Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Here I Go Again!

I'm here in Tahoe City with Crazy Chris. We are about to set out on the Tahoe Rim Trail. This will be my 4th trip on the TRT. It will be Crazy's first time. The weather looks good. I'm carrying a pretty light load since my doctor made me promise it would be light. 17 pounds with food & gear. I'm hoping the water situation is ok. There was only one section I remember running out of water last year. I talked to the clinic in Sisters. It's been confirmed I have giardia and two other parasites...GROSS.....I knew I had aliens living inside me. LOL... They said finish up the antibiotics and I should be fine. Hey at least I won't get Giardia on the TRT, because I already have it. We hope to finish in under 5 days. We will see how it goes. My legs are sore from yesterday. It was my first day back to crossfit. Well stay tuned.

XOXO, Catra

Monday, September 3, 2007

My PCT 2007 - Final Post

Be grateful for a new lease of life. Long-standing situations, stalemates or deadends now come to an end. The universe has taken note of your situation and is prepared to repair or correct it. You for your part must be prepared to let go and to co-operate with the universal energy. The past is now beginning to fade and regeneration is beginning. Accept all that is going to be offered, you will be delighted with how it will change your life.

This is my last post to my PCT 2007 blog. Thanks to Mer for sending this cool judgment card which is so fitting for my situation. I am deeply touched by all the kind words and thoughts from everyone. I never imagined what an impact my hike would have on so many wonderful people who followed me in this world.

You can follow my daily rants and raves on my blog

Dirt Diva

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day 99 - August 29: The End of My Hike!

So close but yet so far....2,000 miles!! (Dirt Diva's Report)

I made it all the way to Sisters having Giardia since Ashland. I woke up last Thursday with a pain in my knee. It hurt really, really bad. I've never felt anything like this before. I decided to ignore it and took 9 Advil that day. I didn't notice my knee the next day, maybe because I was too busy being sick from Giardia.

So I ended up at the clinic in Sisters on Monday. The doctor looked at my knee and said "stay off it for a week". She gave me an antibiotic to treat my Giardia and some other parasite she thinks I have. The antibiotic seemed to be making things worse but she told me that it could make me feel sick.

My knee was worse on Tuesday. I had to go back in to drop off my stool samples (sorry, I know that sounds gross). I showed her my knee again and it was a lot more swollen. She told me the best thing for me to do is to go home and get a MRI from my doctor. She said the worst thing to do at this point would to hike another 500 miles.
I decided to sleep on it and ask my Mom to show me a sign of what to do. I woke up in pain. I believed this was the sign.

I asked myself over and over what to do. My answer kept coming back saying "do you want to finish and risk never running or hiking again?" I would be devastated if I messed myself up, caused permanent damage, and was never able to run again.
It's clear to me the trail will always be there.
I started thinking, if anything, I could come back next year and finish where I left off. I am sad about having to stop. I called some of my friends to get advise and they all said I should not risk damaging my knee further.

So I made my final decision to stop. I will write a list of all the wonderful things I learned while hiking 2,000 miles. I will write about all the positive experiences so when I'm sad about leaving the trail I can look back and know it's not really a bad thing. I will stay positive. It's going to be a big shock to go back home and be around all the "normal" things - cars, TVs, radios, people and just general city life.

I already miss the trail!

In making it this far I have learned so much about me - who I am and what I want.
Will I be back next year???? I will - and I will start from the beginning, not just from where I left off. I will make it work so I can do the whole thing. Next time I will be wiser and will know what works and how to move faster while still having fun.

Thanks to all of you who followed and encouraged me on my journey. Without all of you I think I would not have made it this far. To tell the truth, I didn't think I could make it through the desert so I am so happy with how far I made it.

Thanks again for all the positive vibes and thoughts along the way.

Let's hope the knee thing isn't super serious and let's hope this damn Giardia goes away soon.

Love to all of you.

Catra AKA Dirt Diva
Mex-Oregon PCT 2007

Day 98 - Tuesday, August 28

Taking a down day in Sisters to recover. Here are a collection of pictures from Chris' & my cameras taken between Crater Lake and Sisters.

Crater Lake
Bull, Me & Chris @ Crater Lake

Crater Lakes Library
Elk Lake Health Food Store

Chris, me, Glacier, Frodo, Scout

Scout & Frodo are from San Diego and are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary by hiking the PCT. At other times they are trail angels in San Diego that pick up many hikers from the airport, share their home and transport them to the Campo starting point. Check out their Trail Journal for an incredible story.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day 97 - Monday, August 27

Here is Terry's Report of his meeting with Catra:

Here are the two pictures I got. One is of Chris, who we ran into while he waited for his MIA brother. He was suspected of hiking to meet them on the trail and missed them somehow. The other pic is of Catra and me out in front of her motel in Sisters. Sisters, is a quaint little mountain resort town that funnels all mid-Oregon traffic down main street and prides itself on having no stop lights. Sisters has a highly rated health food store that has the world class fruit smoothies. Kay and I ate dinner there while we awaited word of Catra's whereabouts.

Again, for future reference, the USPS does not deliver into Elk Lake and management does not pick up in Bend everyday. Additionally they seemingly attempt to extort from hikers exorbitant fees for making the Bend pick-up. We were told the FedEx and UPS do make deliveries there. Elk Lake did have a pretty nice restaurant with both inside and out-door seating. It seems worth the short diversion off the PCT to get some "non-trail" food.

Catra looked good and was hiking strong in spite of her illness. She should start feeling better soon after treatment starts. What a major drag, giardia.

Thanks Jerry, for all your help and effort. Kay and I were a day or less behind her as we chased her through the Cascades for those four days. We were happy to have finally caught up to her. Keep me on the list for any future Mid-Oregon PCT adventures. Also, if Catra gets up here to run any ultras, we can provide her with a car and/or support out of Eugene.

Days 92-95 - Thurs-Sun, August 23-26

This past week has been up and down for me. One day I feel good, the next day my stomach explodes, if you know what I mean. I feel like I have an alien living inside trying to get out.
Crazy Chris jumped on board at Crater lake. Bull, Chris and I spent a couple days together and then Erik showed up. We hiked together for a couple days before Erik & Bull decided to hike the Eugene trail into that town. Me & Crazy had lots of fun. He did awesome and hung with me for 6 days. He hit the trail right off his couch and said he was looking to be inspired. I think it worked. ;-)
Saturday morning I woke up with a terrible pain in my right knee. I took advil and ignored it all while hiking 30 miles. We went into Elk Lake and I was suprised to find out my resupply wasn't there but was in Bend. The Elk Lake Resort owner said we are supposed to send boxes by UPS but the Data Book doesn't state that. Oh well, I decided just to move on. My stomach problems have gotten worse and I'm hardly eating anything.
Sunday, me and Crazy were going to meet his brother at HWY 242. He wasn't there but his van was. I decided not to wait for him and got a ride into Sisters from some trail angels.
In town I ran into Terry, a fellow ultrarunner from the Oregon Track Club Masters and his wife, Kay. I didn't know it but they had been driving and running all over the mountains between Elk Lake and Hwy 242 / Sisters for four days trying to find me. He and Jerry had exchanged many e-mails, text msgs, and phone calls trying to get him connected with me. I didn't know any of this because I didn't have cell service. Terry and Kay were camping with their family at Lava Lake and making all these side trips looking for me. Finally, on Sunday they met Chris in Sisters and found out I was in town. They had driven into Bend to pick up my resupply from the Post Office. They delivered it to me plus brought me tons of goodies including several raw food dishes. Their spread was way better than any aid station I've ever seen in a 100 mile race! I ate some stuff but didn't want much because of my stomach. They were truly amazing for coming all the way out to meet me. I take back any things I said earlier on my blog about Oregon people not being friendly. Terry & Kay, you guys ROCK.
Chris's bro finally made his way out of the woods at 7 pm. We were worried when he wasn't near his van when we had been there earlier in the day. Turns out he had hiked out to us but took a different trail than we did.
Woke up in the middle of Sunday night with my right knee swollen. I can hardly walk. I have an appointment at the clinic to see what's up. :-(

Sorry, no pictures since I haven't been able to send any.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Days 90-91 - Tues-Weds, August 21-22

As we got into Crater Lakes we saw this highway sign. Well, I've got to tell you we didn't need a sign to tell us that we were ready to stop! LOL!

We checked into a hotel. Bull immediately got on the phone to his wife. You think he's happy to be talking to her? ;-)
I walked out on the balcony and looked at the view of Crater Lake. OMG, what an incredible sight!
The National Parks brochure says it better than I can:
Few places on earth command overwhelming awe from observers, but Crater Lake, in south central Oregon, certainly does. Even in a region of volcanic wonders, Crater Lake can only be described in superlatives. Stories of the deep blue lake can never prepare visitors for their first breathtaking look from the brink of this 6 mile wide caldera which was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,700 years ago. Even seasoned travelers gasp at the twenty-mile circle of cliffs, tinted in subtle shades and fringed with hemlock, fir, and pine: all this in a lake of indescribable blue.
And this picture was taken with my camera phone.

Before getting cleaned up I decided I would do a crossfit workout so I did some handstand pushups in the hotel room. ;-)

Chris from Santa Cruz showed up and we planned out the hike for the next 4 days while he is with us. We expect to be in Shelter Cove near Willamette Pass (mile 1912) by mid-morning on Friday. We will have breakfast there before continuing on. Chris' brother is going to pick us up at McKenzie Pass/ Highway 242 (mile 1989) and drive us to the town of Sisters about 15 miles off trail.

On Wednesday, we ran into Eric D who is on the return trip of an attempt to yoyo the PCT. He was in good spirits and moving along well.
We passed the highest point (7560') in both Oregon and Washington near Wizard Island Overlook at mile 1838. Doesn't seem like much after all the 13ers in California.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Days 86-89 - Fri-Mon, August 17-20

After we left Ashland, Erik the Black got sick and we had to leave him behind. We hoped that he would recover fast so he could catch up to us. On Thursday night, I got sick too and have not been eating much since then. I only ate 200 calories on Friday. I just have no appetite. We are hearing a bunch of hikers are sick with stomach issues. Probably related to the low water in the creeks and increased bacteria levels. Hopefully it passes quickly.

On Friday, me & Bull made it to Brown Mountain Shelter (mile 1771) It's getting cold at night and is looking like it's going to rain. Bull chopped some wood so we could have a fire. It didn't rain but we were glad to be inside. I am going to have to get my rain pants and warm jacket sent out soon.Bull's wife, City Girl did the first 900+ miles of the PCT to Mammoth Lakes but decided to go home since she was holding up Bull and needed to go back to work. They just got married last September. She may have a chance to get on America's top model show.

On Saturday, my friend, Mike Palmer held his annual Psychedelic Climacteric run in the Berkeley hills. Since I wasn't there to run it, me & Bull did our Oregon version - 33 miles in 11:30. I called Mike to let him know so he could post our time in his results. ;-)

We passed these rocks someone left to show that we reached 1800 miles. The trail may not be the yellow brick road to OZ but it is still this really pretty pink volcanic rock leading us through this section of OR. Nice to have a color-coordinated trail to hike on! LOL!
On Sunday we got caught in a huge rainstorm. We were soaked and got so cold we could hardly function. :-(

We reached Crater Lake (mile 1830) on Monday afternoon. I am still having intestinal problems. I have my last food resupply box at Elk Lake in Bend. I am not going to have any more food sent out after that. I have tons of food in my bounce box and can just buy food I need from here through Washington.

A guy named Chris from Santa Cruz, CA who hiked the PCT in 1979 is coming out to meet us here in Crater Lake to hike 4 days north.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Day 85 - Thursday, August 16

I am on my way to Crater Lake in Oregon. You can see that Oregon doesn't have the big climbs or the high elevations of California. I do have a big descent to near sea level at Cascade Locks on the Hood River just East of Portland near the Washington border.
Here's a rock arrow I saw along the trail.

I saw a post on my blog from a So Cal woman, Sandee Sanger . She and Steve Edwards of left a sign for me near Islip Saddle by Wrightwood in So Cal. I didn't see it when I passed through that area so Sandee sent Jerry pictures of their sign. Looks like they were out about sunrise. Thanks for the sign, Sandee & Steve :-) - sorry I missed it.

I have a site meter on my blog so I can tell which cities, states and countries are following my adventure. I see that a viewer from San Quentin has been following me. I hope I am able to inspire this person who is not able to enjoy the outdoors and that one day they too will have the freedom to enjoy the wilderness.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Days 80-84 - Sat-Weds, August 11-15

Well, I finally made it to Oregon 3 days ago. I thought I would never make it.
On Sunday, I was in Seiad Valley and Erik the Black magically appeared with Bull. I was happy to see he was doing great. They partied in Etna and then with Erik's special powers they appeared out of nowhere after they had been over a day behind me ; )

Along the way I came upon a large patch of wild blackberries. I stopped to pick and eat several hand fulls - they were yummy!

When I was hiking into Seiad Valley I had to do a long 6 mile road walk. You might think that would be easy being on flat road -- but the asphalt surface was hard and hot since I'm used to forest trails. I was not happy and my shoes were falling apart. The soles were coming unglued - I've never had Hardrock shoes do that. Good thing I have new shoes waiting in Seiad Valley for me.

The PCT doesn't actually go through many towns but does go through Seiad Valley (mile 1662). There is only one building with the post office, small store, and small restaurant all inside. The restaurant is famous for its "Pancake Challenge". You get 2 hours to eat five 1-pound pancakes and make it out the door without losing them. If you do, you get a tee-shirt plus you don't have to pay the $9.95 for the pancakes. Two hikers, Fester and Breeze were going for it when I was there. Fester ate two and felt sick. Breeze got down 3¼ and that was enough for him. There has been only 10 people who have completed it in 22 years - all PCT hikers except for 1 pig farmer.
We all stayed in the RV park where they had a gated-off area with hay for the hikers to camp on. I felt like we were animals at the petting zoo.

I met a little friend, a kitty named Roscoe. He was so very cute I wish I could of taken him with me.
Erik the Black & I took off out of Seiad Valley together. It was hot but we were on a mission to make it to the Oregon border sign that night. Which we did.

I came up with a goofy idea that we would write on each other. ETB was ORE and I was GON. It was super cold and we stood there forever at ten'oclock at night writing on each other. We got a few good shots.
We camped just a little ways past the border. We saw a light and it was Bull who had caught up with us. We all decided to head into Ashland the next day.

We all decided to do this road-walk option. We were doing great hiking along and dreaming of the yummy food that we would eat in Ashland. Well somehow we ended up on Road 22 when we were supposed to be on Road 20. We had somehow gotten off course - way, way off course.
We realized it too late to turn back and could only go forward. I just told myself it's all about the adventure. And yes, this was an adventure. It was hot and we saw two cars at a trail head. We figured we could get a ride out when they came along.
We saw a Ranger and told him our story. He said it was 7 miles to the road so we walked and walked and walked... Finally along came one of the cars with this girl driving who just shook her head no as she drove past us. Boy, were we pissed! It was obvious we weren't crazies - well, maybe to her we were. That was our ride out. We did see three cars pass going the opposite way. Let me remind you that we were in the middle of nowhere on a logging road. Just when we were bitching about the people in Oregon and how they were supposed to be nice which we thought they weren't - thanks to the girl in the red car that shook her head no at us - a van turns around. It was a Mom with her son. Mom was teaching the son to drive. They pulled over and said they would be honored to give us a ride into Ashland. We were very, very thankful that they were so nice. We got lucky!
Ashland (mile 1726) is a nice little city with a great little food coop. I went into the local running store, Rogue Valley Runners and who do I see...Montrail team-mate, Ian Torrence. It was great seeing him. A minute later who walks up but another team-mate, Hal Koerner who owns the store. He is the Angeles Crest 100 mile 2006 winner and record holder plus he won Western States this year. It's a great store so if you're ever in town, stop by - it's on Main Street in Ashland.

I am still having fun and thanks to all of you for your posts.

Well, we're out of Ashland on Thursday morning and I will put the pedal to the metal and get through Oregon.

Oh, I want to give a shout out. My friend, Tattoo Joe got the speed record on the PCT following the official route. He did not take the current reroute. His time was 79 days and a couple hours.
We are already making plans for my 2009 return to take a shot at the woman's speed record. He is my inspiration and hero of the PCT. Tattoo Joe, U ROCK...
Picture courtesy of Terri Steele-Friends, Heroes & Legends of PCT Gallery

Love to all,
Catra AKA Dirt Diva