Jun 11, 2007 at 6:52 pm #1223650
This weekend marks the end of work and the start of my travels. I leave my home this weekend, headed Westward to the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park from where I will begin hiking to the sunsets as I make my way to the Pacific Ocean.
I'm embarking on the roughly 1200 mile Pacific Northwest Trail, solo and excited. My past is dotted with stints on backcountry trail crews, and a 200 mile thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail but the past year and a half has found me in front of the computer workin' for the man.
I would like it to be known that BackpackingLight.com and its members have been an integral part of so many of the decisions I've made in regards to gear, food, technique and route choice and I thank all of you for this. I don't know what my internet access will be in the towns that dot this route along the Canadian border through the seven National Forests and three National Parks of the Pacific Northwest. Whenever I find myself in front of a computer I will most certainly make some notes to those interested in my travels.
Through the help of my brother I will update my Web site with photos a half dozen or so times throughout the trip as well. This can be visited at samh.net/backpacking.Jun 11, 2007 at 7:13 pm #1391981
Personally, I hate walking into the sun, have you considered going the other direction? :-P
Best of luck to you and yours. Bon voyage.Jun 11, 2007 at 7:26 pm #1391983
Good luck Sam,
I am definately interested in your notes, the PNT is a trail that will be part of my future endeavors.
I cant wait to see the pictures from glacier and in the cascades
I will definately be checking updates on your siteJun 11, 2007 at 8:42 pm #1391991
Nice! That isn't a trail many know about. Be neat when you hit Washington! Cape Alava should be odd for you to see after all that hiking ;-)Jun 12, 2007 at 7:58 am #1392034
Thank you all so much for your interest! A long distance hike is obviously a personal experience but the ability to share it with others through photos and words is great for those interested.
I personally love to read through others words and thoughts as well as view the photos from their adventures on trails and wild places that I have visited or someday hope to visit.
Kevin, I'm hiking Westward for three very basic reasons. 1.) That's how the guidebook is written, 2.) Ultimately I'll be losing elevation moving in this direction, and 3.) Glacier National Park (the starting point) is a former home of mine and it just "seemed right" for me to start there.
Sarah, the guidebook makes a special note of the point at which you can first dip your feet into sea-water. I'm sure I'll take a few moments there and ponder just how far I've come.
Ryan, keep an eye open here at BPL and I'll get some of those photos posted.
– sam_hJun 12, 2007 at 2:49 pm #1392097
Have a great trip. I am about to start my own trip so I know the excitment you must be feeling. Happy Trails,
P.S. Won't Sam be walking into the sun for at least half the day regardless of the direction he is walking?Jun 12, 2007 at 2:59 pm #1392098
What, they don't employ subtle humor in SoCal ? :-D>Jun 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm #1392099
I'm really from New Jersey…and to be honest, I know a lot of people who actually think that you should always hike Southbound because it's all down hill (they are not outdoorsy people). So sometimes, I am not sure if someone is being humorous, if they don't know any better or if I legitimately don't know something (rarely happens, ask my family….there's my sense of humor). Thanks for clearing it up for me!
NITROJun 13, 2007 at 7:20 am #1392159
I definitely appreciate your subtle (and often dark) humor, Kevin. And Nitro, yes it is subtle and often hard to catch. What trip are you taking if you don't mind my asking?Jun 13, 2007 at 9:25 am #1392173
Kevin SawchukBPL Member
@ksawchukLocale: Northern California
I'm going to bookmark your site and I look forward to regular updates/pictures. I talked with Andy Skurka about this trail when we hiked in Yellowstone last fall and it's on my list to explore.
Thanks.Jun 13, 2007 at 9:25 am #1392174
Don JonesBPL Member
@djfroggLocale: Pacific Northwest
Sam, sounds like a great trip. FYI, the PNT exits Olympic National Park to the west down the Bogachiel River Trail. I tried to hike the Bogachiel this spring and found masses of blowdowns, many are huge trees in jumbled messes. The ONP trail conditions web site currently lists 337 trees down in 21 miles. I made it only to Mile 9 from the west. This is a lesser used trail and doesn't get regular maintenance so I would not plan on the trail being cleared anytime soon. Good luck to you in your endeavor. Sherpa DonJun 13, 2007 at 9:54 am #1392175
Kevin – Andy was kind of my inspiration for this trip as well. Having watched his C2C presentation a year or so ago opened my eyes to this beautiful trail. At the time I was planning a PCT thru-hike and when I started doing economic and other feasability studies of a long distance trek the PNT became a clearer choice. Andy and I talked on the phone before he set off for the Great Western Loop and we were trying to figure out when his and my paths will cross. So, sometime in July he and I hope to camp together.
Don – Yes, the massive blowdowns that took place out in the Pac. NW have had me at least curious, if not a little worried. I appreciate the point-specific trail information. I'll be sure to note in my trail documents your specifics about the Bogachiel. The official trail route includes a half-dozen off-trail bushwhacks anyway so I guess I'll just consider 300 some downed trees as nothing more than a very tedious buswhack.Jun 13, 2007 at 4:50 pm #1392224
My good friend Ldyblade grew up on the Peninsula in Forks, and the Bogy is her trail ;-)
I think what may depress you more is as you wind down near Bellingham and cross the Islands heading to the Peninsula. It won't be very wildernessy if you get my drift. Still pretty though!Jun 14, 2007 at 7:23 am #1392272
I've decided that having to wind my way through populated areas will provide a nice balance between the wilds of the Rockies and the wilds of Olympic.
– sam_hJun 14, 2007 at 7:31 am #1392273
Sorta giving the trip an AT flair? This extends the possibilities of getting a decent martini and dessert on the journey to no end. :-)>Jun 14, 2007 at 7:39 am #1392275
I am a backpacker. There is no question about this. I've had seasons where I managed to sleep outside for a hundred nights. But you know what? I also really like bacon cheeseburgers. If I can combine a long distance hike with the occasional burger and beer then I'll take it!Jun 14, 2007 at 9:04 am #1392279
I agree with Sam
cheeseburgers are my favorite Binge food before/ after, and of course during long trips :PJun 14, 2007 at 9:48 am #1392282
Well, when you cross the Chuckanaut Ridge (I cannot bring myself to say "mountain") and you head to Fidalgo and Whidbey Island….you'll have lots of good burgers to chooses from.
I lived on Whidbey for around 13 years, until I moved to the main land a couple years back. There is a tiny campsite at Fort Ebey State Park next to a kettle (glacier hole that is a lake now) that is reserved for hikers, and is on the other side of the park from the camping area. The park itself is gorgeous and you can see the Olympic Mountains from the bluff, and you are so close to them!
The town of Coupeville on Whidbey is a great place to stop as well. I worked in that town for 8 years. It is near the ferry.
So I am wondering: When you cross the ferry to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula does the trail have you walking the Olympic Discovery Trail now? The work they have done on it has been amazing in the past 5 years. Not sure if you are going into Sequim or not, but if you do check out the http://www.olympicmunch.com/ They have a bakery in Sequim!Jul 5, 2007 at 9:58 am #1394441
Below is the message I've sent out to my friends and family regarding what's going on with me.
Firstly, my apologies if this arrives in your inbox twice as I'd
rather you got this twice than not at all. Secondly, many of you
haven't heard from me in months or years so read on to find out what
I'm up to nowadays. For those of you who are in-the-know, read on as
you're probably interested in hearing how things are going.
On Thursday, June 21st I set off from Chief Mountain Ranger Station at
Glacier National Park, embarking on the 1200 mile Pacific Northwest
Trail ( http://pnt.org ). At that time all my research and planning
was put behind me and it was time to walk. I'm am currently one day
ahead of schedule but will more than likely end behind schedule as I
come across an interesting place or two to stop and spend a day. I
plan to be done hiking sometime after August 24th.
As of today, July 5th, 2007 I have reached the small town of Bonner's
Ferry, Idaho approximately 225 miles from where I started. I have
been averaging roughly 18 or 19 miles of hiking per day. Primarily I
hike on hiking trails, secondly, Forest Service logging roads and
thirdly (but rarely fortunately) asphalt highways.
The gear I've chosen to carry with me was all selected (and some
handmade by my girlfriend and I) for both it's durability and
lightweight. Thusfar I am quite happy with my choices in gear as all
is holding up well and not weighing me down. For those amongst you
whom consider yourselves gear heads, you can view my gear list at my
Web site ( http://samh.net/backpacking ).
I have mailed one memory card of digital pictures home and my brother
has kindly offered to put those up on my Web site for viewing.
Perhaps he will copy all the e-mail addresses to whom I've sent this
message and let you know when those are available for viewing.
I've seen very few people on the trails thusfar as Northwest Montana
(where I've spent 99% of my time) is not very populated. I get my
share of socializing however when I come down out of the mountains and
have to walk through a town to pick up another package of food from
the post office. Last night I even hiked a bit extra to get into town
to watch the Independance Day fireworks (and more importantly eat a
couple double cheeseburgers).
I won't be checking my e-mail again for quite some time so if your
comments can wait until after I've complete my journey it would be
most appreciated as my Internet time is limited at public libraries.
Although if you'd like to comment quickly I do like hearing how
everyone is doing. Feel free to reply to this message or use the
Contact Form on my Web site ( http://samh.net/backpacking )
To close I'll quote an individual whom I met one night camping, "Don't
live life – experience it."
Sam HaraldsonJul 9, 2007 at 8:18 pm #1394908
Way to go,your making great progress! I can't wait to hear all about your PNT hike when you get back. Enjoy experiencing life! Keep up the great pace. Love, Love Sarah and Maya
PS: How's the homemade gear holding up?Jul 11, 2007 at 1:18 pm #1395096
Set one of Sam's PNT thru hike. Take a peek they're great.Jul 11, 2007 at 1:57 pm #1395099
John S.BPL Member
Great photos. Sarah, what kind of camera is he using? I need to track down his gearlist again and check it out.Jul 12, 2007 at 1:17 pm #1395186
Day twenty-two on the Pacific Northwest Trail ( http://pnt.org ).
I've been averaging somewhere near twenty miles per day. My shortest
day was thirteen miles and my longest was thirty-seven.
It's only rained on me once so I'm awaiting some kind of torrential
downpour. It would be a welcome respite from the temps which have
topped 105 deg. F. Early morning hiking has been a necessity to keep
cool and I've been consuming upwards of two gallons of water a day.
The snow that plagued my weary ankles in the high country of Western
Montana and into Idaho is gone in all but the smallest little patches
now. With the disappearance of the snow will also come the
disappearance of some of the small snow-melt creeks which made
stocking up on water so easy. I'll have to pay close attention to
"tanking up" with water when the chance arises and have made notes in
my trail guides as to where the best water resources are in the
I'm now in the sere brown hills of Eastern Washington which albeit not
the tremendous peaks and valleys of Montana's Rocky Mountains or
Idaho's Selkirks still hold their own in elevation gain/loss
(especially compared with my homeland of Minnesota). The area I am
about to embark into is not as highly developed from a recreational
standpoint so more of my immediate travels will be on Forest Service
roads than on trails. The roads provide good grade and level walking
and typically are closed to vehicular traffic so they still provide
for quality walking.
I've seen some diverse landscapes, from the rocky balds and snow
packed heights of Boulder Pass in Glacier National Park to the old
growth cedar forests, complete with trees in excess of eight feet in
diameter of the Salmo Priest Wilderness. Next is the drier hills of
Easter Washington's Kettle Crest with the deep canyons of the Paysaten
Wilderness and the lush expanses of North Cascades National Park to
follow. Alas, I get ahead of myself. I've much country to explore in
Colville and Okanagan National Forests first and you'll hear from me
again mid-exploration of those lands.
Tomorrow morning I set off with eight days of food in search of
Bonaparte Lake Resort (NE of Tonasket, WA) where I'll pick up three
more days supplies for a quick jaunt up to Oroville, WA. From
Oroville I expect to make my next correspondence with the world.
Until then I bid you adieu.
Sam HaraldsonJul 12, 2007 at 1:20 pm #1395187
John, I'm using a Canon Powershot SD400 point and shoot. The photos were then run through some basic Photoshop-ing by brother and then put online. You can view my pre-trip gearlist at samh.net/backpacking. It's changed a little bit but is mostly accurate.
Sarah, my (and your) homemade gear is holding up wonderfully!Jul 12, 2007 at 1:46 pm #1395190
thanks for the updates sam
im dying to do another long trip myself after reading this
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