I wasn’t able to complete my entire Appalachian Trail thru-hike, nor was I able to complete my Pacific Crest Trail / John Muir Trail hike, however I somehow managed to log over 10,000 miles traveled in only 24 days. This is not quite the goal that I was looking to accomplish, but I realized that July turned out to be nonetheless an adventure.
After my broken foot was healed from my AT thru-hike attempt, I decided to venture out west to hike a portion of the PCT and JMT. I boarded an airplane on July 6th to embark on this new endeavor, flying a total of almost 2,500 miles. After landing, I needed to drive an additional 180 miles to the town of Ridgecrest, California in order to be able to catch a ride to the trail itself. I hiked about 40 miles of the PCT through the beautiful wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. This trek was short-lived however, because I had to end the hike due to a co-hiker getting altitude sickness. This was just as well, because by the end of the short jaunt, my feet were causing me to be in agonizing pain again. I made my way back to Ridgecrest and shortly after, boarded a plane back to Newark, New Jersey. By this point, after going back and forth from airport to town to trail and back again, I logged almost 5,500 miles.
Returning home and feeling defeated, I decided that I would tag along with Joe on one of his business trips. I didn’t see any point in staying home and sulking so, on Friday, July 24th, I boarded another plane to head out to Portland, Oregon. I flew the 2,100 miles with the hope that I would feel a little better about cutting my PCT trip short by three weeks.
I took advantage of the location and visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), drove out to see the iconic Bridge of the Gods, and hiked part of the PCT that meanders along the base of Mount Hood. Altogether, this added another 236 miles to my journey.
OMSI was a typical museum, however because I appreciate such things, I enjoyed it completely. Many of the displays were geared toward children, however on exhibit for a limited time was a collection of objects and artifacts from ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’. Amongst the interesting examples of human feats and oddities was a giant portrait of Albert Einstein made completely of toast! Call me a nerd, but I find this stuff fascinating.
I couldn’t visit Portland without making a trip out to the Bridge of the Gods, a bridge that is part of the PCT that spans the Columbia River; necessary to traverse in order to complete a thru-hike of the PCT. It is a narrow steel bridge that does not have a pedestrian lane and since I was not feeling lucky that day, I did not actually walk across myself. Rather than take my life into my own hands and cross on foot by clinging closely to the guard rail while trying to avoid getting run over by traffic, I opted to drive over the bridge. (wimp)
Then, still trying to make the most of my trip, I drove out to Mount Hood in order hike part of the PCT there, free of cars and traffic. The beauty of the mountain is breathtaking and although this particular area is heavily traveled by tourists, hikers and locals trying to experience some wilderness, it was peaceful and serene.
Feeling satisfied with having hiked another section of the PCT and taking hundreds upon thousands of pictures, I headed back to Portland’s PDX airport to fly another 2,100 miles back home. After all was said and done, I traveled a total of 10,170 miles. Not too bad.