Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PCT Epilogue

No, I'm not quite done blogging about this adventure. There are a few loose ends that I felt needed to be tied up. Like... what happened to a lot of the characters in this story?!

Tomer finished the trail nearly a month after I did. Mad Hatter, last I heard, was seen taking a side trip to Disneyland after getting to Wrightwood. I'm not sure how much further he made it after that, though.

Charmin reached the Canadian border two days after I did, still hiking with Hasty. She's back in Switzerland, and last I heard, was already itching to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail.

Running Wolf twisted and injured his ankle near Sister, OR. It took him off of the trail for a week or two, and by the time he was ready to hike again, he was so far back that he felt it was unlikely he could catch up the miles and finish before the first winter storms hit the north part of the trail. So he decided to quit and try again, starting from Mexico, in April 2011. I'm rather impressed myself. If it was me, I'd be heartbroken about not being able to finish, but I would have gone back the next year and picked up from where I left off. I wouldn't have gone back and started at the Mexican border again!

Fidget finished the trail a couple of weeks behind me. I don't know her exact finish date, but she did slog it through all the way to the end. Cold and wet!

Tradja and Jess also finished the trail a week or two behind me, and I managed to catch up with them at the airport in Seattle as I was flying to California and they were flying to New Jersey. They practically look civilized in street clothes! =)

Motor finished the trail about a week before me. She's living in Guam for a year now, posting really cool images of the place on Facebook. I'm not sure why this photo is so distorted, but I grew tired of trying to fix it. =)
Morph and Moonshadow didn't manage to finish the trail. I'm a little fuzzy on the details since I haven't talked to either of them directly since I took this photo of them together, and I have no idea if they plan to come back and finish whatever section they didn't do.
Dinosaur and Swayze finished the trail a few weeks after I did. I hadn't heard about them since Southern California and was a little concerned that perhaps that was because they weren't on the trail anymore. Glad to have found them on Facebook after I finished the trail and learned that I was wrong! =)

Hiker 816 was hampered by an ankle injury and "real life" and never really caught up after that. He still spent the rest of the summer hiking and several times it looked like we might meet up somewhere up the trail including near Crater Lake and Stehekin, but it never worked out. But he says he's living in the Denver area now and I've always wanted to visit those Rocky Mountains. ;o)

Yellow Pants, a.k.a. Shang-hi, a.k.a. Brian, rushed ahead of me after we left Yosemite and I never saw him again. Based on the registry entries, he finished the trail at least a solid week before I did. Maybe it was closer to two? But he definitely finished!

Karma and Detective Bubbles only made it as far as Sierra City before foot problems on Detective Bubbles derailed their thru-hike. Go Go.... I'm not sure how far he made it, but I found him on Facebook about a week ago. I should ask. =) I assume he made it the whole distance, though!

Sticky Fingers only hiked as far as Yosemite, that was her plan, and she stuck with it. Nothing I haven't mentioned in my blog before. But after I finished the trail, I finally read her book about the sinking of the Titanic. Very interesting stuff! Who knew that rivets could be so riveting!
This seems to be the only photo I can find that has Little Engine and Plain Slice. I was sure I had a better photo of those two. *shrug* Plain Slice is the fellow standing on the trail looking right. Little Engine is the blonde in red sitting next to the trail. They reached the border the day after I did--no surprise there since I had seen them in Stehekin! The reason I mention them was that I found these videos of their hike. If you watch the one about the rain and finish, you'll see the scene where this photo was taken, except that I'm actually in the video. =) You can also see Little Engine crossing a creek without any pants on--always a plus in my book! =)
Mr. Mountain Goat only made it as far as Cascade Locks before he ran out of time to finish the trail. He says he plans to come back another year and finish the Washington part of the trail, and I hope to catch him crossing Snoqualmie Pass or something. I last saw him back in Yosemite, but I kept following his blog--probably the funniest blog I'd ever read. He's got a new blog now, The Goat That Wrote. I'll certainly keep reading it! =)

Fozzie, whose real name is Keith Foskett, which I mention only so you can buy his book (The Journey in Between) about his hike on El Camino de Santigo, finished his thru-hike in mid-November after stomping through hundreds of miles of snow. I read all about it on his blog. He detoured off the official PCT due to the accumulation of snow and navigation difficulties for the last three hundred miles, but he did succeed in walking the distance from Mexico to Canada. I never actually hiked with Fozzie, and only met him briefly in Warner Springs. I didn't even think to get any photos of him. He'd barely even be a footnote in my hike except for one thing.... After reading his book, I'm suddenly very interested in hiking El Camino myself. Hiking in France and Spain seems infinitely more interesting than another long walk in America!

This ugly character got his beard shaved off, more-or-less in one piece. I didn't even know that was possible!

Since finishing the trail, I've flown down to California a couple of times--a route that crosses the PCT in several places. I couldn't help myself but to take a few aerial shots. This is Mount Adams, and the PCT is down at the base of that mountain somewhere. =)

The bustling trail town of Big Bear. You can even see the ski slopes in white. I'm assuming that must be man-made snow since I'm not seeing snow anywhere else around it!
I think this snow-covered mountain might be Baden-Powell. (The very mountaintop that Charmin is jumping on in the photo of her above.) It was the only snow-covered mountain I could see, and that mountain is higher than any others in the area, so I assume it must be Baden-Powell. But honestly, I can't find any obvious points of reference that makes me think, "Yes! That's it because...." So it's possible I could be wrong. =)

This would have been along the section Charmin and I walked around the Station Fire detour. I'm not especially familiar with the landmarks so I'm not sure exactly where along the hike this would have been, but the civilization might be Pearblossom, or somewhere pretty close to it, so I waved to Dezert Ratty and Lorraine who must be down there somewhere. =)

And one last photo... the PCT Completion Medal I got. =) It's remarkably heavy, made of solid brass. Those who thru-hike the trail can get this or a certificate when they finish, and I've gotten lots of certificates over the years, but I don't think I ever got an actual medal before! So I opted for the medal. Which, even more cool, I have Eric Ryback to thank for this. He's the first guy to have completed a PCT thru-hike, and he wanted to create an Olympic-quality medal for those who complete a thru-hike and donated the funds to design and create these things.

Cool! But I'll tell you this..... I'd never friggin carry something this heavy on a thru-hike. *shaking head* =)
Seems kind of ironic to win a medal for doing something that I'd absolutely never in a million years want to actually carry with me when I'm doing it.

Yep, I think that's it. I have no more to write. Thanks to everyone who left comments and encouragement. It's often times one of the things I most looked forward to catching up on when I got into trail towns. =) Until the next adventure, farewell!


Anonymous said...

Many, many thanks, Ryan, for sharing your hike with us and for the hours of reading and dreaming with which you entertained us. Happy Trails.

Grumpy Grinch

Anonymous said...

Wunderbar! You do deserve a metal, glad you got one.

Will miss reading about your travels, but will not miss those foot photos!!!

Congratulations and thanks for sharing the experience with us.

DC Stones

sarcasmo said...

I think I get that "..and then I set out on yet another walk.." It's really never truly over, just a short breather until the next adventure. Thanks for keeping the rockin' spirit alive. We do it because it's there.

Anonymous said...


Okie Dog said...

Beautiful medal, and you deserved it, too...nice choice. Thank you once again for walking the walk and telling of it..

Anonymous said...

I am so going to miss your travel log. Very entertaining! Can't wait to read about your next hike (you know you are going do one)!!!

Goofy girl said...

I think you deserve some....

****throws confetti, releases balloons and pops the cork on the wine************


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Enjoyed the hiker updates.

Congrats on the heavy medal. That's probably why they hand them out at the *end* of the hike. ;-)

~Twinville Trekkers

greg said...

Farewell, friend.

TrailTroll said...

Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. It was a fascinating tale all the way. I'm sure gonna miss this blog. When do you start the next long walk? :)

veganf said...

Thank you for creating such an entertaining blog about your travels. I can't wait for the next one! Congrats!

vicki said...

I really enjoyed living vicarously through you in reading about your hike. I especially loved the follow up on the people you met along the way. The photos were amazing and the stories were fun! Thanks so much for keeping it up while you travel. Looking forward to a European hike adventure soon. The photos from that would be awesome!! And think of all the fun stories you will get over there!

Anonymous said...

Ryan - thank you for the taking us along on your thru-hike. I can honestly say, it's nothing I would ever do. I loved the pictures and the laughs.

What a great update on all the characters you met along the way.

Congratulations on making it. Nice medal. Can't wait for the next "long walk".

SuzySquirrel said...

I am gonna miss you. I have enjoyed every step of the way, and especially the photos, since I live on the east coast, I will probably never get to see these wonderful sights. Good to know they are out there. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. Looking forward to your next adventure. Please take us with you!

Keith / Fozzie said...


Nice one with the book advertisment! I owe you one. Just visiting but will be back for a better look.

Anonymous said...

re: the distorted image...I think you should have the image tagged width="240" rather than width="320"

Love the blog!

Runningwolf said...

Hi Ryan

I was nostalgically looking through PCT articles and came across a few of yours.

Just so you know---I was being sarcastic when I said God found us spaghetti in the desert with Charmin---I do have a desert dry humor at times. Christian yes--fanatical no.

I severely sprained my quad in 2010. It developed over three days for no reason at all. Last day it took me 6 hours to limp eight miles to hitch in Sisters. I stayed in Sisters for three days and tested the walking and it took two days to even walk level with no pack and not have pain for a half hour. Third day one step up and down ignited it with no pack. I knew it was going to be weeks to start again and then weeks to build back up. I was done. I SO much didn't want to quit at mile 2007

I was bitter for 19 months

Then in 2012 I started at the Mexican border again. Developed plantar fasciitis near echo lake but wasn't slowing me down--hurt like hell for about 400 miles though. I got it under control. At day 168 on September 23rd, 2012 I touched the northern terminus. That medal is the proudest thing I own.

Great blog by the way