In my experience, there are two kinds of park rangers: the ones who are like “yeah climbing that bear-infested mountain is no big deal you’ll be fine,” and the ones who seem to take it as a personal mission to scare people before sending them out into the backcountry. At Big Bend Ranch State Park … More Big Bend Day 2: Texas Forever
Miles hiked: ~13 It’s quite cold when we drag ourselves out of the sparse hotel room just at sunrise, ready for a 45-minute drive through winding desert roads to Big Bend National Park. This was to be our whole trip, this park — four nights on the Outer Mountain Loop, the major backpacking trail there, … More Big Bend Day 1: The South Rim in a Shutdown
Mile 2459.8 to 2464.0 — Today’s miles: 4.2 It rains off and on all night, but I’m snug and toasty, all wrapped up in my fleece and down and merino wool. It never sounds that bad, but in the morning there are mud splatters and pine needles all along the outside of my tent, where … More PCT WA Section J Day 9: Endings
Mile 2453.2 to 2459.8 — Today’s miles: 6.6 By the time I finish the last pages of An Untamed State — 9pm! so late! — the wind is almost completely gone, and the night air is quite cold. I wake just after 5am to its gusts again, though, and hear a very light precipitation on … More PCT WA Section J Day 8: Weather
Mile 2446.5 to 2453.2 — Today’s miles: 6.7 In the morning I can still hear fish jumping in the lake below, which is a very pleasant sound to wake to. The mosquitos are at the gates again. I suit up in my windpants and headnet to eat breakfast and pack everything up, stowing these protective … More PCT WA Section J Day 7: Surprise!
Mile 2439.8 to 2446.5 — Today’s miles: 6.7 I am glad for the magically flowing stream next to my tent, because some kids eventually camp on the other side, and the rushing water helps muffle their yelling games (I guess?) that last far past hiker bedtime. At 3am I wake to another backache, and have … More PCT WA Section J Day 6: The Many Forms of Deception
Mile 2428.6 to 2439.8 — Today’s miles: 11.2 It’s a warmish night — I don’t even need my fleece beanie — but I sleep like a rock in my little campsite by Spade Creek. It’s almost hard to get up, I’m so content there. But by 6am my brain’s ready for the next adventure. The … More PCT WA Section J Day 5: Water Magic