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Soloing the Sawtooths

Soloing the Sawtooths

After my friends had departed back to Portland, I set out back into the Wilderness alone. Hiking alone sounds antisocial, but for me it’s an opportunity for introspection and examination of my connections with others at a distance. As they say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case, but it’s certainly possible to realise or remember how much people mean to me when I’m alone. Alone in the mountains, anyway. It’s also about being…

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Volcanoes in Guatemala

Volcanoes in Guatemala

Being in a new place can be an intense experience. This is more likely when it represents a marked departure from the things and people I’m accustomed to encountering day to day. Guatemala has provided plenty of opportunities for new sensations. The place that I’m staying is palatial, with a balcony on each floor looking out towards the volcanoes that lie south of Guatemala City. It has an avocado tree in the yard, and hummingbirds that frequent the bright flowers…

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Paying a visit to the gods of old

Paying a visit to the gods of old

Don’t you love friends who greet you not with “Hello” but with “Let’s go on an adventure!” whilst unconcealed excitement sparkles in their eyes? I do. So when my friend Alkis suggested flying to Greece for the weekend to climb Mount Olympus, I didn’t have to think long – I’d booked flights before I’d asked for the time off work. According to the ancient tales, Mount Olympus is the home to the Twelve Olympians, the major gods of the Greek…

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Day 150: Journey’s End

Day 150: Journey’s End

Only 11 miles to the border this morning. I spent a good amount of time during those miles imagining various injury scenarios. I’ve heard of someone falling and breaking their ankle 6 miles from the border. Perhaps I could still hike with injured arms or a broken face? Or maybe crawl along with injured feet? Other hikers will help, surely? Thankfully none of my scenarios played out, and my contingency plans were not required. We passed Foxtrot heading southbound early…

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Day 149: Almost There

Day 149: Almost There

Almost immediately out of the campsite the trail narrowed back to a ribbon along the steep side of the mountain. We met a deer eager to avoid the rocks and gradient and using the trail to find breakfast. He was entirely unfazed by hikers, continuing to munch on the trees as we approached. It took a few yards of following him down the trail before he took the high road and started picking his way up the slope. Early on…

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Day 148: Old Friends

Day 148: Old Friends

It was cold this morning! Good job we had stayed at the trailhead where there was an outhouse to provide some shelter. Good job too that we were only part way up the hill and had a good climb first thing. As the trail emerged from the woods, frost and ice became visible on the plants and the grit. Nevertheless the sun was shining and the colours of the trees were vibrant. In this section there are the usual evergreen…

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Day 147: North Cascades to Rainy Pass

Day 147: North Cascades to Rainy Pass

We got a relatively early start when Bethany shuttled us to High Bridge along with Gypsy. The trail was well-trodden through the forest first thing, and made its way gradually uphill all the way to Rainy Pass almost 20 miles away. It was a good way for Chug to get back into hiking after a week – a fairly gentle trail with little in the way of mud and rocks. The weather was perfect for hiking too, warm in the…

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Day 146: Hanging Out at the Ranch

Day 146: Hanging Out at the Ranch

Today was a zero day for me – I’d arrived at High Bridge more than a day earlier than I’d expected and Chug wasn’t arriving on the ferry from Chelan until around lunchtime today. I made the most of the great food at the ranch, and hung around in the upstairs common room doing a jigsaw puzzle and reading some of the books they had there. When Chug arrived, we planned to take a trip to the bakery. The ranch…

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Day 145: A Scamper to High Bridge

Day 145: A Scamper to High Bridge

I awoke to rain and delayed getting out of the tent as long as possible. I knew I had only 9.4 miles to get to the High Bridge ranger station where I could take a bus into Stehekin and wasn’t in any particular rush to get hiking in the rain. However it wasn’t letting up and I packed up and got on the road in record time. I didn’t stop other than to check the distance a couple of times,…

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Day 144: Suiattle River and Cloudy Pass

Day 144: Suiattle River and Cloudy Pass

I was sitting with my coffee looking out at the sunrise over the distant mountains when I heard NightShip shouting at the top of his lungs the words “I’m shouting at the top of my lungs”. Question being, why on earth?? It’s 7:30am and you’re destroying the serenity of the wilderness already. Gah. Rebo’s group is bugging me. The trail was fairly easy this morning, tracking 8 miles downhill to the Suiattle River. The old PCT heads over the river…

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