Week 4


August 7th – Day 22
Miles:  20.9
PCT 1964.6 – 1985.5

I was up and out by 6am as usual.  For the first hour, it went well as it usually does in the first hour.  Then the shoulder pain starts.  After about 3 hours, the foot pain begins.  Today, I was feeling really low after only a couple hours.  It was a major struggle to keep hiking.  I had to stop a lot to rest.  It didn’t make sense as I had a rest day and should have no trouble the first day back on the trail.  Then I figured it out.  I had been using only half dose of Testosterone medication as I was running low before Elk Creek, and I had been without any for a couple of days.  It’s starting to hit me.  I have no energy, strength or motivation.  I need to get some more on order and pick it up in Bend.  I managed to get a phone signal, and I called in the order.  They said it would take several days before shipping.  Since I couldn’t seem to hike, I needed to get to town and wait for the medications.

It was 25 miles to the road that would allow me to hitch into Sisters, where I can take a bus to Bend.  I was not up for a record setting hike so I decided to do about 20 miles today and the last 5 miles tomorrow to the road.  I was in agony the whole day.  Every step was like pulling a sled full of lead.  At one point, I was following some other hikers and we got off trail.  I wound up hiking up a cinder cone that was extremely difficult and dangerous.  I wasn’t thinking as I should have known the PCT wouldn’t go there.  It was exhausting but I managed to trod on to my camp site just under of 21 miles.  I had to really push myself just to get my tent setup and cook something.  I just wanted to sleep.

I was at the South Matthieu Lake, which is some kind of protected area and has rules against camping near the lake.  There are designated campsites that are back from the lake.  I didn’t read the sign when I came in and just started looking for a campsite.  I found one on the opposite side of the lake and setup camp.  Some hikers came by and told me I was not in a legitimate campsite and may get hassled by the rangers.  At that point I didn’t care as I was sick and needed to rest.  If a ranger told me to move, I would say I can’t as I’m sick.  No one came by all night.


August 8th – Day 23
Miles:  4
PCT 1985.5 – 1989.5

I slept in a little this morning, knowing it would be a short hike to the road and there wouldn’t be anyone out early, so I took my time.  The trail was horrid.  I walked through miles and miles of lava fields.  The trail was all rocks and lava chunks that hurt the feet and made you walk slow due to the danger of twisting an ankle or something.  It seemed to take forever to get through the 4 miles to the road. 

When I arrived at the highway, I walked up the road about 200 yards and there was an observatory made of lava stone.  Lots of tourists were coming and going to look at the views, which were spectacular.  I made every attempt to talk to the people and see if I could get a ride to Sisters (about 16 miles).  Whenever a car came by, I also put out my thumb.  It took about 2.5 hours to finally get a ride.  It was hot out and I really needed to get to town.

When I got to town, I discovered that the bus to Bend goes once a day and left at 10 am.  I got a hotel in Sisters for the night.  Sisters is a small tourist town and the hotels were expensive.  I felt lucky to get one for $110/night with the PCT discount.


August 9th, 10th, 11th – Days 24, 25 and 26
Miles:  0
PCT 1989.5

I had to wait in Bend 3 days before my medications came in.  In the mean time, I did some pack repair.  There’s an REI in town and I was able to get a new sternum strap and hip belt.  I’m hoping the pack will ride higher now and take some burden off my shoulders.  I have developed pretty big welts on the tops of my shoulders from the straps.

I also ordered new boots while on the trail and had them shipped to REI.  I’m tired of having dirty, sandy feet every day, which is what I think is causing the blisters.  Also, the rocks on the trail are pretty tough to handle with sneakers.  I’m going back to my favorite day hiking light weight boot and see how that will do for me.  Since I don’t want to wade through streams with the boots (they’ll never dry out), I bought a lightweight pair of camp shoes that I can use for fording streams and wearing around camp.  Taking boots on and off every time you go out of the tent can be quite a pain.  The camp shoes just slip on.  In a pinch, I can even hike in them.

While waiting for my meds, I decided to get a haircut and beard trim.  I hate long beards so I feel great with the cut.  It may also help with the hitchhiking.  Tomorrow I catch the bus to Sisters and try to get a ride back to the trail.  After 4 days, I’m very anxious…






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6 Responses to Week 4

  1. Chris Horst says:

    Hi, Bill. We met in the Taos RV park just as you were leaving. Red/white ’02 Lazy Daze. Glad to finally start getting your posts from the trail. I’m living your hike vicariously, of course, and am really enjoying your narrative and photos. Keep the faith.

    Chris Horst

    • billweberx says:

      Hi Chris. Thanks for the kind words. I’m not very happy with my blogs as I’m always in a hurry and I post long after the day of the hike. I’m planning to make a better effort to blog every night if possible and post as soon as I get data access. Hopefully that will improve the content and make it more relevant.

  2. Don Wood says:

    Bill, SOB! I am in awe of your attempt at this. You ole grizzly bear. I know that if you are complaining it must be pretty freakin bad. Hang in there old friend. I tell everyone I know that you are doing this and they say to offer you words of encouragement and they hope you make it. I tell them if any can it is Bill. I admire your every step. I think I need to start planning my cross country bike ride. You have inspired me. Sheryl and I want to send our love and when you feel lonely, know that we are thinking of you and cheering you on. Take care and if there is anything you need while on the trail let us know and we will send it to wherever you need it. Hike on Buddy.
    Don And Sheryl Wood

    • billweberx says:

      Thanks Don for the kind words. WA is much tougher and colder than OR. I will update my blog soon. Oh.. and I could use a trail bride if you could please send one asap.

      • Don Wood says:

        Glad you are back in California. Everyone I now that does any length of hiking seems to have the same feet issues. Makes you wonder how all of those people did it 200 years ago. Keep those spirits up and remember you will soon be sitting sown with us reliving this epic journey soon. Were all still proud of you. I just did the Narrows in Zion last week. 16 miles in a closed canyon mostly in the Virgin River. I was wasted after that. I can’t even imagine how you must feel. Hang in there Buddy. Just so you know your photos are damn good.

      • billweberx says:

        Thanks Don. I got to Kennedy Meadows and found out that the resupply places that I needed are all closed for the season. So I’m skipping ahead to Mammoth and will get back on the trail there. I’ll miss about 200 miles of the Sierras. Oh well. Take care,

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