow was unable to relax because of her fear of lightening therefore Little Crow and I swapped places. I spent the rest of the night in their tent with Will and she was in our tent. Little Crow quickly settled down once she was with Mama Raven. In the morning, Mama Raven was up and out before the sun. The storm had broken and she was taking pictures. The sunrise was exceptionally beautiful. She got us all up a little early so we could see the sunrise. We got hiking before 6:30. Today, we needed to cover 23 miles to get to the store and our box at Burney Falls. The store closes at 8:00. We will be cutting it close, but I think we can make it. The trail went for several more miles before dropping down to a large lava field. I have never liked hiking in lava fields. They are very rocky and uncomfortable on the feet. We had about 5 miles of this before everything smoothed out. The temperature was 97° and we were hot! Close to mid day, we came upon a 36″ metal pipe which was feeding a hydroelectric power plant. The pipe had a hole in it and water was squiring about 6′ into the air. We had fun putting out heads in the jet of ice, cold water. After playing for quite a while with the water jet, we next hiked to a bridge over the outflow of the hydroelectric power plant. We soaked our sore feet, ate lunch and watched Will fish. Within 10 minutes of leaving the bridge, we come to a fish hatchery. This is the first location where we could get water without pumping. Several of our water bags were empty and we really needed to fill up. After filling up with water we decided to walk around the hatchery. We were there for about 20 minutes looking around. Our narrow window to make it to the Burney Falls store before it closes is getting smaller and smaller. We had about 12 miles and it was almost 3:00. We will have to hike fast to make it. Joon is the one we have to get moving. We hiked about half the distance before we stopped at one of the best caches on the whole trail, the Wild Bird Cage Cache. It has a picnic table that everybody has signed who has past by, there is coolers with sodas, fruit, and hot dogs. There was a cabinet filled with canned food, and other misc food items. Hikers could wash up in a solar shower, and recharge equipment with a solar charging station. There were games to play and lounge chairs in the shade. We stopped just long enough for some grapes, bananas, and sodas. We wished to stay longer but we could not take the time. After 3 more miles, I figured out that Mama Raven and Will could make it, so I sent them on. Little Crow might make it but that was chancy. Little Crow hiked hard and covered the all most 4 miles in 1½ hours. She and I walked up to the store at 8:02. Mama Raven and Will were just coming out. They had gotten drinks and our box. We sat down at a picnic table and Mama Raven worked on sorting while I cooked dinner. It was dark by the time we finished. Tiredly, we went back across the river to find a campsite and setup camp. The Ravens quickly fell asleep.DSC09915-7-18-15

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Paradise

Day 89, 90, and 91 – 7/9, 7/10, and 7/11
Paradise
Miles – 5.9
Total Miles – 1338.2 (PCT 1284.3)

Marley and Little Crow

Marley and Little Crow

7/9
The sky was cloudy when we woke and the air was the coldest we have felt in weeks. We quickly packed and started down the mountain. We had less then 6 miles and we wanted to get down by 9:00 when my mom was going to pick us up at Belden. As we dropped, we went from pine to oak. Soon we were encountering poison oak and we had to watch our step. Finally we reached the bottom, crossed a set of railroad tracks and hiked a road to the Belden Resort. Mom was sitting in her car in a parking lot. We took several minutes to go into the resort and get some drinks and chips. Will and Little Crow also got some Hostess fruit pies. Inside the resort there were several hikers having breakfast. We said our good byes, with us taking two zeros there is a good chance we will not see them again. Supertramp stopped by to meet my Mom and say goodbye. Mom drove us down to Gene’s daughter house, Keira, in
Paradise. Paradise is a small town east of Chico. We will be staying here for the next few days. The first task to accomplish were baths for everyone and then laundry. In the afternoon I worked on the packs and Mama Raven worked on the blog. The kids explored and played with Keira’s dogs: Jacob, Ben, Marley and Wren. Also, there was Ivy the cat and Starbucks the miniature pony. Keira is a veterinarian so she has a collection of animals.
7/10
Today we worked on finishing the packs and running some errands in Chico. We had to go by a outfitters store for a new 2L water bag  and some plastic cups so the kids have something to drink hot chocolate in. Then we went to Walmart for Epson salts. (Mama Raven has an infected blister on one of her toes). We also got some miscellaneous food for the trail. Next came Trader Joes for more food. A while back, Overy Easy and Sumnyside Up  gave us a package of Trader Joes dried tangerines that were amazingly delicious so we did not want to miss out on the opportunity to get some since there was a Trader Joes in town. While mom and I were at Trader Joes,  Mama Raven and Will saw a Panda Express and stopped in for a snack of Walnut Shrimp which the two have been dreaming about for hundreds of miles on the trail. Our last stop was at Leslie’s Pool Supply for a vinyl pool patch kit to patch some holes in our water bottles.
7/11
Originally we intended on heading back to the trail first thing in the morning, but last night we realized that we still had too much still to do: sewing needed to be done on backpacks, holes in the tents needed to be mended, more soaking of Mama Raven’s feet was needed and there were some issues about our house that have come up that need to be  taken care of. Thus we decided to leave around 3:00 so we can hike a few miles up the big climb out of Belden. Also that would give time to have lunch at KFC, another food craving of Will and Mama Raven. After our amazing lunch with Keira at KFC, Mama Raven finished the packs while I worked on the computer. By 2:00 everything was ready and we were relaxing. Mama Raven was talking with Keira about shoes and Keira was telling her about a very good running shoe store in Chico. We called them about wide women’s shoes and they said they had some. The shoes we got Mama Raven in South Lake Tahoe are wide enough, but they are way too long and that gave caused her to get new blisters. Off to Chico we went. The shoe store just happens to be in the same building as the sporting goods store we went to yesterday. Anyways, after spending a lot of time trying on different shoes we left with a new pair of Brooks. They are in Mama Raven’s size and wide enough, we hope. We will not know for sure until Mama Raven hikes with her pack on and her feet swell up like they usually do at the end of a day of hiking. By the time we got back to Paradise, it was almost 5:00, too late to drive up to Belden and get some hiking in. Therefore, we decided to stay another night and leave first thing in the morning. We did not expect to take three days off.  Nonetheless, the Ravens had a excellent time in Paradise:  Will and Little Crow got to play with all the animals. Little Crow got to watch lots of I Love Lucy, Mama Raven explored Keiras art shop, we had lots of home cooked meals, satisfied food dreams at Panda Express and KFC, lots of gear got repaired, healed a nasty blister on Mama Raven’ s foot, and most important, we relaxed. Thank you Grammie Emily, Gene and Keira for a great time in Paradise!DSC09088-7-9-15

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Starbuck

Starbuck

Fourth of July in Sierra City!

Day 84 – 7/4/15
Not far from Hwy 49
Miles – 8.2
Total Miles – 1249.4 (PCT 1195.8)DSC08483-7-4-15

Out tents were wet when we got up due to condensation. Since we were in a very deep valley we would not get sun any time soon, so we packed it all wet and headed for town where we would dry our gear. We only had a few miles to go to get to Sierra City. We quickly reached the trail junction to the Wild Plum Campground. By this time, Logan was hiking with us and all five of us headed for the campground. We were hoping to find Sunny Side Up there. She was going to try and get a camp site for Over Easy. As we were walking through the campground, we stopped by a bathroom and Logan went on, but not very far. When we walked on, we found Logan at a campsite. A family of two boys and their parents called us over too. They had been hoping to see some thru-hikers. They were the Peachy family from San Francisco. Little Crow, Will, and Mama Raven grew very fond of their little black pug, named Pixie. They made us PJ sandwiches. Also, they gave us yogurt and cereal. Next they offered to drive us into town. All five of us eagerly said yes. We loaded everything into the back of their car and off we went with Pixie in Will and Little Crow’s lap. It was a short drive of three miles. Thru-hilkers are some of the laziest people you will meet. They do not want to walk any more than they have too. We said goodbye to the Peachys and headed to the store where our re-supply box was. We are lucky we sent our box to the store and not the post office because this is Saturday, July Fourth. The next time the post office will be open is Monday morning at 10:00am.
We sat down at the store and waited for 10:00 for it to open. Our box was inside, which is a good thing. Four other hikers have missing boxes and most have to wait until Monday for the PO to open to see if that is where their boxes are. I found power on the deck of the store and started to charge everything. When the store opened, we got drinks and our box and then headed across the street to a park, to sort it. I tried to call Kim to tell her we were here. My mom is in Reno and she would like to come and see us. The only problem is that there is no cell service. I asked around and no one has cell service. So I wrote an email and went to the store to send it. I got a connection but no data was going out. I checked with someone else who was trying the same thing and he was not having any success either. I asked in the store about the internet and found that a recent fire to the west destroyed ATT’s fiber optic lines and there was no internet. Shortly later, while talking to C.C., I found out that she tried to use the land line and it would not call out. This town was totally cut off. There was no way to contact Kim, Danny, or mom. Our other problem was where to stay. All the hotels in Sierra City and the surrounding towns are all booked for the Fourth of July. The campground and RV park were filled. The last resort was the church that allows hikers to stay in their tents behind it, except for Sunday. It had row after row of tents, upwards to 20. Nobody wanted to go anywhere for the holiday. Some people hitchhiked to Truckee to see fireworks on Lake Tahoe. Therefore, our only real chose was to hike out of town.
As we did our box we were able to do a load of laundry at the RV park. We dried out tents and sleeping bags. Around 2:00, we went to have hamburgers. The store makes ½ pound and 1 pound hamburger called the Gut Burger. Will and Little Crow got the ½ pound and and Mama Raven and I split a 1 pound burger.  We also got milkshakes. An hour later, we went back for ice cream, three different flavors of Ben and Jerry’s. Finally we were ready to head back to the trail. While we were waiting for our burgers, Sunny Side Up showed to wait for Overeasy to arrive. She offered to drive us back to the trail head. Again, we eagerly said yes to the ride offer and we all piled into her car and in a very short time, we were back at the campground. Sunny Side Up offered to call Kim when she got a connection tomorrow so I gave her the number and a message. I hope they get it. We said our  good byes and hit the trail. We hiked our way back to the PCT and then went on to its junction with Hwy 49. The trail at this point goes right up the side of Sierra Butte with very few places to camp. We went up for about .5 miles and found a level place. We were uncertain if we kept going we would not find a place to camp on the  steep hill sides. .  . and this is where we are on Fourth of July 2015, on the side of a mountain just above the highway.DSC08444-5-4-15

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Hummingbird

Hummingbird

Mrs. Peachy

Mrs. Peachy

Pixey Peachy

Pixie Peachy

CC

CC

Lord Logan and his breakfast

Lord Logan and his breakfast

South Lake Tahoe

Day 78 – 6/28/15
South Lake Tahoe
Miles – 2.8
Total Miles – 1143.1 (PCT 1092.3)DSC07569-6-28-15 Snow White and Wall-ee came by us at first light, then Dundee left and we finished packing. Everyone wanted to get to town as fast as possible. We hit the trail soon after and quickly hiked down to the highway and then up the hill to Echo Lake Resort. We arrived just after they opened. Snow White, Wall-ee, and Dundee were nowhere around. They most have already gotten a ride to Tahoe. Even though it is Sunday, we checked to see if they would give us our box. The answer was no! We got something to drink and picked up a few cinnamon rolls and then tried to figure out how to get to S. Lake Tahoe. We found a list of trail angels who will give rides to hikers. We tried about 6 different people before someone answered and Penny agreed to come up and get us. Thirty minutes later we were headed down to Tahoe.
We were dropped off at one of the outfitter’s and meet up with our hiking friends. The outfitter store did not sell any wide shoes and recommended going to the Big 5 store around the corner. Luckily they had one pair of 4e, 7.5 shoes for Mama Raven. The sales person told us how the New Balances numbering system works and we now know how to order these shoes on-line. Hopefully the sizing problem we have had ordering on-line will not happen in the future.
We went to McDonald’s for lunch and then caught a bus for the other end of town. We got a room in the same Motel as Dundee, Hedgehog, Tree Man, and Squatchy. My sister Kim and her son Dusty came up from Reno. It has been a number of years since we have seen them and we all had a great time together sitting around, talking. My brother Danny could not make it. He will try to meet us at Sierra City, our next resupply point. We all ended up at Baja Fresh for dinner and we did not leave until almost 9. Kim had to work in the morning. Dusty will come up in the morning to drive us back to Echo Lake.DSC07571-6-28-15
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Donna and Carl Woods

Day 74 – 6/24/15
East Fork Carson River
Miles – 9.7
Total Miles – 1076.9 (PCT 1026.1)
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We had a great spot for an early sunrise. As the sun hit the tent, we opened the flap and watched it come up. So many times we are camping in valleys we very rarely see the sun come up. When it got too hot to stay in the tent we packed up and hiked to Sonora Pass, it was only .5 miles away so we got there very quickly. There were a number of signs up says that Ebbetts Pass was closed. We found out later that it was the highway that was closed not the PCT. We found a picnic table and sat down to wait for the Woods to show up. We did not have to wait long, they drove up around 8:00. They brought all kinds of food, drinks, water, chairs, and resupply box. Papa Raven has eagerly been waiting for his new poles. His had been falling apart, one was broken in half and splinted back together with tent pegs, both straps had broken, the tips were gone on both poles, about 2 inches of the poles had worn away, the cord inside the poles has broken. All and all they were in bad shape. Thanks Melody for the poles. Will also got new poles thanks to Grandpa Bob and Melody.
Mama Raven, Little Crow, and I got new shoes. There were much needed because our old ones were not protecting the bottoms of our feet any longer. We took our time organizing our food while talking to Donna and Carl. The Woods brought fruit galore which included strawberries, blue berries, and grapes, apples and tangerines. They brought potatoes chips, sodas, Gatorade, brownies, chocolate cupcakes  (for Little Crow’s birthday), and all the makings for hardy sandwiches. They brought enough not just for the four of us, but for any other hikers that stopped by. A number of hikers got to enjoy the feast.
Donna said that they had checked the state of the fire before they had left and that it was burning away from the PCT. As of this morning it was 3.5 miles east of the tail. I figure that we will hike toward Ebbetts Pass and try to get north of the fire as quickly as we can. We should get very near Ebbetts Pass tomorrow. Finally around 1:30 with full stomachs and extra sandwiches and brownies in our packs, we hit the tail.
Of course the first thing we had to do was to climb 1000′ around a mountain. We had not gone more than a mile when Mama Raven’s new shoes were hurting her so much we had to stop. The bottoms felt fine, it was a squeezing the balls of both of her feet. So I did the best thing I could do and started to cut open her shoes. This helped a bit and we were able to hike to the top of the mountain. We have decided to hike to Echo Lake and try to get new shoes there by going down to Lake Tahoe. Mama Raven’s feet still were really hurting so she switched to her Crocs. This seemed to help quite a bit. Tomorrow I will cut her shoes up some more. At some point with enough altering of the shoes, they should stop hurting her.
The Ravens want to give Donna and  Carl Woods one, huge, heart felt thank you for all they did for us and other hikers at Sonora Pass. Mama Raven says the best treat they delivered to us was friendship. I agree!

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Franklenstien and Fly Balls

Franklinstein and Fly Balls

Yosemite

Day 66, 67, and 68 – 6/17, 6/18, and 6/19
Yosemite Valley
Miles – 6.9
Total Miles – 993.2 (PCT 942.5)

Floppy

Floppy

We heard that there might be a 8:30 bus to Yosemite, so we got up early (5:30) to see if we could catch it. It was only about 7 miles to the Tuolumne Lodge therefore we hiked as fast as we could. Lyell Canyon was beautiful! The six mile meadow had a thick covering of frost. When we got to the turn off to the lodge, we found that Sobo had left us a note, the bus comes at 10:15. Thus, we hiked over to the store to get something to eat. We barely had time to get a drink and some chips before the 10:15 bus arrived. We caught the bus for The Valley and by noon we were heading to backpackers campsites in Yosemite. Despite the desire of Little Crow and me to take as little time off as possible, The Ravens are going to take a couple of days off in Yosemite to recuperate a bit from the grueling Sierras. We will head back to Tuolumne on the 20th. It is good to have a little break every now and then, especially for Will and Little Crow! Since we live only seven hours away from Yosemite we come up here every Summer. Ever since our kids were born, we have been taking a photograph of Will and Little Crow ever since they were babies at the same bridge every year of their life in Yosemite. Therefore we will be doing that along with swimming in the river, eating and relaxing. The other thing we want to do is to take a two hour mule ride. Little Crow has wanted to do this since she was a toddler. We are finally going to do it!DSC05995-6-17-15

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Little Crow and Jethro

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Will and Uno

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Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR)

Day 61 – 6/12/15
Mono Creek bridge
Miles – 17.5
Total Miles – 929.1 (PCT 878.7)DSC05710-6-12-15Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR) our next food drop, is today’s destination. VVR was 12 miles away and we were trying to get there by lunch. When we got out of the tent we found that clouds covered most of the sky thus we packed for rain. We made good time down to Bear Ridge and then slowed down as we climbed it. We headed down the ridge and on to the resort. VVR has a boat that will pick up hikers but it stops at 11:30. We could not walk fast enough to get to the boat so we had to walk all the way to the resort. We got there at 1:30. The first order of business was food. All of us had basically the same thing: cheese burgers, fries, a drink, and we shared two slices of  fruit pie. The bill came to a $100. The saying along the PCT is spend a million at Vermillion. VVR is a remote resort at the end of a very long, one lane, dirt road, they have to drive out several times a week to get their supplies. It is not cheep. To make matters worse, Lake Edison, the lake the resort is on, is almost dry, due to the drought. Their main business, which is fishing, has gone away. Hikers and hunters is all that keeps the resort afloat. Yesterday we past a hiker who stayed at VVR and spent $600 for a three day visit. There is no cell phone reception or WiFi. The resort has one computer, but it will cost $50 for one hour of use. This is why we are not staying long here. We can not afford it.
After lunch we got our food box. It took about an hour to dump trash, sort and repack the food, clean the pot, fill the water bottles, and get ready to hike out. Our desire was to make VVR an in and out food drop. We will be having showers and doing laundry at Reds Meadow or Mammoth. Their facilities will be cheaper and nicer when we get there the day after tomorrow. We were ready to go however we wanted to take a few minutes to talk with some of the hikers we have not seen in a few weeks. As we were talking, we began to hear thunder then the rain came. We quickly decided that talking was more enjoyable than hiking in the rain so we stayed until the rain past, two hours later. Finally we hiked out at 5:30. Most of the other hikers stayed for dinner and a nights stay. As usual for us, we hiked literally till it was dark and stopped at the Mono Creek bridge.DSC05677-6-12-15

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What freeway? It’s a dirt road!

Little Crow

Day 33 – 5/15/15
Before Bushnell Summit (road walk)
Miles – 9.2
Total Miles – 514.1(PCT 479.8)

Will, Terry, Joon, and Justa

Will, Terry, Joon, and Justa

It was a slow start leaving the Anderson’s house. Mama Raven and I slept really well on the sofa. Mama Raven was concerned with so many hikers in one room there would be at least one person that would snore making sleep difficult. Instead everyone was as tired as we were and slept soundly and quietly. We were the first up and had to wait for everyone sleeping in the living room to wake up. Although others could have been up too, thinking the same way we were. Everyone was probably awake and contemplating yesterdays hiking adventures in the rain and being thankful for trail angels like the Andersons. At an unknown time, Joe came in on his way to the kitchen to start making breakfast for fifty hikers: pancakes. All morning, there was a steady stream of people coming in to get them. Will and Joon got hot chocolate with their pancakes. As Joe worked on breakfast, Terry would transport hikers to the trail head. The Ravens were not quite ready to go yet because we needed to wait for some of our clothes to dry. The Anderson’s drier got a lot of use the past 24-hours. With that many hikers using the drier, we had to be careful not to loose anything. While that was happening, we worked on getting everything back into the packs. It was surprising how much stuff was taken out and not just by us, but all the hikers. In the chaos of the Anderson’s house, again, we had to be careful not to loose anything. By the time the cloths were dry and on, the four of us were packed and ready to go. It was around 10:30. Terry had just left to take a group of hikers to the trail head so we walked down to the store and picked up a few goodies for today’s hike. Shortly, we loaded our packs into Terry’s car and headed off to the trailhead. We said our thank you and goodbye to Terry and off we went up the trail. It was 11:30, a very late start, but well worth it! Besides, we only needed to get to the post office in Lake Hughes, 8 miles.
The first thing the trail did was to climb up a ridge. As we climbed up, the clouds were breaking up everywhere around us except for our mountain we were climbing that was shrouded in fog. As we crested, we could see out into the Mojave and it was all sunny. We spent the next few hours walking trail and road until we reached the valley floor and Pine Canyon Road. We walked this road to get to the post office. Opening up a food drop box can take time, especially with four of us. There is reorganizing, going through the backs looking for trash (Will and Joon stick trash in every nook and cranny of their packs), going through the uneaten food and deciding to get rid of it or not, testing the new shoes, and talking to passerby’s in the PO. It took 2 hour before we were done and back to hiking. One good thing in our box was new shoes for everyone. The soles of our old shoes have become very thin and you can feel every rock. Will’s old shoes had big holes in them. While we were at the PO we met a hiker named Tattoo Joe. He has hiked over 20,000 miles and use to hold the speed record for hiking the PCT. Tattoo Joe gave Joon a trail name, Little Crow. She liked it! Now Will needs a name. We hiked out of the Lake Hughes Post Office in high spirits. . . new shoes, new supply of food and a new name for Joon.
Our trail followed a busy road for seven miles due to a fire closure. As the sun was almost down, a car pulled over to the side of the road we were walking along. A women we had never met got out of the car and said “hello Ravens”.  It turns out, she was Margaret, who has been following our blog and leaving messages on it. After a good conversation with her, we said good bye. We hiked two more miles before we made camp underneath a Huge oak tree along the side of the road.DSC02334-5-15-15

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