Mice

Day 155 – 9/12/15
On the side of a ridge, in a simi-flat spot
Miles – 22.6
Total Miles – 2461.7 (PCT 2384.2)

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Mice!  I hate mice!  They were a constant problem all night.  We know that there were more than one because Mama Raven heard them fighting over food.  When we first heard them, we did what we always do, put a few crackers out for them to fill their stomachs up.  Usually there is only one mouse and a cracker or two is all that is needed. This time there was a herd of them and they kept bugging us all night and they never stopped eating.  Around midnight, I saw that one had chewed its way into the tent. Mama Raven and I spent several minutes trying to get it out.  It kept running from one side of the tent to the other and then racing to the other end of the tent.  We finally got it to run out the door.  Later I saw one jump off our food bags to the screen and climb out of the tent through a hole. The battle with the mice went on all night.  We got very little sleep except for Little Crow who slept through most of the chaos.  Tonight we will camp in a location that no one camps. This usually means we will not have any mice. I hope this is the case.  We stopped by trail angel Not Phils Dad before we headed up the trail. He gave us hot chocolate and we talked a bit.  We left him and started hiking at around 7:30.  We are wanting to get close to Snoqualmie Pass as possible which is our next re-supply point.  We want the day into Snoqualmie Pass as short as possible. Today’s trail had many small ups and downs, but they all added up to about 11,000′. That is a lot of elevation change!  At the end of the day, we were dragging and our feet were painfully sore when we finally made camp.  We had problems getting water today. Yes there were streams we past, but we like to get our water from springs so we do not have to filter the water.  The first two springs we came to were so low that we could not get any water from them.  We had to hike on many miles before we came to a spring that would work.  By this time, we were almost out of water.  Of course we filled all of our bottles.  We have 6 miles to hike and a 2,000′ drop to Snoqualmie Pass tomorrow. The first item of business when we get there is a phone call to Bling!

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Par 3

Par 3

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Trail Magic at Tacoma Pass

Day 154 – 9/11/15
Tacoma Pass
Miles – 23.8
Total Miles – 2439.1 (PCT 2361.6)

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Since we are so far north now, we no longer get up at six because it is pitch black.   7:00 is are new normal time.  The sun was just rising.  That is a big difference from just a month ago.  With the days getting shorter, it will get harder and harder to make good miles.  We will have to cut back on our breaks to make up for the loss of daylight.  The trail dropped for several miles. It made an easy beginning for the day. We worked our way down until we got to Government Meadow and Ulrich Cabin. The cabin sits on the edge of a large meadow.  It is a one room cabin with a loft. There was a lot of junk in and around it.  Sadly, it is not the most appealing place to stay.  It is not how we remember it when we were here twenty years ago. There were two people doing some trail angeling there. They also were trying to clean the cabin up.  We took some chips that they gave us and went on our way. Once we left the cabin, the trail started to work its way up. Some of the climbs were quite steep although they were not long.  We were surprised how much climbing we did.  When we past through clear cuts, we were fully exposed to the sun and it was hot. This was not enjoyable.  It was much more comfortable when we hiked within the shade of the trees.  Most of the clear cuts had been been replanted.  Many of the young trees were only 15′ to 20′ high.  Not enough to shade us.  One area we hiked through was burned back in 1988 and it had almost no new trees, just the silver skeletons of the burned ones of long ago. The burned area had been left to grow back on its own.  We had bumped into Nightshift and his friends at a stream. His face was severely swollen. His eyes were barely visible through slits of his skin.  A yellow jacket bit him on the nose and this was the result.  Papa Raven was bitten three times on his leg earlier in the day and Mama Raven once the other day.  The bees have been bad for the past few weeks.  Someone said that the bees know winter is coming and are desperately looking for food before they die.  We finished the day with a big down. This was good except it hurt our feet.  Feet take a pounding on donws!  When we got down to Tacoma Pass, there was a trail angel. He cooked hot dogs for all of use.  Half Time and Double Time showed up for hot dogs too.  It was nice to sit in chairs and eat and drink “real food”.  It was a great way to end the day.  Thank you Not Phil’s Dad for the the unexpected trail magic.

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Raven Roost Trail

Day 152 – 9/10/15
Raven Roost Trail
Miles – 20.0
Total Miles – 2415.3 (PCT 2337.8)

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Elk bugled on and off all night.   A male elk was calling from the other side of the lake for a log time.  Just as I was going to sleep last night, a dreaded mouse came to visit.  It was trying to get into our empty cookie bag.  I pushed the bag out of the vestibule and let the mouse mess with it.  Sometimes later, it started to try and get into the tent. That is when I crumbled up a cracker and left it on the ground.  The mouse did not bother us the rest of the night.  In the morning, all the cracker crumbs were gone.  Since we were camped close to the lake, we had condensation.  We worry a lot less about condensation than we use to.  We use to get the tent out and dry it every time it was wet. For the last few weeks, we have left the tent wet, then set it up wet in the evening and it dries overnight. If we are in a rainy situation, we would take the time during the day to dry it because it would not have a chance to dry out in the rain.  We hiked around Dewey Lake and then climbed up the wall on the far side.  Next the trail took us down a set of lakes, some with small tarns in them.  At the bottom, we came to the bridge across the east road into Mt Rainer National Park.  The mountain stood big and bold just to the west,  its snow shining bright in the morning light.  As we got close to the park, we had seen several signs saying that trail magic was ahead.  We followed the trail to a cut off that lead to a parking area.  There in the packing lot was a camper and a bunch of chairs out front, hikers in all of them.  We knew none of them except for Shepard who we had seen several times in the past.  The woman who was handing out the trail magic, whose name was Happy Tutu, gave us English muffins with cream cheese and an egg quiche on top.  It was delicious.  She also made us hot chocolate.  I was able to fill most of our water bottles.  Little Crow had fun playing frisbee with Sketch who showed up after us. We met Paint Your Wagon who has been contributing on the pct-list for years.  I have never been able to put a face to the name.  He is south bounding Washington and then jumping down to the Sierras.  When we left the packing lot, we headed up to Sheep Lake and then on to a gap in the ridge.  For many miles, we would go from gap to gap.  It seems like we did a lot of up today.  As I think back on the day, all I remember was going up.  The only down of any length came late in the day . On one section, we bumped into Aquanaut and his girl friend Christin who were South bounding a small section together.  We have not seen him since Crater Lake.  He got off the trail at Cascade Locks for a job interview.  He says he will come back next year and hike Washington next summer.  We asked him if he knew what happened to Little Bear, and he did not. The two of them were the two deep sea divers we met a long time ago out of Tehachapi.  We sincerely liked these two young men. Perhaps we will bump into them next year when we bring Bling back to do the part of Washington he missed.

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Paint Your Wagon

Paint Your Wagon

Shepard

Shepard

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Sketch

Sketch

Sketch

Sketch

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

Granny and Pickles

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

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

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Little Crow, Bling, Granny, and Pickles

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Bling and GG

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Unexpected Trail Magic

Day 87 – 7/7/15
Somewhere near Bucks Lake
Miles – 19.0
Total Miles – 1314.9 (PCT 1261.0)DSC08940-7-7-15

Ann once again insisted we be the first up because we are camped with the same group of hikers. We were the first to be packed up and out of camp. Mama Raven was much happier this morning. The trail was 5 miles of down. We dropped about 1,000′ down to the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Way above the river, was a long steel bridge, but crossing it would have to wait. A stop at the swimming hole below the bridge came first. We rock scrambled down to the waters edge and dropped our packs. A number of other hikers were all ready there. We all went swimming, yes even Mama Raven. It is the best swimming spot on the entire PCT. Will and Little Crow climbed out on some rocks and were trying to push each other in. Finally Will got in and Little Crow quickly followed. Will was trying to keep his hair dry so I jumped in and pulled him under. As this was going on, Mama Raven was slowly working her way into the water. It took a while but she finally got all the way in. After I floated around the rocks in the current, Will and Little Crow had to do the same thing, over and over. Before we got out, Will and Little Crow swam across the main pool and then back again. We all had a great time.
When we left the river, we started a long hard up, 3,000′ in 9 miles.  This happens a lot in northern California. There are a lot of wide flat mountains with deep river valleys. We stopped at the first stream we came to because we were very low on water. We quickly filtered 9.5L of water. This is the first water we have filtered since Tyndell Creek (below forester Pass) in the Sierras. We have been relying on spring water which we do not have to filter. Some hikers filter spring water, but we do not. The up took most of the day to climb. We were lucky because clouds moved in and kept us cool. Finally, late in the day, we topped out on top and picked up our pace. Around dinner time we came upon a paved road. The group of hikers we have been with are splitting up a bit, some are going to Bucks Lake to eat and others are going to Quincy. Our objective was to stay on the trail to reach Belden as soon as possible. Our idea was to hike on and not get side tracked from our goal. That almost worked. As we got to the road, we saw a SUV picking up 3 of the hikers we have been hiking with. The gentlemen driving the SUV saw us and offered us some trail magic we could not refuse: dinner, showers, laundry, porch to sleep on, breakfast and a ride back to the trail. With only 23 miles to get to Belden, we decided to go to his place. On the trail it is important to be flexible, and this was one of those times. We have all gotten a shower and had dinner; hamburgers, salad, rice and beef stroganoff. It was excellent! Wiki, Starfish, Cardboard, Supertramp, Wendy Bird, Lord Logan, Critter, Skua and Little Crow’s new best friend, Sweetums were all there. It was a big slumber party with some very special Trail Angels.DSC08843-7-7-15

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Sweetums

Sweetums

Sunshine

Sunshine

Supertramp

Supertramp

Starfish

Starfish

Angel in the rain

Day 32 – 5/14/15
Casa De Luna
Miles – 21.4
Total Miles – 504.9 (PCT 478.2)
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We woke up this morning to very wet tents. The condensation was very bad and we had water dripping off the inside of the tents. Even the sleeping bags were wet. At some point we will have to dry everything off. Clouds moved in over night due to the storm that is coming. As we climbed up away from Agua Dulce we kept an eye on the clouds.
We crossed the first range of mountains without any problems and on the other side we found a place to dry out. We laid out the tents and sleeping bags. As we sat eating and flipping everything over that was drying, it started to rain. We quickly packed everything. We had gotten most of it dry and we did not want to let it get wet again.
We put up our umbrellas as we stared to hike up the next ridge. The rain was coming down pretty hard for about a half hour and then it let up. For the rest of the afternoon we climbed up and down ridges and the rain came and went. There was also a freezing wind that blew the rain up underneath the umbrellas. It was impossible to stay dry. In fact we were soaked. It is not fun when the rain is being blown sideways for most of the afternoon.  We were trying to get to a road in Green Canyon. There are two trail angels who are in that area and we were hoping for some help. We were 6 miles out when I started to call both. I got no connection. All we could do was kept moving to stay somewhat warm. The day was getting late as we came around the last mountain and through the rain we could see a car picking up hikers, but as we were coming down the car left. Finally after 6 straight hours of hiking, without stopping, or not eating, we came to the road. We were tired, wet, hungry, and not looking forward to setting up damp tents for the night. We straightened our umbrellas and walked to the road.  There was a white van sitting there and a lady came out. She was Terry Anderson from the Casa de Luna, a family that takes in thru-hikers.  She asked if we would like to dry out and have something to eat at her house.  Of course we said yes.  She drove all of us back to their house. There are upward of 50 hikers here, hiding from the rain. Most of them have been here a day or so and they had their tents set up in the back yard. Terry and Joe, opened up their entire house to the hikers to recover from the days ordeal. Terry made a huge taco salad for all the hikers. She also got all of our wet gear into the dryer.  Tomorrow will be a much better day with everything dry.  We did not have a chance to put our tents up before it got dark therefore, Terry put Will and Joon in a second bedroom and Mama Raven and I slept on a sofa. There was a hiker sleeping in every chair, sofa, floor space, even in the garage. We were warm and dry after such a miserable wet day.  Trail Angels are good people!

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