Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I'm going to hit the trail again tomorrow, but this time I'll be alone. I hope to hike from Sisters to Cascade Locks. That is about 150 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. I hope this attempt goes better.
This video pretty much sums out how my last hike on the PCT went:
Monday, August 11, 2014
|Getting ready to check out|
|Cheap and cheerful room at Dawson House Lodge|
We slept in until 7:30 and had granola for breakfast and then went to the front desk to check out of our hotel at 9am. The very friendly hotel owner suggested that we check the train schedule before we check out and then she checked it for us.
Bad news, our 9:30am train was not going to arrive to pick us up until 5:30pm and it would drop us off in Olympia at 1:30 am the next day. I was in disbelief. Up until this point I had been enjoying our misadventures, but this was too much. This was the final straw, I was officially not having fun anymore.
It was suggested that I stay in Chemult an extra day and take the train the next day instead. But I did not want to spend more money on a hotel and there was no promise that the train would be on time the next day. I had only ridden on Amtrak one other time and that time train was also delayed by many, many hours. Plus there was no food of any kind on that train so we starved for 6 hours on what was supposed to be a 2 hour trip.
I did not trust Amtrak to ever be on time at this point. Also we were elevation sick even at 5,000 feet and it was so hot in Chemult. I just wanted to get back down to sea level. We went back to our hotel room and stayed there until the 11am check out time. We tried to use the internet to find someone to take us home from Olympia, it was not clear who was going to take us home there. Dan had to go geocaching on Anderson Island in the morning and my spouse was probably too ill to make to drive to pick us up.
I decided that we would go to the free campground 1/4 of a mile away and hang out there until it was time to catch our train. But it was not to be. My daughter once again went on strike, refused to walk and when she did walk she walked too slow. I did not like walking down the highway and was very unhappy with my daughter for walking so slow.
|Walking down the highway at a snails pace|
We were not going to make it to the campground, that was clear. There was a forest service office on the way to the campground and we did make it that far. I asked the nice women in the office where the free camp ground was and they said it was 1/4 of a mile up the hill behind the office. I could not cope with trying to get my daughter another 1/4 of a mile up a hill so I gave up and cooked our lunch on a picnic table outside of the forest service office.
|Lunch at the ranger station|
At about 2pm I decided it was time to try to walk back to Chemult but my daughter was just awful refusing to put her pack on, dropping everything and being painfully silly. A woman took mercy on me and offered to give us a ride 1/10th of a mile back to Chemult.
|Back in Chemult|
|The Chemult "freedom tree"|
We hung out in the park for a while and then at about 3pm we went to the train platform to wait 2.5 hours for our train to arrive. The train station office was locked and it did not have a bathroom, so even if it was open it would not have been a very good place to wait. So we waited on the platform in 95 degree weather. It was hot on the platform but there was some shade. I unrolled my sleeping pad and tried to sleep on the platform.
At about 5:30 a transfer bus arrived at the platform and the driver of the bus told us that the train was now due to arrive at 6:04pm, so another half hour of delay. The bus driver kept us updated as the time kept creeping up, finally the train arrived at 6:39 pm, almost ten hours late! The train was being pulled by a Union Pacific Engine. Our train was late because two Amtrak engines had failed in Southern California.
|Finally our train arrives and it is|
being pulled by a Union Pacific engine
|Amtrak Train Schedule for Chemult Oregon|
|Dead bird on the platform|
As soon as the train started moving it was announced that one of the toilets was clogged up. Then the train just to torture me stopped at Shelter Cove to let another Amtrak train go past. My resupply package was at Shelter Cove, I felt so sad looking out at Shelter Cove, I wished I was hiking. I wanted to get off and pick up my package and hike on. But instead I had to take my daughter home. Maybe I could get back down to Shelter Cove and restart my hike on my own?
|Our train had to make two stops at this tiny platform|
|Our train stops at Shelter Cove to let another Amtrak train go by.|
Why did our train have to stop?
|Shelter Cove from behind a dirty train window|
my resupply package is waiting here but I'll never
be able to pick it up now and it cost me $22 to mail it there.
I was in a very bad mood until the train got down to about 2,000 feet and my elevation sickness started to wear off. I felt as if a huge pressure had been released by going down to the higher pressure air at sea level as if that makes any sense!
|the train goes in a circle to get up the hill|
Soon the train stopped again to check on a "branch" that was stuck under the engine. Was this train ever going to get to Olympia? Maybe we would die on this train. The train was going 33 mph and my GPS said it would take ten hours to get to Olympia at this rate. I knew that could not be true, but I also knew that the train was not going to arrive in Olympia at 1:30, so I had to get word out to my ride that the train was getting later and later by the minute. Who knew when the train would arrive?
|music in the observation car|
Still the train was getting later and later. We got off the train in Eugene to take a break and then got back on. Once the train left Eugene it finally began to travel at highway speeds and it began to make up for lost time.
My daughter slept soundly from Eugene to Olympia. I slept off and on from Eugene to Olympia.
|"Ride Amtrak" they said, "it will be fun" they said|
Our train finally arrived in Olympia until 3:30am. Dan was there waiting to take us home. We got home at about 4:20 am. My husband had fallen asleep while waiting and he was disappointed about that, because he had been trying to hard to stay awake for us.
I laid down to sleep in my nice soft bed at home at about 5:30 PM. Our expensive hellish vacation was finally over.
After spending a lot of time on hold with Amtrak on the next Monday they issued me a voucher for the full price of our tickets, good for future travel with Amtrak within the next year.
Day 4 Diamond lake to Chemult
|No luck getting a ride from here|
We got up early and started trying to hitch a ride to Chemult. But no one would pick us up. All the RVer's coming out of the campground ignored us. Half of the traffic on the road was forest service trucks and none of them would dream of picking us up for fear of losing their jobs I guess.
If it was a white truck coming I would not bother sticking my thumb out, but some of the white trucks were not forest service. No matter, no one would pick us up and my daughter was never going to hike up to the highway to get a ride. Once again, John the painter helped us. He stopped his work and gave us a ride up to 138. He even told us that he would be back on an hour to check on us.
|John painting the porch we had sat|
on the day before while we try to get a ride
The family moved some stuff around in their RV and offered us seats in the back. I sat at a table with 3 children who looked at me like I had two heads. They were nice children, but we were aliens to them and they did not speak any English. I think only the mom spoke English well. They dropped us off at the intersection of the 138 and the road that goes into Crater Lake Park.
|German family heading in to Crater Lake after giving us a lift|
So there we were back so close to where we had our second water cache and so close to the trail. I so wanted to just go back to the trail and continue my hike. But I knew that was not going to happen with my daughter in tow. I realized that we had no water on us and I was worried about that, the sun was coming out and it felt like it was going to be a super hot day. I hoped that we got a ride before we died of heat stroke.
My daughter lost a toy horse on the shoulder and we had to let several cars go by while looking for the stupid horse. How many potential rides did we lose due that that horse? I knew I would not be able to get my daughter into a car without her horse. More frustration for me. I might have screamed a little bit at that point.
Luck was with us, soon two British brothers in a tiny car pulled up and offered us a ride to highway 97. They were going south to San Francisco but we were going north to Chemult. I was not sure how much help that would be, but I gladly took the ride since we had no water.
The men had to move a lot of their stuff around to make room for us. I found it interesting that so many RVer's with tons of space passed us up while folks in tiny cars with no room to spare always seemed to pick us up.
The German family in the RV was an exception though. I also found it interesting that most of the rides we got were from international tourists. It seems to me that Americans don't like to pick up hitch hikers. I suspect that hitch hiking in Europe would be much easier.
The men were funny, we had fun riding with them. My spouse is British so we had fun laughing about the arguements me and my spouse had gotten into over the years due to the slight differences between British English and American English. For example "Bastard" is about the worst thing you can call a person in england and it's not reserved for men, while "son-of-a-bitch" in an unknown phrase in England.
The men were from Brighton England and had flown into Chicago, rented a car and driven all the way to Crater Lake. They were on their way to San Francisco. They went 26 miles out of their way and took us all the way to Chemult.
|Two British men who gave us a ride to Chemult|
I was so relieved to be safely in Chemult where I could catch the Amtrak train to Olympia. I don't like hitch hiking, but there was no other way to get the Chemult for us, so we did it.
I had the men drop us off at the train station so I could read the schedule. I learned that the train was due to arrive a 9:30 the next day, so we were going to have to spend the night in Chemult. We wandered over to the truck stop to get cold drinks and hang out in the lounge, but the truck stop did not have a lounge so we went across the street and hung out at some picnic tables in a MIA-POW park.
|POW MIA park I took this piture to get her to|
stop nagging me for money.
We later went into the store next to the park and the clerk told us of a free campground up the road just 1/4 of a mile. I knew I could not get my daughter to walk that far though. So at 11am we checked into the Dawson House Lodge and got a nice room for $65. We would stay there overnight and take the train to Olympia in the morning.
I was able to talk to my husband on the phone and he was so frustrated that he could not come pick us up due to his illness. I called and reserved two seats on Amtrack from Chemult to Olympia for $111.
We ate our backpacking food and did not buy any food in town.
We went to bed at about 10pm.
|Chemult train station|
|Dawson House Lodge|
|Look at the Matsutake|
Sunday, August 10, 2014
|Camp in the morning|
|Hiking out of camp|
We did not have to stick our thumbs out for long before we got a ride. It took me about half a mile to figure out it was our campground host who had picked us up. She was on her way to do laundry. She sighed at us and said we were standing on the wrong side of the road to go to the pizza place but she would take us there anyway. The road was just a loop around the lake so there really was no wrong side.
The south shore pizza place was nice but expensive, so I only ordered a small pizza and it cost $17.00 and it did not fill us up. I topped up the charge on my Ipod and Delorme while we ate.
|View from South Shore pizza|
The view from the pizza place was nice and the cook was friendly. While we were eating the campground host came into the store to buy something she looked at us, but did not say hi to us. She was a funny person, but nice enough.
Refreshed from sleeping in and eating pizza I decided that we would just hike 1-2 miles up the Thieson Creek trail or the Howlock trail to a water source and then pitch our tarp and camp. Today was going to be an easy day to make up for the hell of yesterday. When I left the pizza place it was not clear where the trail was and we did not want to walk down the highway, so we walked down a bike trail in a campground.
My daughter lagged behind, really behind. She claimed that her back hurt. But she had almost no weight in her pack! I had almost all the food and water and her base pack weight is only ten pounds. How could her back hurt?
She sat down, but I kept walking in the hopes that she would get up and follow me. After about a quarter of a mile I sat and waited for her. I had to wait for a long time and I was getting very frustrated. My daughter should be hiking better after having pizza and sleeping in and we were only going to go a little ways today. But at this rate we would be hiking in the worst heat of the day. I wanted to get to the forest and find some on trail water before the sun got too high in the sky.
We still had not even found the trail but it looked like somehow we had gone past it. It was very confusing, it turned out we were not on the road we thought we were on. How was I ever going to find the trail with my daughter going on a sit down strike every tenth of mile?
Finally my daughter caught up to me where I was sitting, but only to stop again and this time she never did get up. I told my daughter that there was a place to buy ice cream ahead and I kept hiking again hoping she would follow, I went another tenth of a mile and then had to sit and wait for her again. I waited until I lost my temper and then I turned around and stormed back to where she was. I told her, no, yelled at her, that our hike was over. There was no way I could put up with 324 miles of this. There was no way we could hike from one water source to the next without getting dehydrated if she had to sit every tenth of a mile.
There was no way I could cope with this shit anymore. I had reached my limit. The hike was over! The only way to get her down the trail would be to beat her with a stick and that might have made her dislike hiking. The hike was over. The trip was over, it was time to take my daughter home and try to get back down to the trail on my own.
I'd reached my limit of putting up with her sit down strikes and I knew that we would not be safe up on the trail hiking at this sluggish pace. I could not carry my daughter up the trail, the hike was over before it had even started. I still had elevation sickness, maybe I could get myself up the trail, but I could not get both of us up the trail and if my daughter was not having fun what was the point of taking her?
I found an inviting looking porch at a forest service information center. The center was closed. I was hoping that someone in the center could tell me where the trail was even though the hike was over. But the center was closed, looked to be getting a paint job.
The porch was nice and shady and it had two very comfortable chairs on it. I decided that we would sit right there until I could think again and figure out a way to get home. People in RVs kept pulling in and asking where the RV campground was. It seems that everyone was lost at Diamond Lake.
I asked the folks at the car campground pay station if they could ask people who were checking out and headed to Washington if they would give us a ride. They offered to let me use their phone and suggested that we hitch hike 300 miles back to Olympia or pay to camp at their campground, but that was it. Hitch hike 300 miles with a ten year old? I don't think so. They would not check to see who was from Washington and might give us a ride and with my daughter on strike I could not walk around and look for Washingtonions. My daughter is only ten so I think she is too young to leave by herself.
I thanked them and left without taking them up on their offer to use a phone. I had already contacted all my peeps via my Delorme, so I had no use for their phone. I should have known better than to hope for any kind of real help from them. I only went over to ask them because they had told my daughter that they would help.
So we sat in the shade on the porch at the info center. There was a water fountain and a bathroom nearby. The porch was a great place to sit and try to figure out a plan to get home. We had plenty of food and water, we could have camped there for a week if need be. There was a guy painting the building but he did not mind us being there.
A few hours later the painter guy came up to us and asked us if we were stranded. I said that we were sort of stranded but would find a way home. My husband could not get us due to his emphysemia. My friend Dan said he could not get us, but did not say why. My mother was in the hospital, so she could not get us. Tam, the fried how had driven us down had to work so she could not get us until Sat. and my father is a... oh never mind.. lets not go there.
The painter whose name was John helped me to read the map and to see that the trails did not connect with the road we were on, the trails were actually up on highway 138. I knew that the elevation was confusing me and making it difficult to read maps and I wished that I had my topo map in my gps instead of just a street map and the horrible map the campground host gave me. That horrible map did not even show the road we were on, so I thought we were on highway 138.
Later a forest service guy came by and said he had heard of our plight from the camp ground staff and he wanted to know if we had a plan. He was not at all interested in hearing our story, he was in a hurry and he just wanted to know if we had a plan. Thanks for caring!
He told us there was a campsite down the road two miles near the pizza place where we could camp for just a donation. I know for a fact that it was a free campsite and I told him so. He confirmed that I was correct, it was indeed a free campsite. No matter, I already knew the campsite was there and I knew that my daughter was not going to make it two miles to the campsite.
The forest service dude wandered off to bag up some clothes that had been left in the bathroom, he was far more interested in the clothes in the bathroom than he was in us. So I did not bother to tell him that I had found the clothes in the bathroom garbage can and I had pulled them out to look at them. Let him bag up the clothes and look for the owner, if those things were more important to him than us people, I was not going to try to stop him.
I planned on stealth camping in the woods somewhere. John the painter came back around and told me about a free campsite that was close enough for even my daughter to walk to. John really seemed to want to help us.
So I let him show us the camp site and I decided it would be a good place to camp. Then John went to the store and got us some cold drinks, such a nice guy! John even offered to give us a ride to Roseburg on Monday and got us the phone number for the Greyhound. But it was Wednesday, so waiting until Monday would not have been pleasant.
When John came back with the drinks he let me use his cell phone to call my husband. My husband and I agreed that I would spend the rest of the day resting and that in the morning maybe I would be able to think straight again and make an escape plan.
John was from a valley Washington state and he confirmed that he gets elevation sickness at 6,000 feet. We had been elevation sick for sure. We had gone up to 8,000 feet on the rim and even Diamond Lake was at 5,000 feet. We live at sea level, so we were 5,000 feet above the level we were acclimated to even at Diamond Lake.
|Our camp behind the information center|
|Dragon fly on my sleeping pad|
|Bryoria lichen in the campground|
It was cold in the night, the first sign of fall said John.
I decided that in the morning we would stand at the exit to the campground and try to get a ride with campers who were checking out. We could go to Roseburg and take the Greyhound bus home, or go to Chemult and take the Amtrak train home. I opted for Chemult since the bus did not sound fun and I knew where the train platform was in Chemult. I had no idea where the Greyhound station in Roseburg was. Also someone got murdered at the Greyhound Station in Olympia while try to get to Shelton a few years back, so I was kind of scared of that bus station.
|Diamond lake sunset|
|A nice place to sit for a long time|
|I could have easily gotten back on trail|
if I had not had my daughter with me
I had explosive diarrhea all morning and was not feeling too good.
|Bryoria, Letharia and Usnea Lichen Rainbow|
|Letharia columbiana lichen|
Thru-hikers had written stuff on every single diamond on the trail. Many of them had written their trail names on the markers. I found it interesting, but did not think it was a good thing.
|Every marker had writing on it|
|Our one gallon cache with the two empty 2 liter |
bottles are from our first water cache.
We would have to go back for our tent pole, my tent cannot stand up to thunder storms without its one back pole. I knew that I could not drag my daughter 5.5 miles back to the tent and then 5.5 miles back to 138 and even if I could, we would not have enough water for the next day. So I devised a plan to hitch back to where the road parallels the trail, bushwhack one mile in to retrieve the tent pole and then hitch back to Mazama Village to get water and to get an extra days worth of food out of the hiker box there. Then we would hitch back to highway 138, spend the night there and restart our hike to Thieson Creek in the morning.
|nice place to bushwhack!|
|Right where I left it|
|Right where I left her|
They happily agreed to give us a ride! They were from Colombia and I talked to them about my visit to Panama and asked them if Colombia really was as dangerous and our news makes it sound like. They said no, Colombia is safe as long as you don’t go to the wrong places and sometimes watching the news in the USA makes them scared of their own country, but they know that it is safe there.
|Inside the car of the Colombains, Laura and Filipe who gave us a ride to Mazama.|
They are standing outside waiting for the road construction to end
|Dangerous road construction project!|
|L-R Cree, Bugs/Mugs? and I forget at the Mazma|
Laundry Mat on August 5th thanks for the help!
|It's tent city as through hikers dry out their|
lightweight shelters at Mazama Village at Crater
Lake National Park on August 5th.
|Through hikers dry out their tents at|
Mazama Village in Crater Lake National
Park on August 5th
At this point I realized that I was not thinking straight and that the elevation was to blame. For four hours we wandered around lost and confused trying to get a ride. Finally a thru-hiker was able to point out to us where the road out was, she also told me where the thru-hikers were camping and invited us to join them if we could not get a ride.
In the morning wee could hike up the Mount Thieson Trail along Thieson Creek and have water most of the way. What luck for us to get a ride to Diamond Lake!
Maybe that is why it took all day for us to get a ride; this bit of luck was just waiting for us. It turned out that the man was part of a couple; his wife was behind him also driving a truck but towing a boat. They had come all the way from Nevada in two pickup trucks. They were going to spend the week camping and fishing with their kids at Diamond Lake. They were both ex-truck drivers and I felt like I had a lot in common with them.
|Finally a ride out of Mazama at 8pm the trailer in |
front was part of the convoy that took us out.
At the campground we stumbled out of their truck and found ourselves a camp spot for the night in the dark. We were exhausted, hot, tired and elevation sick. I did not pitch the tarp. I told my daughter that we could take a nero or a zero day in the morning to make up for the hard time we had getting out of Mazama.
The camp hosts agreed to let us pay in the morning since I did not have change and we had been dropped on in the dark and we had not been expecting to stay the night in a car campground.
I had a headache again tonight.