Complications 
While the east coast is being hit with earthquakes and hurricanes this week, I too am facing complications... wild blueberries! Oh boy are they in season and EVERYWHERE! I can hardly walk more than 100 feet without stopping to eat a handful.

Ok, so it's hardly a complication, but it does slow me down. The past two nights have had pretty bad thunderstorms whip through the areas I'm hiking. Two nights ago I ran a mile to Breitenship Campground and JUST beat the rain and lightning by seconds - the campground has lean-tos for shelter. That storms reportedly set a few wildfires, and now that I'm above treeline ON Mt Hood (at Timberline Lodge) I can see two large plumes of smoke right near the PCT just north of Mt Jefferson. It's hard to tell exactly where they are since it's 50-60 miles away. Last night's storm woke me up with the boom of thunder long before the rain hit, so I was able to set up my tarp (first time since the desert!!!) in time AND dig a trench around me to channel the water away from me... turns out this was a very smart thing for me to do as the rain came fast and heavy.

And so, here I am at the Timberline Lodge during the start of the Hood to Coast relay race (tents, vendors, music, etc) and I have a great view of all around me. Mt Hood still has lots of snow on it and the snowcats are out plowing it to form a long chute for people to ski/sled down for the relay. The lodge was used for some of the exterior shots in the movie, The Shining (like when the little boy is shoved out the bathroom window to slide down a large bank of snow to "safety"). But, alas, there is no giant labrynth of bushes.

From Crater Lake to here, I have been passing volcano after volcano and walking through lava flows, boulder fields, dense forest, burned forest, exposed ridges, and passing many lakes. I have taken A LOT of photos in the past 200 miles. :)

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Sisters, OR 
Yesterday I hiked 18 miles along the base of South, Middle and North Sister mountains (aka The Sisters) which are old volcanoes covered in snow. In the distance I could see Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood. Sisters are still surrounded by old lava flows, heaps of obsidian, springs, meadows, snow, craters and forest. It's a variety of environments all in one.

I took a zero day today to EAT and will push on to Timberline Lodge (The Shining was filmed there) Tuesday. I've done a 39 and a 40 mile day recently - OR is full of mosquitoes so I really don't like stopping. :)

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Returning to the trail! 
I'm all set to fly back to continue the PCT. If all goes according to plan, I could be hiking again this Saturday, August 6. I will need to maintain a good pace in order to finish Northern CA, OR, WA and the Sierra's by October (a good deadline for weather related reasons). That should sound like a lot (1600 miles) and yet, to me, it seems so small. I am dumbly optimistic and naively hopeful that I can complete the PCT this year. :)

On a related note, the household (and storage unit) relocation from DC (and NY) to Delaware is complete we are mostly unpacked and settled in.

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Taking a break 
On Thursday, July 7, I hopped a Greyhound bus from Weed, CA to Oakland, CA. On Friday I flew home. On Sunday, when my wife returned from a weekend away with relatives, I was there to surprise her.

I didn't want to spoil to surprise by blogging about it, so I had to keep all of you in the dark on my plans too. :)

I am home for a few weeks in order to facilitate a household relocation up to Delaware. After getting us moved and settled-in a little bit, I'll head back to the trail. It sounds like at least Wrong Turn (a hiker I know from Southern California) will be right there when I get back, so perhaps I'll have a mini reunion!



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