PCT Round Two Warmup – Holden Village

— November 29, 2013

Holden Village Forest Service Campground - North Cascades
“Backtrack, let’s go,” says Jemma the Luck Dragon trail dog. She’s carrying about eight pounds in her new Ruffwear Palisades pack. Photo by Brett Fisher.

June 30, 2013

Blaze and Dances With Lizards gave her a trail name: Luck Dragon. Watch the The Never Ending Story and you’ll get why. I call her Sweetie, Sweetheart, Hey Girl, Good Girl, and sometimes Knucklehead. Her name is Jemma. She’s my dog and we’re on the trail.

But first we had to travel awhile to get to the North Cascades. Lori, Jemma, and I drove from Portland, OR to Chelan, WA, camped a night at a nearby county park on the Columbia River, took the three hour ferry up Lake Chelan to the dock at Lucerne, and then a 12-mile uphill bus ride to Holden Village. And for the first time in two years our family is all together. Father, mother, daughters, and dog. All together again in the same place we were last all together.

But it’s a short lived renunion. Sometimes that’s how it goes. We’re soon all off in different directions. Jemma and I to backpack on a test run for finishing the Pacific Crest Trail. We’re testing post physical therapy knees, gear, and trail stamina of the dog. Mom’s going to volunteer for a week on projects in the Village. Ashley aka Blaze works in the Village so she’s attending to her duties. And Natalie aka Dances With Lizards also works in the Village as a cook in the dining facility but she’s about to head down Lake Chelan for a couple weeks off. She’s got a tough schedule. And I mean tough. Twenty-eight days straight on, and then only two weeks off.

Jemma and I walk the easy one mile out to the Forest Service campground just west of the Village. Dogs don’t get to stay in the Village. Dogs with hikers are allowed to ride the bus up from Lucerne and pass on through. My new ULA Circuit backpack loaded up with gear, water, and a weeks worth of food carries well. I put our food and smelly stuff in the newly installed Forest Service bear box, make some guylines for my new tarp out of 550 chord, and set the tarp up using my trekking poles.

Once camp is set and dinner is eaten, I start a campfire and wait for the family. They are coming out to the campsite to hang out for awhile. It starts to get dark so Jemma and I go looking for them. I “echo locate” – this is how Team No Hurries would call to and find each other on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a bit louder than bat echolocation. I hear a reply. There they are.

Jemma is overjoyed that the whole pack is together in the forest. Ashley and she play some rambunctious rounds of stick (throw the stick, fetch the stick, chase whoever has the stick). We roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Sugar rush. Natalie plays her travel guitar and we have a sing along. The guitar still has a nice sound even after being carried most of the way on the PCT by Natalie last year. The family leaves and Jemma and I go to bed.

Day 1: One mile hiked. Camped at the Holden Village Forest Service Campground.

Campfire - Holden Village Forest Service Campground - North Cascades
“Flicker of the campfire, wind in the pines” … and getting ready for s’mores. Photo by Brett Fisher.