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Posts Tagged ‘Honey Bee’

It started out as a piecemeal operation with a slew of texts. I was going on the PNT and thought I might be out alone for a bit. Then, I heard Karma was going, but slightly later. Then, Crosby decided that working was lame two and a half weeks before I wanted to leave. Then, ED got wind of this and put in her two weeks, booking a plane ticket for the 23rd. We started making a plan from there. When we weren’t leaving until later, Karma joined and booked a bus ticket for the 24th. After Crosby’s sisters wedding on the 26th, we would depart on the 27th.
Crosby and I picked up ED at the airport, then found The Darkness’s hide a key and started making dinner in her apartment. The next day, we meandered around Seattle until Karma’s bus got in. When it did, we grabbed him, went to REI, and caught the ferry over to my Mom’s house. Stumbling Norwegian and Honey Bee caught the same ferry to come over for dinner and let us pick their PNT brains since they had just hiked it in 2014.

After dinner and a bonfire, we had packed our brains full of pertinent information.

We had two more bonfires, helped Jane celebrate her birthday, went to Game of Thrones trivia, and left at 5:15am in Glen, my van. First stop was to pick up my Mom’s cousin Babs who was heading out with is to help my Mom get Glen back to her house.

Glen, the van.

All of us settled into the van, taking naps, listening to cassette tapes, Babs’ camp songs, eating, and taking to the road. Glenn drove pretty well and had plenty of space. He also had plenty of electric plug ins to continually charge phones which allowed me to finish keeping up with my blog.

Eventually we made it to Glacier where we took a out stop at the CDT at Marias Pass to say hi to the trail. East Glacier was only a ten minute drive away so we were at Serranos/Backpackers Inn quickly.

There we found Laugh Track, Anchor, Top Shelf, and Bard, some fresh CDT sobos. We chatted with them, got our packs together and went to bed for an early morning at the Two Medicine Ranger Station.

The bottom of our permit.

We dutifully got there before it opened and got the exact permits we wanted. However, our permit said “itinerary not recommended” on out due to snow fields and a “water hazard”‘and the ranger using the permit continually twisted that we were a month early.

Mom and Babs dropped us off at Chief Mountain Trailhead and we began hiking after the requisite pictures. The trail wound down toward a river snaking through lush fields of wildflowers.

We took several breaks to enjoy the river, some shade, or flowers until we reached a sign that said “waterfall.” Taking the short trail down, we found a beautiful waterfall emptying into a crystal clear blue swimming hole. We only hesitated long enough to take a picture before wading into its cold depths. It was definitely cold. Right as we got out, Laugh Track, Anchor, Bard, and Top Shelf walked up and we all realized we were set to camp at the same site that night.

Chilling with some CDT sobos.

When we finally moved on, we did reach the campsite in decent time and found Coyote. We set up tents and tarps, then headed down to eat. Coyote was also hiking the PNT and we had been told to keep an eye out for her from Stumbling Norwegian and Honey Bee.

The four CDT sobos came not long after and we all had a blast hanging out and sharing a few things.

Anchor: Man, you guys packed out and are sharing beer and whiskey and we didn’t think to bring anything out.

Karma: I remember my first hike…

In the morning, we got a decent start waking up, eating, and leaving before the CDTers even woke up. Coyote came with us and we began going up Stony Indian Pass. The trail was so well graded that out made for a good first big climb. We passed lakes, wildflowers, and were grateful for switchbacks. 

We took a nice long break on top of the pass examining the snow we were about to go through. There was some, but not a shit ton.

Almost instantly, we crossed snow and put on micro spikes. It was a bit of bushwhacking mixed with trail bits. Part way down, we had to cross a neat little snow patch on the corner of the lake.

The lake was so awesome, we took another long break before descending down to the valley bottom. 

The CDT monument visit #2.

We encountered pesky mosquitoes, flustered border patrol agents, and a few boost tourists at goat haunt looking at us in a peculiar fashion. Coyote stayed there that night while Karma, ED, Crosby and I went to visit the CDT northern terminus. It was an extra 6.2 miles, but it was worth it to see it again. We saw a boat there with scuba divers and we tried to scheme our way into a ride. It unfortunately didn’t pan out.

Crosby: How’s it going?

Boat dude: Great!

Karma: Find anything?

Boat dude: Some beer cans…

We walked back and all crammed into one campsite again at Waterton River. Coyote found us the next morning as she headed toward the monument and Canada. We headed off toward Brown Pass.

Right beforehand, however, we found the perfect spot. A glacial lake with a jumping rock hurting out with nothing underneath. We scanned around. We could see the bottom just fine with no ledges or oddly placed rocks. We saw two ways out back up the bank nearby. Jump!!!

Jump!

After quite a few jumps and brains seemingly turning into slushies, we hit the top of the pass in no time and took another side trip up to see Hole In The Wall. It was an extra two miles one way, but it too was worth it. The trail climbed at ghee pretext grade and we walked up to find a good spot to sit and admire the wall of waterfalls. We saw no one and could not count the number of waterfalls-there were too many to count.

On the way back down, we began seeing a few other people, two of which admired our umbrellas. We hit the campground by Bowman Lake, found a spot, and sat down to cook. We met some peyote from Boston and one from Mississippi who we later learned had hiked the AT, named Porch.

After an amazing star viewing night on the crystal clear lake, we trotted down toward Polebridge, Montana.

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We woke up in a cloud on top of a ridge.  This particular cloud seemed to create its own weather system that could not exactly be classified as rain nor mist; neither could it be written off as water falling off of trees from the breeze.  Definitely wet and cold enough, I kept my shell on and attempted not to sweat quite so much, but without much of a pack, I found it hard not to fly through miles.

Dead Animal could meet us at around 10 mile increments on various logging roads that he figured out.  Hop-a-long, Scout, and I set off for the first chunk, cold and slightly wet.  Hop took an early lead and her legs got soaked the worst from brushing up against the wet vegetation.  We bounced around the top of the ridge and noticed just how localized the weather situation was since we could see clearness in spurts to the east, while we could see nothing but white to the west.

I almost missed east coast rain for a few moments in that stretch, remembering how I sent my rain gear home somewhere in Pennsylvania on the AT because the rain was so warm it acted more like a free shower.  But then I remembered how frequently it rained and the general wetness and I appreciated the PCT a bit more.

We found Dead Animal just as planned and we all sat on mats eating lunch together and trying not to get cold from lack of movement.  Some fresh vegetables were most welcome from the cooler.  We took only an hour break trying not to lose what little motivation all of us possessed and set off on another 10ish mile chunk.  I threw some tunes on at that point to distract my mind from focusing on the crappy weather when eventually I ran into a sobo section hiker who exclaimed amazingly over the drone of my headphones,

“TRAIL MAGIC FIVE MILES AHEAD!” and scampered south.  Instantly excited and newly motivated I sped up and caught Hop-a-long who laughingly told me he came up on her taking a pee on the side of the trail.  They talked in the process.  Only. On. Trail.

We surged ahead completely missing a supposedly major landmark of a weather station just off trail with an outhouse.  Halfmile even made a GPS marking called “Out House.”

Hitting the road, we saw PCT trail bandanas strung up like Buddhist prayer flags across the trail and a large tarp over a circle of chairs filled with a barbecue, cooler, and entertaining beverages.  Stumbling Norwegian and Honey Bee welcomed us, gave us comfortable chairs, and placed hot food in our hands.  Heaven on a rainy day.  Dead Animal was there brewing up some delicious hot chocolate.

Before I knew it, Hop-a-long had found the best beverage there, something Stumbling Norwegian and Honey Bee only called “Tasty Goodness” and she dumped some in my hot chocolate.

We caught back up to Snow Turtle and Agassi who had a good bit of tasty goodness and spent a good deal of the afternoon enjoying it.  Blood Bank had the longest stay record that day doing a long 0.7 mile from the weather station down to the road and staying there.  Scout got there about fifteen minutes later and came up with the biggest grin on his face that matched every other thru-hiker’s.  Two section hikers also had holed up there who were local-ish Washington boys, one of which was having quite a bit of fun convincing Agassi to drink more.

I totally meant to get further to make a half day in town with my mom and aunts, but the trail magic was way too awesome and the weather was way too shitty.  From there, I would have to make 18 miles before 1pm, our agreed meeting time.  After several hot chocolates with Tasty Goodness and later some root beer vodka, I decided staying was a much better option.

Right before dinner, Knees showed up who Hop-a-long, Dead, and I had not seen since Wrightwood (mile 368).  It was great to catch up with him for a bit.  Tahoe rolled in late as well as Straw, Willie, and Magellan.

The trail magic came at such a perfect time and turned around my whole attitude after the rain.  I didn’t even care if I had to make miles the next morning.

I managed to wake myself up at 5am and leave by 6am with my new-found motivation from the trail magic and motivation of mom-made baked goods at the end.  I shot up hill, saw Snow Turtle and Agassi’s makeshift camp spot, just far enough up that they wouldn’t be tempted to wait and stay around for breakfast.

The miles were not as hard as they had been and I was able to cruise my way around the bumps through the mud.  I went hard for the first 10 miles and then stopped to stuff half of a large bag of chips down my throat thinking that should give me at least 600 calories or so to make it to delicious cookies and brownies.

The route down to Snoqualmie Pass was fine until I was about 4 miles out and all the day hikers were hiking up and I moved against traffic, having to give them the right of way.  A few stopped me and asked me the usual questions which I was really not in the mood to answer since food was so close.

I made it to the ski area and decided that running down the ski slope was much faster than taking the trail all the way to the road and I plunged down it.  I laughed as I walked down it thinking only that Vail’s bunny hill was steeper than that.

I found my mom and two aunts who had found Dead Animal, Pinky, Sticks, and Ahab.  Delicious beer made it into one hand and a large helping of vegan brownie in the other and I was happy.  We decided to hobo it up in the parking lot, all sitting right down over a few parking spots in the back, drinking and eating.  Eventually, the rest of the pack at the other trail magic made it to my mom’s trail magic and we had quite a posse drinking in a parking lot.  Classy.

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