JULY 2, 2005 — PORT TOWNSEND, WA
Andrew has hiked 7,582 miles, 97.4% of his 7,778-mile hike across the continent
Andrew arrived in Oroville, WA on Saturday, June 18th. Ellie Bramin, a member of the PNT association had arranged a nice dinner with local trail members. Andrew always enjoys the opportunity to meet with new friends and he certainly enjoys a real dinner. On Sunday, June 19th, Andrew got a very late start to the day because he wanted to watch boat races on the Osoyoos Lake. Andrew said that these were the “NASCAR of boat races. Tiny shells with huge engines.” Andrew sends a big thank you to Ellie and Rich for their wonderful hospitality.
Leaving Oroville, Andrew followed a railroad grade. On one part of the trail, the railroad had blasted a tunnel 3/10 of a mile long through rock. Walking through this tunnel was like being in a dark cave. As the trail continues, the landscape remains arid with sagebrush and desert flowers, except for the valley floors that are irrigated and fertile with lots of cherry and apple orchards.
The terrain continues to climb from 1600 to 7000 feet. This is the Pasayten Wilderness range. It is the largest wilderness area managed by the US government and the longest road-less stretch (about 140 miles) of the entire trip. Because of this, it is also one of the “coolest stretches” of Andrew’s C2C trip. Andrew said that “the vertical is in your face.” Usually, when you climb a 7000-foot ridge you look out over a distant range. Here, when you climb the 7000 foot ridge, the next ridge is right there waiting for you to climb down and right back up again. He went through Cathedral Basin and up to Cathedral Peak. Andrew said the views are “just beautiful all around you.”
Andrew reached the Cascade Crest on Tuesday June 21st. This is where the Pacific Crest Trail travels on a ridge for 15 miles. Here the trail is graded and groomed. The trail getting there and leaving is not as well groomed. On Tuesday night, the weather was nasty with severe thunderstorms. Andrew was at 6000 feet, just below the ridgeline. He was in his shelter and had some small tree coverage so he did not feel that he was in danger, but the noise and the severity made for a difficult night of sleeping.
On Wednesday, June 22nd, Andrew hiked the final 10 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. He was in the clouds, so the views were limited. He finished the day at Ross Lake.
On Thursday June 23rd, Andrew called from the Ross Lake Resort. He shared a campsite with four backpackers, the first time this happened in six months. Andrew really enjoyed the company and conversation with these two couples who found Andrew’s stories of the C2C trek quite interesting.
Friday, June 24th – This was a big day in the North Cascades National park. Once Andrew hiked west of the Cascade Crest, the climate becomes wet again. This section of the North Cascade is like a small rain forest with creeks flowing through the area and cliffs climbing straight up from the creek. The trail follows the creek bed but then rises 6000 feet to cross the ridge and then goes down to the creek bed again. This is huckleberry season along the creek bed. Andrew enjoyed eating the berries as he worked his way through the thick vegetation with only 5 feet visible in front of him at times. He also continuously kept yelling, “bear” along the way so he would not surprise any bears eating the berries. Andrew got a bit too close to one bear and they both quickly moved away.
On Saturday, June 25th, the weather turned and Andrew was not able to see Mt. Baker, which is the local volcano. He enjoyed staying at a great campsite on Baker Lake. Sunday, June 26th -Andrew made it to the small, rural town of Concrete, WA where he picked up his Past Office package sent from home with all of his new maps, clean clothes and several days of food. The weather was rainy. On Wednesday, June 29th, Andrew was met by Krissy from Montrail. Montrail has been a sponsor throughout the hike and he enjoyed meeting with her. They hiked together to Chuckanut Drive and met up with John Knechtel, Director of Trail Management for the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). John has been meeting with Andrew along the trail at various locations in WA. He arranged a meeting of the local PNT Chapter at Bob’s Burgers, where Andrew enjoyed meeting about 35 hiking enthusiasts. Andrew gave an impromptu talk and answered their questions about his hike.
On Saturday, July 2, 2005, Andrew hiked to the Keystone Ferry and went across to Port Townsend and picked up his LAST maildrop. The atmosphere this past week has changed. The end of the hike is near; there are more people around and more contacts with the media. We are all excited, especially Andrew.
Our family will be flying from Massachusetts and California to join Andrew in Washington as he finishes his C2C hike at Cape Alava, WA on Sunday July 10th. We have rented a house near Port Angeles to combine our family vacation with a celebration of Andrew’s successful and safe C2C trek. Andrew will be entering the Olympic National Park on Sunday July 3rd. He is very excited and happy that this section of the trail is in a beautiful wilderness area. This is the way the hike began. It seems a fitting manner for the hike to end.
This will be the last update from Bob and I. We are sure Andrew will write his own update when he returns to Seekonk, Massachusetts. He will also post many of his pictures to his Website. Andrew and our family wish to thank all of you for the wonderful support you have given Andrew along the way on his C2C trek.