-- 'Hike with Scout' Newsletter --

Find out more about Scout's adventures!

Hike with Scout #2

August 10, 2020

Hello again,

Are you ready to continue down the trail with me? You don’t need a break, do you? Hike on and I’ll spin out what I promised—How the heck over 6,000 people slept at our house. I’ll share the Journeys North introduction, the photo to back it up and an insider backstory.  

How did 6,000-plus sleep at our house? If you know the answer, you can chuckle along with me. My wife Sandy and I really wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007. We’d made big sacrifices at work to get five months off. In 2006, the year before, we thought: Wouldn’t it be cool to host hikers in our home? We live in San Diego, the PCT’s southern terminus is 60 miles inland and we could pick up starting hikers at the airport, host them for a night or two and then drive them to the trailhead. In 2006 we did just that, hosting 17 hikers over two months. 

In 2007, before we left on the trail ourselves, we hosted 35. We thought, We’re hot stuff. It was a hoot to host, feed, and get to know these wonderful folks. They were about to start an epic adventure. But in 2008, word had circulated. We hosted over 100, more than one-third of that year’s starting PCT hiker class. And we kept to our original policy, “It’s free, no gifts, no donations.”

In 2012 we hosted over 300, in 2015 over 500, then quickly to 900, and we’ve now had years of well over 1,000. Over 8 weeks, 30 to 40 a night. Either hug us or lock us up. We have three 12-by-20-foot event tents in the back yard, 4 bedrooms, a tent trailer, a tree house and the living room floor. Since 2008, we’ve had a network of volunteers—driving airport pickups, last minute errands, trailhead runs—that last year totaled 81. All still free. No gifts. We go to bed every night exhausted, but one of us says to the other, “We are so lucky to be able to do this.” Want to see it in full swing--Local CBS Channel 8 covered us last year. 

Now, as promised, here’s the Journeys North Introduction. But first a back story not in the book: The day before the Introduction took place we were buzzed by a low-flying helicopter 50 miles south of the Canadian border. In a brief weather window in a driving snowstorm, we looked up and wondered, “Are they rescuing other PCT hikers?” We found out later that the mission was an emergency evac of a Forest Service crew. And there we were still out there.

Now for the Introduction to Journeys North….  [Order Journeys North at Amazon or order a copy signed by the author.}

Introduction: FRODO'S BIRTHDAY

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007BLAZER COULDN’T FEEL her toes. In the pre-dawn gloom, the twenty-five-year-old stomped a path over a foot of fresh snow, but the effort barely blunted the cold. This was the second blizzard in three days as the Gulf of Alaska hurled once-in-a-generation storms at Washington’s Cascade Range. After five months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Blazer was wearing her fifth pair of running shoes, and the studded soles were ground flat—much like her muscles, sinews, and joints. She’d come over 2600 miles—only 40 left to reach Canada. She’d sworn days before, “I’ll crawl if I have to.”

Right behind her, Frodo and I brushed fat snowflakes from our bent shoulders and packs. A dim light penetrated the pine and spruce thicket. “Happy birthday, Frodo,” Blazer piped up. We jerked as if poked. In the thirty years we’d been married, I’d never forgotten Frodo’s birthday. But this time, focused on the cold, on not getting lost, and on surviving, we both had.“What do you want for your birthday?” Blazer asked. Frodo, her breath visible, didn’t hesitate: “I want to finish the day alive.” 

Two more storms swept in over the next three days, smothering the Pacific Crest Trail in thigh-high drifts. On Thursday night Seattle KING 5 TV reported: “Three Pacific Crest Trail hikers are missing.” Chatter lit up the internet within minutes. “Goodness it’s so cold now.” “May the Lord protect them.” Past midnight, one of sixty soon-to-be-rescuers wrote: “I am headed out to Stevens Pass to work the search.” 

But they weren’t searching for us. They were searching for Nadine. 

My best to all of you.


Barney Scout Mann

Order Journeys North: Amazon, Mountaineers Books,  or order a signed copy from me.

P.S. I write to move, to make you laugh, cry and feel better about yourself. Never to annoy. So, at any time just unsubscribe, or let me know you'd prefer not to get any more emails.


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