SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2005 — NORTHPORT, WA
Andrew has hiked 6,994 miles, 90% of his 7,700-mile hike across the continent.
Andrew had another good, interesting stretch of time on the trail. After leaving Eureka, on June 2nd, Andrew had two days of solid, heavy rain. Then, it rained or sprinkled every day for the week. He found the Pacific Northwest Trail to be very interesting. People hike selected parts of the trail but other parts are overgrown because of lack of use. In addition, he said that the trail was designed for purposes other than hiking; like logging or mining etc. Andrew met the Amoth family on Monday, June 6th. After a great meal, warm hospitality and good conversation, Andrew set out at for his hike further down the trail. He was beginning to focus on the Selkirk Mountain Range. He climbed Parker’s Peak on Monday evening, in the rain. At 6,500 feet, the rain turned to snow. Andrew welcomed the snow because it was dryer. The challenge was to find the trail since everything was covered with 4-6 inches of white powdery snow. He had a ten-mile ridge walk in the snow, trying to follow the trail, with markers mostly invisible, under the snow.
A common thread of the past several days has been Andrew’s daily climb from a valley to a peak or ridge at 7,000 feet and then a descent to valley at 2,000 feet above sea level. The mountain ranges are aligned in a north-to-south direction. Andrew is traveling East to West, so he needs to climb up and over each of these ranges.
Andrew described his hike on Tuesday, June 7th : “The trail travels the wrong direction for a 2.5 mile ridge walk and then descends to a five mile bushwhack through elder bushes. The navigation and compass work was intense.” Andrew used his well-honed navigation skills with his compass, maps and watch altimeter to find certain points. Andrew did fine, however he has some badly scratched legs from the elder bushes.
Wednesday, June 8th was a better day. He hiked to the Priest River Valley. This is a popular destination during the summer, but it was deserted. Andrew saw some wonderful beach campsites. That night, he camped in the Reindeer Forest. Again, it rained during the day. It was impossible to dry his gear.
Andrew said the PNT guidebook is the best and most detailed reference he has used in his hike to date. Parts of the PNT guidebook are “like following a scavenger hunt, which actually adds to the fun and adventure.”
Thursday, June 9th – Andrew reported: “The rain stopped and the mosquitoes came out in force.” Andrew hiked an extra 8 miles. He spent two hours being chased by mosquitoes and he saw no sense in sitting down to eat dinner while the mosquitoes ate him for dinner. The weather cleared, which was great. The climb at Priest River was similar to others he had been doing. The CCC had built this particular climb during the Roosevelt era. There are 88 switchbacks on the trail- “very impressive.”
On Friday, June 10th, Andrew crossed the Boundary Dam. He had to call the security guards so he could be escorted across the dam. The guards were very nice to Andrew. Andrew said that he is now so far north, that at every ridge, the boundary swath between the U.S. and Canada is readily visible. The last climb on Friday was Abercrombie Mountain. A thunderstorm had hit just prior to Andrew reaching the summit, so he waited it out for an hour. When he did summit, the storm was moving out and the valley was beautiful with lifting clouds and vapors. He had a wonderful 10-15 minutes to view the rapidly changing clouds and vapors from his vista at the top of Abercrombie.
On Saturday, June 11th , Andrew hiked to the Columbus River Valley and the Kettle Range. He is now finding only patches of snow and no longer needs to take detours. He said that he is “feeling good” and is “re-energized” as he senses the nearness of his Cape Alava destination.” Andrew will be in Oroville, WA in six days. He plans to reach Cape Alava on July 10th.