Get Between Borders from Smashwords for free with coupon code AD74H.
Get Between Borders from Smashwords for free with coupon code AD74H.
My new book is out on Amazon.
Summit to Sea is the true story of Harly and Dan Drum’s hike on the 1,200 mile Pacific Northwest Trail. If you enjoy this book I would love a review. Thanks.
LInk: Summit to Sea
Between Borders, the story of my 2002 hike on the PCT has been reduced to just $.99 on Amazon. Hurry because this deal only last one week.
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I left for the Bitterroot this afternoon after making absolutely certain the Bears had beaten the Vikings. Chicago did win on a last second touchdown pass, 31-30. I drove I-90 to Missoula and then south on 93. Then I went back into Idaho on Highway 12. A multi-car accident detoured traffic off I-90 and everyone had to be detoured through Frenchtown. Highway 12 is so beautiful- the last time I was in the Idaho portion was when the four of us were cycling the TransAmerica. When I drove past the Lochsa Lodge, I remembered back to when we took my injured bicycle there and Dan repaired it using duct tape and a wood splint. The frame broke when I climbing up the pass.
I didn’t get to the Eagle Mountain Trailhead until nearly eight on account of my late start, so it was already dark. I wanted to hike far enough so that I’d be out of listening distance of cars and trucks and once I got that far I was on the side of a mountain. I ended up walking for about an hour and a half with my headlight before I gave up and decided to set up my sleeping bag on the trail. I’m in a little clearing surrounded by low-lying brush. The moon is bright, the sky is mostly clear, and there’s some sheet lightning in the distance. I don’t know much besides that since I’ve been hiking in the dark. It’s a warm night the with occasional gust of wind shaking the leaves of the bushes.
About an hour after I drifted off to sleep last night a storm system moved in and raindrops woke me up. My two options were try to set up my tent on the narrow trail or pack up and walk somewhere better. I chose the former and by the time I was in my tent with my gear, most everything was wet, except for my sleeping bag. The air stayed very warm and humid while two separate systems moved through. The second one really let loose with the rain. My haphazard job of setting my tent up on the sandy trail got me through the night without getting too wet.
In the morning I continued walking Trail #206, which was okay. Nearly all the track was overgrown and mostly uninspiring. I entered the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness after about four miles. The forest and trail were vacant- I didn’t see any animals or other hikers. Mostly what I did today was long, slow climbs followed by long, slow descents.
I went by Indian Meadows, Gold Meadows, Long Lake (where I took a break to dry out my gear and do some writing) and then I got on Trail #205 down to Horse Camp. I’ll never walk Trail #205 again unless it’s an absolute necessity. It was so thick with brush I was amazed I found my way. Now I’m on the Cliff Creek Trail steadily working my way south. I don’t really have a plan or destination in mind and am content to wander throughout the Bitterroot until I run out of food. My map doesn’t show mileages so there’s no way to know how far I went, but I’d guess 19.7 miles.
It’s pouring down hail right now. I got my tent set up literally seconds before it began. I was walking through a recent burn and had been listening to thunder for the past hour when I finally came to some green trees and found a place to set up. It’s big hail- the painful kind. I just put my pot under the eve of my tent to collect some water to cook my dinner. I’m a little low on agua, like usual.
I slept well last night and then continued southeast on the Cliff Creek Trail. After some climbing I found a ridge. Yesterday evening I had made up my mind to head south to Stuart Hot Springs, but being up on the ridge made me realize I’d rather stay up high. The lower elevation trails I’ve walked are very brushy and very wet. So instead I walked the very beautiful Trail #206 (yes, the same one I had been on earlier) to Fish Lake Saddle. On the way, near Two Lakes, I met a backpacker from Oregon. Once I got to the Fish Lake Cabin I was worn out and took a break on the porch. When I was walking down the switchbacks to the lake I came across two horses tied up on the trail. Their owner wasn’t around so I walked to the side and kept on going. Just as I was about to the cabin I heard one of the horses behind me. It got loose and decided to follow me down the trail and hang out at camp.
There were about ten people and lots of stock set up behind the cabin. One of the guys from the camp came over to talk- he was probably about 20 and from Florida, very nice and definitely enjoying himself. I’d rather all bear hunters were assholes towards me as it would make the feelings I have for them more simple to harbor. If I am ever out hiking and I have to witness a bear being shot by a hunter I think it will break my heart.
After I rested up, I walked Trail #211 until the hail came. I’m liking my new Golite Jam pack. It only needs one alteration that I can think of so far. Then I’ll really like it. And I’m getting used to the purple. I thought it was blue when I ordered it because that’s what it looked like on my computer screen. I think the guys at Golite accidentally produced a bunch of purple packs and are trying to get rid of them by making them appear blue on computer screens and naming the color “wisteria.” No one without a Masters degree knows what color wisteria is and just assumes they are getting the color they see on their computer screen. That’s what I think is going on. I’m guessing I walked about 20 miles and the hail has now turned into a light rain.
Not a good day. It rained for most of it. I was walking through an old burn on my way past McConnell Mountain to Army Mule Saddle, but then the trail dropped off the ridge down to the south and there was no other way to go. Then just a little while ago the trail completely disappeared- I’m going to have to do a bit of backtracking tomorrow to see where I went wrong. I was wet and cold all day. I stopped in the early afternoon to build a fire and dry out a little, which raised my spirits for a short while. Right now I’m camped between two creeks and I couldn’t tell you the name of either one.
Last night before I fell asleep I heard a huffing sound outside my tent. I turned on my headlight and poked my head outside. A big bull moose was walking right toward my tent, like it was attracted to the light. It got to about 15 or 20 feet from me before I got worried and made some noise by shaking my tent and banging on the ground. It jumped back at the noise and then trotted away through the burned forest.
I spent the morning backtracking and came to the conclusion that I accidentally got on a side trail that took me to a valley near the upper branches of Moose Creek. But that’s just a guess- I didn’t bring my GPS. All the vegetation was wet and I was soaked from head to toe right off the bat. After a couple miles I was back to a deserted horse camp that I had seen yesterday and I would’ve asked someone there where the trail was hiding, but again no one was there. So I went all the way back to the last trail sign I had seen, which was about ten miles. That was the junction for Bear Mountain, McConnell Mountain, and Lost Knife Meadows. This time, from the junction I took the trail to Bear Mountain Lookout, which was just another unmaintained trail and was really more of a bushwhack. There’s water everywhere around here except on the ridges and through the burns. Most of the day I was on the ridge or in the burn so I was tremendously thirsty by the time I got to the lookout. I tried the “sucking on a pebble trick” but that didn’t seem to help- next time I’ll clean the dirt off first. Since I was so thirsty I had planned on checking the place out real quick, taking a picture, and then heading down to water, but low-and-behold there was a five gallon jug of potable water sitting underneath the lookout, just for me. I took a rest in the sun, rehydrated, and dried my gear on some warm rocks. From noon on the sun was out at full strength and there was barely a cloud in the sky. I climbed the ladder up to the lookout but it was locked- too bad because I really wanted to get in and have a great view all around.
The late afternoon saw me make a big drop down to Warm Springs Creek. This was good, well-maintained trail. I’m at a beautiful campsite beside the creek, with lots of big cedars all around. (Bigger than any of the trees I saw in the designated wilderness.) A friend from work gave me some dried Kim-Chi and I put it in my mac n cheese. It definitely improved the taste of my gummy pasta. I probably walked a low twenty day.
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs was closer than I thought and I walked there in less than an hour. Three college guys had camped there the night before and probably had a good time, judging from the amount of empty beer cans they had in trash bags. I enjoyed a good long soak and reminisced about the times I had been there in the past- mostly when I was going to school at UM in Missoula. After I turned into a prune, I walked the rest of the trail out to Highway 12 at the Warm Springs Trailhead. My car and the Eagle Mountain Trailhead was about 15 miles to the west. I tried my luck at hitching a ride, but there weren’t that many cars. An older couple hauling a ORV to Boise stopped to use the restroom and I got the gentleman to talking and we had a nice conversation, but he still wasn’t comfortable enough to give me a ride. After an hour and a half the college guys came walking over the bridge and they offered me a ride. To Michael, Rob, and Jordan I am very thankful, otherwise, I might still be out there.
I drove through Lewiston on the way back home, and then took Highway 3 all the way to Coeur d’Alene. I haven’t done much hiking this summer and this was my first backpacking trip. I’ll blame my lack of hiking on the new property and remodel instead of on my own laziness. And this wasn’t the best trip I’ve ever been on but, as always, it was great to be outdoors and exploring new country. I walked about 90 miles total, give or take a few, and was mainly between 4,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation.
February 10, 2013
Dad and I met up with the Inland Northwest Hikers for a group hike intent on reaching the summit of Hall Mountain. We set off from Noisy Creek Campground with about twelve of us and, in addition, two dogs. The weather was sunny and I wasn’t cold, except my fingers from holding my metal trekking poles.
The Noisy Creek Trail starts north and then follows the creek for a couple miles. There are bighorn sheep in the area and, at one time, a forest service feeding station. But we didn’t see any and I didn’t come across any notable wildlife the entire day. The route then breaks away from the stream and heads north again to the junction with Hall-Grassy Divide Trail. From that point it’s only a little over a mile and a half up to the summit, but in snow shoes that’s no small task.
We kept plugging along, but when we came to an open snow field on a steep side hill our group decided to turn around for fear of avalanches. By that time it only about 30 minutes to our predetermined turn around time of 2 pm, and it wasn’t going to be possible to make it to the summit in that remaining amount of time.
The way down was much easier, but I knew then that I was going to be sore the next day. Lifting a heavy boot with an attached snowshoe and wet heavy snow attached to that is tough on the hip flexors. I snowshoe every day, but only a couple miles so the twelve miles we did today wasn’t easy.
The best part of the day was definitely lunch and not because of the food because I think I just brought peanut butter and jelly, but lying in the snow in the sunshine was awesome. If the sun was still out I would want to be resting in that very same spot.
February 26, 2013
From the Rama hotel, just south of Botolan, Luzon, Philippines, I arranged a ride to Mt Tapulao. A Filipino named Rick drove me about an hour and a half to a small resettlement village of Dampay which is the common starting point. Armed with two cheese sandwiches, a liter of water and ineffective sunscreen I set off for the day. The trail was a rocky road most of the way and tire tracks showed that some high-clearance 4x4s make the bouncy trek. After 10 minutes I was sweating buckets on the steep trail. The climb over the orange ground was steady and strenuous, especially in the heat and humidity. Admittedly, I might not have been in the best shape since the only exercise I’ve gotten this past week is walking from the pool or beach to the upstairs restaurant at our hotel.
An hour and a half of walking took me to a small and refreshing spring flowing from a black pipe. Just above was a shack made of bamboo and an old tarp. One hour later, after passing through some rain forest, the landscape opened and revealed a pine forest. It was like being back home. About then I met four local men who were picking “golden cactus,” which is a soft velvety moss that grows around something that looks like a fern. They spoke very little English, probably about as much as I do Tagalong (the Filipino language.) Nevertheless they were friendly and I am guessing that their everyday job is to climb the mountain and pick the cactus. What the commodity is used for remains a mystery to me.
Eventually I came to a point where my dirt track began heading down the other side of the mountain. Instead of going down, I took a side trail continuing up through open grasses. When I reached a large flat area, next to a large fallen pine tree, I spotted a trail heading into some “real” rainforest. I was a little jittery about walking into a dense and dark rainforest on my own, but once I got going I really enjoyed it. The continual sound of birds, insects and other hidden critters is what I liked the most and much different from the forests that I’m used to.
I walked on the dark and cool trail until 1 PM and then headed back. Mt Tapulao (High Peak) is around 7,000 feet in elevation and I’m guessing that I started my trek from maybe 1,000 or 2,000 feet above sea level so there was no way I was going to summit in the four hours I was allowed. The walk back was pleasant and uneventful. I ran into the cactus pickers again while they were on a smoke break.
I made it back to the village just after 4 to meet Rick. He was there, along with his son, but just barely. The Nissan 4×4 was parked inches from the edge of a rocky cliff. From what I understood his parking brake failed and the truck nearly went flying over the embankment, getting the undercarriage stuck on some large rocks is the only thing that prevented it. I swear the entire village tried to help us get the truck unstuck. The first attempt was with a winch and a rope tied to a fan palm. It worked, but then we all learned that the regular brakes didn’t work either because the freed truck then started rolling forward with a wide-eyed Rick inside. This time it got stuck a foot before the cliff, but with one wheel dangling above an open stone and concrete culvert. Then came the rice truck. In this village there were only motorbikes and trikes and no other cars or trucks that could be used to pull our truck out, but there was one big truck that was used for moving large bags of rice. We had to pay about 500 pesos for the use of this vehicle and it easily pulled out the wedged truck.
Even though our truck was free, it still had no breaks and we needed to get it down a steep and twisty mountain road. A metal bar was used to span the gap between the two vehicles so that the rice truck, in the lead, could slowly inch us down the mountain. The bar took about two seconds to bend in half, followed by our truck crashing into the rice truck’s bumper, smashing the front right headlight and nearly tearing off the bumper. But this method still worked and when our truck was on level ground the sun had set and local villagers were beginning to head down to the stream with towels for their nightly bathing. After lots of “thanks yous” the three of us finally drove back to the Rama in first, second, and occasionally third gear.
I was told more than once to be on the lookout for leeches falling from trees, but I found none. The only blood I shed during the day was on a sharp plant, but it was no more than a long paper cut. Once I got back to the Rama I learned that there are King Cobras on Luzon. I’m glad I didn’t know that before I left because I have this thing about large poisonous snakes.
Because this is my last Philippines entry I am obliged to write about the hospitality we received from the kind people in this country. The Filipinos we had the pleasure of meeting were quick with a smile and and made us feel exceedingly welcome. And if you are one with reservations about traveling abroad because of the language barrier then look no further because nearly everyone understands and speaks English.
Tuesday February 19, 2013
We’ve been in the Philippines for 3 days now and went on a tour yesterday that required a small bit of walking so I’ll put it on here. The local people have been very kind and love to smile. A Filipino man I just met who owns an internet café says that is “just the Filipino Way, and even if their teeth are not so nice they will still smile.
We’re staying at the Alumbung Hotel on the small island of Panglao and rented a car and driver to take us to the Chocolate Hills, the tarsier refuge, and hanging bridge, among other places. At the Chocolate Hills we walked up a steep staircase to a lookout where we had a distant view of all the chocolate hills, which are green grassy knolls that sort of resemble chocolate kisses. I believe our guide said there are more than one thousand mounds. Below is a view from the lookout.
Next we went to the tarsier refuge to look at the world’s smallest primates. They are very cute and Wendy said they are the most adorable thing she has ever seen. At this point in the tour we were in a deluge so all the tarsiers were in trees hiding under small plywood cutouts or pieces of tarp. This made finding the little yoda look-alikes not too difficult. The next walking stop we made was at a hanging bridge made of bamboo, which is quite slippery when wet, but I avoided falling in the river below. I think it would have been fine if I had fallen though because the river was barely moving and I didn’t see any crocodiles.
These three stops were the only places we did much walking, and I certainly wouldn’t call it hiking. Other places we stopped were an old Catholic Church, a floating restaurant, the blood-compact statue, which is monument celebrating an agreement between the Spanish and Filipinos, and a wretched zoo with a collection of beautiful animals confined to small cages. This includes the largest Python in captivity.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I drove to Bend yesterday to stay with Dan, Marci, and Landry. Today Dan and I drove to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument area and walked the Paulina Lakeshore Tail with Lulu. There is a big fire in the Sister’s area near Pole Creek that is producing a lot of smoke but we enjoyed mostly clear skies. The loop trail was about 8 miles and mostly flat as it stayed near the water. About halfway in we came to a gravel beach where it’s possible to dig into the shore and the hole will fill up with hot water. It was a little too warm for a hot spring today, but it would be great on a cold day. When we got back we ate pizza and watched football, but Landry provided the real entertainment.
Monday September 24
Marci, Landry, and Lulu dropped me off at Devil’s Lake this morning so I could start my backpacking trip. I hiked north about 2 miles to the start of the trail to the summit of South Sister. I left my pack hidden in the trees and scampered up with my hiking sticks. It was cold and windy on top and I didn’t stay long. It was smoky on top too and I could just make out Middle and North Sister. When I got back down to my pack I quickly drank the restof my water and then took a nap beside the trail. At about 2 I started walking again and made it as far as Reese Lake. I had dinner and don’t think I’m going any further tonight- it’s a very small lake, but I really like where I’m set up. I walked about 15 miles and did a good amount of climbing up to South Sister at about 10,300 feet. The days are getting short as the sun is already hiding behind the mountains and it’s not even 6 PM yet. I saw 3 mule deer today – 2 babies. I’m excited to sleep in my new tent tonight. I’m on official PCT tread now.
Tuesday September 25, 2012
I had a nice walk today until mid afternoon. The PCT just south of Mackenzie Pass was closed due to fires so I went through the Obsidian Limited Entry Area (without permission, so illegally) to get to highway 242. There was less obsidian in the area than I was expecting and I never did see cliffs made of the shiny black rock. From the highway I hitched northeast to McKenzie pass. The first car by stopped to pick me up- an older couple from Florida. The lady in the passenger seat was probably about 4 and a half feet tall and had her seat as far back as it could possibly go so I a had a couple inches of legroom. They dropped me off at the observatory and I began walking in the Belknap Lava Field. It was hot, but I was well hydrated from trail angel water at the pass. I made it through the lava and wanted to get to water before camping for the night. Just as it was getting dark I thought I found the trail to off-route water. I followed it for over a mile and found nothing. My headlight needs new batteries so I lost the faint trail on the way back. I know the trail (PCT) is close but after getting scratched up by some sticks in the dark I decided to stop for the night- about 9 pm. I have no water and have been dry since about 3. I’m very thirsty but there’s nothing I can do until tomorrow. I probably did about 25 miles today and the walking around middle and north sister was great. I’m sleeping out under a very bright moon tonight in a burned area. I’ve been walking in burned areas since getting through the lava field.
Wednesday September 26
I was just barely warm enough to sleep last night. After about 50 steps this morning I came to the PCT. It’s probably best that I stopped when I did last night as I may not have noticed the tread in the dark. Two hours of walking led me to water at Big Lake. The ground around the muddy-bottom lake was frozen and crunched underneath me. I walked thru more burn until I reached Santiam Pass. The same Trail Angel left water at this point. From here I got off the PCT and walked the burned out Summit Lake Trail. along the east side of 3 Fingered Jack- not inspiring hiking. I cooked at Jack Lake and am camped at Wasco Lake. Another hiker, Chip, is camped here as well. He’s about 60 and is from Portland. I took a 3 hour break at Square Lake to do some writing and chipmunk watching.
I’m pretty sure the trail I followed last night that I thought was leading to water was actually just a climber’s trail up to Mt. Washington- I feel foolish. I’m in Mt. Jefferson Wilderness now and feel like I could have counted the number of green trees I saw today on one hand. I think I walked just under 20 miles. Saw more mule deer today, but that’s still the only animal I’ve seen.
Thursday September 27
I slept well under the bright moon, shaded both by my tent and a large tree. A deer kept playing around my tent for a lot of the night, but its hopping around didn’t bother me much. Usually on my third night of sleeping on the ground I begin to get comfortable. I left at about 7:30 and after an hour I came to the cairn marking the route up 3 Fingered Jack. The beginning of the trail was steep and like trying to walk up dry dog food. When I got into the rock I had a blast. Some of the climbing was exposed and being by myself made it quite exhilarating. I’d say it was one of the best scrambles I’ve ever done. After I descended I emptied my shoes of rocks and sand and then headed toward Santiam Pass. First though, I ate my last piece of food (a snickers bar) and drank the last of my water. This was a thirsty trip as there’s not a lot of water in the high desert this time of year. I arrived at Santiam Pass at about 1:30 and hitched a ride into Sister from a logger who smelled of alcohol. He was hard of hearing and told me many times how all the world’s problems could be solved by cutting down more trees. I ate some fried food at the Sno Cap restaurant and then hitched a ride into Bend with 2 young guys named Joey and Sam (if I’m remembering correctly). They were really nice and lived in Thailand and Australia, respectively. Their jobs are putting in natural gas pipelines. Now I’m back to relaxing at Dan and Marci’s and will drive home in the morning.
July 15, 2012
Wendy and I drove north to Standard Lake today for an overnighter. It was an extremely hot day and we were dripping with sweat by the time we finally made it to the lake. I wore my new pair of mountaineering boots for the opportunity to break them in. They seem like a good pair, though I’m glad it wasn’t that long of a trek because more than five miles probably would’ve given me a blister or two.
Sadly, the lake wasn’t that impressive. We knew it wasn’t an alpine lake before we went. There wasn’t much of a view around the water and finding a good campsite was difficult. We determined camping right beside the trail was the best course of action. The water was refreshing on this hot day, but there were a lot of weird looking bugs floating around. They looked like larva of some sort.
We slept well and woke early in the morning. There wasn’t much room around the lake to hang out and not much of a view to enjoy so we walked back and drove home, but not before stopping off for burgers.