July 22, 2016, Mile 1928: First Full Day

At Taylor Lake, mile 1928


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Today was a wonderful way to get going. My first destination was Charlton Lake 1923. The water was lovely greens and blues, and the temperature was perfect. I took some time to soak my feet…too bad I didn’t take time for a swim!

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Turns out this is a car camping destination. It was a bit jarring to see vehicles, and hear them up and down the forest road. But it wasn’t as crowded as it might have been. I hear tell that Waldo is a mob scene.

After relaxing and nomming at Charlton, I headed up the trail to Taylor Lake 1928. This was 17 miles for the day, which matches my personal best from last summer. I’m not pulling the thru hiker miles, for sure! I’m hoping to do my first 20, probably later this trip.

I saw my first blowdowns today. Oregon was slammed this winter, and the number of blowdowns is shocking. I heard it’s even worse in the southern half of the state (I’ve started almost exactly in the middle). The blowdowns were in the middle of an old burn, on top of a ridge. Guess I’d better get used to it.

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The mosquitoes are starting to make their presence known. It’s not bad, just a pain in the butt. Nothing that picaridin and a head net can’t deal with, though.

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July 21, 2016, Mile 1912: On the Trail

At Maiden Peak Ski Shelter, mile 1912

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I stopped to make my first journal entry at Lower Rosary Lake, mile 1908. For my blog, I’ll be using the mileage from Halfmile’s maps, recorded in 2014.  The Oregon section of my trip will be from Willamette Pass 1905 to Cascade Locks 2144.

I will be journalling using voice memos. While this means I have to transcribe everything at home, it allows me to add far more detail. Call me over the hill, but it’s much easier to talk than to type with my thumbs.

Lower Rosary Lake is a lovely teal color, and I had the place to myself. At three miles in, it was a nice spot to have some lunch, adjust gear, and so on.

It turns out that I left part of my hydration hose at home. My system uses a Sawyer Squeeze filter inline, from a dirty water bladder, through the filter, and out the drink tube. Internally, I am using an Evernew hose, which functions as a drinking straw to the bottom of the bladder. Looks like I’ll have to do this the old fashioned way, by filtering water into my two plastic bottles (e.g. Smart Water), and then drinking all at once when I’m taking a break.

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I shouldered my pack again, and headed up and over a small ridge. Tonight’s destination was Maiden Peak Ski Shelter. This is a fantastic little cabin, built especially for back country skiers, but also available for use by hikers. And tonight, I had the whole place to myself.

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I settled down on a long bench, amidst table and chairs and a large wood stove. It’s a great destination for the first night on the trail…I only had to worry about half of my systems, and could leave tent adjustments for later.

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The wood stove area had a designated place for backpacking stoves, which meant I could cook my pasta inside. Dessert tonight would be a large scoop of Nutella…full of fat and calories, to stay warm overnight. Oh, and it’s darned tasty as well.

I signed the hiker registry, looking for familiar names, and then hit the rack.

July 21, 2016, Mile 1905: And We’re Off!


At the Willamette Pass Trailhead, mile 1905

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I spent Wednesday riding the rails between Seattle and Eugene. My longtime friend Robin picked me up, and we had a wonderful evening together, nomming at McMenamins, grabbing fresh marionberry shakes at Prince Pucklers, and just hanging out like two old friends do.


In the morning, another longtime friend, Mary Beth, came by to pick me up. We three have known each other for twenty years, and it was a real treat for me to spend time with them.

Mary Beth bundled me into her car, and we headed the hour plus drive up to Willamette Pass. It was great to catch up with her. Then a quick hug, and I was on the trail!