Our Northwest

Vancouver hiker crossing U.S. three times in 10 months

Tuesday, August 23, 2016by  Jon Osterberg

Jeff Garmire of Vancouver, Wash., hiked past milepost 865 yesterday on the Continental Divide Trail, on track to conquer the Triple Crown of hiking within one calendar year. Altogether he's walked 5,745 miles since Feb. 6.
     Today Garmire, 25, will cross into Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. He's averaging 40 miles per day and just two states lie ahead, Colorado and New Mexico, before he reaches the Mexico border with more than 7,500 total miles under his soles.
     Garmire's incredible journey began in Georgia while winter still gripped the East Coast. On May 1 in Maine he completed the snowy, 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail, where he endured his coldest night, -15 degrees.
     Four days later he headed north from the California-Mexico border on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which he knocked off in only 80 days, on July 24. He then boarded a train for Glacier National Park where he started his final Triple Crown journey, southbound on the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail. Follow Garmire via his daily blog.
     Through-hiking can be risky. My friend Kasey hiked the PCT last summer largely without incident, but her journey was hampered by the Wolverine and Blankenship fires that seared the Cascades. She had to detour off-trail around the fire, made the final leg to Canada, then returned later to hike the charred section after it reopened. You can read Kasey's excellent PCT blog, which reveals her wonderful gift for prose.
     Karen suffered worse luck. Each day since April 24, I've followed her PCT journey on her blog. My young friend bonded with hiking companions for most of the trek but hiked much of northern California entirely solo. And it was while hiking solo Aug. 17, after 1,800 miles, that in pre-dawn darkness she fell and broke her ankle in southern Oregon.
     Karen hobbled 28 miles to civilization at Crater Lake, where she got a ride to the ER in Medford that confirmed an avulsion fracture. Karen's PCT adventure is now over. Until next summer, at least. Read her blog, for which Outside magazine named her one of 2016's "6 Best Photographers Hiking the PCT."

Photos courtesy of Karen Wang

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