10 Reflections from the PCT

We spent 5 days on the PCT in Oregon. Here are some things that went through my brain grapes.

1. Whoa, that’s a lot of toilet paper (its everywhere...).
No one wants to see your toilet paper flowers (or tampons). If you must leave TP be sure to bury it 200 feet from the trail and water sources and 6-8 inches deep. And use it sparingly.

2. Rhododendron leaves make really good butt wipes.
They are wide, smooth and easy to identify. Also, they’re everywhere!

3. Holy crap ramen is delicious.

4. Wow, there so many more biting insects on the east coast, I love it here. Wait, are those horseflies?

5. I need new boots.

6. The best cure for blisters:
Soak feet in a freezing cold glacial stream, then dry in the smoke of a dying campfire. Then get new boots.

7.  Dromedaries are amazing: 
It is worth it to me to carry the extra weight of some kind of bag with a spout that I can hang from a tree and more or less have running water. It’s easy to wash hands, fill a cook pot etc.

8. Don’t be a jerk. Share your campsite.
We usually hike short days, 10-15 miles most days, so we arrive at camp pretty early. Most nights we were the first to arrive. We were met each night by frustrated thru hikers begging us to let them share our site because someone else- usually section hikers like us- had turned them away. The trails and sites belong to all of us. We are all tired and hungry and would probably love privacy, but be kind. You might meet some really interesting and awesome people. The relief on some of the faces when we responded with a simple “of course, no worries” said it all.

9. I have a plan, but I can be flexible.
We all know the importance of having a plan when backpacking but being flexible can lead to great things. We knew which sites we planned to hit each night, but sometimes those were full, we were tired sooner or we wanted to keep going. We knew the other sites in the area so we had options. We explored a campsite a little closer than we planned on one night and wound up with a private site right on a river. We got to see wildlife we otherwise would have missed because we were tucked into some trees. If you stray from your plan just make sure someone knows the new plan, safety first!

10. Everyone needs to try the fish and chips from Brigham Fish Market in Cascade Locks.
You can choose from several kinds of fresh, local fish. You can’t go wrong with any of them!

Written by Maria Watrous: Maria is a fanatical hiker and general outdoors enthusiast who has literally lived all over (if you can think of a place, she has probably lived there). She is also a fan of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and her favorite food item is a cheeseburger (which is also the name of her dog). She claims she would never eat her though. mnwatrous@gmail.com