Home on Whidbey is a family blog revolving around Fran, Ed, Brad, Yessi, plus puppy Benton, and our family, travels, friends, neighbors and community. Thanks for reading.


Only two Sections of the PCT Remaining.

Section K of the PCT is considered tough but rewarding!  Brad left Stevens yesterday for his Section K experience.  He hiked this section in 2011, going in the opposite direction, but part of the trail at that time was closed due to a wash out.  The best views of Glacier Peak were not visible last year due to the detour.  Let's hope Brad gets his Glacier Peak hit this year and that the "wild, rugged and stunning"  Glacier Peak Wilderness does not disappoint.

Glacier Peak Wilderness

Section L is the last section of the PCT, ending in Manning Park, B.C.  This is a short section of only 70 miles but should be spectacular with fall colors, jagged peaks and fabulous views of the Pasaysten Wilderness.  Much of this section if protected from rain, so can be dry and without water supplies, except at Hart's Pass.

Pasaysten Wilderness

I can't believe this year of Brad's hiking adventure is almost over.  He has thoroughly enjoyed his trip and so have I, as I've followed along.   Also, helping Brad with his Heart on the Trail fund raising project has been challenging and rewarding.   We're still hoping for donations -- please -- so he can finish up his PCT adventure with huge donations to both the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the American Heart Association.  Get Your Heart on the Trail!

Brad explains  why he's raising money for Heart on the Trail

Get your Heart on the Trail

Two organizations that help us with our health are the Pacific Crest Trail Associaition and the American Heart Association.  These two organizations are linked by the need for achieving heart health through exercise.  Please be as generous as you can by supporting Brad in his efforts to raise money for both of these organization by donating to:  Heart on the Trail

Hiking for Health ~ Get Your Heart on the Trail

Freestyle hiking with heart

Father-son Snoqualmie to Stevens

Brad's dad was able to join Brad on his PCT thru-hike from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass.  Some awesome views from this section of the PCT.
"Imagine not crossing a road for 75 miles! Backpackers who complete the Snoqualmie - Stevens segment of the Pacific Crest Trail will hike through some of the most remote and diverse mountain country along the entire 2650-mile trail.
This trail is not for the beginning backpacker. There is considerable elevation gain (and loss) - 16,000 feet! Some places are impassable until well into August when the snow melts out. And the distance requires hikers to carry six or seven days of food and arrange for a car shuttle or pick-up at Stevens Pass."  PCT

Where is Freestyle?

One pooped guy enjoying a nap in the sun

Freestyle on Kendall Katwalk at the top of the world, but who can see the world?

Kendall Katwalk on a clear day.
Photo by Debbie Lipinski

10+ camp site first night out of Snoqualmie


Freestyle continues his Pacific Crest Trail hike through beautiful Washington, all the while drawing hearts to raise money for Heart on the Trail, a fund raiser  to generate money for both the Pacific Crest Trail and the American Heart Association.

Hiking for Health ~ Get Your Heart on the Trail
Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.  If you click on the heart on the website it will take you to PayPal for your ease in making a donation.  You can also donate more directly by making out a check to Heart on the Trail and mailing it to Whidbey Island Bank, Langley Branch, Post Office Box 665, Langley, WA 98260.

Thank you!  Freestyle's goal is $10,000.   $5,000 for PCT and $5,000 for AHA.


Brad is Home!

Freestyle, a seasoned thru-hiker
Well, he's home, but not on Whidbey Island and I haven't seen him yet, but three days ago he met his dad at Snoqualmie Pass and spent the night in North Bend.  That's home!  He's now hiking with Barry, his dad, from Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass.  Then he's off to Stehekin, Rainy Pass, Hart's Pass and onto the Canadian border and the finish of the PCT, 2012.

Brad hiked from  Rainy Pass to Snoqualmie Pass in 2011,  going south, so he's reversing his steps of a year ago.  At that time he was doing 10 to 15 miles each day and was carrying a very heavy pack.  He's lightened his pack and quickened his pace, regularly putting in 20 to 25 mile days.   It was on the PCT last year where he started noticing thru-hikers and got his curiosity and interest levels elevated.  Not long after that, he took off for NZ for his first thru-hike.

On the PCT it's now count down time!  This will be the second thru-hike Brad will have completed in 2012.  First he finished the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand and now the Pacific Crest Trail on the west coast of the USA.  Yep, I'm a proud mom!


Chinook Pass

Brad was picked up and delivered back to Chinook by his friend Debbie, who lives in Auburn, WA. He was delighted to see her and spend time with her family, not to mention a hot shower,  "real" food and a soft bed!  Debbie sent these pictures, along with a note that warmed my heart:
My family and I had a wonderful time hosting Brad for a night. He spent time talking/connecting with each of my kids and husband. What a great son you have! He was so glad to have his warm shirt back!
The warm shirt Debbie is referring to is one Brad purchased from Wander on Whidbey before he departed for New Zealand.  After hiking the Te Araroa Trail for five months, it was getting a little worn around the edges.  I did a patch job and sent it to Debbie, for Brad to pick up.  It's an Ibex (I think) wool, warm, hooded jacket/shirt that works well for keeping him warm during the day and keeping the drafts off his neck at night.  The weather is good, so far, in Washington but the nights are cold!

Freestyle at Chinook Pass

PCT Fire Threat

Section H of the Washington PCT is threatened with closure  due to the Cascade Creek Fire.   Section H is 147 miles from Bridge of Gods to White Pass, which Freestyle is hiking right now.

Section H - Mt. Adams Fire (Cascade Creek Fire)
"9-12-12 - The PCT is not currently closed due to the Cascade Creek Fire on the south side of Mt. Adams. The closed area borders the PCT on the east. It runs along the PCT from Road 23 to Round-The-Mountain Trail #9. Please do not camp along this stretch of trail. Check for updates in case the fire and fire closure grows, which is possible, if not likely. 
Afternoon update: Within the next 48 hours, this closure is likely to grow to include the PCT. The new closure will probably extend from Road 23 to Riley Creek near Sheep Lake. The alternate route would include walking Road 23 northwest to Burnt Rock Trail #64 to rejoin the PCT north of Riley Creek. Please call the Mt.Adams Ranger District Office at 509-395-3400 for more information before entering the area. " 


Back to Washington

Brad departed from SeaTac mid November of 2011, and just today, September 11, 2012, after 10 months, he set foot back in Washington.  He first left Washington to travel to New Zealand to tramp the Te Araroa Trail.  After completing the Te Araroa Trail he flew to California to begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  Now, after many miles and many adventures, he returns to his state of birth; his home for his entire life.   Today he crossed over the Bridge of the Gods, putting his feet once again on Washington soil.

Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River

Yesterday Brad was dispirited with sore feet and sore back.  Plus, it was raining and he was wet and cold.  His enthusiasm for returning to the trail was low!  Today, after a good night's warm and dry sleep, he was ready to roll.  And, as you can see from the photo above, the day is beautiful, with no rain in sight.  Dry is everything, sometimes.

For me it feels a little like my "kid is home"!  Although I probably won't see him until he nears the end of his Washington trek, having him in his home state feels like I have him home again.  I've loved "hiking" with him all these months, yet having him return warms my heart as well.  And, speaking of hearts, please go to Heart on the Trail and support Brad's fundraiser for both the Pacific Crest Trail and The American Heart Association.  A hiker, with so much thinking time, reaches new levels of self awareness and social awareness and political awareness and environmental awareness.  All combine to lift the need for giving back to others.  Heart on the Trail is the culmination of all that time alone, and with other contemplative hiking companions, to evaluate one's life and one's world.  Thank you for putting your heart on the trail!  


Washington Tripping

As Brad's PCT adventure continues, and he arrives at Cascade Locks, OR, Ed and I take off for a vacation far, far away on Central Whidbey.  We'd intended to stay at Keystone, but even in the middle of the week it was full.  Most likely the delightfully sunny weather had something to do with it, but also the Pt. Townsend Wooden Boat Festival no doubt played a role.

Instead of the lovely, edge of the water, state camp at Keystone we instead stayed at the County's beautiful Rhododendron Park.  A lovely little park of 12 sites situated in the woods and surrounded by wild Rhododenrons.

On Thursday we walked on the beach at Ebey's Landing with Benton Pup, tossing stick after stick for his delightful play.   Friday we spent the day in Pt. Townsend, mostly hanging out with our dear friend, Jeff.  


On Saturday we had one terrific 18 mile bike ride, including a stop at the Coupeville Farmer's Market but ending with concern for the mechanics of our bike.  Then, Sunday morning we abruptly ended our ride after it began with the  gears slipping, squelching our hope that an over night rest would fix the problem.   When we returned to Langley, the rain was just beginning but during the night we ended up having a nice soaker.  The garden is sighing with relief, after a long streak of no rain the entire month of August, and the first week of September.

Rhododendron County Campground

As we relaxed and enjoyed our island, Brad arrived at Cascade Locks to rest and resupply.  He was planning on leaving Sunday, Day 127 of his PCT adventure, crossing over the Bridge of the Gods to enter his home state, Washington.  He too probably had rain this past weekend.   Update:  Because of rain, cold, sore feet, aching back and a general state of being too tired, too wet, and too sore to move, Brad stayed at Cascade Locks through today, Monday.

The PCT adventure is two states down, one to go, with much of the Washington section of the PCT hiked last summer.  The southern part and the far northern part will be entirely new territory, however.  Brad is homeward bound after almost a year of hiking both NZ and the US West Coast.  A recent local news article about Brad and Heart on the Trail can be viewed here

Bridge of the Gods

A Year's Hiking Highlights

Brad's tramping, hiking, trekking year began mid November 2011 and will end mid October 2012

The adventure began in New Zealand for a hike on the Te Araroa Trail beginning November 20, 2011.  The Te Araroa Trail began at the northern tip of the Northern Island, Cape Reinga.  It ended at the South Island's southern tip, Bluff, on April 20, 2012.

The Te Araroa Trail is 1864 miles.  

Brad finishing the Te Araroa Trail

The Te Aararoa adventure was followed immediately by then hiking the Pacific Crest Trail beginning  May 5, 2012.  Brad started at the Mexican border near Campo, CA.  He will finish at Manning Park, British Columbia late September to mid October.  The PCT is 2650 miles.   At the end of August he was at Sisters, Oregon.

Brad beginning the Pacific Crest Trail

Interesting Data:  The Te Araroa Trail is 1864 miles.  The PCT is 2650 miles.  Total trail miles for both trails is 4514  miles.  Or, at 2000 steps per mile,  9,028,000 steps.  In time that's 90,280 minutes or 1505 hours.  To date, his longest day was in mid August where he hiked 43 miles, beginning the day at 6:00 a.m. and ending at 11:00 p.m.




From Brad's  friend, Blood Bank.

"Your son looking out after we had just reached the last highest point on the trail. (He's dancing in the picture, but I was unable to capture the full effect) I'm sure you can use your imagination. You definitely raised a great kid! Thank you! "

Sara aka blood bank

Freestyle and Bodybag

The stuff of tears and smiles from moms.  Thanks Sara!