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The Month of July



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July 1st





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July 1st





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July 1st





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July 3rd





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July 5th





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July 5th-11th





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July 12th





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July 13th





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July 13th





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July 14th





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July 15th





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July 16th





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July 16th





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July 18th


Chapter 1

July 5th, Belden, Mile 1,283: “This section marked the close of central California as well as the Sierras. I left Sierra City with Josh, and together we ascended the 2000 foot climb of Sierra Butte. As the day wore on, we caught Tom and SamIam, and we camped on a granite outcrop overlooking Lakes Basin. The following day contained a 24 miles waterless stretch as the trail journeyed on the dry volcanic crest. Tom, Josh and I walked until 8:30pm that evening, ending our 33-mile day with a swim in the Middle Fork of the Feather River.
In the afternoon of the next day, Tom, Josh and I struck upon Bucks Summit Road, where Tom & Josh hitched down to Quincy and I continued on toward Belden, meeting up with SamIam.  We spent the night overlooking a beautiful sunset from high atop a ridge over Silver Lake. Up by 4:30am the following morning, I quickly completed the section to Belden, and hitched to Quincy to attend the High Sierra Music Festival with Tom and Josh. A wonderful couple, Shelley and Alan, took us in, fed us and drove us around. They had served as host parents to Tom’s brother a few years earlier as he was a foreign exchange student from Belgium.
From Quincy I hitched to Reno, and will meet my parents and sister here for a week. Time to enjoy the half way point of the PCT, and travel around with my family some before I head off into the Cascades.”

Chapter 2

July 16, 2002: “Hello, it’s me, Rose the Sister. I’ll write a little about our visit with Owen in California. Mom, dad and I flew out to meet him in Reno on the 5th of July. He was waiting at the airport for us, making friends as usual with another lady that was sitting near him…..not too close because of his PCT scent! We were glad to see him and first thing Saturday we went to a buffet at the El Dorado casino to feed him up. Over the next few days we traveled to Donner Pass, Lake Tahoe and then on to Yosemite National Park. In Tuolomne Meadows we hiked the trail to Lembert Dome and Owen and I scaled around the wrong side of the dome. We finally figured it out and made it to the top for a rewarding snack before heading down.

Good news, the waterfalls were running for us this time! 20 years ago when we were there it was later in the summer and the falls had dried up. It was great to see them in person and not just in a picture. We did the trail to Vernal Fall, and the Mist Trail. It was a spectacular view from the top, but the trail “down” was pretty hard going. It was 93 degrees, in the direct sun, and uphill swicthbacks, which made my complaining relentless. I had the best shower of my life when we got back to Curry Village in the valley.

From Yosemite we headed back north past Mono Lake and onto Sierra City (to pick up a box that I had mailed to Owen and it didn’t quite make it in time for him). We hiked to the top of Sierra Butte and the fire tower that looks one way to the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe and the other way to Lassen Peak. Our final day together took us to Lassen National Park where Owen decided to hike Lassen Peak and mom trailed along behind. The thunderclouds were rolling in as we were driving down from the mountain. When we got back to the town where we were to spend the night, Quincy, we learned that a microburst had hit town about an hour earlier and destroyed about 30 homes and 35 monstrous pine trees!  Friday morning dad drove Owen back up to Belden to pick up where he left off. He met up with some of his fellow hikers, but I’ll let him fill you in on that. All in all, it was a good trip and it was neat to have him tell us about all these places he had already hiked through. It gave us a tiny feel for the trail and all that he encounters on a daily basis. We even did a little “classic crest walking”. Keep reading!!, Rose”

Chapter 3

July 15th, Old Station, Mile 1371: “After a wonderful break with my family for a week, I was back on the trail in Belden on the afternoon of the 12th. I climbed out of the Feather River Valley in the afternoon heat & sun with Grungy. The following day we pushed through a 23 mile waterless stretch with continuous views of Lassen Peak, the southernmost volcano of the Cascade Range. We then continued on, finishing our 31-mile day with a stop by the St. Bernard Loge for a prime rib dinner.

On Sunday Grungy and I caught up with D-Low, and we moved north to Lassen Volcanic National Park. The trail passed by geysers, fumaroles, and boiling lakes as we walked the PCT. The only negative was that determined mule deer plagued our campsite. Today we were off early, and Jared and I zipped the 16 miles to Old Station by 11am. Now powered with Ben-n-Jerry’s, we are ready to move onto the hot and dry Hat Creek Rim.”

Chapter 4

July 16th, Burney Falls State Park, Mile 1417: “After a brief stop in Old Station, Jared and I readied for a quick walk to Burney Falls. We began at 5pm, stopping by Subway Cave, a volcanic cave outside Lassen National Park, and filling up with water for a dry 19-mile stretch. We walked until 9pm, to a wonderful spot on the arid Hat Creek Rim with views of Lassen Peak behind us and Mt. Shasta in the setting sun. In the morning we were off by 5am in an attempt to cover as many miles on the Rim before the afternoon sun. A fire burned most of the Rim some 15 years back, and has eliminated any potential shade on the PCT. A great water cache was located on the Rim, which supplied Jared and I with some relief before the next 13-mile dry section. As the day wore on, we pushed to reach Burney Falls State Park, some 36.5 miles from where we had started, by 7pm. A nice dinner on the picnic table in the park followed by a hot shower was ample reward for our walk on the Hat Creek Rim.”

Chapter 5

July 20th, Dunsmuir, CA, Mile 1500: “I left Burney after a wonderful breakfast at the Bear Den with D-Low and Jared. I was packing a liter of wine that my friend Sammy had sent me for my upcoming birthday. Jared and I enjoyed the wine with birthday breakfast the next morning, seeing as a 15-mile waterless stretch required the use of my platypus water bottle that was carrying the wine. Jared and I then spent our day moving 30 miles, summitting Grizzly Peak as the day came to a close and the sun set behind Mt. Shasta.

The next day was another hot and dry walk through the poison-oak filled mountains, ending with views of the granite spires of Castle Crags and the snow topped Trinity Alps in the distance that will be the next section of the PCT. The following morning I limped 6 miles here to town, and have spent the day resting my legs after a quick 220 miles in 8 days. Only 10 more days to Oregon!!”

Chapter 6

 July 24th, Etna, CA, Mile 1600: “I am currently sitting here in a barn that has been converted into a PCT hiker hostel behind a Bed and Breakfast here in Etna. My left foot is soaking in Epsom salts, and my entire right leg is plunged into a trashcan full of steaming water. Town stops are time to rest, recover and eat. Usually hikers tend to aim for 10,000 calories per day in town to make up for the nearly 6,000 calories you burn each day moving 25+ miles.

As for the soaking, my left foot is recovering from an ingrown toenail I hacked out in Dunsmuir, while my right ankle is swollen twice it’s size due to the straining of muscle in my foot last week. I’ve walked the last 150 miles with a nice pain every time my right foot lifts up. I’ve been adding up these “pain miles”, and this last stretch puts me over the 400-mile point. I usually don’t mention the difficulty associated with a long distance hike, but the will to push on in spite of physical discomfort is part of the formula sometimes.  I’ve also been treating some poison oak I picked up on my legs last week.

This last stretch was one of beauty as well as a wonderful display of powerful weather changes. John, Julie and I left Dunsmuir on Sunday, and climbed up through the granite spires of Castle Crags in 100+ temperatures. The following day we entered the Trinity Alps Wilderness and were being chased by a thunderstorm. At one point John and I paused and questioned each other whether we were coming upon a roaring river…and then the hail began. Hailstorm after hailstorm pounded the mountains, and left us walking through miles of trail covered in over two inches of marble to golf ball sized hail. The entire mountains were covered with hailstones, and the temperatures plummeted below 40 degrees. We walked until 9pm the evening to move far enough away from the hail covered mountain range so that we might find a dry camp. The following two days here to Etna were a lovely walk through glaciated mountains and meadows. Tomorrow I will leave and will be in Oregon in 4 days!”

Chapter 7

July 27th, Seiad Valley, Mile 1657: “My last town in California! I left Etna on Thursday at 1pm and began a solo walk through the Marble Wilderness. Giant mountains with hundreds of feet of exposed marble pillared above me as I moved to an overlook perched high over the valley. There I spent only my 3rd night alone thus far. In the morning I took off, and strolled through smoke-covered mountains due to a large forest fire just 15 miles from my crest. I pushed 38 miles yesterday to Seiad Valley here, and enjoyed a night in a soft bed. Now onto Oregon!!”

Chapter 8

 July 30th, Ashland Oregon, Mile 1721: “OREGON! I’m finally in Oregon! I crossed the border at 10:30am on the 28th of July. It took me nearly 3 months to clear the massive state of California. I had left Seiad Valley after a filling breakfast, and climbed the 4,400 feet from the valley to the crest as the morning heated up. I moved through smoke-covered mountains that day as a result of the surrounding forest fires. I spent the evening laying on an open crest watching the wind push swirls of thick smoke over the mountains as the sun set. The following morning I was off to finish California. I passed into Oregon in the morning and shortly caught up with Tin Mouse, Chris, and Mags. Together we moved our first day into Oregon as I completed my 12th day of 30+ miles. In the morning I was up and quickly into Ashland, an easy 7-mile hike to finish the section. I spent the rest of the day and today relaxing, buying some food to send myself in Oregon, and a new pair of sneakers – pair number 4. And, to top off my completion of California, my most recent article appeared in the August edition of Biophysical Journal, concerning platelet adhesion to tumor cells under shear flow conditions. I printed out a copy and have been carrying it around today, and now am using it to write letters on!
Onward to Canada. Only 930 miles to go!”

Back to June

Onward to August





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July 18th





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July 20th





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July 20th





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July 21st





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July 21st





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July 22nd





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July 23rd





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July 25th





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July 26th






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July 27th





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July 27th





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July 28th





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July 30th