Olympic Peninsula, WA

9/11.    The day after finishing the CDT Queen B and I spent our time in East Glacier relaxing, eating food, hanging out with other hikers and waiting for the train. It was cool because a lot of hikers were either just finishing up their hike or getting into town and about to go into Glacier NP. From East Glacier we took an overnight Amtrak to Seattle. I’ve never taken a long distance train and the ‘Empire Builder’ runs from Chicago to Seattle and I guess has a lot of history. It was a relaxing way to travel. There was a half dozen other hikers so for awhile we hung out together in the observation car. Back in the seat I was able to spread out better than I would on a plane and got some halfway decent sleep. It was something like a 15 hour ride though so even though it was fun and comfortable I think I would still prefer a flight. Supposedly

9/12     When we got into Seattle I heard from Little Spoon and Moaglee who were spending the day in the city before flying to Alaska that night. QB and I met up with them for lunch and got all caught up on each other’s hikes since we last saw them about a month ago. After lunch we had to run a couple errands in town then took the light rail south of the city and got picked up at the train station by our friend Malibu. We went out for Hawaiian food in West Seattle and walked around Lincoln Park. Mali put us up in his van for the night and I slept so hard! Met up with Moaglee and Little Spoon when our paths crossed in SeattleMalibu’s sweet van/spare bedroomMali

9/13     In the morning Malibu cooked a delicious breakfast casserole then dropped us off at the ferry terminal in downtown Seattle. We took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island then did a little walking before catching a hitch for about a dozen miles in a tiny Smart Car. Our next hitch was from Andy, a Seattle Firefighter, who makes a 2.5 hr commute from his home in Port Angeles. It was a great ride! He brought us exactly where we needed to go; the ranger station in PA. We got set up with permits for a couple nights on the Olympic Coast then resupplied, ate a late lunch, and started making our way towards Rialto Beach. A county bus drove us down some windy roads towards Forks for a couple hours before letting us out and we got a ride in the back of a pickup the rest of the way. We got to the beach right around sunset and walked a mile north on the coast before camping. It was awesome! Beautiful sunset and a very nice night camping in the woods just next to the beach. A gigantic shipSeattle waterfront on the ferry going towards Bainbridge IslandRialto Beach 

9/14     Today was a great day. I did a backpacking trip along this coast in the spring of ’14 and loved it. Since then I’ve always wanted to come back. Today we walked north for about 20 miles along beaches, tide pools, and rocky coastline. There’s a bunch of headlands that we had to get out and around which can be dangerous at high tide so using a tide chart and doing a little paying attention was important. In a few places we had to go inland a little bit and hike overland even using some ropes and in a couple places crawling through natural tunnels. The weather was absolutely perfect today, not a cloud in the sky with a cool ocean breeze once in awhile and warm enough to jump into the ocean for an afternoon dip. A few years ago when I was out here I saw a ton of bald and golden eagles. Although we only saw one bald eagle today, there were a bunch of other animal sightings. We saw two black bears at different times walking out on the coast eating seaweed or whatever. A few deer, 4 sea otters, a close encounter with a seal and a bunch of dead stuff that washed up on shore including an octopus, a seal, 2 sea lions, and some kind of shark or something.  Around sunset we found ourselves a campsite in some woods next to the ocean. For the second night in a row I fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing against the shore. A man among buoys

9/15     From our campsite by the beach we walked about a mile north to Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the Continental U.S. We followed a trail inland for about 3 miles through a forest and came out at the Ozette Lake trailhead. The ranger in Port Angeles the other day told us this was a busy trailhead and we shouldn’t have trouble getting a ride out. Dude didn’t know what he was talking about. After 4 hours of relaxing by the roadside we got picked up by the 4th car that passed us. No big deal, there was a blackberry bush nearby that kept me busy and a huge bald eagle soared overhead. It was another firefighter that ended up driving us about 20 miles to the intersection with the busier rt 112. As we were getting dropped off, the bus to Forks was pulling up. Perfect timing! During the 40 minute ride to Forks we picked up a hiker and immediately I thought he looked familiar. It was Funjumper, I met him in Belden, CA in ’15. He didn’t remember me and may have even doubted that I remembered him until I recalled that he was from Quebec. Anyway he just finished the Pacific Northwest Trail that goes 1200 miles starting in Glacier and ending out here on the coast. When we got into Forks the town was bumping with Twilight fans, they were having some kind of festival for the book series. QB and I got some Chinese food then resupplied at a supermarket before putting our thumbs out to get out of town. After a couple minutes, Stephanie picked us up and drove us about 40 minutes down the coast. As we were driving by the ocean we saw a bunch of cars pulled over and looking out towards the water. From her car we could see whales breaching and raising their fins out of the water. Stephanie pulled over and the 3 of us walked down to the beach to get a better look. We saw a bunch of what we learned were grey whales close to shore and what they were doing was scraping barnacles off their backs on the ground. So cool! I guess it’s very rare. QB and I got a ride a little ways further to Kalaloch CG which was full but luckily had a hiker walk-in site.like 12 blackberries see that fin out there? I swear it’s a grey whale you can walk right under this tree 

9/16     After we packed up this morning we walked down to the beach again to check on the whales. Still there, doing their thing. We ate some breakfast burritos at a gas station, then walked over to get some info at the Kalaloch ranger station. Ideally I’d like to do a traverse of the whole Olympic park but they’re getting some serious rain in the next few days so we might do a shorter hike in case we have to bail early. Since we can only get permits from certain ranger stations we had to hitch south to Quinault. We got a 30 minute ride from Paul and Ron to exactly where we needed to go and got things taken care of. The rangers at Quinault were former thru hikers and much more helpful. From Quinault we had to get back up north to the Hoh rain forest. Oatmeal, a ranger and former thru hiker, drove us for about an hour then Elsie, a Belgian woman on holiday, brought us the rest of the way. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; as long as there are cars, hitching with QB is pretty easy. From the Hoh visitor center we walked 10 miles along a nice flat trail through an incredible rain forest. It’s green, mossy, and the trees are enormous. I can show you pictures but you really have to see it for yourself. We got to the Olympus Guard Station where there’s a bunch of sites and called it a day. Really hoping the rain holds off or at least isn’t too bad.swam here in the Hoh River this tree fell down and became a bridgesee? 

9/17     This morning we blasted up a long 7 mile climb to the High Divide. The weather was cool and cloudy until we got to the top and it got a bit more rainy and the clouds were moving in. Even with the weather we still had some great views of Mt Olympus and the Olympic range. There is some seriously beefy mountains over here. We hiked through 7 lakes basin and down to a beautiful lush green forest with giant trees. Oh and I saw 10 black bears today! All from a distance but they were everywhere. From the forest we had another stiff climb up to Appleton Pass and up there it started to rain a little harder and get colder. I knew I had hot springs waiting for me at the end of the day but the last 5 miles down from the pass were cold and wet. Not my favorite weather. At the Boulder Creek campsite we met and ate supper with Dustbunny and Tickled Pink, who are about a hundred miles from finishing their thruhike of the PNT. It was fun to hear about their hike and that trail and since they’ve also hiked the CDT and PCT we knew some of the same people. After we got set up and ate we walked down to the Olympic Hot Springs. Finally I could warm up. These springs were awesome! There’s like 7 or 8 rock pools that are built up around natural springs and most are pretty hot. After a cold rainy day this is exactly what I needed. Hoh Lakeso many black bears!beefy Olympic MountainsHigh DivideSeven Lakes Basinloving this forestbut it can be hard to see it through all these treesso green!Olympic Hot Springs

9/18     Overnight it rained and my tent didn’t do a great job keeping me dry. I was cold and didn’t sleep that well but I didn’t have much to do and was close to the hot springs so I could just go relax in those all day. It was really nice. A perfect day to just sit and soak in the warm sulfury smelling water. It’s only a 2 or 3 mile trail from a trailhead parking lot so besides the people that are camped at the Boulder Creek site, a fair amount of people just walk the short hike in from their cars. We met some cool people and had a lot of fun just doing nothing all day. I didn’t want to get out of the hot water and my hands and feet got so pruned up that I worried if they would ever go back to normal. We could have stayed another night but since everything was soaked we made a quick decision to pack up and walk out around 5pm. At the trailhead we got a hitch from a couple from Montana that brought us about a half hour to Port Angeles where we found a cheap motel for the night. Hot springs are good for the soul, but everybody knows that

Advertisements

Canada!!!

Day 130     9/6/17   16 miles

So last night, before going back to the trail, a bunch of us went out to eat at the Mexican place in town and I have to say it wasn’t the best burrito I’ve ever had. The portions were good but then they covered it in like velveeta cheese or something, it was weird. I was talking to a couple there and the guy was a retired firefighter from Ohio. When I explained to them what we were up to he left the tip on our meal so that was cool. Thanks Tom! After supper QB and I hitched back to Marias Pass, where we got off trail earlier in the day, and found a spot in the woods to camp. 

This morning we got up and started cruising right into town. We crossed rt 2 and some railroad tracks and got into Glacier NP but since our permits don’t start until tomorrow night we’ll be walking back into East Glacier Village and spending the night there. From Marias Pass the trail kind of parallels the road and the tracks all the way to town. There wasn’t anything too spectacular to see from trail, or maybe there was, it was just too smoky to see  much of anything. About a mile from town I saw and heard a small dark brown bear crashing through the woods 15-20 feet to my right. It scared the bejesuses out of me but I recovered quickly. Once again QB didn’t see it but she did hear it. Current bear score 12-2 in my favor. We got to town and ate a couple times at the Two Medicine Grill, which I recommend.  I did laundry and showered for the first time in a week and got a room half off at the Circle R motel because it didn’t have a TV. Fine with me, I feel like hotel TV’s only play Forensic Files anyway. Smoky!Ran into Recalculating in town and he’s become quite feral since I first met him in New Mexico, his shoes look like they got struck by lightning This license plate has my name on itMe and QB and some tall guy 

Day 131     9/7     25 miles

Right away this morning QB and I devoured a huge breakfast at the Two Medicine Grill; omelettes, pancakes, hash browns, even a slice of pie. After breakfast we got back on trail and into Glacier NP starting with a nice stiff climb up to Scenic Point. For a while we walked with Recalculating, who unlike most thru hikers has a wife and 4 young kids at home, pretty awesome situation but not the norm out here. Glacier has been incredible so far, even with a blanket of smoke from the wildfires hanging in the air. I’d love to see this place on clear bluebird days so that’s why I’ll definitely have to come back. The smoke however, puts a whole new paint job on things and makes the mountains and the lakes look really cool. I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves. Plus I saw a bunch of animals, a moose laying around in the grass and probably about 25 bighorn sheep including a little baby. We’re camping at the Atlantic Creek site and also camping here tonight are Garbelly and Critter who we’ve been keeping in touch with but haven’t seen since Winter Park.A couple of bros just chilling out

Day 132     9/8     25 miles

Today was the day! We hiked with Critter and Garbelly for most of the day and started off with a steep climb up to Triple Divide Pass. Although smoky, this was one of the most incredible passes I’ve ever been up and over. There’s three sides to Triple Divide Peak (just to the West of where we crossed); any water that lands on the west flows to the Pacific, water landing on the east flows to the Atlantic and water landing on the north flows to the Arctic Ocean. So cool! While climbing up the Pass, Critter spotted a moose down in the valley from at least a half mile away, then we had a bighorn sheep directly in front of us on trail and on our way down we saw 4 mountain goats way up on the side of a steep wall. The rest of the day the trail was pretty relaxed but there was lots of water. We stopped to jump off rocks into an awesome swimming hole at Red Eagle Creek. In the afternoon we walked along Lake St Mary which was tough to get a good view of because it was super smoky but it’s obviously a spectacular sight. I got another chance to swim at the bottom of Virginia Falls then we stopped again at St Mary Falls. Because of the wildfire situation, QB and I weren’t able to get our backcountry permits so tonight we had to hitch to Rising Sun CG where we’re camping at the hiker walk-in site. Ideally we wanted to camp in the backcountry for our last couple nights on trail but it’s no big deal, I’m just glad the park is still open and I really hope it stays that way. This campground has a restaurant and we were able to get some good food, plus a couple guys that were eating there recognized that we were thru hiking and bought us dessert. Garbelly and Critter walking through the smokeTriple Divide Pass Cannonball!!!posing so hard Triple Divide Pass Swam where the mountain dolphins live St Mary Falls 

Day 133     9/9     14 miles

Before leaving Rising Sun we grabbed some sweet potato pancakes at the restaurant. It’s so tough to pass up a good meal when it’s close by. We had a short 14 mile day until the next campground so we weren’t in a hurry. Once on trail we climbed way up to Piegan Pass and the views were just awesome. I know I said yesterday that Triple Divide Pass might have been the most impressive pass I ever climbed but that title only stood for a day. Today the smoke had cleared some and we had some better views. It really was amazing. It was super windy on the way down but that probably helped get some of the smoke out of the area. We could see cascading waterfalls, aquamarine lakes, and jagged peaks all over. After we got down to the valley it was a relaxing 5 or 6 miles into Many Glacier, another front country campground with a store and restaurant. There’s lots of other thru hikers here tonight also. Garbelly and Critter, Maine Man, Flip Flop, Liam and Kate, Spindrift and James all are camping here and planning to finish tomorrow. A bunch of us went to supper tonight and it was a lot of fun. It’s weird, I felt like there weren’t many hikers around for most of the trail but I’ve seen lots throughout Montana and especially the last couple hundred miles. They say nothing brings people together like a common enemy, like the school kids rallying together against the lunch lady. In this case it’s the wildfires causing the thru hikers to bunch up right at the end. Queen B. MacklemorePiegan PassSwiftcurrent Lake 

Day 134     9/10/17     20 miles

What a day! First of all last night was crazy windy, all night long blowing wicked loud. Even with my earplugs in I hardly slept and it seemed like everybody had the same problem. Even with minimal sleep everybody was still pretty jacked up for our last day. We set off with a big crew of hikers; Garbelly, Critter, Flip Flop, Liam and Kate. From Many Glacier we climbed up to Ptarmigan Pass that has a tunnel going 150 feet blasted through the Pass. It was awesome! We all chilled out up there for awhile enjoying the view, then went through to the other side and the trail down was absolutely spectacular! I can’t believe somebody decided to build a trail and this tunnel up here. We walked half a dozen more miles before coming across Dawn Mist Falls and took the little side trail to it. This was the last highlight of the trail and my last opportunity to jump into freezing cold water so of course I did. After the falls it was only 6 or 7 miles until the road and the border crossing at Chief Mountain. We crossed the border, did the damn thing, got our passports stamped, and took a bunch of pictures by the monument. From the border our friend had rides up to Calgary and QB and I hitched south. We got a fun ride from Ina, Karen, and Jules (an AT long distance hiker herself) back to East Glacier. There are lots of hikers in town and after pigging out at the restaurant we hung out with all them out front.  Breaking camp on our last morning Pride Rock?Ptarmigan PtunnelWalking out of the tunnelQB, Garbelly and Critter at Dawn Mist Falls Dawn Mist Falls A bunch of kids walking to CanadaThis trail was overwhelmingly dudes, it’s cool that we finished with 3 women; QB, Critter and Kate

Over the course of 134 days I walked roughly 2800 miles from one imaginary line to another (QB had her total mileage at 2795, I’ll go through my journals later but that seems acurate). The trail was significantly harder than I thought it would be, but also more incredible than I could have ever imagined. Finishing the trail hasn’t exactly sunk in yet and I’m sure it will take a while to digest. I’ll have it forever and I will look back fondly at this summer on the CDT. The fact that there are so few hikers on the trail makes for a  tighter knit community. Probably like going to a small high school or something. I met some great people out here that I look forward to seeing again. Oh yeah, I will definitely be back here too. The CDT introduced me to so many great places that I definitely plan to explore more.

 I have so much gratitude for everybody who helped me get through this trail; trail angels, folks who gave me rides, people who took me in and fed me or gave me a place to crash for a night, friends who came out to hike with me, all the support I’ve got from this blog and encouragement from friends following my hike online (it holds me accountable in a way, a good way, and provides motivation to finish this grueling hike). Thank you to my parents and family for their continued love and support and especially to my hiking partner Queen B who made this summer so much fun and without her, I would not have made it.

-Endless

PS All My Love!!! And thanks for reading 

PPS from East Glacier we are catching a train to Seattle and hiking for a few more weeks. The train should be fun, I don’t think I’ve ever taken anything longer than the commuter rail from Lynn to Boston. Originally we planned on hiking the last 350 miles of the PCT so QB could finish her triple crown but due to fires might have to come up with an alternative plan. Stay tuned there should be more posts in the next few weeks. And seriously thanks for reading, it has been a pleasure writing this blog and I appreciate the feedback I’ve got. If you want to see different pictures feel free to follow me on instagram @endlesspsummer

9/19/16 Portland, OR airport 

I’m currently sitting in the Portland airport waiting patiently to fly to Boston. My hiking season is coming to an end and as much fun as I’ve had, I’m looking forward to seeing my people and adapting back into my non hiking life. And showering regularly.  

I’ve had a very enjoyable summer. A rich, full, fun life experience. Let me catch you up on what I’ve been up to since I lasted updated this. On 8/26 I got in to Seattle, spent a couple of days there and on the 28th was heading north from Steven’s Pass on the PCT(Pacific Crest Trail)In case you didn’t recently read last summer’s edition of this blog, I’ll refresh your memory. In 2015 I started hiking the PCT from the Mexican border and walked 2461 miles before the remaining miles of the trail were closed due to wildfires. It was a tough pill to swallow, I felt like I had crushed it for months, my body was feeling good and mentally I was determined to walk to Canada. There was never a point where I felt like I wouldn’t finish. All of a sudden the trail was closed down and weeks would pass before it reopened, so the unfinished 188 miles hung over my head for a year. It was hard to constantly explain it, like there was this asterisk on my 2015 PCT thru hike. So back to recent history. S+M, Tim Tam Slam, Schemes and myself got back on the trail on August 28th and got right back into our old habits: walking. These women are fun, fast, tough, and formidable hikers. Most importantly they laugh at all my jokes, or a lot of them anyway and at the same time keep me entertained. Plus, Washington state is dope. We had a great trip. After 4 or 5 days of walking through old growth forests, over long ridges and through these big old mountains we got into Stehekin, WA. This little resort town sits on the end of Lake Chelan and can’t be reached by cars. Stehekin is only accessible by float planes, boats and hikers. All supplies are ferried there by barge twice a week or something like that. Oh yeah they have this bakery there that is legendary. Some bozo tried to tip us off about it like we hadn’t been hearing about since Mexico last year. Thanks for the pro tip bro! Sadly S+M had to get off trail in Stehekin due to a knee injury. She’s leaving in a few months to join the peace corps in Guinea and naturally wanted to prevent further damage. The rest of us continued north through a spectacular section of trail that included North Cascades NP. The weather was cold and wet but our spirits were high and after a few days we finally crossed into Canada completing our hike. It felt real. Rejoining my friends out there made it what it was. I could have finished this section in July or even waited around last September to finish but wouldn’t have been the same if I had walked it solo or with a different crew. Thanks girls(if you’re still reading). 

From where the trail ends in Manning Park; Tami, Schemes, myself and two new friends Jobin and Cougar, took a bus to Vancouver where Tami proceeded onto Portland and Schemes and I spent the day exploring this foreign city. Schemes and I then took a bus to Seattle from where she flew back to Southern California via Colorado for awhile before she goes to Antarctica to study rocks for a few months. I stayed for a few days in the Eastlake neighborhood with my friends Dave and Nikki from home. They’ve been living, working in and exploring different cities this year but the word is they’re about to road trip back to Mass and get married and all that good stuff. While I was there we went out to the mountains, swam in alpine lakes, explored the city, and ate noodles, it was great. From Seattle I decided to get myself down to Mt. Rainier NP to hike the wonderland trail. It took me a day of city buses, walking and hitchhiking to get there but I got there. I then proceeded to crush this trail. It’s 90 miles around the perimeter of the massive Mt Rainier and because of a glitch in the permit system for some reason I had to do a 36 mile day to get to my first campsite. Nbd. #crushcity. It was fun, nonstop nfa hiking from sun to sun for 3 days and arguably the most beautiful stretch of weather I had all summer. Plus the scenery was just the tops! Climbing Rainier is most definitely on my to do list.  From Rainier I hitched south towards Oregon. I caught a series of rides and made it to Cascade Locks where I caught up with my friend Roadrunner who had just recently returned from Burning Man. We had planned on hiking the Timberline trail but the weather up on Mt Hood turned to shit, so we headed towards the coast instead. First we spent a night at her folks house in Salem and her mom gave me a tour of Oregon’s capital. Along with Roadrunner’s dog Shasta aka Santa’s Little Helper we carried on to Pacific City and up to Rockaway beach where we stealth camped for the night. The next day we drove up the coast stopping at the Tillamook cheese factory, Cannon Beach the home of Haystack Rock of Goonies fame, up to Fort Stevens Park, to the city of Astoria, over to some waterfalls and through an elk reserve. It was a fun action packed beautiful day. A great way to spend my last full day on the west coast. Before returning to her life of living on the Columbia River Gorge and crushing mountains Roadrunner dropped me off in Portland where I met up with Tami for noodles and she put me up for the night. After getting to Canada Tami had returned to her off trail life in Portland but I have a feeling she’ll be hiking the long miles again sooner rather than later. 

I’m flying to Boston and about to return to my life in Lynn for awhile. I’m happy about it, excited to see family and especially looking forward to meeting my brand new nephew Will. I’ve got some good stuff coming up too; hoping to get back into climbing and also running again since I signed up for the Stonecat 50 miler in November and I anticipate this winter to be chock full of skiing and snowshoeing. It’s a lot of fun to live in the woods, spend every night in a different place and travel wherever I want to go but the time has come to go home. And as much as I love the Pacific Northwest and the mountains, Lynn is home and I have a nice little life there. Real talk though, can’t wait to do it again!! 

“To Live is to Fly” -TVZ

-Endless 

Instagram @endlesspsummer

Thank you to everybody that helped me do my thing. Rides. Meals. A place to stay. Taking time out of your life for me. People were so gracious. If any of you come through Massachusetts make sure to get in touch. I’d love to return the favor as long as I’m not on a trail somewhere. You know when people say stuff like that you have to be careful because there’s people like me that will always take you up on it. S+M, Schemes, Endless, TimTamSlamMt JeffersonRoadrunner and Shasta