When I first started on my hiking journey, I had the plan to take five years to be able to backpack from Mt Hood to the Bridge of the Gods in the Colombian Gorge, but it turns out that I am impatient and maybe even healthier than I had thought. I am able to hike so many more miles in a day than I thought I would be able to do by the end of the summer. This makes me more optimistic that this dream will happen, and it keeps me motivated to continue to work towards the goal. Now instead of the Mt Hood hike being the goal in five years, through hiking the entire PCT in five years is in the works.
This year I worked on hiking regularly and for longer distances. I joined all the 5Ks I could, and I got a handle on my health. Next year, provided nothing goes wrong, I will be making three longer hikes during the summer and monthly day hikes throughout the year. We are going to start off with a backpacking class that will be a multiple day guided hike in the Tahoe area. There are several sources we could use to do this. The Tahoe Rim Trail Association, REI, and Sierra Trails all offer classes in backpacking to instruct people new to backpacking on the safety, the trails, and the supplies. They all cost a little and they all have a little something different to offer. We will decide by looking at the best dates and prices. We would like to do this class in June to be prepared to for the Mt Hood hike in July. Then in August, we would like to hike from Donner Pass to Echo Lakes. It is a week-long hike, so it is possible that this hike could be postponed until the following year.
Our rough plan on preparing for the PCT through hike is to hike weekends next summer, a few week long trips the following year, and up to a month long hike in 2018. By then we should be as ready as we can be to make the big 5-6 month hike.
In the meantime, we will have to be learning all we can about hiking, safety, supplies, and anything else we can. I want to learn about trail nutrition. Since I have a food problem, I don’t want to put my nutritional health into jeopardy.
The day of the last hike in the Tahoe area for the season was overcast and cold. But it was just right. The sun shone on individual trees and rocks. It illuminated the usual making the view spectacular. The cold air allowed us to wear jackets and other gear that we have accumulated like our neck warmers that can be pulled up over our faces and ears if needed. It was a hike that we had taken a part of before, but it was very different because of the span of time between hikes.
There were puddles to cross and water running down the trail, no snow. Trees had been cut and moved; rocks and small logs needed crossing; and the air was brisk. The talk was minimal, and we didn’t see another person on the trail until we were almost to the other side. We heard rushing water and the waterfall for a good portion of the hike. Sometimes we saw Donner Lake and other times we saw mountains and rocks. Towards the turning point, we saw the old train tunnels made by the Chinese during the gold rush. That hike is on our list for next season. We also found the trail head for the other side of Old Donner Pass Road going south. Another hike for next year.
Our hiking has progressed so much that we are making bigger plans for next year. We intend to take the Mt Hood to the Bridge of the Gods hike next July. We have learned that it is going to be a three to four day backpacking trip. We have also decided to hike from Donner Pass to Echo Lakes in August. At 61 miles, we plan on taking a week. For shorter trips before and between these trips we plan to go 1-2 times a month. We will be on the trail much more, and that will be my vacation.
As we began our season with Spooner Lake and Donner hikes at 2 and 5 miles, we ended the season with Marlette Lake leading off of the Spooner Lake trail at 12 miles and with Donner to Old Donner Pass Rd at 10 miles. I feel as if we wrapped up the season well and sealed it in an envelope. It has been a fun and educational first season for us.
One more hike is planned for this year, and that will be somewhere around Mendocino, California. We are going hiking for Black Friday instead of shopping. It is so much more enjoyable being with family instead of being packed into a store with strangers. The great outdoor is has so many benefits as well.