PCT: Day 117: 1000 miles: Part 1

Miles today: 20.9

Trail miles sum: 1014.8

Trail location: 1697.2

Elevation: 6617

Early morning on the trail

Spinning on the turntable: Imagine Dragons: Origins

So, hitting the 1000 mile marker was a bit anti-climatic. It was just me. No markers, no singing, no dancing.

(I made a dreadful error about fifteen minutes ago while writing this and urinated about fifteen feet from my tent. Urine is like cat nip for deer. Who knew? Anyway, it sounds like a herd of deer outside my tent, but it’s only two. They literally are so in love with my urine that they’re letting me stand fifteen feet away and take pictures.

PCT Animals

PCT deer

I must admit that seeing the deer run to my urine puddle made me curious about deer hunting. Do you just urinate on a tree and step back and then bag the deer while they gobble up your urine?)

Anyway, it was just me for the big 1000 mile celebration that wasn’t a celebration. I snapped a selfie to to have something to commemorate the moment.

PCT Hiker

1000 MILES!

The last few days have just sucked. The trail hasn’t been kind. The lack of maintenance has left large areas overgrown, filled with poison oak, and just crappy in general. I swear that I actually believe that a child with a crayon decided the route here. Up and down, round and round, back and forth. Other hikers are skipping sections of the trail in this area and choosing to road walk.

So I’m feeling kind of blue. It’s a big milestone to miss without Noelle. I sent Noelle, our kids and our friends a group Garmin message. Not quite the same as celebrating together.

I hiked on, climbing yet another hill. It seems as if the trail drags me almost to the top of a mountain and then drops down in elevation. It’s beyond depressing. I spoke with other hikers who agreed that this section really, really stinks. It feels like my ankles are locked or stuck as far forward as they will bend in the forward direction. The trail is just crazy steep in some spots.

Trail into the woods

I want to like the trail right now, but dang, she is one difficult and unruly child. I may love her, but I really, really don’t like her today. Someone told me that this section gobbles up hikers and they quit in high numbers. The awe inspiring views of the Sierra and Shasta are gone and the hikers recognize they still have a long, long way to go.

I continued my hike and bumped into a 66 year old SOBO section hiker. He told me about trail magic up the trail. “Chicken, burgers, hotdogs, soda. Best trail magic ever.” The downside was that it was located 11 miles from my current location and they were closing down the free food event at noon. My quick math told me I’d need to run to make it by noon.

So, knowing I was doomed, but lusting for a hotdog, I hustled for three and a half hours. I knew I’d miss the official deadline but held out hope that they’d take pity on me and feed me anyway.

PCT Cabin

Cabin along the Oregon PCT

It was not to be. I arrived 45 minutes past the deadline and the cabin was completely empty.

PCT Cabin

Sort of empty cabin

There was a bucket with drinks, so I helped myself to a sparkling water while I wandered around the cabin.

PCT Cabin


I plopped down in a chair and ate my lunch and drank my water. I was seriously tempted to drink a second sparkling water but resisted the urge. There was only a few left and I knew there were other hikers not too far behind me on the trail. Now if the drinks had been ice cold…

PCT Cabin

Hiker graffiti

I really enjoyed the carvings all over the place.

PCT Cabin

Larry keeps coming back

PCT Cabin

More graffiti

The cabin served as a refuge for cattle crew for decades. Now it’s primary purpose is to house hikers. The owners leave it open and anyone can use it. Honestly, the building is held together with love and anchor wires. One good fart and the whole building might collapse.

PCT hikers now leave their etchings behind. I’m more interested in the older markings. I didn’t etch my name on any wall. It’s just not my thing.

PCT Cabin


I was thrilled when I exited the cabin and saw an outhouse.

I checked it out and saw that they had just finished working on it.

PCT Cabin

Outhouse instructions

It’s difficult to explain the excitement of locating a pit toilet, but I was pretty pleased.

PCT Cabin

Outhouse builders

The view from the toilet was great!

PCT Cabin

Outhouse view

…and they had toilet paper!

Missing the trail magic was a bummer, but having somewhere to sit in a chair and eat my lunch was wonderful!


  1. Claire

    Hey Steve it’s Snickers!:)
    I am so glad you have continued to persist through the trail even thought it’s been tough. Tell Noelle hi for me! I hope she’s well:) I am so amazed that you made it to 1000 mile mark that is incredible. Good for you!!!
    Best Wishes,

    • mcgarveysan

      Hi Snickers! Thanks for the encouragement! We’re hoping to connect with you guys in WA.

  2. Angus McCamant

    Here is my thoughts on the deer thing. We don’t think about now but salt is a very important electrolyte for animals. Deer don’t have ready access to grocery stores and in that area there may be no natural salt licks.
    I was on a week long backpack trip long ago where we forgot salt. After three days we stumbled across a cattle salt lick and felt like we had won the lottery. We broke a chunk off the lick and thoroughly enjoyed using it in our cooking.
    I think the deer are just using urine as a salt source.

    • mcgarveysan

      That makes sense! I just read that goats are being relocated from a park in WA to somewhere in OR. The goats have become addicted to the salt in the urine from hikers urinating on the trees next to the trail.

  3. Anonymous

    Your persistence is so admirable! How fun to eat lunch in a cabin also, I bet you hardly ever see something like that 🙂

    • mcgarveysan

      I’ve never been in a cabin like that! I like the sense of history that resided in the building. The owners had put together a scrapbook about the history of the building and I read it while eating my lunch. You can find out more about the cabin by searching for Donomore Cabin on Facebook.


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