Multiple attempts at the AT????

Having lived on the east coast most of my life, I knew a lot of people who lived near the trail. I stopped to meet up with a fellow graduate student in Hot Springs, NC who had hiked the trail before. I put college on hold and went for it while she was still in classes. In hind site, I should’ve asked for all her papers. Oh well, the beer, food and place to stay was more than enough. I saw my parents in Damascus. When they met me, they came bearing a gift of PIZZA! THANKS!!!! I offered a hiker named Crow some of the pizza and a ride into town.

He was on his second attempt to connect the Florida Trail with the Appalachian Trail. I don’t know if I would have the constitution to start over and try again. I mean I am pretty tenacious, but if I had to quit for some reason I believe I would call it a sunk cost and start from where I quit or move on to the next adventure. But I am not sure because I haven’t had that experience yet. It appeared Crow might be calling this attempt too due to knee pain. Later on during the hike, I would meet a hiker on his third attempt to thru hike the AT! He had Crohn’s disease and failed to finish on two previous tries. On his last attempt, he made it to the New England states before he was forced to quit. He really wanted to complete a thru hike of the AT! Having gotten so far on that last attempt then returning to Georgia the next year had to be mentally difficult. I never saw him again. I really hope he made it this time around!

My parents hiked with me a little before we parted ways due to different hiking speeds and I continued on the trail ahead of them.

Arriving at Mount Rodger Recreational Area, I decided to detour slightly from the AT and hike to the top of Mount Rodgers the highest point in Virginia at 5,729 feet at the summit. After the trail to the summit dwindled down to a barely visible one I wondered around in the fog which limited my visibility looking for some kind of marker or other identifying mark which would lead me to believe I was at the summit. I eventually realized I was on feeder trails where others before me had wandered off the trail. I left feeling disappointed because I never found anything that marked the summit.

Grayson Highland State Park joins the recreation area and it’s balds are inhabited by a herd of ponies that I became quite familiar with. Walking down the trail like any other day, I soon discovered that it wasn’t like any other day! I hear, rather felt, the stamping of hoofs as a bunch of ponies race towards each other without warning and quickly surrounded me and to my astonishment they began licking me. I guess they were interested in the salt that was grimy on my skin from the sweat caused by the exertion of hiking everyday. Once I recovered, I slowly retreated while they stalked me. I am not going to lie I am kind of afraid of horses and ponies are like small slightly less scary horses, but still intimidating in my eyes. I finally made it to safety on the other side of the gate leaving the rest of the hikers to be terrorized by the ponies.

And I Am Side Tracked Again

Side Note

I have been frantically packing for a 21 day Grand Canyon (2019) trip, so the next few posts are typed out on a plane last minute. Hopefully they publish automatically at future dates while I am adventuring down the Grand Canyon.

If you would like to follow:

https://share.garmin.com/ShaneDixon

Back to the AT hike (2013)

As I mentioned earlier, I was tying to avoid reflection. But the repercussions of too much time to let your mind wonder while hiking and the fact that living on a dirtbags budget is cost prohibitive to buying audio books every day to keep your mind occupied unfortunately leads to reflection, mostly about relationships and selfishness. These questions came to mind: Does doing what you love make you selfish? Does compromise work? If you’re happy because you do what makes you happy are you likable or just an asshole? I had a very wise coworker once who said, “I don’t believe in compromise. My wife goes on vacation where she wants, I go on vacation where I want and some times we go on vacation together.” “It just works out better that way.” I have to agree with that! Doing what made each of them happy individually allowed them to be happy together. I also once heard a good analogy for the outcome of compromise. A man was dressing for a dinner party and put on black shoes. His date wanted him to wear his brown shoes, so he compromised wearing one black and one brown shoe; the worst possible outcome in the scenario.

Back to the trail; focusing on not reflecting.

It’s starting to warm up, I have been hiking for a little over a month now with the exception of full blown winter conditions I encountered in the Smokies . Since I began at the southern end of the trail and am hiking north to where it is colder the same time of year, I have effectively been chasing spring as I walk the trail.

I arrived at a shelter late and set up my tent in proximity to some other tents and went straight to sleep for the combined reasons of being exhausted and not wanting to stumble into the shelter making noise and shining light into people eyes late at night.

When I woke up, I was informed I was in a quarantine zone. A Norovirus had stricken quite a few hikers. Norovirus is a virus usually lasting 1-3 days causing diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain in affected individuals. The biggest threat to a hiker, in my opinion, is dehydration. If you can’t make it to your next water source you are in trouble! It is generally spread by the fecal-oral route, touching or eating a contaminated source. For hikers this would most likely be from shaking an unsanitary persons hand, which is why the fist bump is the preferred hiker method of greeting if you feel the need for such greetings. The next most likely culprit for the spread of the virus would be sharing of food; especially reaching into a container, like a bag of GORP, by multiple people. It’s best to pour from the bag without touching anyone. Packing my bag I hurriedly left the area, luckily I didn’t get sick!

The Laundry Mat

Prior to this trip my longest hike was around three weeks, so I had no long distance hiking experience and was carrying a little too much weight in the form of my big 3 (pack, sleeping system, and tent) mainly because I already owned it. I was starting to get the feeling that a large number of people hiking were even more underprepared then I was. They weren’t ready for a range of weather conditions and would try and wait it out  in town.

The extra weight was starting to wear on me at this point. I will say the best choice I made was spending money on new light weight stuff. I ordered a new pack that saved me 4lbs. I also went with a down bag that saved a couple more pounds!

The new light weight gear wasn’t as durable and cost more then what I had, but was really worth the extra money. Shaving that weight off my gear took a lot of stress off my body.

I stopped at a privy by a shelter and realized I was now really light weight, I forgot to pack toilet paper! Unfortunately this was not actually on purpose to save weight, but luckily someone else must have forgotten their tp also. I picked up a book and was leafing through it and noticed pages were torn out. I followed suit and put the book to good use. I was sure to pack out the pages, Leave No Trace (LNT).

Hiking down the trail I heard a loud engine roar and gravel spinning as I rounded a bend in the path, before me was an SUV doing what appeared to be donuts on a gravel road. As I approached, a man in a brown hat stopped the SUV and asked if I wanted a beer and soda. I chugged a glass of Mountain Dew, and was opening a beer when one of the guys I had been hiking with comes back down the trail headed south to partake in the beer. Later he said that he heard the noise of the vehicle and was squatting in the bushes to make sure I was not getting murdered, apparently the free beer was worth the risk of murder.

As you can tell since I am writing about the past I wasn’t murdered and you will be glad to know neither was the brave soul that was hiding in the bushes.

Arriving in Damascus, VA I got word that the laundry mat was the place to be. It ended up being true. There was a gas station that sold beer and the laundry mat had wifi. The night was spent socializing and drinking while doing laundry at the only place open past 8 p.m. We discussed coming back to Damascus for Trail Days. I did not end up going back, but later I passed some fellow hikers that had flip flopped (going ahead on the trail by means of transportation other then hiking, switching directions then hiking back to where you were). Glad I never made it back because during the parade at Trail Days a car ran over a number of hikers in the parade.

Should Have Hung the Food

I managed to arrive at the Smokey Mountains the end of March, which also happened to be the most snow I had seen this ski season. I had planned on hiking 9 miles farther down the trail but with a foot of snow already and no sign of it stopping I decided to stay at the first shelter I came across. I usually try to avoid shelters most of the time, because they are breeding grounds for mice and weirdos. I believe the rodents are mainly there because of people eating in the shelter and the weirdos because shelters usually are close to roads. For example; one night I was awakened by a heavy thump on my side followed by a shriek of “food in my bag” with an immediate heavy object landing on my chest then flopping around still shouting, “food in my bag”! Once I had fully gained my wits about me and about 15 head lamps came flashing on in rapid succession lighting the blue sleeping bag with the hood pulled so tight that just a nose and part of a beanie poked through the opening, I realized she was trying to crush the mouse between her and I! Once the girl on top of me managed to get out of her sleeping bag, she calmed down a little and in between exasperated gasps explained that she had slept with her food and a mouse eaten into her sleeping bag and was running around frantically inside.

Examples of a weirdo are open to interpretation. One guy some people referred to as weird, I would label a genius. He carried and set up mouse traps in the shelters normally bagging at least two a night. I personal preferred being woken up to a snap of a trap vs a girl screaming “food in my bag!”

Setting out first from the shelter, breaking trail through drifts sometimes up to my waist was slow going. I actually appreciated the rhododendron, they formed a tunnel where they were sheared back from the the trail allowing for easy navigation. Every step causing an explosion of snow falling on my head as my pack brushed the plants weighted down by snow. I finally made it to the last shelter I would have to stay at for awhile. Unfortunately this was a smaller shelter then the previous one, causing the stragglers to dig out and set up their flimsy shelters for the conditions. One group of 3 was only carrying a small tarp. They had planned on staying at shelters the whole time.

Wakening cold, damp, and stiff from at least a mouse free night in the shelter, we pack our bags and head out. It was too cold for the mice to bother us, but I am so happy to be surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and freedom of adventure on the trail.

The Dreaded Bear Bag Hang

Following the legendary white blazes and a path beat deep into the soil as I leave Neels Gap, I am left to wonder how people lose the trail. This attitude my friends, is exactly how one gets lost! I did lose the trail for a bit at one point on a rocky section months later, but it was easy to spot once I was off the rocks. The ease and flow of the trail, except for that one instance, left a lot of time for thinking and reflecting through this journey to Maine. I am not a fan of reflecting, so I listen to audio books and podcasts a lot of the time.

One evening while listening to 3 Mph The Adventure of One Women’s Walk Around the World, brought about by thoughts of “Where should I hike next?” “What’s longer/harder?” “Oh, I’ll listen to a book about hiking around the world that sounds like the fun thing to do next”, I came across signs warning me that there are bears in the area. These signs all happened to be posted on the left side of the trail, so I thought it prudent to set up camp on the opposite side of the trail to avoid the bears. At this point in time, I was still hanging a bear bag. In fact, I pretty much hung one the whole time I was hiking the AT. When I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) three years later in 2016, I didn’t hang my food unless it was mandatory. As a matter of fact, I used it as a pillow with the exception of the Yosemite area and a few others where I know bears are used to people. For an example of why you should hang your food see Yosemite to South Lake Tahoe.

Have you ever tried to hang a bear bag? Just finding a tree to hang one from on the west coast is a challenge without actually getting to the hanging part. On the AT, in the east, it’s a bit easier. For starters you can find a tree with a limb that extends far enough from the trunk of the tree so a bear couldn’t just reach over and grab it. Finding a tree fitting the first criteria, one then has to verify that it’s high enough. Next comes throwing the rope over the limb. The easiest way to accomplish this task, that I have found, is to put a rock in a sock, tie the rope to the sock with the rock inside, then throw it over the limb. Once across, the sock with the rope attached then falls to the ground, easy right? Not so much. One time I couldn’t find a rock, really I looked! So I tied a stick shaped like a miniature old war club, bulbous on the end, to the end of the rope. After finally getting it over the limb, the stick wasn’t quite heavy enough for gravity to take it to the ground. Flipping the rope from the opposite end of the war club like stick, it was painstakingly slow to lower it inch by inch until I decided it was easier to just jump up and grab the stick end pulling the rope to the ground. Another time I was walking around with my food and rope looking for one of those perfect tress when I finally found one I came to the realization that I had left a sock in my pack back at camp, looking down with disparity at my sock less feet I decide it would be easier to tie the rope to my rock instead of walking back for the sock. Wrapping the rope around the rock I throw the perfect throw, the rock landing but the rope was still nicely coiled by my feet. Hmmmm, more wraps this time repeated the throw and the rope flys over the limb and then I watch the rock turn end over end like thread being pulled from a spool until the rock comes free and the rope is still not quite on the ground. After finally hanging the bag, I decided it was easier to walk back for a sock next time. I went to sleep dreaming of how to make the perfect throw.

Starting the Appalachian Trail (AT)

It was the worst winter in history! I had just found out my wife emptied my bank account, but that wasn’t it, it wasn’t that she had decided to move out  and later file for a divorce either, it was the fact that this winter had the least snow I had seen in a while. Not being able to ski until half way thru the Mid Atlantic winter, now that makes a for a sad, depressing event!

Now that’s pretty much a standard winter now, in Northern West Virginia, 5 years later. I have since been able to fill the horrible void left behind by the lack of snow by kayaking more often in the winter when I used to ski.

Back to this depressing winter 5 years ago. I decided that with my new found freedom I could do the things I always wanted to do and was under the impression that we were going to do. I dug up an old plan to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME. Lucky for me the old plan only needed a few minor changes. Because it got cold enough for man made snow at the Ski Resort I finally got to ride however, I told my boss at the resort where I worked as a Ski Patroller that I was leaving the job early to hike the AT.

I did not keep any type of journal on this hike so every thing is from a concussion riddled, alcohol soaked brain. The timing of the events are most likely out of order.

I started my hike at Springer Mountain March 12, 2013. Beginning the hike with a good pace to set the tempo for the rest of my trip, even though I had some heavier gear due to a combination of not purchasing new gear and wanting to carry a little extra cold weather gear. My second day in I stopped to stay the night at a shelter. Immediately this asshole, in my opinion, started telling me that the shelter was full and immediately proceeded to give me advice on how to set up and use the bear hang. I set up on the leeward side of the shelter which blocked the strong winds.

That night I heard him talking to the people he was with, it sounded like he had been hired to hike with them and show them how to backpack for a while. Later I was awoken by loud voices. At least one person in his group seemed to be suffering from the cold. I am guessing it was in the -20 to -10 degree range with the windchill. The leader should have been more concerned with setting up his groups camp then my activities.

I awoke before the group packed and headed on my way never to see any of them again.

Arriving later my second day at Neels Gap, I got a room in the hostel and find a bivy exactly like mine in the hiker box. This could be an omen as to how shitty in may be to stay in a bivy, but time will tell! I get the best nights sleep in a bunk bed, from a combination of physical exhaustion and happiness from doing something I have always dreamed about, preparing for the rest of my journey.

The End!

Day 140 14 PCT miles

Day 141 18 PCT miles – stayed at Pear Lake

Day 142 26 PCT miles

Day 143 20 PCT miles

Day 144 22 PCT miles

Day 145 22 PCT miles

Day 146 14 PCT miles – stayed at Fireweed Camp

Day 147 23 PCT miles – stayed at Brush Creek, built first fire of hike

Day 148 22 PCT miles

Day 149 23 PCT miles and 6 back to camp

Day 150 0 PCT miles walked back to Harts Pass

Once I crossed the Washington border, it pretty much rained or snowed everyday until the end of my hike.  It had stayed just above freezing the previous day which lead me to spend a whole day in my tent trying to avoid, in my opinion, the most dangerous weather. My person and gear were completely soaked except for my sleeping bag and spare clothing I keep in an extra garbage bag for just such occasions! After waking up and making coffee in my tent from my sleeping bag, I decided to try and wait out the rain hoping it would quit or turn to snow. After hours of mind numbing boredom and blowing through my food at a dangerous rate, I finally pushed on towards the evening.

The next day at the top of the ridge, I got my wish; it turned from rain to freezing rain then finally to snow.

Racing down the mountain trying to make it to the resort before it closes, I slide and stumble my way down! Arriving as they are closing, the girl behind the counter gave me a warm coffee and said that she would give me a ride into town and called a hostel to see if there was still room. The hot coffee made my day!

As I stood dripping all over the floor slowly making a puddle, waiting for the barista to close, another hiker came into the resort. Slowly making her own puddle as I tell her she can probably get a ride into town and if she wanted to split a room, I already had one.

Arriving in town a short while later, we get our room and unpack while swapping stories and beta on what’s to come. So close to the end, we are both excited and sad.

I am concerned with my transportation off the trail and to an airport! Apparently, I am banned from Canada for life, according to an email I got after requesting advanced permission to cross the boarder at an unmanned point; even though I had just skied in Banff the winter before. This was extremely disappointing news since I love the country and the skiing it provides and now I had to back track 29 miles and hope my girlfriend who had dumped me on this hike once already actually picks me up like she is insisting on doing.

After we were done unpacking,  I went to inquire about fuel canisters for my stove. The proprietor said he had some canisters and he would get them to me shortly. Some other hikers overheard my exchange and said they had just left some half full canisters in the hiker box. Unbeknownst to me, the proprietor was gathering up these exact containers to resell to me at an exorbitant price! Luckily, I could feel the containers were half empty and asked for full ones.

Since I have to hike back to Hart’s pass, I stashed a lot of my gear there and continued ahead with pretty much just a ground cloth to use as a shelter, food, and my sleeping bag. I really regret leaving behind my gloves.

The last night it was difficult to sleep because mice kept running all over me. I wake up to find my chapstick stolen!

Completing the trail on day 149 was really anticlimatic, reaching the border by myself and having to hike back to Hart’s Pass the way I just came feels disappointing.

Bring on the Last State (WA)

Day 126 19 PCT miles

Day 127 21 PCT miles

Day 128 23 PCT miles

Day 129 25 PCT miles

Day 130 27 PCT miles

Day 131 24 PCT miles – stayed just passed Shoe Lake

Day 132 25 PCT miles- stayed at Two Lakes

Day 133 25 PCT miles – stayed at Arch Rock Trail

Day 134 26 PCT miles

Day 135 25 PCT miles

Day 136 7 PCT miles – stumbled 4 miles up the hill from the DruBru Brewery. Employees at the local hotel I planned to stay at sucked, so I drank with the money I would have spent for lodging and skipped the shower until the next town

Day 137 20 PCT miles

Day 138 8 PCT miles – rained all day; got really cold and decided to stay in sleeping bag instead of getting warm clothes wet

Day 139 23 PCT miles

While sampling the drinks at Thunder Island Brewery in Cascade Locks, OR; waiting on Grant to get off work; my waitress offered to give me a ride to Hood River, where Grant works. I finally made it to meet Grant as he was finishing work. We crossed the Columbia Gorge and went to the red house in Washington where he lives. I am super lucky to have friends in cool places! We spent a couple days boating and anevening chilling around a driftwood fire on the beach, with some old friends from back Eastand some new ones who will later accompany me boating down the Grand Canyon.

After the short break, Grant pointed out numerous times that once he dropped me off back at Cascade Locks I would be hiking right back toward Mt. Adams which is basically where we are at!

A very short evening of hiking lead me to stop in an ancient forest for the night; right outside of Cascade Locks. The forest had a really eerie primordial feel to it. I felt as if something were watching me. Waking up to a darkened morning from the old growth forest blocking the sun, I pack my stuff still feeling a presence. I believe it is the forest itself, as I leave down the trail.

The days melt together as I continue the familiar ritual of pack, unpack, set up, take down, walk, eat, walk, eat, and eat again. This time dry Ramen while hiking to make up time, and repeat, until reaching a small town. Once a hiker, well I guess I can’t speak for all hikers, reaches a town their minds go straight to FOOD. I call this trail amnesia. Getting to town eating and drinking beer then the next day when you’re back on the trail, you realize you forgot important resupply stuff like toilet paper because you were busy stuffing your face! A hiker has to make up for that calorie deficit.

Setting up before dark one evening, relaxing in my tent, I hear heavy footsteps coming toward me at a fast pace. Thump, thump, thump, heavy breathing then, “Hey can I stay here tonight?” I reply, “Sure.” Waking up the next day, there is a tent a little close to mine. As I am packing up a face emerges from the tent right next to me. This is how I met Cougar. Cougar got his name from, as he tells it, an encounter with a mountain lion. As he came around a turn in the trail, he startled one of the big cats and the alarmed cat ran towards him knocking him over as the feline made its escape. I personally feel his trail name should have been Cat Food instead of Cougar.

As the completion of my goal gets closer, my mind is torn between wanting to see friends and family and wanting to go on the next great adventure. My mind wonders already planning the next adventure. It becomes really difficult to think about going back to society, preparing to deal with more things then beautiful views. The thought process becomes overwhelming. Myhiking speed varies with my current thoughts; increasing with thoughts of loved ones only to decrease with the thought of returning to the daily grind. Which I have to admit for me isn’t that bad, but it lacks the utter freedom one has out here where the only limits seem to be the food and water clocks.”

Bend to Cascade Locks

Day 114 0 PCT miles – stayed in Bend,Or

Day 115 17 PCT miles – stayed at Linton Meadows

Day 116 22 PCT miles

Day 117 22 PCT miles

Day 118 31 PCT miles

Day 119 25 PCT miles

Day 120 18 PCT miles

Day 121 26 PCT miles

Day 122 8 PCT miles  stayed in Hood River

Day 123 0 Hood River

Day 124 0 PCT miles

Day 125 4 PCT miles – Back on the trail at Cascade Locks

Hiking through the most blowdown I have seen on the trail after leaving Crater Lake. My pace is greatly diminished by having to negotiate the maze caused by the huge trees. Massive giants covered in a green beard of Spanish moss. A majority of them could be bypassed by walking around the rootball that for some reason is right on the edge the the trail, but others involve problem solving and parkour moves to make it to the other side.

I was awakened by a weird noise! I immediately sucked in my breath and became very quiet, there is was again, what is that sound? It sounds familiar, but I can’t quite place it. It’s hard to think while holding your breath staining to hear into the night. As I slowly move my head lamp to my head, there it is again, but still can’t place it. I finally have to breath; I let out the breath I have been holding in a sudden woosh as I crawl out of my bag to investigate. Opening the zipper on my tent in a fluid motion while aiming my head lamp toward where I last heard the sound. As my eyes adjust to the light and focus on the object that was making the noise, my rapid breathing starts to slow down, as two eyes shine back at me. I recognize the familiar shape of a deer. It stared back at me, maybe as startled by me as I was by it, before returning to making the familiar sound of chomping on grass that I now completely recognized.

I went back into the tent. The deer continued chomping through the night completely unbothered by my presence.

Arriving at Elk Lake, I am met by Josh who has been busy shuttling hikers to Bend or Sisters as he waited for me. I had met Josh a couple years earlier when I cycled the Southern Tier.

We headed to Bend where I would stay with him in his tiny house. We had some beers and explored the town the next day. We floated the Deschutes River through town. I really like getting to spend time on the water, I have one more stop where I will get to kayak again before pushing on to finish the trail.

Back on the trial, I hike towards the Gorge .

I had the opportunity to hike through Eagle Creek before it burnt in 2017. The trail followed the creek revealing multiple waterfalls along the way.

Arriving at the Bridge of the Gods, I pass by the bridge that connects Oregon to Washington over the Columbia River. I get a coffee then head to a brewery to wait for my friend Grant to get off work.

Welcome to Oregon

Day 102 25 PCT miles – stayed at Sheep Camp Spring

Day 103 22 PCT miles – crossed the Oregon border today

Day 104 0 PCT miles – stayed at Medford

Day 105 11 PCT miles

Day 106 30 PCT miles

Day 107 29 PCT miles

Day 108 24 PCT miles

Day 109 31 PCT miles – Crater Lake

Day 110 32 PCT miles

Day 111 26 PCT miles

Day 112 33 PCT miles

The excitement of entering Oregon was only intensified by the fact that I was about to be met by some friends in the state and get a chance to go kayaking. It was a great mental hurdle to cross a state border, even though the passage of distance was marked by the changing ecosystem, increase in the odor my gear was emitting and the wearing out of three pairs of footwear,along with wonderful hiker made rock and stick mile markers. None of these milestones felt as good as crossing into Oregon.

I had made arrangements for Katie to pick me up at Callahan’s Lodge after consuming my first free beer, thanks from all the hikers, I had a margarita. I soon realized that I am even more of a light weight after having lost much of my body weight. She arrived and took me to her place, where I met her roommates dog Awesome. Yes his name is Awesome. We borrowed a kayak from her boyfriend. Thanks Linus! I then got the chance to boat with some of her friends. It was great to feel the boat on edge slicing through the water, my smile revealed after the cool refreshing water parts across my face as I come out the down river side of the hole.

After a great run we got pie at Beck’s outside of Crater Lake National Park where I would be hiking to again in a fews days. This became commonplace in Oregon. I would visit a friend only to spend days to walk back to somewhere I had been only hours away from. As a matter of fact before I got back on the trail, Katie took me to pick up a resupply box that I would be hiking towards later that day. We picked up a fellow hiker and dropped her off to pick up a package. I was rewarded with trail magic for not cheating and starting at the resupply spot. Just before I got to the spot I had picked up my package, I got a beer! If I would have skipped those few miles I would have never gotten to enjoy that particular beer!

This beer was redemption from near Truckee, CA where I spent the better part of the day looking for soda. I spotted a rest area so I headed that way only to be let down. There were pit toilets and on top of that no vending machine, everyone must be healthy here. There appeared to be more activity across the interstate. Not to be dissuaded, I decided to check out the other side. I mean I have hiked over a thousand miles what’s a few more! After a quick intense game of Frogger, with me in place of the frog dodging cars like in the video game, I emerged unflattened on the other side. I never managed that in the game. I managed to buy a small soda from a guy in an RV. I approached him saying I would buy a soda off him for $2, he said sure. He fished around in a side compartment on his RV and came out with this cute little can. I had no idea soda came in baby portions. I looked at the can with a frown as I dug the money out of my pocket. He saw my sad face and offered it to me for $1. If only he knew how I managed to get there he probably would have given it to me. I gulped….. I mean sipped and it was gone. I decided to cook lunch there. I ended up getting two full sized sodas, while making food! After that people started offering me all sorts of food. I was picky and only accepted some declining most of it. One couple got really upset and wondered about the nerve of some homeless people. I explained I wasn’t a bum and couldn’t justify carrying that much food. I had to make miles and in-fact yes I did chose to look and smell like this on purpose.

Arriving at Crater Lake again I still take in its beauty. I don’t think I have ever seen a bad photo of the lake. I plan to move to this area next year. Part of it is due to the beauty of this iconic place.