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#5727 - 07/04/10 02:40 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7828
Loc: Fresno, CA
Oh boy! More fun. I have received a Spot signal from Brett showing him on the Milk Creek trail, exiting the PCT. The signal came just three miles from a Sulphur Creek Campground site.

Being ever so curious, I contacted the USFS in the area, and found that the road to Sulphur Creek is closed about 10 miles downstream. And the footbridge across the Suiattle River there is gone -- washed out a year or more back. But the ranger I spoke to says "there may be a log bridge installed by trail crews who are working in the area". Of course it is a holiday weekend, so no crews will be there.

Char or Darren's mom: If you get any Spot signals, please call me: 559-281-5983

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#5728 - 07/04/10 07:35 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Wow, I've never seen this from the "nervous parent/family" point of view.

I, after reading this, would absolutely not carry a spot for use in the tracking mode. The thought that every time I went off the trail to relieve myself, that calls to rangers would be made, would DRIVE ME CRAZY! (I know that is not what happened here, but you know what I'm saying).

I'm thinking that activating it at camp each night, leaving it on for a couple of hours, would be it.

Remembering that the Spot can give erroneous information, and over the length of this trail most certainly will do that, the associated anxiety will be manifest.

Wow.

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#5730 - 07/04/10 07:46 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Ken]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
From the PCT_L, this is from a trail angel:

"We should have about 10 SOBO hikers here in a couple of days. I will post
any problems they may have had. Also first hand snow conditions between
Manning Park and Steven's Pass.

PCT MOM"

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#5732 - 07/04/10 09:21 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
Char Marshall Offline


Registered: 06/29/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Cupertio CA
We received spot signals on July 2 and 3 and a phone call from her in Stehekin.
I don't yet have a way to share them, as they are just going to our emails and if we are going to share them at all, we need to get the ESN number from her spot device.
I can probably post them with old fashioned cut and paste into entries in this conversation thread.

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#5733 - 07/04/10 09:25 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Ken]
Char Marshall Offline


Registered: 06/29/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Cupertio CA
Really interesting. Seems like the priorities are a little messed up. I wonder how many bad guys are going to come into the US via the PCT?

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#5734 - 07/04/10 09:28 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Ken]
Char Marshall Offline


Registered: 06/29/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Cupertio CA
Ken I don't understand your comment. The spots are fabulous. Are you a parent? We only asked Adrienne for one per day; that way we know that she's making progress. period.

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#5735 - 07/04/10 10:25 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Char Marshall]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Char, skipping over your comment about my status as a parent, I am commenting on the basis of my status as a hiker.

We have all this drama, based upon these spot messages. Calls to rangers, when no help has been requested, for example. This would drive me nuts, if it were done on my behalf, and I think most backpackers would feel the same (although maybe not).

I don't know whether you are a backpacker and have that perspective, or not. However, if you had the same technology in your car, and you found that every time you pulled off the interstate to get gas, your family called the gas station to make sure that you were ok, you would have an idea of what I'm talking about.

Many, many of us who backpack, do so for the ability to GET AWAY from civilization. I know a number of backpackers who strongly resist the spot technology, as they don't want to be connected, and especially do not like the idea of someone, anyone, watching their progress. I hear the word "creepy". The most common thing I hear about the attraction of backpacking is "solitude", one of the primary characteristic attributes of wilderness.

However, don't mistake my commentary based upon my own experiences as a suggestion as to what others do. It's simply a perspective.

You've obviously had the conversation with your loved one. I have no doubt that you'd have her, as would most rational non-backpackers, prefer to have her carry a sat phone and call in hourly. Who wouldn't? I probably would, too.

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#5736 - 07/05/10 12:09 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
StefanieG Offline


Registered: 06/30/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Washington
Happy 4th of July from Whidbey Island, Washington! Talked to Brett tonight. Sounds like they are having a rough go at it with the snow and other similar issues (streams/rivers ect). They are waiting on more information on the conditions of the trail up to Skykomish and Steven's Pass. Waiting to hear from him in the morning regarding whether to pick him up so he can come to our place and hang out for a few days until he can figure out more information on the trail. Sounds like the group may be splitting up at this point... possibly dropping the others off at a bus stop so they can travel further South to Oregon and continue the trail from there. My view on this is that Brett doesn't want to skip any portion of the trail so he is going to ride it out in hopes that conditions will improve!
Stefanie

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#5737 - 07/05/10 12:26 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Ken]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7828
Loc: Fresno, CA
Well, here's the update.

The four hikers (this time Brett, Darren, Adrienne and a new guy named Nick) all left the PCT trail this morning. Spyder is still up there, got behind a day or two back, and preferred to hike on her own.

Conditions at the PCT crossing the Suiattle river: there are TWO logs to cross, so no problem there. But after that, the trail is littered with blow-downs -- trees that have fallen across the trail. Brett says some were monsters.

Conditions at the pass this morning: rain and white-out. No trail, since snow is still deep up there. I suppose if they had sat it out, tomorrow might have been a better day. Rangers reported it was raining today, but tomorrow the weather changes to clear and warm.

Their map showed a trail heading down Milk Creek, with a note in the margin about a campground in two miles -- the one that is closed and inaccessible. But they did not know that. They proceeded down the Milk Creek trail, with difficult bushwhacking and many blow-downs. It has not been maintained since 2003, and everything grows fast in a rainy forest.

They finally got down to the Suiattle River, and saw the mangled remains of the washed out bridge down stream. And no log crossing. After sitting for some time, contemplating camping at that spot, Brett suggested one go upstream and another go down for 30 minutes, then return. He fortunately found a log crossing at the 30-minute point (only half a mile due to thick bush-whacking). So he returned and the group then went up and crossed the river. Heading down the road (I don't know how far), they encountered a ranger in his vehicle.

Apparently my phone inquiry to the Verlot Public Service Center (USFS) raised enough interest that they let the officer know, and he was concerned enough to head up that road. He found them, picked them up, and radioed in that he was bringing them down. I got a call about 8 PM from the Forest Service letting me know they were ok. Several hours later, they were at a motel ordering pizza and making phone calls.

I'll learn more of their plans tomorrow, but I think the group may be heading in different directions. Several may head south to Oregon and hike from there. Brett's knee is still sore, so he mentioned maybe resting a few days.

As for being a "nervous" parent... I really don't think I am nervous, except in these situations where they are walking toward no-bridge river crossings and roads with no public access for over 10 miles. And in these situations, I'd say I was more concerned than nervous. And being concerned, I'll do all I can to find out what their options might be.

And my being concerned was met with matching concern from the people in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. So I don't think it was unwarranted. I did not ask the the Forest Service to send someone up that road. Apparently they felt it was unusual and serious enough to spend some time checking up. And I am quite thankful for that.

And Brett passed along thanks from his fellow hikers to me, as well.

Ken, I think I am more of a "support crew" member. While they are on the trail, there's nothing I can or need to do. But watching and seeing something unusual gives me the opportunity to get to work and help if help might be needed. I think my providing information to forest service beats trail crew members being mistaken for pot growers.

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#5738 - 07/05/10 01:19 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Ken]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Not to belabor this aspect of the thread topic (I do not want to detract from the adventure) but I wanted to say that I have my foot in both camps, here, when it comes to the SPOT. I absolutely HATED answering for "delays" "diversions" "excessive circling"(bushwacking)etc., when it came to the damned device, itself. However, in the end, I shrugged and concluded that complaining about the fact that I had family, friends, co-workers, shul-buddies, a boyfriend...and a little dog, who all loved and missed me when I was on the trail was not the worst thing that life was going to toss my way.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#5739 - 07/05/10 02:07 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7828
Loc: Fresno, CA
Brett sent along these messages from his phone:

6/29-30
The last two days were very hectic. I hiked to Rainy Pass with "Team America" our group (Emma(Spider), Darren Adrienne(la machine), and me(Altimeter Man or Alti)). I earned my name through liberal use of gps altimeter readings and map skills to navigate snow covered trail. At Rainy pass our group split while some hiked on and I had to hitch to Winthrop Wa for a resupply. I spent the night at our ride (steve's) house. Steve drove us to resupply and let us stay at his place. Very nice guy and amazing place. Today hitched back to with a cool youth pastor to Rainy and hiked to Steheken 20 miles in 7 hours. Crazy! Had an amazing dinner and shared some beers with Team America. This is a great group of people! First TOUGH leg down.



7/1- had a great "nero-day" or near zero mile hike day in Stehekin. Washed clothes and took a shower before heading over to the bakery where I bought a huge sticky bun and had many cups of coffee. Took a nice nap on the lawn in front of the bakery. At 2pm we took the shuttle to the trailhead and began hiking south on the Agnew creek PCT trail. Camped by a loud creek. Saw a tan colored bear while on the bus today. Also saw a two cubs run up a tree next to the trail then saw momma who moved off the trail so we could pass. She started huffing to let us know we needed to get moving. Very cool!


7/2- hiked 19 miles to a campsite south of the Suiattle River. The river crossing was sketchy due to washed out bridge. I had a tough afternoon but met a new soboer named Nate. Spider is somewhere behind us. Long day
Steve C Edit: Actually there were two logs to cross the river at the PCT point. Crossing the Suiattle river two days later at the Sulpher Creek campground (Closed!) was hairy -- they bushwhacked 1/2 mile upstream before finding a log.


7/3 Today was the worst hiking I have ever experienced! The day started out ok walking through an old growth forest with gigantic trees ...except that half of the trees were laying across the trail. We climbed over and under about 200 dead fall on trail that has not been maintained in 8 years. All bridges were out as well. Then we hiked to a pass that was socked with white out conditions. Couldn't see 50 feet. Got lost, relied solely on GPS but ran into cliffs so had to slide down steep avalanche chutes. Slid too far then found the trail after climbing back up. Went 2 miles in 5 hours. Hiking out tomorrow on better trail and plan to hitch south.


7/4-Independence Day! Hiked out of the Glacier Peak wilderness with 3 others today. The hike out was just as hard as staying in. The trail out Milk Creek to road 26 had not been maintained in 8 years best described as Dr. Suess' Worst Nightmare -- total hell! Bush whacking and crossing bridgeless rivers. Sheriff Greg met us at the trailhead and drove us to a hotel. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Planning on checking snow conditions south of here and take a day off.


Edited by Steve C (07/05/10 11:24 AM)

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#5740 - 07/05/10 05:16 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Steve, I was wondering why Brett chose to do the SOBO hike instead of the NOBO? I know there are pros and cons both ways, and he's definitely dealing with one of the major cons of SOBO right now. Just curious.

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#5741 - 07/05/10 06:54 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Ken]
Char Marshall Offline


Registered: 06/29/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Cupertio CA
It comes down to using the devices appropriately and within the wishes of the backpacker.

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#5742 - 07/05/10 09:27 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Char Marshall]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 370
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: Char Marshall
It comes down to using the devices appropriately and within the wishes of the backpacker.


I think that nails it down pretty well. My wife and family follow along via tracking mode, but understand that no matter what, they aren't going to be able to do anything. My OK message means "Running on Schedule" and my HELP message means "Running Behind". That's it. Either I'm on time or I'm not. Once I head out on a trip I am going to get myself out of a jam or if it's life threatening, I'll hit the 911 button. Life threatening. To me that means if I ever want to see my family again before we all join up in the heavens, I better press the button. Hasn't happened yet, I hope it never does.

When I get stuck out longer than I planed everyone knows because I have briefed them where I expect to be at what time (usually on big trips - not 15-18 hour day hikes). My wife knows that if I were to get caught out late enough to call my boss and let him know I'm stuck in the woods, but it's not life threatening.

That's how we do it here - other folks have their own system. I always hike as if the SPOT weren't there - I don't try to overload my limited skill set because I have a mommy button. You won't ever hear of DUG calling 911 because the water is salty. smile................................DUG


Edited by DUG (07/05/10 12:55 PM)

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#5744 - 07/05/10 10:09 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: DUG]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: DUG
You won't ever hear of DUG calling 911 because the water is salty. smile................................DUG


And even it was, you Navy guys are OK with it . . .

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#5745 - 07/05/10 10:21 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: DUG]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7828
Loc: Fresno, CA
I followed up this morning with a call to the Verlot Public Service Station to tell them thanks. David at the station was very happy to hear they hikers had gotten out ok, and he also agreed Sheriff Greg is a really nice guy. Greg had driven hours up the road, then took the hikers out of his way to find a cheap motel.

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#5746 - 07/05/10 10:41 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
DrCosner Offline


Registered: 06/30/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Got a call from Brett at 1 am my time, but I was still awake. So glad to hear his voice. I like seeing the SPOT points move on the map, but I'm glad my father-in-law Steve knows how to tell if they are on the trail or not, thanks! I love you!
_________________________
For Brett: Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
John Muir

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#5747 - 07/05/10 10:51 AM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
DrCosner Offline


Registered: 06/30/10
Posts: 0
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Just got another call smile Brett says the same nice police/ranger man is taking them to Skykomish, WA to stay at a trail angels house for 2 days, his knee needs a rest. He wasn't sure if they would have cell service there, but phone cards should work. They will let us know one way or another if they are skipping ahead or going back up.
_________________________
For Brett: Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
John Muir

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#5757 - 07/05/10 09:57 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: DrCosner]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7828
Loc: Fresno, CA
I am watching the mail for Brett's camera chip. Once I get it, I'll post the pictures.

In the meantime, Brett and friends are at trail angel Andrea Dinsmore's place in Skykomish, where they are likely spending several nights.

Darren has posted the following on the PCT-l. (I've tried to post several messages on that list, but nothing shows up!)

Darren's report (link here)
Quote:
Sobo trip report. Manning to Dinsmores.

Hello PCT-l. We four hikers just arrived at the Dinsmores. Three of us left Manning on June 25 with four others who we believe are now off the trail. The trail has been snow covered from about 4800 feet creating many miles of dangerous snow travel. Rock Pass was quite memorable as we scaled 70 - 80 degree snow slopes with ice axe and Tennis shoes to summit a cornice covered ridge What a joy to make it to the top!!!
I would not recommend SOBO hikers start until the snow melts further unless you have mountaineering experience. To put it bluntly; we all experienced multiple moments of fearing for our lives We spend more time kicking steps in the snow than we did hiking on actual trail in this section We experienced a few sections of trail washed out by avalanche, leaving a trail only a few inches wide on which to traverse over a several hundred foot drop.

South of Stehekin the trail was snow bound over about 5000 feet. We experienced whiteout conditions as the fog rolled-in after which it took us over 4 hours to go a mile even with a GPS. At Milk Creek there is a detour that appeared to go a crossing but we never went that way to verify. There is no bridge or log at the milk creek / official pct crossing. The log is in place at the Suiattle river crossing. Nice log for scooting or walking for the adventurous. At milk creek we hiked trail 790 to the road 26 bailout. Due to the continued fog we felt it was too dangerous to continue over the snow bound passes.

We are now at the Dinsmores trying to decide where to hike next. Most likely we will continue south. The trail is still snow bound but the weather is improving. More later...... Feel free to email me within the next day with any trail condition questions. I will post photos tomorrow.

Darren "Steps"


Sent from the astral plane.

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#5758 - 07/05/10 10:27 PM Re: Brett's PCT Adventure [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7828
Loc: Fresno, CA
Brett posted this on Facebook:

Quote:
We'll folks I made it to the Dinsmores, a couple who support hikers in Washington. Yesterday my group hiked out of the Glacier Peak Wilderness on a closed and unmaintained trail climbing over many downed logs and washed out trail to get to civilization after wandering around in white out conditions for 5 hours lost. Used the GPS to find our way, but had to bushwhack and climb down 60-80% grade avalanche slopes on our way out. A bit more than I had expected. This was supposed to be hiking not mountaineering but it is still fun. Going to take the day off tomorrow and recover before heading out again. Thanks dad for following my SPOT messenger and alerting authorities. The Sheriff showed up just before dark and saved us a 20 mile road walk into town. I loved it when he pulled up and on his loud speaker he said "are you Brett?"!


And his latest picture:

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