Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day 134- AT Trail Family Reunion

Sept 13, 2016
Lutz Lake(2279.8) to Whites Pass(2292.4) 12.6 Miles 
 Total up/down: +2,191/-2,864

I always look forward to resupply days. I'm usually running low on food, but today I still had over a days worth of food left over. Nontheless, I was excited. This resupply box contained a new pair of shoes, which I really don't need yet, and a fleece jacket, which I desperately need. It was really cold last night. I packed up everything I possibly could from inside my sleeping bag. Eventually I forced myself out of the warm embrace of my sleeping bag and finished packing up. I didn't dilly dally around camp for long. I brushed my teeth and began hiking. I walked as fast as I could, hoping I would begin to warm up. I can't wait to get my new gloves, but I'm still five days away from where they are being delivered. I only had 12.6 miles to hike before reaching my resupply location, Whites Pass. The hike to Whites Pass involved one long extended uphill climb and I was looking forward to it. I knew that would warm me up. Shortly after leaving camp I got a good view of where I came from yesterday. I could see back to the Knifes Edge. It looked really impressive in the distance. 
Knifes Edge

With every passing mile I'm getting closer to Mount Rainier. It is a shame that I only get to skirt the border of Rainier National Park. I wish that the pct converged with the Wonderland Trail for a bit. The Wonderland Trail wraps around the base of Rainier. I hear that it is an impressive hike. 

My resupply pace in Whites Pass is called, The Kracker Barrel. I was really  disappointed to find out that this Kracker Barrel is just a convenience store, not the chain restaurant. I love Kracker Barrel restaurants. I have two friends from the AT, Burl and Tree Beard, who live relatively close to Whites Pass. When they found out that I was hiking the PCT they expressed an interest in meeting up with me when I made it here. Cell phone reception has been spotty, but I have been trying to coordinate with them to make this happen. Unfortunately, it seemed like this would not happen. Like most normal people not hiking a long distance trail, they have jobs. I would be getting to the pass around noon on a week day, which made the likely hood of us meeting up seem unlikely. Therefore, I planned on getting to the store, sorting my food, eating a burger, doing laundry, charging my battery pack, and then heading back to the trail. I was hoping to accomplish all of this and still hike another thirteen miles. 

I got to the store at noon as I had planned. The lady working the counter was not very friendly, but there was a guy working who was very polite. I decided to only deal with him, but when I had to speak to the lady I was over the top friendly. I thought that maybe I could win her over, but she never warmed up to me. I payed for my mail drops, they charged $5 per package to hold them for me. I also paid $6 to do my laundry. I thought that this was a little on the high side to pay for laundry, but with no other options I gladly have them my money. I started laundry right away since that is the most time consuming chore. Next I opened up my boxes. My new kicks are very colorful. Usually I don't go for that much color in my shoes, but I really like the color scheme. The just look fast. 
. New shoes

My dad creatively found a way to fit my fleece into an already jammed full box. He shrink wrapped the heck out of it. I wish I could pack it like this every day, so it would take up less room in my pack. It looked like a fleece burrito, which made me hungry for a burrito. 
 Non edible fleece burrito 

This next stretch is going to be 4.5-5 days long. I'm not looking forward to carrying all of this food. It seems like way to much, but I know better. It will end up being just enough. My pack feels really really heavy. Once my laundry was finished I still had to wait for my battery pack to finish charging. It holds 16,000 mAh and takes forever to fully charge. I really wanted to be back on the trail by three o'clock, but it wasn't finished charging yet. I decided that I couldn't wait any longer so I unplugged it and packed it away. I was just picking up my pack to hike out when a few of my friends showed up. Raging Pineapple, Touley the Optimist, and Homestretch had just walked up. I spent about ten minutes catching up with them before attempting to leave again. 

As I picked up my pack for the second time someone tentatively called out my name. It took me a few seconds to recognize him. He was too clean and his beard was much shorter than the last time we had seen each other. It was non other than Tree Beard! He had gotten the day off and him and his sister had driven over two hours to come and see me. I didn't have cell reception to know that they were coming. They made the drive up with no guarantee that they would find me. Incredible!

We drove down the mountain to the tiny town of Packwood. Tree Beard treated me to one of the best pizzas I've ever had. It was pepperoni, green peppers, onions, Canadian bacon, and cashews. Cashews+pizza=deliciousness. I just love talking with Tree Beard. You never know where the conversation will take you. We discussed trail life, socioeconomic division, cars, the Pacific Northwest tribal communities, music, the war on drugs, and numerous other topics. He offered to drive me back to his house instead of the trail. I didn't want to be an inconvenience and make him have to do the long drive again in the morning, but he insisted. I was more than happy to oblige. I would have hated to miss out on seeing Burl. 

By the time we made it back to their house it was almost seven thirty. Burl greeted me with a giant hug. We sat in their living room catching up until late. Burl works for the Department of Child Services. I was interested to hear all about her new job. It takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work. We stayed up late into the evening reminiscing about the Appalachian Trail. 
Tree Beard, Burl, and I 

Plans are now in motion for the CDT(Continental Divide Trail) for 2018. I hope it works out that we can hike together once again. 

"In crucial things, unity. In the important things, diversity. In all things, generosity."
- George H. W. Bush. 


  1. Amazing how things work out and that you got to stay with Treebeard and Burl. What wonderful people for him to drive the two hours not knowing if he would find you. Uncle Tom and I stayed two nights in Packwood in 2013 where we ate at Blue Spruce Saloon and Cruisers. Cruisers is a pizza place so maybe it's the same place where you and Tree Beard and his sister ate. You can guess that I didn't eat the same kind of pizza that you did (smileyface!) In fact, I had popcorn shrimp and Uncle Tom had chilli.

  2. You never know how things will work out. You and Treebeard actually connecting was probably a big surprise. Very generous to take you home to see Burl and back to trail. Glad you had a nice visit with AT trail family. I liked this view of Knifes Edge and Mt. Rainier. Hannibal can be quite inventive when packing your resupply boxes. I'm glad you finally had enough cell reception to get your blog out. Start getting a little edgy after a few days. Hike on. LY

    1. On day 6 you celebrated Mother's Day by eating pie at Mom's Place. We couldn't talk, so it was nice to read this. I was at a sea side resort in Spain thinking of you and your brothers. On day 8, the eagle rock was fantastic. Day 11-Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn." -John Muir

      Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamned mountain. -Jack Kerouac

      On day 12 you were back with Outro, Evac, Warren. Right now, life is good and I'm exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I was meant to do.-Yoda

  3. Really glad to hear you got to visit with Tree Beard and Burl!! What a great surprise for you! Hoping today's hike is good, and I look forward to reading about it tomorrow morning!

  4. Hi Yoda!! That's some shrink wrap job!! Trail is full of suprise's Nice you got to see old frineds :)

  5. Hi Yoda!! That's some shrink wrap job!! Trail is full of suprise's Nice you got to see old frineds :)

  6. Nothing warms like friendship. Glad you hooked up with your buds. Trekkers are a very caring, sharing, generous community in the main. Good on them and on you for renewing your bonds. GO YODA!

    Double G

  7. How cool that you got to see Tree Bird and Burl again!

  8. Happy that you connected with your AT friends! The new shoes are snappy! Pics as always great! Glad you made it through some tough soggy days. Enjoy!
    If you have a chance check out Outro blog for a big thank you to the Fleming family!

  9. Cool shoes! Ed and I got a charge out of you arriving yesterday and leaving today from Lutz Lake. Happy you had such an unexpected surprise today meeting up with and staying with your friends. Keep on Trekkin'. You're almost there.

  10. Yoda, I'm sure that Tree Bird wouldn't have made that 2 hour drive to connect with just anyone - it goes to show how incredible YOU are!! I too liked that you were at "Lutz Lake" - I wish it was our "Lutz" and I could meet you with trail magic!!! Enjoy the new colorful shoes!!!

  11. So glad you got to see your friends! Amazing how such things work out! Enjoy the rest of your journey, Yoda!