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Summer 2004: The Journey continues...

Update 7/27/4

As you may have surmised, Darrell has been delayed in his departure.  (The good news is that the delay centers around his new god-grandson!  Hayden Robert Haynes was born on July 17th, and Darrell just had to fly up to Oregon to welcome him to the world!)  This delay is not too bad, though.  He had hoped to be on the trail today.  Instead it looks like he'll be starting on Friday.  That's the 30th.  Just a few days off of his original plan.  As I write this, he's in his truck, driving to Medford, Oregon.  He'll leave the truck with his dear friend Meghan so that we have a vehicle to drive home in October.  From there he'll take a bus to Mojave, and then another bus towards Kennedy Meadows, where he'll rejoin the PCT.  I'll be sure to post here when he's back on the trail.

walkAdjusted Departure DateJuly 30th, 2004He's at it again!  Having completed the 1st 700 miles of the PCT this spring, Darrell will resume his walk in late July.  He hopes to complete 1,000 miles to the border of California and Oregon by early October.  A looonnnngggg time!Betsy plans to meet up with him in Yosemite National Park.  There they'll spend 2 or 3 nights and enjoy some fishing and hiking together.  Then, in October, she'll take a train from little ol' Lamy, New Mexico to Oregon (a 50 hour trip...!) so that she can be there to welcome him at the end of this section of his journey!Darrell hopes to call Betsy with news of his trip each week or so.  News of his progress will be posted here.  There will be Update links in the menu at the left side of the screen that you can use to keep informed of his adventure.

As always, we thank you for your love and support.


Update 7/30/4 -- He's on the trail...

Well, after a long drive and multiple bus rides, Darrell is back where he left off. He called me today from the general store at Kennedy Meadows. That's about 1.5 miles from the campground where he'll pick up the PCT again. It's been a real push for him to get there, but I could hear great relief in his voice as we spoke tonight. I don't expect that he'll be able to put in a lot of miles tonight, just enough to really know that, yes, he's back... His first resupply stop will be in the town of Independence, CA. He'll call and give me the news of this first segment. That should be in about a week. I'll post another update then. So now we say our prayers and keep him in our thoughts!

Update 8/6/4 -- Independence, CA.

Hi everybody-I got a call from Darrell on Friday night, August 6th.  He had arrived safely at his first resupply town, Independence, CA.  He's really in the mountains now, climbing thousands of feet and then descending again each day.  He climbed Mt. Whitney (14,494 feet of altitude) this week as he did a portion of the John Muir Trail. (The JM trail and the Pacific Crest Trail sort of join together for a while and then split again.)  It was a 4,000 foot ascent over 10 miles!  Then he had to descend about that much to rejoin the PCT trail.  The next day he climbed Forester Pass, which is 13,200 feet of altitude.  He's high up there.  He loves the views and says that his breath is taken away from the beauty on a daily basis.  He feels that his legs are in good shape now.  This first week has been hard, but he feels that it helped whip him into shape for the rest of the Sierras.  He's been doing about 16 miles each day.On August 17th, he will arrive in Tuolumne meadows in Yosemite National Park.  I'll be there waiting for him!  Can't wait to see him and enjoy a few days in the park with him.  Darrell and I are very familiar with Yellowstone, as many of you know.  We have visited that park often and know it well.  But this will be our first time in together in Yosemite.  I've never been to it at all, so I look forward to discovering it with Darrell.  Then we'll say goodbye - again - and he'll resume his trek.

His next stop is at Vermillion Valley Resort, a very lovely remote get-away in the high Sierras.  I'll hopefully get some news from him at that point that I can post here.

Update August 23rd

Hi everyone-Well, I'm back from seeing Darrell in Yosemite.  We spent 4 days together.  Darrell looks GREAT.  He is tired, though, so we rested a lot.  We did no serious hiking, no fishing, not even any camping.  I'd rented a "tent cabin" and Darrell thoroughly enjoyed having a bed to sleep on and showers at hand!  We spent a lot of time in Yosemite Valley and also around Tuolumne Meadows.His trek is proceeding well.  He's been completing 16 miles each day so far, and plans to increase to 17 miles per day from here on out.  "Through hikers" who complete the entire PCT in a single year often must hike 20 or more miles each day.  Darrell is glad that he is giving himself two years to complete the entire length, so that he can enjoy the scenery as he goes!  Still, 17 miles a day in this terrain is a lot.He has not been bothered by bears, even though there have been reports in some PCT stretches of bear/human incidents.  Darrell is very "bear aware" and understands how to hike and be in the wilderness without attracting bear attention.He has not been troubled much by rain... yet.  There has been some, but he's been in his tent when it has come and he's been untroubled by it.  However, there was TORRENTIAL rain the day before I left him, and the weather reports seem to indicate that the northwest is getting soaked.  I don't know if it is down as far as Calfornia, but it might be.  That will certainly make his steep ascents and descents more difficult.  Keep your fingers crossed.He loves these mountains.  Certainly he feels more at home here than he did in the desert portion.  However, he is also really feeling the challenge of all these peaks.  Happily, his feet are not as sore as they had been.  One toe is troubling him a little, but after four days of rest he declared that it felt a lot better and he was encouraged.This first stretch that he is currently hiking is the longest between resupplies that he has experienced.  He carried 9 days of food out onto the trail.  He's not done that before.  I know that he'll count each meal as he eats it and lightens the load!  His next stop will be at South Lake Tahoe.  I expect to hear from him on Sunday the 29th.  I'll be sure to post any news at that time.

He gave me a memory chip from his camera with some more great pictures.  I'm in the process of copying them to my PC and reducing their file size so that I can upload them to this website.  I'm hoping that will be done by tomorrow or the next day, so keep checking!!

Update: September 1st

Wednesday, September 1stHi  everybody!map
Well, Darrell is making great time.  He called me on Sunday from South Lake Tahoe.  When he left Yosemite, he had decided to pick up his pace and hike 17 miles each day.  He is going even faster than that some days, and he was able to get into this week's destination a littler earlier in the day than he expected.  He wanted me to be sure to let you all know that he's very proud of the shape he's in.  He says he's reached his "good fighting weight"!  I can attest to the fact that he LOOKS FABULOUS.He had quite an adventure during this past stretch.  When he was just past Sonora Pass, he spent the night on a high ridge.  A storm kicked up that night, blew down his tent.  He told me that the wind was so strong he felt as though he was going to be blown off the ridge himself.  He was actually afraid that his pack would be blown away.  When the morning came, he'd only lost part of his sleeping pad.   (He is using a 3/4 length sleeping pad, and we'd made an extentsion for it to accommodate his feet.)  Other than this wind storm, he's only had rain one day, and it passed pretty quickly.  I'm really glad to hear that. I can't imagine doing the ascents and descents that he faces when it's slippery and wet.He reports that the terrain has shifted fromo Glacial to Volcanic and that he expects it to stay that way until he reaches the Dunsmuir area.  That's about 4 weeks away at this point.  His boots have about had it.  I've ordered him another pair, which I will hopefully have in time to ship to Dunsmuir.  He'll need 'em by then!The trail reached 10,000 feet last week.  It's a good thing we live at a high altitude, so that he's acclimatized to hiking at these heights.  The image that I've inserted in this update shows an altitude profile of what Darrell will be hiking this week, measured in feet by the thousand.  Echo Pass is near where he spent Sunday and Monday night.  His next stop is Sierra City.  This gives a great insight into the climbing and descending he faces each day.  (As with the maps, I give image/profile credit here to Ken Roberts.  This profile is from his Pacific Crest Trail "A photographic Topographic Journey" CD set.)  It's exhausting just to think about it!There's a new photo of Darrell in the photo section that was sent to me by some fellow hikers, so be sure to go have a look.  I've also confirmed the correct guess for the 2nd mystery photo, too, so don't miss that either.

Bye for now!

Update: September 18th
(Sorry everyone -- I lost the entry for September 6th...)

BurneyDarrell called me from Burney Falls .  He's been hiking 25 miles a day now.  He's just getting stronger and stronger.  Tired?  Sure, but his endurance is amazing. As he was hiking this past stretch he was going over his hiking experience in his mind and remembered that he took his very first backpacking trip 30 years ago today!  He was travelling to California on his way to attend the College of the Redwoods at the time.  He stopped in Colorado and did a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park .  It was also a solo trip -- a hint of things to come! (As always, map/image credit goes to Ken Brown and his "Pacific Crest Trail CD-Rom: A Photographic and Topographic Journey") Darrell is hanging his food in trees now, instead of using the bear cannister.  He's in an area where good trees with strong limbs are not hard to find.  He mailed the cannister home to me - 2.5 lbs less weight to carry.  That's a LOT for someone who counts every quarter ounce...  He said that he's out of the more serious bear territory, although he doesn't assume that there are no bears.  Mostly he's hanging his food to discourage the vermin from helping themselves.  They are, apparently, abundant! He'll hike from Burney Falls to Dunsmuir in the next few days.  He expects to get to Dunsmuir by Wednesday, when he'll call me again.  He still faces the poison oak this week, so keep him in your thoughts!


September  23rd:DGatHere's a photo of that lean machine!  He'd gotten a buzz cut to his hair.  Much more comfortable and less fuss on the trail, for sure.Darrell woke up to snow one morning on this leg of the hike. It was gone by mid-day, but surely signs of the changing season.He called me from Dunsmuir, CA.  He is progressing exactly as he has calculated.  He's hiking easily 20+ miles each day now.  In doing that he is ahead of his schedule, so the last day of each segment he only has 14 or fewer miles.  That's a walk in the park to him now.In the next town, Seaid Valley, CA, there is a restaurant that offers a "pancake challenge".  Five 12-ounce pancakes in a single sitting.  Apparently only 7 hikers have managed to eat all five in the 19 years that this restaurant has offered the challenge.  The prize?  Not sure, maybe he doesn't have to pay for them.  But facing the pancake challenge is a sort of rite of passage for PCT through hikers.  Darrell has been dreaming about them for weeks now.  Let's keep him in our thoughts and hope that he doesn't make himself sick!  Yikes!  That's 60 ounces of pancake...!In the latest two batches of photos that Darrell has sent me, I've noticed that he has photographed lots of pictures of bridges.  They are really lovely images, and I've added them to the photo page.  Be sure to go check 'em out.EtnaSeptember  29th:Darrell is now in Etna, CA.  He arrived there yesterday and allowed himself a zero day today.  He needed it.  When we spoke he told me that he has experienced the most sudden and worrisome pain in his leg that he has felt in the entire trip.  It is probably a shin splint and he says it's really excruciating.  While he was on the trail, he used some tape that his physical therapist had given him to wrap it, and took Ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and reduce the discomfort.  Apparently, it hurts the most on the downhill grades.  Today he went for a massage and he said that it's a little better.  Let's all hope that it doesn't get worse on this last stretch.  He has just 121 miles to go!He also got sick while he was on the trail this time, too.  He told me that he found an apple tree and ate some of the apples from the tree.  One day they were fine, but eating one the next day he got pretty ill.  Hmmm.  Time for him to take a break, I'd say...  Happily he will very soon!From Etna, he'll cross the Marble Mtns into Seiad Valley.  Pancakes here he comes!Here you can see how close he is to Oregon.  We will meet where the PCT crosses I-5, just above the border.  On this map, the PCT is shown in red dots until it is in Oregon, where the dots turn black.  You can see I-5 coming up from Yreka.  Once Darrell crosses the border into Oregon, he'll hike in an easterly direction for a bit and then cross the highway.  Fortunately, he'll cross it right at an exit.  That's where we'll meet.  Needless to say, we are both very excited.(As always, map/image credit goes to Ken Brown and his "Pacific Crest Trail CD-Rom: A Photographic and Topographic Journey")This will be my last update for a while.  If I can get access to the Internet during my trip to meet Darrell, I'll make an entry to let you all know how things are going, but it is possible that I might not be able to write any more until we are home.Thank you ALL for staying with us and sharing your support and interest.  It has meant the world to Darrell when I print out the guestbook and send it to him.  Or when he's had access to the Internet and been able to read it himself.

Bye for now!

End of the 2004 trail: Ashland, OR !!

Hi folks!Sorry for the long delay in posting this end-of-hiking update.  Darrell and I have been on the road, and once back at home, we've been playing catch-up with our emails, voice mails, snail mails, and work.jubilantHere's a pic of Darrell on October 6th.  I met him at the point where the PCT crosses under I-5, just south of Ashland, OR.  There's one jubliant dude, proud of his accomplishment to be sure!  He gave a riotous and wonderful "end zone dance" when he crossed this year's finish line.  1,700 miles in 4.5 months.  Not bad.  And you should see him, he's trim and fit, but not skinny.  In great shape.  Look at those legs!We took our time coming home.  Visiting with friends in Oregon and California we allowed ourselves to relax and just enjoy being together again.  We truly meandered along the Oregon and northern Calfornian coastlines, enjoying the salt air and gazing in awe at the magnificent redwood trees.  We did a little camping, too.  Finally we headed home, arriving back in Santa Fe on the 17th.Soon Darrell will be off to Wyoming, to take a course hoping for certification as a Wilderness Medical Instructor with NOLS (the National Outdoor Leadership School, based on Lander, WY).  No flies on this guy!  We will keep you posted to his progress.  This website will stay up.

Thanks, again, for all your interest and support for these many months.  It has mattered, really!