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Little Package Archive : PCT

The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,668 mile (4,294 km) trail running through the tallest mountain crests and volcanic peaks of California, Oregon, and Washington from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. I walked its entire length in 2013 and was back on trail for more casual fun in 2014 and 2015. In my opinion, it is a 16″ by 2,668 mile slice of heaven.

The Wall of Snow

We started hearing horror stories about the snow on the trail while in Stehekin 9/28-9/29, but by the time we got to Mazama and Winthrop 9/30, the stories had whipped into a terrible tale of impassable “walls of snow,” irreconcilable avalanche and hypothermia dangers, etc. etc. There’s a great blog post that talks about the chaos on the PCT during this time and about the ill-fated group that headed north one day ahead of us (October 2).

I decided to ignore the stories and see for myself. By then I’d learned that fear-mongering was really shit-thick on the trail, and that it did me no good.

I formed a team of four for safety (including a South African who had never seen snow before), and waited for the weather reports to look just so, and went for it…

Our preparations

An extra day or two of food,… continue reading

2013 PCT Thank Yous

I have a lot of overdue thank yous and shout-outs to make!

My Inspiration

Thump Thump, AKA Kristen (A 2010 thru-hiker who I met on the trail during her hike. She planted the seed, and helped me plan.)

Erin Saver AKA “Wired” – fellow Portlander and 2011 PCT thru-hiker. 2011 was a brutal year, and Wired not only managed to finish every mile, but blogged the whole thing. She inspired my daily photo journal. She is just about to finish her 2013 Continental a Divide Trail hike!

Command Central

My Mom – I LOVE YOU! Elly Blue – a truly great friend


Halfmile’s Maps – Halfmile did a lot of footwork and shared it with all of us. I used my iPad for maps and Halfmile’s .gpx files and app were indispensable. I used them literally dozens of times a day.

Gaia GPS – A… continue reading

Everybody Does It

After being a nurse for a few years I started to notice that I talked about poop more than most other things. Even in mixed company. I found talking about poop… easy. And humorous. Why didn’t everyone want to talk about the funniest thing, ever, in detail, all the time, I wondered?

For me, poop is hilarious because we all do it pretty much every day, but nobody talks about it. The less we talk about something, the funnier it can be if poked at. Beyond that, it’s this incredible by-product and proof of our metabolism — our living. It’s also pure, stinky death. That’s fascinating! And with all the stories I accumulated having to do with poop in the hospitals, I could talk about it all day. I am not exaggerating.

Now poop is taboo, but what’s even more taboo is pooping in anything but a toilet.

continue reading

Why I am walking the PCT

To start off, I’ll say: No, I have not read ‘Wild.’

I have not read the book that might be stoking a surge of new thru-hike attempts this year. (It’s on my library hold queue, though!) I hadn’t really heard of it until my friend Elly Blue asked, “Have you read Wild?” I sounded a bit stupid saying no. She made it seem like I might be the only one who hasn’t. I might be.

I’m not sure I’ll need to read it, though, to find out what it’s about.

I travel a lot. I go on trips because of an overwhelming urge to get away from the usual grind. It’s the way I’m wired. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been on the move. A drastic move at age 5 from New Hampshire to… continue reading

I Love Snow

Now that I have my gear squared away, I’ve started worrying more about food and resupply. I think I have that pretty figured out, but I’ve learned that you can’t outwit the gathered wisdom of PCT alumni. I fear that were I to share with them what I think I will be eating, they would issue a collective hearty laugh. So I’m going to think about it some more before I say it out loud, but for the moment I think it’s pretty fool-hardy (lightweight, nutritious, high-calorie, and soy-free) and do-able.

After watching the wonderful 2011 hike videos by K-Cop and Iguana, I’ve been thinking about snow. Here is their Northern California epic: can’t be loaded: Pacific Crest Trail… continue reading


Today I made a custom mitten pattern — everything I want, and nothing I don’t. It had to be dexterous for a mitten, and without stress points or bunching in the fist. I need to be able to hold handlebars or hiking poles comfortably. If you know mittens, you know this is a tall order. I took ideas from some gloves of mine as well as from these old seal skin mittens. I came up with a pattern that has one seam line, and a hem. Seriously.

Once you’ve seamed the strange pattern piece together with one 24.5″ seam, you hem the glove and you are done. Unless you want to put a grommet and draw cord in the hems like I did. There’s no wrist draw cord like the Haglöfs mitts, but since there is no seam at the inferior (ulnar) aspect of… continue reading

PCT Advice from a 2010 Thru-hiker

I want to share the wonderful advice I got from Thump Thump in 2012 while planning my PCT hike. I met her while bikepacking at Crater Lake. It helped me so much, and it could help you, too!

Hi! It’s awesome that you’re thinking about doing the PCT. I was pretty unconventional, so please take my advice with a few grains of salt.

A lot of the PCT forums were really overwhelming about gear. A lot of really opinionated people, some with experience to back it, ramming stuff down other people’s throats. It really turned me off. I ended up using for a lot of my gear, because I love them and I’m loyal. It might have been better go with all REI so it would have been easier to return things that just weren’t working out for me so well, but that’s reliant on FINDING an REI… continue reading

My Guest Post on the Sewaholic Blog!

waterproof jacket zips This week was I featured as a guest writer on someone else’s blog! It was pretty cool of Tasia of Sewaholic to invite me to write about my experience sewing a waterproof jacket. I was anxious to share more details and photographs about DIY waterproof outerwear because when I went hunting on the web I found only breadcrumbs of information. But what made it even better is that rather than sharing it here (a virtual Internet dead zone, ha), I got to share it with lots of interested readers on one of my very favorite sewing blogs.

I love Tasia’s enthusiastic and inquisitive writing style — it is so friendly and engaging. Not only that but she sure can sew and draft a pattern,… continue reading

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