Index and other PCT Hikes

Dan's September 2003 Pacific Crest Trail Journal

From Paradise Park, Mount Hood, Oregon (PCT Mile 2106.6)
to south of Stehekin, Washington (PCT Mile 2569.4)

Monday, September 1, 2003
Mount Hood There were great views of the heat plume from the B&B Fire, and to Mounts St Helens, Adams, and Rainier. (Dan)
Camp: Notch 1.9 miles north of the Devil's Peak/Preachers Peak Saddle
Miles Walked: 20

Lizard on the road into Cascade Locks Tuesday, September 2, 2003
There was ash and haze on a stiff breeze from the east in the morning. As I descended into the Eagle Creek Canyon, smoke and ash increased until there was less than a half mile of visibility. By late afternoon, it was quite irritating to the lungs and eyes. Day hikers were scared and running down the trail. There was much less smoke as I got into the Columbia River Gorge. As I entered the west end of Cascade Locks, I learned the east end of town and the surrounding forest was on fire. 3 houses burned. (Dan)
Hotel: Cascade Locks
Miles Walked: 25

Spider Web A Tunnel along the Eagle Creek Trail

Tuesday, September 2, 2003, 8:45PM
Dan called from Cascade Locks, Oregon (PCT Mile 2150.2), which is on the south side of the Columbia River and the Oregon/Washington state boundary. He planned to stay there for a couple of days. This was one of his mail drop points, and he planned to decide whether to mail his cooking gear farther north or carry it. He hadn't missed cooking a meal with the warm weather he had been hiking through. (Webmaster Gene)

Wednesday, September 3, 2003
I took a zero day at Cascade Locks. It was strange to be in a town with such a disaster in progress. Fire trucks ran up and down the streets, but there was little other traffic since all the roads, including adjacent Interstate 84, were closed. Most businesses were open, but there were few customers. Somehow, a health inspector got into town and started marking tap water and soda fountains off limits; the town had bypassed their potable water supply and was pumping creek water into the pipes so there would be more water for the fire trucks. The previous day, we hikers were discussing in a hotel lobby where to stay since a sign announced all rooms were reserved for firefighters. But the clerk stopped us and said thruhikers were welcome, they just wanted to send gawkers away. (Dan)
Hotel: Cascade Locks
Miles Walked: 2

Washington Section H


Thursday, September 4, 2003
There were scary views of the Columbia River down through the open mesh deck of the Bridge of the Gods. Later, I could see the Bonneville Dam, Mount Hood, Mount St Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and the moisture cap on the B&B Fire's heat plume. (Dan)
Rock Camp: Road 2090
Miles Walked: 19

Friday, September 5, 2003
Camp: Between Warren Gap and Panther Creek
Miles Walked: 18

Saturday, September 6, 2003
I climbed Big Huckleberry Peak; there were good views of the Columbia River, but Mounts Hood and Adams were just barely visible through the haze. There was misty rain all night and into the next morning. (Dan)
Camp: Just inside the Indian Heaven Wilderness
Miles Walked: 25

Sunday, September 7, 2003
There was misty drizzle all day, occasionally the sun came through enough to make fuzzy shadows. In the late afternoon, small areas of cumulonimbus clouds cleared to show cirrostratus clouds above, the weather system would be around for a few more days. I had one clear view of all of Mount Adams, otherwise, the weather limited my views to the base of the mountain. There were lots of 1/2 inch frogs in the afternoon. (Dan)
Camp: Just past Trout Lake Creek
Miles Walked: 24

Monday, September 8, 2003
Occasional morning rain changed to occasional afternoon rain and hail, always with fog. I could not see past the base of Mount Adams, but there was fresh snow there. The fog cleared for a few minutes in the evening so I could see most of Mount Adams as I set up my camp at the ponds beyond the Highline Trail. (Dan)
Camp: Ponds beyond the Highline Trail
Miles Walked: 18

Tuesday, September 9, 2003
There was intermittent fog and rain all day and night. (Dan)
Camp: 1 1/2 miles south of the Walupt Lake Trail 101
Miles Walked: 19

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Drizzle and mist limited visibility all day. I saw a mountain goat while walking the ridge trail north of the glaciers. I camped at Lutz Lake with Huff & Puff. (Dan)
Camp: Lutz Lake
Miles Walked: 18

Thursday, September 11, 2003
I walked into White Pass, rented a room to warm up and dry out, and got some beer and snacks for a party to celebrate completing a section hike of the entire PCT. Lots of hikers were hanging out and warming up; the wet, icy cold weather over the previous several days had everyone bone cold. (Dan)
Hotel: White Pass Ski Condos
Miles Walked: 10

Friday, September 12, 2003, 6:45PM
Dan called from White Pass, Washington (PCT Mile 2298.0), which is 150 miles north of Cascade Locks. For the previous 5 days it had been constantly raining and all the hikers were cold and miserable. Dan was glad he picked up his cooking gear and rain tarp. It kept him warmer and dryer than if he had mailed them forward, but he welcomed a roof over his head, a hot shower, and a place to dry out his sleeping bag. The previous section of the trail is usually very beautiful, but with the rain and fog there wasn't much to see. Dan was thinking about coming back to this section and re-hiking it in better weather, so he could see the beauty. In previous years, Dan had hiked the Pacific Crest Trail between White Pass and Canada, but this was his first time south of White Pass.

White Pass is a ski resort area and isn't much of a town. The Condo is turned into a motel during the off-season and the hikers were taking advantage of the dry rooms and showers. There were two pay phones in town, and they were very busy with the hikers catching up on their communications.

When Dan was in Cascade Locks, there was a forest fire on the east side of town that created a lot of excitement for the town. The highway was shut down and three houses were burned. The fire had since gone out. There were rumors on the trial of forest fires in Northern Washington closing the PCT and Manning Park, Canada. This Webmaster searched the USFS web sites for fire information and PCT closures. There were six fires in Washington State, and three may have been on or near the PCT. I did not find any notices that the PCT was closed, though. (Webmaster Gene)

Washington Section I

Saturday, September 13, 2003
I bought a bag of marshmallows, and spread the word that I would roast them for anyone who showed up at the Urich Shelter in Government Meadow Monday night. After eating lunch at Chance's party, I walked out of White Pass. A few miles into the trail, I heard horses behind me and stepped off the trail. There was a man and a woman, each riding a horse and pulling another behind. The man asked me to say hi to the horses, so I did so in a very calm voice. (Sometimes this helps calm horses.) The man went crazy, screaming obscenities, pounding his fists into the horses, and finally threatening me "Now my horses will kick you and it will be your fault!!" I replied as calmly as possible "If you make your horse kick me, you'll go to jail." He rode by slowly, forcing the pack horse towards me and yanking his muzzle very violently. The look of terror and pain in the pack horse's eyes as he looked at the man sickened me. As the woman passed afterwards, she screamed "Did you see the sign at the trailhead saying horses have the right of way?" I thought to myself "I'm well off the trail and I did what I was asked to do, what else could I possibly have done???" As they rode away, the man yelled back "I gonna come back and kick your @ss!!!" (If this story makes sense to you, see a doctor!) (Dan)
Camp: Past the Pot Hole Trail 45
Miles Walked: 12

Sunday, September 14, 2003
Pizza with The One, Prune Pirate, Apple Pie, Bandana, and Lugnut There were mare's tails and cirrostratus clouds in the morning. After a late afternoon rain shower, I hitched to Enumclaw from Chinook Pass with The One, Prune Pirate, Apple Pie, Bandana, and Lugnut for a hotel room and pizza. (Dan)
Hotel: Enumclaw
Miles Walked: 18

Portrait by Prune Pirate at the Pizza restaurant Monday, September 15, 2003
The F Troop had broken up a while back. They were a group of about a dozen who had always hiked together, and they had certain traditions. One tradition was that they had a bunch of different heavy or just useless items they snuck into each other's packs. At lunch the day before, a bunch of hikers had been discussing this. I had said I would dispose of any such items at the first trash can or camp fire. Most of the other non F Troopers agreed with me. After we had hitched up to Chinook Pass, I found a pack of microwave pork rinds in my pack. Luckily, I was right next to the trash can, and tossed it right in. Other hikers later told me that when The One found out, he was pissed. But he had heard me say I wouldn't carry worthless junk around, so what can you do?

I hiked to the Urich Shelter in variable fog and cloud conditions. There was a Scottish guy southbound on the trail who had read my web stuff, and asked every hiker ahead of me where I could be found. The funny thing is, he talked to me for 15 minutes, never asked me my name, never introduced himself, and kept asking more hikers about me afterwards. We had a great marshmallow roast, and rain and snow fell all night. (Dan)
Huff 'n Puff on the porch of Mike Urich Shelter at Government Meadow Camp: Urich Shelter
Miles Walked: 23

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Rain and snow continued all day and night, so I stayed at the shelter and read a book on world hunger. (Dan)
Camp: Urich Shelter
Miles Walked: 0

Tuesday, September 16, 2003, Fire Information Update.
The Pacific Crest Trail #2000 was closed from Hart's Pass north to Holman Pass and south to Cutthroat Pass due to the Needle Creek fire in Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest, 12 miles northwest of Winthrop, WA. (Webmaster Gene)

Fresh snow decorates the woods. Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Morning fog cleared by 10 am. At 2pm there was about 70% cumulus clouds with cirrostratus above, but with unlimited visibility below the clouds. There was up to 2 inches of wet, sloppy, slippery snow collected in various places on the trail. Clumps of snow fell from the trees with heavy thuds. There were great huckleberries in the clearcuts. By evening, there was 100% clouds, there had been no precipitation all day. I camped on the ridge west of Bear Paw Butte, and there were a couple of quick rain showers overnight. (Dan)
Camp: Ridge west of Bear Paw Butte
Miles Walked: 18

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Hollow Tree Weather: 80% clouds 7am, 100% 11am, 100% 3pm, 100% evening, rain all night. Something about the way I set up my bivy sack channeled the rain in all night, I couldn't get it to stop. By morning I was soaked and miserably cold. (Dan)
Camp: 5 miles south of Snoqualmie Pass
Miles Walked: 23

Friday, September 19, 2003, 6:30PM
Dan called from Seattle, Washington. He left the trail at Snoqualmie Pass (PCT Mile 2396.5) and caught a ride to Seattle to re-supply, get new shoes and socks, and replace worn out gear. He plans on being back on the trail and heading through the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on Saturday. (Webmaster Gene)

Washington Section J

Saturday, September 20, 2003
There was a bitter cold wind on the ridges as I hiked into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I camped on the ridgeline between Joe and Edds Lakes. About 3:15 AM, there was a rockslide somewhere very close that sounded like blasting, but lasted over a minute, then tapered off with the sound of huge boulders splashing into water. (Dan)
Mountain Camp: Ridgeline between Joe and Edds Lakes
Miles Walked: 9

Sunday, September 21, 2003
I actually fell off the trail in one steep section. I walked only a half dozen miles by 2 pm, and was utterly exhausted. I camped at Park Lakes and slept the rest of the afternoon. I had a little intestinal discomfort. (Dan)
Camp: Park Lakes
Miles Walked: 6

Monday, September 22, 2003
I felt a little better, and decided to walk north to evacuation routes ahead and then reevaluate. In the afternoon, I barfed. I decided I likely had giardiasis again, all things considered. (Dan)
Camp: Top of the switchbacks west of Peak 5984
Miles Walked: 6

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Early morning 90% clouds cleared to 20% by noon. On Escondido ridge, I reminisced about my search for a campsite in 1998. I saw a striped garter snake on descent to Waptus Lake, and a speckled one on ascent, then 2 deer. I camped at Deep Lake, and reminisced about my swim there 5 years before. I was itchy all night. (Dan)
Camp: Deep Lake
Miles Walked: 11

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
I saw a jet fly low over Hyas Lake, then buzz Deception Pass. Later I watched a crow and a hawk in a lazy dogfight in the up current over Pieper Pass as I caught my breath there. I camped in a talus field on the traverse east of Surprise Lake. The itchiness returned, along with insomnia. Since I slept little all night, I watched hundreds of shooting stars. (Dan)
Camp: East of Surprise Lake
Miles Walked: 14

Thursday, September 25, 2003
At Susan Jane Lake, I watched trout eat flies while I had a snack. I walked to Stevens Pass, and went out to Skykomish. (Dan)
Hostel: Skykomish
Miles Walked: 11

Thursday, September 25, 2003, 6:00PM
Dan called from Stevens Pass at Skykomish, Washington on State Highway 2 (PCT Mile 2471.6). He had only 190 miles left to the Canadian Border. The bad news was he had giardiasis again and it was painful to hike 10 miles a day. Last Sunday he walked only 5 miles, then slept the rest of the day. It took him 5 1/2 days to hike what should have taken him only 3 1/2 days. Even though this area is very beautiful, Dan didn't feel like taking the camera out to take pictures. He hoped to get a ride from a Trail Angel to see a doctor and get a prescription of Flagyl. Dan hoped to be back on the trail by Saturday and hike by Glacier Peak in a few days.

The trail news was the trail was open in Canada, but the Needles fire still had part of the trail closed, as noted above. There were alternate trails around the closed section, though. The B&B fire near Sisters, Oregon, still had the trail closed, and Dan didn't know if he would be able to hike the 110 miles he missed last month.

Washington was very dry this year. Dan had hiked through the northern part of the state in previous years and the soil was normally damp, but even during the rain and fog two weeks ago, the soil was damp only on the surface. (Webmaster Gene)

Friday, September 26, 2003
I took a zero day at Skykomish. I updated this journal in the library. (Dan)
Hostel: Skykomish
Miles Walked: 0

Washington Section K

Mushroom Saturday, September 27, 2003
I saw a bear 30 feet away on ascent from Lake Janus. Evidently, he saw me too, as he was running away as fast as possible. My campsite on the ridge west of Glasses Lake had great views of Glacier Peak. (Dan)
Camp: Ridge west of Glasses Lake
Miles Walked: 11

Sunday, September 28, 2003
I met up with Belcher and Navigator. Belcher had some type of sinus infection and the swollen lymph nodes to prove it. This was slowing them considerably. (Dan)
Camp: Cady Ridge Trail 1532
Fern Miles Walked: 13

Monday, September 29, 2003
The smell and haze of a forest fire was in the air. There were a few near the trail. There were less than 5% clouds all day. (Dan)
Camp: Kennedy Creek
Miles Walked: 14

Tuesday, September 30, 2003
It was smoky all day. Afternoon clouds built to 80% but cleared overnight. (Dan)
Camp: Vista Creek
Miles Walked: 17

Glacier Fall Leaves

Next: October 2003

Index and other PCT Hikes

Lugnut Dutch Apple Pie Bandana Prune Pirate Dan The One Forks Port Angeles Port Townsend Oak Harbor Mount Vernon Concrete Rainy Pass Mazama Oroville Republic Addy Northport Metaline FallsLake Cowichan Duncan Victoria Aberdeen Astoria Bellingham Marysville Everett Shoreline Seattle Belleview Renton Kent Tacoma Olympia Centralia Kelso Saint Helens Vancouver Portland Cascade Locks The Dalles Pendleton Walla Walla Kennewick Yakima White Pass Ellensburg Snoqualmie Pass Pullman Stevens Pass Wenatchee Spokane Stehekin Pacific Crest Trail, October 2003 Pacific Crest Trail, September 2003 Pacific Northwest Trail Pacific Crest Trail Oregon Oregon Canada