Twig Adventures

Day 4: An unexpected town stop

July 9th, 2018 Jim Pass mm 2630 to Harts Pass mm 2622 Distance: 8 m I slept in, by my standards. I had woken just as it was getting light then fell back asleep until 6 am. I was on the trail by 7:15, just in time to hike with Arrow. Taylor caught up to us shortly after. The rest of the trail was a scenic traverse back to Hart’s Pass. We got there around 10:30 am and settled into the vortex that is Broken Toe’s trail magic. He immediately started offering tea and crepes and eggs…all so tempting but I also needed to hitch a ride into Mazama to buy a new water filter. I settled on some tea[…]

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Day 3: First Full Day SOBO

July 8th, 2018 Castle Pass mm 2648.3 to Jim Pass mm 2627.6 Distance: 18.9 m It was a very cold night, as I predicted. There was in fact ice on my tent, on the outside and inside from all the condensation. It was tough to get going but I could tell it was going to be a perfect day weatherwise. Arrow, Taylor and I all packed up at the same time and we began hiking together at 7 am. I was enjoying talking to Taylor, who is a lawyer-auditor living in Utah but from WA State. He is a great resource for local information. We charged up the hill towards Hopkins lake and were soon at the top of the[…]

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Day 2: The Border

July 7th, 2018 Mm 2633 to the Canadian Border mm 2652.5 and back to Castle Pass mm 2648.3 Distance: 23.2 m It rained lightly all night, which is great for sleeping. But it took me a long time to get warm. The rain had really chilled me to the bone and the elevation here is just shy of 6,000 feet. My quilt did keep me warm but I also slept with all my layers on. I woke at 5 am just as it was getting light and was on the trail by 6:15 am. I had 6 miles to go to Rocks Pass…the most challenging section in terms of encountering snow, and 19.5 miles to the border. Might as well[…]

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PCT Day 1: Bring it on

July 6th, 2018 Harts Pass mm 2622 to mm 2633 Distance: 11 m I was awake early despite a somewhat late night, but I slept well and felt ready to go. Jon arrived around 8 am and we were off for the long drive to Hart’s Pass and the trailhead. It went by quickly, with fantastic views of the mountains along the way. We saw a few backpackers on HWY 20 but they were hitching the other way. We stopped in the tiny town of Mazama to check out the well provisioned general store and outfitter. There I saw a thru-hiker looking like he needed a ride up to the pass, so we offered one. Ratchet is on his 2nd[…]

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PCT Day Zero: The return of serendipity

July 4th, 2018 First off, I want to note that connectivity has been spoty and I am going to have to post some blogs with few or no pictures. Who knew internet would be worse in the US than New Zealand! I will update these first posts when and where I can (I’m in Stehekin, WA now). The theme of my Te Araroa thru-hike was serendipity. It’s such a beautiful thing to experience even once in a lifetime but it became a common occurance on the trail. I was blessed with the rewards of careful and long thought-out planning but also a lot of luck. Everything came together so perfectly, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my[…]

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PCT planning

This is it! Resupply boxes are put together, my flight is booked, and my pack is once again stuffed to capacity. The Pacific Crest Trail is happening! I made the decision to hike the PCT after returning from New Zealand. I have always wanted to hike this trail and now seems like as good of a time as any. However, a late April/early May start going northbound was just too soon for me, so I decided I would go southbound (SOBO). That meant waiting until late June or early July until most of the snow melts in the Northern Cascades. Even still, I may be walking through some snow, which will be a unique experience for me. My previous thru-hikes[…]

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Te Araroa Summary

It has been almost 3 months since I finished Te Araroa, so I wanted to summarize my adventure with a few interesting facts and statistics from the hike. Dates: December 3rd, 2017–March 20, 2018 Total Days walking, paddling (4), or biking (2): 98 Zeros: 10 (5 due to Cyclones/extreme weather) Overall distance walked, paddled, or biked: Let’s just say about 3000 kms, which included about 800 kms of road walking and 170 kms of beach walking. I didn’t verify distances with GPS, nor did I go back to tally my daily distances according to the maps. It’s generally agreed that the published distances (via the TA Trust) are significantly under-calculated. So I probably walked a lot more. But I also[…]

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Postscript 4: Ball Pass, Aoraki/Mt. Cook…the Grandest of Finales

This long and picture-dense post details the 4-day zenith of my hiking adventures in New Zealand. My final route was a 26.8 km circuit over 2121 meter Ball Pass (actually, I climbed all the way up to 2222m/7290′ atop Kaitiaki Peak, my highpoint in NZ:). The weather was stunningly perfect for 3 full days and I got to soak up a lifetime of views of 3724m/12,218′ Mt. Cook, hereafter referred to as Aoraki, its more appropriate Maori name meaning ‘Cloud Piercer’ (because let’s face it, Cook was really just a pompous passerby). What a way to go out with a bang, leaving me to muse: Te Araroa what? Only kidding, this was just the icing on the cake. A grand[…]

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Postscript 3: Caples and Greenstone Tracks

March 26th, Glenorchy to McKellar Hut, 31 km walked March 27th, McKellar Hut to trailhead via Greenstone Track, then hitch back to Queenstown, 30 km walked. I stewed over my hiking options overnight and by the morning, had a completely different plan. Hearing the rain and wind on my tent all night definitely helped change my mind. Forget the Rees Valley and Cascade Saddle…it would probably be too windy and rainy for such an exposed hike. I would instead try to get a ride out to the Caples/Greenstone tracks and walk the 61 km loop over the next 2 days. These are not Great Walks, so the huts were covered by my Backcountry Hut Pass. And I really wanted to[…]

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Postscript 2: Routeburn Great Walk

March 24th, Kepler Track to Rainbow Flats 10 kms walked, hitch to Te Anau for resupply, hitch to the Divide, and onto the Routeburn for about 10 kms walked. March 25th,  finish Routeburn track to trailhead, then hitch to Glenorchy, 22.1 walked This post covers 2 days, so be forewarned, it’s a bit long! My first day back on the trails reinvigorated me so much, I was ready for more. I wonder if others yearn for more walking after just completing a long thru-hike? Well, this is New Zealand and I had to get as much out of it as time would allow. My plan was to jump from the last 10 kms on the Kepler Track right onto the[…]

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