Manning Park

Day 33 – 8/8/16
Manning Park
Miles – 8.6
Total Miles – 519.3 (PCT 2650.1)
It rained over night and the sky was filled with dark clouds when we got up.  It is not a long hike to Manning Park and we knew that we would get there this morning.  Even though we would have a room tonight, we still packed for rain.  It is always better to err on the side of safety.  We started hiking in a light rain.  The trail to Manning Park is a lot different from the PCT.  It is much steeper and less cleared.  The PCT has been designed with horses and hikers in mind so it rarely gets very steep.  The plants have not been cut back for some time so we got very wet walking through them after the mornings rain.
After several hours hiking, we crested a ridge and had our last view of the U.S. shrouded in rain clouds. We took a short break to eat something. Short because to was just too cold to sit for very long. The trail climbed up through a small gap and then started down toward the resort on dirt roads.  The hiking was easy and we made good time. However, Mama Raven slowed us down to take photographs of the mushrooms that lined the path.  Down deep, she does not want the trip to end, so by taking time to take photographs,  the trip lasted a little bit longer.  As we hiked up to the lodge, it started to rain.  We had been lucky to hike the whole way to Manning Park under threatening dark clouds with very little rain.  It was considerate of them to hold off till we reached the resort.  Our task was to get a room.  This did not turn out how we had hoped.  The resort was full.  The receptionist told us that there was camping about a mile back up the road.  The thought of walking to a camp site in the rain with our soggy gear,  was utterly unappealing.   The Ravens had been so looking forward to a warm shower and soft beds with clean dry sheets; the last thing we wanted to do was to head back out into the rain and find a wet campsite.  Papa Raven also checked with the receptionist about our box.  She could not find it and had no record of it arriving.  Lastly, we checked about the outbound buses.  We needed to go from here to Osoyoos to cross back into the U.S. The receptionist informed us that 2 months ago the bus service changed its hours and the bus to Osoyoos would leave the lodge at 3:15 am.  Definitely not a convenient time, especially having to pack the gear in the rain, and walk a mile in the dark to catch the bus.  Postponing the dismal walk to the camp ground,  we settled down in the lodge’s lobby while Papa Raven got on-line to buy bus tickets for the morning’s bus.  While we were sitting there, another hiker came in and inquired about a room.  Mama Raven overheard the receptionist tell him that there were full but there was a hostel he could stay at.  Hostel!  That was our answer.  Mama Raven immediately went and talked to her about it.  She had forgotten about it when she first talked with us.  A short time later, we had two rooms and we headed across the highway to settle into our cozy, dry rooms!  Winning the lottery, could not make us more happy than we were at that moment knowing we did not have to spend another night in the rain. The hostel had showers and a kitchen.  We took turns showering and tried to dry our clothes as best as we could.  The Olympics started a few days ago and we sat by the TV in the kitchen watching them.  Being in Canada,  all the coverage was Canadian specific.  So we rooted for the Canadians.  We consumed a very big dinner at the lodge restaurant.  Little Crow and Bling both ordered nachos separately.   When they arrived to the table, we were shocked at the mountain of nachos that were set before both of them.  Neither of them could finish them.  Mama Raven and I had burgers.  Finally, we headed back to our rooms and to bed because 3:00 will come very fast tomorrow morning.

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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.

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.

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

Stehekin

Day 166 – 9/23/15
North Fork Camp
Miles – 19.2
Total Miles – 2656.1 (PCT 2577.2)

Rabbit, Pandora, ?, Salt Lick at the Stehekin Bakery

Rabbit, Pandora, ?, Salt Lick at the Stehekin Bakery

We wanted to get to High Bridge for the 12:15 bus. We have 11.5 miles to get there. It is dueable, but we have to move quickly. We got up and started hiking by 7:00 am. The trail was easy and we made good time. As we turned into Agnes Gorge, Mama Raven asked what time it was and how far we had to go. The time was 10:00 and we had 5 miles to our destination. That means we had to do two hours at 2.5 miles an hour. We walked into the parking lot where the Stehekin bus would come, it was 11:50. Waiting there also was Rabbit, Limy, Pandora, and Salt Lick. They were two reasons we need to go to Stehekin. First was to pick up one days of food to get us to Rainy Pass. The second and most important reason is to go to the Stehekin bakery. The town of Stehekin is at the end of lake Chelan which is forty miles long. The only way to reach Stehekin is by airplane, boat, or by foot. It is a tiny community that has an amazing bakery. All the thru-hikers have been dreaming about it ever since they arrived to Washington. For much of the summer, there was doubt by the hikers if any would make it up this far because of the trail closures due to all the fires in Washington. Many hikers gave up on Washington and left the trail at Cascade Locks at the Oregon\Washington border. For those that persevered are rewarded with not only the amazing natural beauty of this state (and its is stunningly beautiful) but also are treated with a trip to the Stehekin Bakery. The bus arrived on time and one by one the hikers boarded. Each hiker paid the bus driver for the ride and asked does the bus stop at the bakery. Each time the driver answered patiently, yes. Not long after we started off down the unpaved road, the bus stopped in the middle of the road. There was a moose clumsily walking along the road heading the same direction as the bus. Nobody on the bus, including the driver had ever seen a moose before so it was exciting for everyone. A little later, the bus pulled up to the bakery and with great excitement everyone got out and walked inside the bakery. The hikers looked wide eyed with awe gat all the goodies before them behind the glass case: huge cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, raspberry twists, fruit kutchen, cheese rolls, brownies, cookies, chocolate coconut bars, strawberry and rhubarb pie, blackberry and apple pie, breads, quiches and filled croissants!  The excitement and joy on all the hikers faces as their eyes moved from one goody to the next was priceless. It was like little kids in a candy store. We wanted everything and we bought far more than we were capable of eating. Each hiker left the bakery with a large bag of priceless bliss to sink their taste buds into! Back on the bus, each listed off what their bags contained. As for The Ravens, we ended up with a cinnamon roll, a sticky buns, kutchen, pizza and a sandwich. We actually got the least because once arriving at Stehekin, we would quickly pick up food at the store and promptly catch the next bus back to the trail head. This means that we will very soon be stopping back by the bakery on the way out to pick up some more treats. The other hikers plan on staying the rest of the day, if not even overnight. They will be doing laundry and showers and their re-supply boxes. We will do all those things tomorrow at Winthrop. We had only thirty minutes before the next return bus. We talked a few minutes to Haiku. We quickly emptied our trash from the backpacks and went to the store for a short one day re-supply. We packed what we purchased just in time for the arrival of the bus. We quickly talked to Vulture and told him to say hello to Chef for us. They are spending a night at the lodge. We boarded the bus and off we went. The return bus contained Mt. Parana and Haiku, Chickadee and Stonefly, Honest Abe and Moose-lee, The Ravens and another couple we did not know. On our return trip, the bus once again stopped at the bakery. This time we got two slices of quiche, a croissant sandwich, two blackberry kuchen, and three mountain bars filled with coconut, almonds, and chocolate. Once we were back at High Bridge, we put all the food away and started hiking. This area has designated camping only so we were heading for the first one, only 5 miles out. But when we got there, we found that we still had two hours of day light left and only 3 miles to the next camp. So off we went. The next camp had a number of groups there, but we found a quite place to camp and this became home for the night. Tomorrow we will get to Rainy Pass and then go down to Winthrop and see Bling! We will find out what the outcome of his visit to the ER last weekend. In Stehekin, there was no cell phone service to call Bling, so we have to be patient and wait one more day for the news of his leg. We are counting on it to be nothing more than a soft tissue problem that has been healing during our separation from him. However, at the same time we are wondering if there is some indication to uncle Lew that there is something more wrong since they are taking him in to the ER. (our health care insurance does not cover out of state medical expenses unless it is an emergency room visit). We are looking forward to a family portrait at the Canadian monument. To visualize Will not being there, knowing how hard he worked to get as far as he did and the last ten days of it was in such discomfort and pain with his leg, is a painful jagged pill to swallow.DSC01122-9-23-15

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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

Snoqualmie

Day 156 – 9/13/15
Snoqualmie
Miles – 6.7
Total Miles – 2468.4 (PCT 2390.6)

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No mice, good!  We woke to clouds which were hanging to the tops of the trees.  As we hiked, we soon crossed from the east side of the mountain to the west side and that is when we started to get wet.  The clouds on the west side were thick enough to have water dripping from the trees and we got some drizzle. We moved steadily forward taking only one break. Just as we were finishing off our break, we were past by 10 hikers, all trying to get to Snoqualmie Pass. One of the hikers was Malibu. He should have been way ahead of us but he had to get off the trail for a week for his sisters wedding back at Cascade Locks.  He told us that there would be trail magic at Snoqualmie Pass.  We followed him as best we could, however he is too fast for us. We got there in our own time, and there was trail magic! We had sodas, bratwurst hot dogs, chips and potato salad.  The trail angel was Malibu’s dad.  It was a feast fit for a king!  A short time later, we headed down to the hotel.  Mama Raven was antsy to get going.  She wanted to call Bling.  We got our room and our box and we did all those things we have to do at every food drop.  We talked with Bling twice.  He says that he can put a little weight on his leg but not a lot. We are a little disappointed with that news.  According to Aunt Florence, he cannot put any weight on his leg still.  We really want him to make it to Canada, but it is not looking like that will happen. Our good friend Smokey who is a head of us sent us an email saying it sounded like Bling ruptured or tore a tendon. Uncle Lew and aunt Florence’s plan for Bling is, if his problems are a simple soft tissue issue, like tendinitis, there should be improvements soon. If not, there is a more serious problem and they will take him to a larger town this week for an evaluation.  We are proceeding forward with our plans, but there is a lot of concern and doubt.  However there is no doubt that Bling is not in the best of care with Uncle Lew and his family.  Bling is getting his long time wish to hang out with his cousins for a while.  We will be heading to Stevens Pass next which is our second to last re-supply in Washington.  We should be there Thursday.  Our only concern is the weather.  It is suppose to rain  Wednesday.  I (Mama Raven) keeps meaning to mention that I am sorry there has been so few photographs attached to the blogs.  There never is any time to accomplish that task anymore.  It takes hours to go through the hundreds of images and then work on them and get them posted.  It also takes a large quantity of battery power which we do not have the luxary of while we are hiking on the trail.   When we get home, I will make sure all posts will have images attached.DSC09045-9-13-15

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The Kid

The Kid

Mush

Mush

Maibu's dad

Maibu’s dad

Chef and Vulture

Chef and Vulture

Bruce and Cheryl

Day 143 – 9/1/25
Trout Lake
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 2294.4 (PCT 2226.4)

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Because Papa Raven was still feeling out of sorts and the doctor recommended some time off for Bling’s leg, we decided to take a zero. We had a good pancake breakfast (Little Crow had both french toast and chocolate chip pancakes-she could not make her mind up so she got both) at the cafe. For the most part, we just sat around our room watching Alaskan Bush People on TV. When we first saw this show in a Teachapi hotel room back in Southern California we thought it was a show about some really crazy people. However, after several months on the trail, living the freedom, beauty, simplicity, and peace of the trail life, The Ravens truly understand the Brown family up in Alaska and we are desiring somewhat the same life. In fact I (Mama Raven) would say the Browns are living a life that is far from crazy. It is the rest of the world that seems more and more crazy the longer we are away from mainstream society. I have no desire to return and dread the day we have to. The Ravens salute the Browns up in Alaska!  Nonetheless, all our gear is dry. We have bought food for the rest of this section. It was a quite day, just what The Ravens needed! The weather forecast calls for rain tomorrow and then a clearing trend. We hope that is true. The weather forecasters up here are as accurate as the ones home in San Diego. Anyways, Papa Raven spent some time on the front porch of the store talking with the other hikers. Treeman from Germany arrived today. It has been a very long time since we have seen him. He said Hedgehog is a day behind him so we will unfortunately miss her. Jugs, Bear-lee, Cookie Monster and Morning Star are also here! At one point a woman (Cheryl) came out of the store and asked if by chance we were The Ravens. We started talking, she had heard about us from Flashback several days ago. She has two kids 11 and 12 and asked if she could bring them by later to meet Bling and Little Crow. Papa Raven said that would be great, it is rare that Bling and Little Crow get to be around kids their own age. However, Little Crow has been playing with Bev’s grandchildren, Austin (age 8) and Copper (age 4) behind the store. Around lunch time Mama Raven and I were picking up something to eat from the general store, when Cheryl came back to ask us if we would like to come over for dinner, it sounded like a good idea. Cheryl said she would be by 6:00 to pick us up. The Ravens were excited about a home cooked dinner. That evening Bruce, Cheryl’s husband, picked us up and we drove a short distance to their house. The first member of their household was a 10 month old Newfoundland puppy. He was massive and still growing. He weights about 100 lbs and will gain about 40 more pounds by the time he is a year old. There are two other small dogs that greet is as well. They have two children of the own, Josh and Sam, and currently have two foreign exchange students, two boys, one from China and the other from Brazil. Shortly after we arrived another family came over. We all settled down to eat an amazing dinner of chili, rice, guacamole, corn chips, corn bread, watermelon, and an extraordinarily delicious apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. There are a lot of thru hikers that would be jealous of our dinner tonight. We talked about the trail, Bruce’s job as a merchant marine, schools, wood working, and general life in the community of Trout Lake. The kids were all down stairs playing on the Wii. A lot of laughing was heard coming from the Wii room!  The Ravens had an enjoyable and relaxing evening. Again, we are impressed with the kindness of the town of Trout Lake!  It is a special community. As Cheryl drove us back to our room, she asked if we would like a ride back to the trailhead in the morning, we said yes and set that up for 8:30 tomorrow morning after another pancake breakfast at the cafe.
Thank you Bruce and Cheryl.

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Cookie Monster and Morning Star

Cookie Monster and Morning Star

Trout Lake

Day 142 – 8/31/15
Trout Lake
Miles – 14.1
Total Miles – 2294.4 (PCT 2226.4)

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It did not rain overnight but the clouds did not clear either. The wind was up and it was cold. The outside of the tents dried overnight but the inside was soaked due to condensation. We packed up and got hiking to stay warm. We had about 14 miles to get to the road to Trout Lake for a unplanned re-supply of food. We are at least two days short on food before we reach our next scheduled food drop at White Pass. We are also thinking about getting a room so we can dry out! The biggest problem is getting a phone connection to call for a ride.
The hiking in this section is pretty level and we moved along well. Bling’s leg is giving him less problems but he is still walking with a limp. At one of our breaks today, we past by two hikers named Not-a-Bear and Comet. A short time later we caught up to them when they where having a break. We talked to them for a few minutes and found out that they have a ride to Trout Lake lined up for 3:30 today. We would like to be there and see if the trail angel giving them a ride can give us one as well. We had 10 miles to cover from that point forward and we will have to move fast to make it there on time. As the day went on we, chewed up the miles as best we could. The rain holding off helped. At 2:30 we stopped for a break and I looked at the maps. Unfortunately, we still had 4.5 miles and just one hour to do it. We are not going to make it. Thus, we decided that I (Papa Raven) would hike ahead and try to make it while everyone else would come along at the normal speed. I headed out and hiked hard and fast. I covered 2.5 miles in the first half hour, I should make it. As I got to the road, I saw a truck and heard the engine start. As I walked the last bit of trail, someone in the truck saw me and the engine turned off. George, the trail angel had Comet and Not-a-Bear in the truck. I asked George if he could come back in about an hour and take us  town also, he agreed. About 45 minutes later, Mama Raven, Little Crow, and Bling arrived. George showed up at 4:30. Off to Trout Lake we went. George took us to the general store where they have two rooms availablle for $25 each. Luckily we got a room, and moved our gear in. On the ride down to town, George asked us lots of questions about our trip and at some point of the conversation we mentioned the problem Bling is having with his leg. He called a doctor here in Trout Lake who runs a Wellness Center to see if he could look at Bling’s leg. He thankfully had time to fit Bling in, so 20 minutes later, Bling, Little Crow, and I are riding with George to see the doctor. By now, all Ravens had grown very hungry but getting to the doctor was more important. Mama Raven stayed at the room so she could start drying out our gear before we left back to the trail tomorrow. Mean while at the doctors office, Bling got his muscles got a workout. The doctor, who is a chiropractor, for the next two hours, massaged to loosen up the hard as rock muscles in Bling’s leg and used a cold laser on it. At the end of the appointment, Bling and Little Crow got to go into a hot tub. As this was going on, I on the other hand was having my own problems. While filling out the paper work, I started to get very dizzy so I lied down on the floor. I ate and drank something. I was very hungry when we got into town and I had not been drinking much water over the last few days. Unfortunately, the food and water did not help, in fact, I even threw up. After lying down for another half hour, I started to feel better. I eventually got up and it was time to check out. The doctor asked us if we had insurance and I said no. He said that since he will not have to do any lengthy paperwork to an insurance company, he charged only twenty-five dollars for the two and a half hours we were with him. We got the kids out of the hot tub and George, who stayed the entire time with us, drove us back to a our room. It was 8:30 in the evening. Our original plan was to have dinner at the little cafe, but it closes at 8:00. With us getting back so late, it looked as if we would have to find something else for dinner and by now we were famished! We got back to our room Mama Raven had hamburgers waiting for us. Earlier she was talking with Bev who owns the general store and both of them were wondering what was going on with Bling’s leg since it had become so late. She told Mama Raven if she wanted something from the cafe she had better get over there because it was closing at 8:00 which was about in five minutes. Mama Raven told her that she can’t buy anything because Papa Raven had all the money with him. Bev said that is no problem and took out fifty dollars from her cash register and gave it to Mama Raven as a loan. Bev called over first to the cafe to tell them she has four very hungry hikers that needed cheese burgers and french fries to go.  The residents of Trout Lake have bent over backwards to help us out and the other hikers that are here. To call it merely “hiker friendly’ is an understatement. We have passed through many small towns on our hike and we are always so impressed with the generosity and kindness the residents of the towns have towards the dirty hikers that pass though. Trout Lake is one of those towns. It will renew ones faith in the human race. Mama Raven says we are moving to a small town! In fact, there is even a Buddhist monastery just out side of Trout Lake and we here they love to take in hikers. Next time we pass through, we want to stay there. That would add even more enlightenment to our already amazing journey of the human spirit on the PCT!

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Not-a-Bear and Comet

Energizer Bunny

Energizer Bunny

3 Zeros

Day 135, 136, and 137 – 8/24, 8/25, and 8/26/15
Cascade Locks
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 2211.9 (PCT 2144.4)

Zakley and Papa Raven

Zactly and Papa Raven

8/24/15
This is our first zero since northern California and we have been looking forward to it. I would even say the Ravens are down right excited. Two years ago, when we hiked Oregon, in Cascade Locks, we stayed at the Bridge of the Gods Motel and RV Park. They had some nice little cabins with two rooms and space to have a grand pack explosion. They also had a small kitchen. Several days ago I  made reservations for two nights. The room we got this time was even better than what we had last time we were here. It was a RV log cabin, built this year. It was about 800sq/ft. with a front room with two single beds, a full kitchen, back bed room with a queen bed,  bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, high peaked ceilings, pine wood paneling and a large front porch to air out our sleeping bags. It could not have been more perfect. We were doing our re-supply box, repairs on the tents zippers and just getting ready for the next section when panic ran though the thru-hikers at Cascade Locks. 70 miles from Cascade Locks the trail just got closed due to a fire near Mt Adams. This is the second closure for the PCT in Washington.  Some hikers who had left back to the trail this morning where returning to Cascade Locks, while others wanted to give up on Washington and go home or hike a different trail. Some hikers were taking a wait and see attitude. The Ravens fell into the last group. I knew that there would be a good number of people trying to figure out a way around the trail closure. Teflon, Cosmic Bubble and Dingo came by our cabin to see what our plan was for the upcoming future  PCT hike. The mood amongst the hikers is very depressing. It seems many our calling it quits after 2,100 miles. The hikers at our cabin, including the Ravens have no intentions of quiting. The Canadian border is too close!  All the hikers have been overcoming some sort problem or another since we began this trip months ago at Campo. This simply is just one more obstacle to figure out how to overcome. By dinner time there was talk of a road walk around the fire. We had a great pizza dinner at the Ale House and at least 10 other thru-hikers were there. The ones we knew where Milkshake and Sticky Buns, Velcro and Xactly, Cat Women, Rainbow, Brother Dude and Coppertone, and Rebo. Another, thru-hikers showed up half way  through dinner. It was Smokey with his wife Karen. He had met his wife here at Cascade Locks and was returning after a few days in Portland. We have not seen him since Tuolamne Meadows. Knowing he is a doctor, we talked to him about Bling’s leg and he asked Bling a bunch of questions. He suspects it is a strained muscle and says we are doing the right things for it (icing, hot water baths,  motrin). However, the best thing we could do for Bling’s leg is to stay off of it. Our plan is to leave tomorrow. Most of the hikers we know, who came into Cascade Locks today, our planning to take an extra day off. Perhaps we will do the same for the sake of Bling’s leg. A surprise for us was that our pizza dinner was on the house. Our waitress really likes thru-hilkers and she had heard about The Raven family on the trail. She called the owner who agreed to pay for Bling and Little Crow’s dinner and the waitress paid for Mama and Papa Raven. We also noticed the waitress giving Rebo twenty dollars to go buy drinks for the hikers staying at the hiker hostel here in town. She later offered to take us to Portland tomorrow if we needed anything. She genuinely wanted to help any thru-hikers she could. Since we did not pay for dinner we gave her a big tip!
8/25/15
This morning Bling’s leg was not much better. We knew what we had to do. . . stay another day. Around 9:00,  Papa Raven went to the motel office to pay for another night. The woman behind the desk informed him  that our room had been paid for. Someone, she was not allowed to say who, came in this morning and paid for our room. We have no idea who did it. We suspect Smokey and Karen, who also were staying at the same motel, but we are not sure it was them. Smokey was leaving early in the morning for the trail. We spent most of the day sitting around the room working on odds and ends and attending to Bling’s leg. By dinner time we were packed and ready to leave first thing in the morning. Velcro, Xactly, Gi Gi,  Dundee, and Cat Water also were leaving tomorrow morning. Snow White and Wall-ee, Tephlon and Cosmic Bubble and Dingo left yesterday. There concerns were the upcoming fire detours while ours was Bling’s leg.
8/26/15
We were up and out of our room by 7:30.  With great apprehension, we hiked over to the Bridge of the Gods so we could cross into Washington. Bling was limping badly. He tells us that his leg was feeling better than yesterday, but we can see that he is not ready to hike. We are all frustrated. Our hearts, including Bling’s, are ready to go on but physically we are unable to. All of our hiking friends have gone on and by staying another day we will not see them again.  Sadly, we walked back to the motel. As we were walking along, in our gloomy moods, we were looking down when Mama raven found another mylar fourth of July pinwheel, just likes Bling’s. It was sticking up out of an old orange construction cone along the side of the road. It was all dusty and scratched up but still worked perfectly. She added it to Bling’s backpack and said Bling has even more BLING! Once again, I went to the office around 9:00 and paid for another night. The woman gave us a discount on the room because we have been there for so long. We stayed in the room most of the day so Bling would stay off his feet. We continued our routine of ice, heat, and motrin. Mama Raven even got a chance to work on photographs for the blog. Something she has not had any time for. It was a quite day and we will be ready to go in the morning.

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

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

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

Independence

Day 55 – 6/6/15
Independence
Miles – 7.4
Total Miles – 823.7 (PCT 788.5)

Justa, Lint, Little Crow, Mama Raven, Papa Raven, and Will

Justa, Lint, Little Crow, Mama Raven, Papa Raven, and Will

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We woke up early so we could get to town as quick as possible. The inside of the tent was all wet. Mama Raven took a look outside and found that it was snowing. We had the kids look out and it started to snow harder. By the time we finished breakfast it had stopped. It had not snowed a lot, less then an inch but it was enough snow to make the mountains beautiful.
We packed quickly and hiked out. We made the pass in about one hour, took pictures with Lint and Justa, then we headed down. We reached Onion Valley at 9:30. Strider, the owner of Mt. Williamson Motel, drove up to pick as up. By 10:30 we we in hotel room, taking showers, doing laundry, and getting ready for the next section.  Our biggest concern is the weather. Will it be raining or not? Right now there are clouds all across the mountains. We’ll see tomorrow.

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Little Crows birthday present from Malia and Aurora

Little Crows birthday presents from Malia and Aurora

Lint and Justa

Lint and Justa

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Ridgecrest

Day 48, 49 – 5/30, 5/31
Ridgecrest
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 727.5 (PCT 702.2)

A truck load of thru-hikes heading to Grumpy Bears for Breakfast

A truck load of thru-hikes heading to Grumpy Bears for breakfast

Today we are going to Ridgecrest for a few days. Little Crow and Will were up early this morning. They were packing their gear by 6:00 am in anticipation for grandpa Bob picking us up. We waited out in front of the store for his arrival. Will and Little Crow played freeze be with Wall Street, Papa Raven, Foxtrot, and Pop Tops. There were roughly 25 hikers also waiting out front for a ride to Grumpy Bear Cafe, three miles down the road. The owner and cook of the cafe, picks up a truck load of hikers for breakfast at his cafe. He has a small size pickup truck. When he arrived at the store, his truck quickly filled up. We counted nineteen hikers in his truck. Off they went for breakfast. Grandpa Bob and his new dog, Pepper, picked us up at the store a little after 8:00. We all piled into his car and headed down the mountain. An hour and a half later, we were settled in a hotel room. We did our laundry and we all took out first shower in 8 days. We went to a pizza place that makes their own ice cream. Dad and Melody brought a cake and some presents for Little Crow’s birthday, which is in 6 days. Little Crow got new gaiters, shoes, and hiking poles. The store had the best ice cream. Dad and Melody told Little Crow and Will we will come back tomorrow for banana splits. We will be heading back to the trail first thing Monday morning.DSC03465-5-30-15

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Pop Tops

Pop Tops

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Heisenberg

Heisenberg

Giggles

Giggles

Giggles, Sunny Side Up, and Overeasy

Giggles, Sunny Side Up, and Overeasy

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Down Time in Tehachapi

Day 38, 39, 40 – 5/20, 5/21, 5/22
Tehachapi
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 591.0 (PCT 566.5)DSC03003-5-21-15
5/20
The residents of Tehachapi really like to help hikers. Will and I had to walk 1.5 miles to the post office to get our re-supply box. As we walked over, a car pulled up and asked if we needed a ride to the post office. We said yes. We picked up two boxes at the P.O. and as we began to walk back to the hotel, another vehicle pulls up and asks us if we needed a ride to town. Again we accepted. In a very short time we were back in our room organizing our gear.
Later in the day, all four Ravens walked 1.5 miles to the other end of town. We got lunch, snacks, and new shoes for Mama Raven. After trying a number of different shoes, she settled on a men’s 4E wide New Balance shoe.
Mama Raven has soaked her feet several times in warm water and Epson Salts, trying to see if that would help her swollen and inflamed feet.

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5/21
One of Mama Raven’s feet is feeling a little better, the other is the same. We continued to soak Mama Raven’s feet. We have been debating if we should take Mama Raven to a medical clinic to have her feet looked at. After breakfast, I bumped into Smokey outside our hotel room. He was getting ready to get back on the trail. I was talking to him and found out that he is a professor of medicine and chief of the division of experimental medicine at UC San Francisco. I asked him if he could take a look at Mama Raven’s feet. He said yes. We found Mama Raven sitting on the bathroom counter, soaking her feet in the sink while she was working on photographs on the tablet. After Smokey took a photograph of Mama Raven, he looked at her feet. He quickly diagnosed her with some condition we never heard of. Her toes are so swollen that her whole toe nails have become ingrowned and an infection has set in. He also said that what she is doing, soaking and staying off of them, is the best thing she can do for them. Mama Raven’s body, he said, is already fighting off the infection so he did not recommend getting antibiotics for the infection. He added, it is always better if possible, to let the body heal itself than to take antibiotics.
Today was the day that friends of ours from Fallbrook are coming up to visit. The occasion is an early birthday party for Little Crow and to get Will and his friends together. We had a quiet morning waiting for company to arrive with much anticipation. Mid-morning Denise and Cheryl showed up with Ely, William, and Tyler. Sadly, David had gotten sick so he and Karin were unable to come. They brought all kinds of snacks, brownies, caramel and chocolate dipped apples, birthday candles and balloons for the celebration. Cheryl and Denise also got Little Crow a wide headband for her hair, rainbow loom bands so she can make bracelets and temporary tattoos. The kids have school in the morning so they left around 5:00 p.m. Everyone had a really fun time. Thank you Cheryl and Denise for making the gathering happen. It meant a lot to all of us, but especially for Little Crow and Will!

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5/22
The weather was supposed to be bad yesterday, but it wasn’t. Just a little cloudy. This morning was a different story. It had rained over night and was foggy and very cold this morning. As we had breakfast, it started to rain again. It lasted for several hours. We agreed we would still get back on the trail today.
One of Mama Raven’s feet is looking very good. The other is better, but still inflamed. As the morning went on we kept checking the weather, it kept raining  and stayed terribly cold; then the clouds dropped down into the valley.  We knew that leaving here we would have to hike up and into those clouds.  After much contemplation, we changed our mind and have decided it would be best to stay one more night. This will let the weather pass and Mama Raven to heal more. Three zeros in a row makes it hard to get hiking again, especially with heavy packs and eight days of food.  It was a quiet day in the hotel room watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and Alaska’s Bush People. I believe Animal Planet’s Monster Week was also watched, however Little Crow got too scared. In the afternoon, Will and Little Crow started to go stir crazy so we decided to walk to the far end of town to a Baskin Robbins ice cream store. Today, Little Crow met a hiker in the hotel lobby named Nailz, a young women hiking the trail who has lost six toenails since the beginning of her hike. Nailz commented that she liked the temporary butterfly tattoos Little Crow had on her face. Nailz asked Little Crow if she would trade something for some tattoos. The final trade was two tattoos for two small snicker bars and the business deal was concluded with a hand shake!

Little Crow and Nailz, tattoos for Snickers bars

Little Crow and Nailz, tattoos for Snickers bars

Tehachapi

Day 37 – 5/19/15
Tehachapi
Miles – 13.3
Total Miles – 591.0 (PCT 566.5)

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Last night’s wind was some of the strongest we have had. I really thought that the tent would be torn apart. As we lay in the tent, we could hear the wind moving up the hill through the dead trees (we are camped on a knoll in an old burn area), and then it would hit us. It was loud and the strong gusts would nearly flatten the tent. There were no rocks to pile on to the tent stakes so I had to use three logs held down with piles of dirt to hold the stakes in place. If I did not do this, every time the wind came through, the stakes would come out and the whole tent would collapse on us. Will and Little Crow’s tent faired better because their tent was behind ours and thus protected. Since the side of my tent was acting like a sail it would fill with air, I hooked two of our hiking poles together and set them on the inside of the tent, pushing out the tent side, trying to keep it from collapsing. This helped a lot. Little Crow was afraid, so I went inside their tent to calm her down. At some point in the night the wind let up and we all finally fell asleep.
There are two ways to go into Tehachapi, the first is a road in 5 miles and the second is Hwy 58 in 13 miles. We hiked to Hwy 58 because there is a bus we can catch that goes into Tehachapi and the starting of our next section.  It also cuts down our next waterless section from 25 miles to 17 miles. In the morning we hiked through a windmill farm and finally get to Hwy 58 at about 1:30. It was a slow hike because Mama Raven’ s feet were causing her problems. The next bus comes by in two hours so we settled in to wait. After about 15 minutes, a car drove up and a man asked if we needed a ride to town. We all piled into his car and he took us to our hotel. In a short time we are settled into a room. Our first task was showers for everyone. We last washed our hair in Agua Dulce, six days ago. Our last shower was in Wrightwood was 12 days ago. Yep a long time, but there has been very little water and few places to bath.
We will be taking two zeros here and maybe a nero. Hopefully this will give enough time for Mama Raven’s feet to get better. We are thinking that Mama Raven’s new shoes we got at Lake Hughes are the root of her feet ailments. The toe box is smaller than her old shoes and they are compressing in on all sides of  the ball and toes of her feet. Tehachapi has a Big Five Sporting Goods Store, so hopefully we can get some new shoes for Mama Raven.

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