Dec 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm #1283448
Ian SkeltonBPL Member
@inotleksLocale: Pacific Northwest
I am new to the BPL community and have learned a lot from reading the site, specifically the forums. I plan to hike the PCT NOBO through Oregon in 2013. In preparation for this I want to spend a lot of time in 2012 doing short trips in multiple places on the trail.
To get to the point…Where on the trail would be a good place to hike to in a day to meet up with thru hikers? Somewhere between hwy 20 and 26 maybe? When would be the best time to meet up with thru hikers in Oregon? Since I am only planning to be there for a few days at a time weight is not as important and I would like to provide thru hikers with an unexpected treat. What would you thru hikers be craving at this point in your journey?
My purpose is to meet people on the trail as it seems that there is where I would get the most insight.Dec 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm #1816828
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Olallie Lake Resort. The resort no longer acepts packages and the store is minimal – although the beer is cold. Thrus will appreciate anything you can carry in, like fuel canisters and freeze dried meal packs. They'd no doubt pay for them too.
The PCT comes down from Jefferson Park at the old Guard Station and then heads north up the road rather than towards the store. This would be the best place to meet hikers, although most will at least stop by the store for a beer or snack items.
Timothy Lake. The PCT just skirts the eastern edge of the lake. Thrus may elect to get off here and stay in the USFS campground.Dec 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm #1816915
Mighty kind of you to provide a little trail magic for northbounders. I'd say that pack get to Oregon typically during August, but it really depends upon the snow pack, fires, etc.
That much said, I think Bob's suggestion of Ollalie Lake is excellent – there were no services there at all in 2009. What do hikers want? Food, beer, soda. I know it was a disappointment to get to the lake and find no food available – oh, we had been told that it was closed but you always hold out for hope.
In Southern Oregon, there are a preponderance of lakes with small resorts and stores – these were great places to stop, eat, take a zero, enjoy a cold beer. As you go noth and reach the Oregon I think most people expect (i.e. very green and wet), I'd say anywhere north of South Sister is a good bet where the trail crosses a road (or is close by). The lava fields you ascend/decend can be brutally hot in the summer (well, so I heard, I got there in early September and was miserably cold), but the trail does cross the McKenzie Highway near the Dee Wright Observatory. There are two small highways north before you get onto the flanks of Mt. Jefferson. If you get into any of these areas, you might be helping out a thru-hiker by giving him or her a ride into Sisters for replacement gear. In my case, there was a powerful, cold system that ran through and I was counting my lucky stars to have sent warm clothes to Big Lake Youth Camp. I was bordering on hypothermia when I stumbled into that camp.
I'd also say carrying a bit of extra fuel might make a thru's day. The further north one goes, the fewer the town stops. Having a bit of extra alcohol on a hand for a stove would be greatly appreciated.
Good luck with your Oregon hike!
DirkDec 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm #1816924
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I agree with August, which is when most thrus will be there. If they are to reach Canada by the end of September, they about have to reach Cascade Locks by the end of August.
If you're going to Olallie Lakes (mighty pretty place!), the store and lodge were open in 2011. You might want to provide things they don't, like fresh fruit (Hermiston watermelon should be in season at the local supermarkets), fuel canisters, several quarts of denatured alcohol since most thrus have alcohol stoves. Homemade cookies are always good.
I got a lot of personal satisfaction out of a couple of minor "trail angeling" episodes last summer, and I'm sure you will, too!
For practice hikes I wouldn't use the PCT but other trails. I suspect your Oregon section hike will be more fun if it's new to you! In a number of areas (such as the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness and the Sky Lakes Wilderness), the PCT stays away from the lakes, while the old Oregon Skyline Trail is more scenic. Or you could hike some sections of the PCT in Washington. The loop around the Three Sisters Wilderness is a good one to hike; only part of it is on the PCT and because it's a loop you don't have to worry about car shuttles.Dec 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm #1817300
Ian SkeltonBPL Member
@inotleksLocale: Pacific Northwest
Thanks for the comments. I will definitely look into Olallie Lake. I know I would appreciate some fresh fruit while hiking so I will keep that in mind. I am new to alcohol stoves and use Heet for my fuel. Is that the preferred fuel or are more people using SLX or E95? I'll be experimenting with E95 myself this spring.
I will also take your advice, Mary, about keeping the PCT as virgin ground until my thru hike, except for short sections near access roads.Dec 31, 2011 at 12:18 am #1817833
For what it's worth, Heet (the Yellow bottle) was available at quite a number of places along the PCT. As you moved north, this got fairly tricky, just because there were less "stores" that stocked fuel. Most were small groceries at resorts or just picked up boxes along the way. I carried with me extra fuel during long stretches in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. But by that time I was (a) fairly efficient with my alcohol use (b) moving at a fairly good clip and (c) after SoCal, carrying a little more fuel weight seemed like nothing after carrying considerably more water weight in the southern stretches.
I haven't experimented with other fuels but would – I guess I found Heet and regular denatured alcohol to work well.
DirkDec 31, 2011 at 12:29 am #1817837
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Dirk, how were you getting more efficient with alcohol use? Were you just cooking less, or learning how to use a windscreen smarter, or starting with just the perfect amount of alcohol, or what? Some people shift their food to stuff that requires less cooking.
–B.G.–Dec 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm #1818043
First off, let me state that you have forgotten more about backpacking than I will ever know. I really enjoy your frequent posts here and your willingness to share your knowledge. Thank you. As to your question about more efficient alcohol use, I will answer it the best I can an with any luck, won't be laughed off these forums.
To become more efficient I did several (mostly common sense) things:
a) Like you guessed, I cooked often but I didn't always cook. I carried food out with me of towns that I could just carry and eat. Fresh fruit, a sandwich, that type of thing. Might only save fuel for a meal or two, but hey, it all adds up. This was much easier to do in Northern California and Southern Oregon when late summer weather made for some very balmy evenings. Harder to do in Washington, when we had long stretches in the 20s and low 30s in a deep cold spell for early October.
b) Use of a Caldera Cone and setting up in places where it was not breezy. I loved this system – to me, much less fiddle factor than most windscreens and worked better. I like the entire concept – the stand, the customized design for the pot, the efficiency. The only downsize it took more room to store than other systems.
c) Use of a wide, rather than a narrow, pot. Yes, it weighed more (Evernew 1.4 L) and took more volume but it also has more surface area and in my most unscientific testing, seems to boil much faster than the narrower profile pots.
d) Cooking with warmer water. Carry a bit of water with you beginning in late afternoon for the sole purpose of cooking. The ambient air temperature / sun will warms it up considerably, you waste a lot less fuel than heating up cold water.
e) Using less water and less alcohol when I cook. Seems fairly basic, but really, I would try to use the least water/alcohol necessary for the job. I also used a pot cozy, which would allow me to get the water to a boil, add the food and then put it in the cozy, allowing for food to "cook" when off the stove. A tiny plastic measure cup really works well. (Freezer bag cooking worked as well – used the cozy for the food bag.)
f) Cooking stuff that didn't need long to cook. I chose foods that minimized cooking times. Wasn't always the most nutritious, and I cringe to think what I consumed in vast quantities on that hike, but it's amazing what seems delicious after hiking 25 miles.
g) Quickly opening/closing alcohol container – it evaporates quickly and will absorb water from the air. I have no idea how much you will lose or how much of a difference this truly makes, but I was quick to open and close containers. And I found using an old plastic water bottle (one that was complete dried out) worked better than some of the HEET bottles, which sometimes leaked for whatever reason. Just mark the bottle with something to indicate that it is fuel, not water.)
h)If I were to do it again, I'd paint the bottom of my cooking pot!
What techniques and ideas do you employ to gain greater stove efficiency?
DirkDec 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm #1818048
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"What techniques and ideas do you employ to gain greater stove efficiency?"
I think you covered most of the bases. It's just that I want to know more than just what works best for me. I want to know what works best for others as well. If some beginner asks me for advice on this matter, I want to be able to say something beyond just what my own direct personal experience dictates. If it works best for 90% of the others on the trail, then that is good.
Apparently the one detail that I don't see you mention is cooking earlier in the day. Some will stop and cook and eat at 3 p.m., then pack up and walk another few hours until it gets dark. I've never favored that. I want to get hot food in me right before sleep.
–B.G.–Dec 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm #1818051
Glad to hear we are very similar in our outlooks!
I agree with you – I never have been one to cook early and keep going into the night. I could see the benefit in bear territory – if I were in the Bob Mashall Wilderness I'd consider that – but for the same reasons you mentioned I generally cooked right before bed. It was something to look forward to at the end of a long day.
If I wanted to eat, I'd just take something to tie me over through the evening. I really like hiking in the late afternoon and early evening, especially once the hot part of the day passes (ok, rare for Washington that we have that many hot days, but work with me here).
I have learned a lot on these forums and would have been far better off heeding the friendly advice offered by many people here. The transition from traditional to lightweight backpacking has been fantastic, but not without many mistakes and a fair number of poor gear choices.
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