Opening Statement

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Santiam Pass to Pamelia Lake, 7/27 - 7/29/2022

Fire transforms any landscape, but this section brought home to me how resilient nature can be.  When I climbed up out of Santiam Pass in 2018 significant sections were freshly burned, each step brought up a cloud of ash, and the undergrowth was completely gone in the freshly burned areas.  Just four years later the dead trees still dominate many areas, but the ash is gone and the blackened earth has been turned green again.  Flowers were blooming everywhere, and the landscape looked fully alive again.

Christine dropped us off at Santiam Pass.  Friends Lori, Georgia and I climbed up out of the pass and were quickly above 6,000 feet.  We enjoyed spectacular views, but with visibility slightly altered by light smoke.   Three Finger Jack was dramatic and more interesting to me than the higher and more dignified Mount Jefferson.  The flora was beautiful, lush, and abundant.

The hiking was moderately challenging.  The only tricky bits were a short snow traverse and one log stream crossing.  There were a lot of blow downs, many with root balls intact.  Georgia and Lori swam at both Rockpile Lake and Pamelia Lake while I practiced looking lazy.  

We came off the PCT at Pamelia Lake due to an active trail closure order covering a 20 mile section of trail leading up to Olallie Lake.

My knee was pretty painful on day three, so I am hoping that two days off will help.  My heavily used tent finally gave up on the third day, and I had great luck finding a replacement at a local REI today.

If all goes as planned, Lori and I will hike from Olallie Lake to Cascade Locks following a weekend break during which Portland is suffering 100 degree weather.

Here's the album for this section.

Friday, July 22, 2022


Three Finger Jack, just N. of Santiam Pass in Oregon

My last big hike was in 2019, with the following years interrupted by Covid, of course, and also by the passing of three close family members.  It wasn't until a few month ago that I started to seriously plan to get back on trail.  

As soon as I started training, a flareup of osteoarthritis in the spring of 2022 put me out of commission for about six weeks until I was able to get a shot of cortisone in my right knee in the first half of June.  After some careful training I'm now looking forward to attempting Santiam Pass to Cascade Locks in Oregon, Donner Pass to Sierra City in California, and Tuolumne Meadows to Carter Pass in California.  If all goes well this will complete a section hike of the PCT that I technically started in 2016, mostly liked in 2017, and then did the Sierra section of in 2019.  So, if I get these sections hiked this year it will complete my second hike of the PCT.  No guarantees of course that my knees will hold up, or that we won't have fire closures in those sections.

How is having a goal like completing a PCT hike meaningful or useful?  Even an arbitrary goal engages our natural goal-seeking impulse.  You could say that an arbitrary goal is a kind of mental hack to engage one's motivational energy, which then leads to activity.  

I would also be happy doing almost any other hike.  I'm looking forward to being on trail however arbitrary the reason.  ^-^