There’s a Trail Up in Them Thar Hills

Although I had planned the trip to Seattle with great detail (only to have that entire plan go out the window even before I set wheels on the road), I didn’t have any plans at all for the return trip except for one — I wanted to take a look at the Pacific Crest Trail where it crossed a highway in Washington. As it turned out, there wasn’t much to see but a vague path covered in snow.


Later, I checked out the trail in Oregon where the melting snows left behind a bit of a marsh. And mosquitoes. That was the only place on the whole trip where I was bitten. Badly. And it wasn’t even mosquito season! Other people who think of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail might fear bears or cougars, but it’s the swarms of Oregon mosquitoes that terrify me. I don’t know if there is enough mosquito repellent in the whole world to entice me to do the Oregon part of the trail, and yet, Oregon is so beautiful that it would be a shame not to experience more than the few steps I took on the Oregon PCT when I was there.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. I am still a long way from even thinking of walking the trail. Whatever strength I’d developed before catching a cold and then going on my trip is long gone, so I will have to start over, and considering the coming heat, I’m not sure how much backpacking practice I will be able to do this summer. Still, this impossible dream of mine remains, and I can feel the trail waiting for me, hiding somewhere up in these mountains. Eeek.



Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

6 Responses to “There’s a Trail Up in Them Thar Hills”

  1. Terry Jean Allard Says:

    I just read your blog from June 11,2013. You wrote:
    In her book The Stillwater Meadow, Gladys Tabor wrote: “People have seasons . . . There is something steadfast about people who withstand the chilling winds of trouble, the storms that assail the heart, and have the endurance and character to wait quietly for an April time.”
    During the first years of my grief — while I worked through the pain of my life mate/soul mate’s death and our separation, adjusted to life without him, learned to think of him with gladness instead of sadness, searched for new ways of being and new reasons for living, realized that he is he and I am I and we have separate paths in life — I held fast to the idea of an April time.

    Has your Aril time come?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The trip certainly was an April time, but as soon as I got back, I returned to my now normal feeling of “something missing.” But I don’t have storms of the heart any more, or at least I haven’t had for a long time, so who knows. I hate the thought that to feel vibrant I’d have to spend my life traveling because it’s more than I can handle financially. And it’s exhausting. (Though I’m sure a lot of the exhaustion came from not feeling well.)

      I hope you’re finding April times.

      • Terry Jean Allard Says:

        I picture a hole inside my soul where I stand on the fluid rim and because I am never quite solidly balanced I often unpredictably fall into the middle….then my days work is to climb back to the start but so far not beyond it. I suppose I need to find a way to solidify that rim so when I move upward I do really move upward.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          In time, the rim solidifies. To me, it felt as if I were balanced on the edge of the abyss, but that abyss seems to have pulled away from me, rather than me moving away from it. I do think trying new things helps solidify the rim, so if you can gather the courage or the strength, that trip you want to take might help.

  2. Karen Says:

    The beauty of section hiking is you can do each section when it’s at it’s best. The mosquitos are worst in Oregon around the time the snow is melting, so fall is a wonderful time to be here. My bucket-list dream of hiking all of the PCT is taking longer than I had hoped, but I plug away at it when I can. Even day hikes count!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It seems like fall is the best time to do most sections, but just hiking in the fall isn’t an option. I need to find SoCal sections that are okay in the summer because I live closest to those sections. I’ve done several day hikes in the area, but hope to do longer hikes this summer and fall.

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