It’s All Downhill From Here

…except for the uphills.

Our day started at 12:30 am.  That’s when we were rudely awoken by a large crash and dirt spraying against the tent.  We heard the sound of the titanium mug that we use to boil water bouncing off the ground and figured either a bear or cougar came into camp, knocked the mug, startled itself and took off.  So we went back to sleep.

Once daylight arrived, I looked out and saw the mug sitting right where we left it to dry.


Then I noticed a large branch right next to the tent that wasn’t there before.  It was broken in several pieces.  Further inspection showed that it landed pointy end down about three feet from where my head was in the tent.  The sound of dirt hitting the tent was just that, as my shoes had dirt and wood pieces in them.

A close call, but that’s life living in the forest.

The rest of the morning was spent continuing our climb into Lassen National Forest, climbing a steep mountain and hurdling trees downed in a storm last February. It took us all morning to get 6 miles.


After lunch we were rewarded with views of Mount Lassen.  Somehow I didn’t get any pictures.  Odd.

Day 104 – 22 / 1,313

A big day.  We crossed the historically recognized halfway point of the trail, although the monument is now located about 5 miles short of the now-known midpoint.

Shamelessly stealing an idea from a fellow hiker, we marked the calfway point.


Walking does a body good.

The rest of the day was full of beautiful forests and gentle climbs.  We were getting closer to the fabled flatter sections.

Flatter is relative.

Day 105 – 23 / 1,336

Early morning we came upon a fellow hiker that we had not met before.  We learned that his trail name is OMW, pronounced “ohm”, which is the acronym for “Old Man Walking”.

It turns out that OMW celebrated his 70th birthday this year by hiking the PCT.

Not only that, but he actually started three weeks after us and we were just now catching him. 

Go ahead, read that again.

Since the start he has taken only 4 days off, keeping a slow and steady pace.

A spry young man is OMW.

Soon after we were in Lassen Volcanic National Park, looking forward to seeing some of the geothermal features.

The first, Terminal geyser, was a disappointment to us, mainly because it didn’t live up to the hype that we had read about it.  That and the climb back out of the canyon that it sat in.

But Boiling Springs Lake did not disappoint. Jen saw her first-ever boiling mud pot and the colors were astounding.


That’s a lake full of sulfur, perhaps acidic.  That and the fact that there were boiling spots in the lake and fumeroles spewing steam and hot water was enough to keep us at a distance.

Instead we opted for a water stop at a more hospitable body of water.


Day 106 – 21 / 1,357

Please help us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource:


2 thoughts on “It’s All Downhill From Here”

  1. MT Lassen…over half way… Amazing daily miles… so impressed and more than a tad envious.

    Met a thru hiker a couple weeks ago on MT Ashland, Bambi Magnet from Finland. He was in a hurry to finish to meet his schedule to return home. 😃

    1. We are in awe of the foreign hikers who ate on tight time lines thanks to visa limitations. Almost all are having the time of their lives, even when they have to churn out big miles.

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