November 8, 2004

One Sunol family who's excited to be back home is Barbara Egbert, Gary Chambers and daughter Mary Chambers. While we have been experiencing unseasonably bad weather here, they were enduring snow at the top of Slate Peak near Princeton, British Columbia. Their journey began on April 8 near the Mexican border and after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail's approximately 2,650 miles they arrived at their destination on October 25. Slate Peak was actually impassable with too much waist deep snow and extremely force winds so after a second attempt at an alternative route they finally achieved their goal and crossed into Canada by way of Buckskin Path. Barbara stated that it is common for bad weather to force hikers to take alternate routes.

I knew it was just a matter of time before they reached the Canadian border because I had received an exciting email on October 23 from Jim Boudousquie of Blain, Washington. Blain and his wife met the family at the Visitor Information Center in Winthrop, WA and he said that they were about 30 miles away from Canada. Jim wrote, "Snow had fallen overnight in the higher elevations of the Northern Cascades and I believe they wanted to avoid some of the higher passes along the Pacific Crest Trail, but still be able to "connect" the footsteps".

In fact the weather conditions seemed to cause the most discomfort for the family. When they began the trip they had to deal with the hot weather in Southern California, then at Olallie Lake in Oregon the rain turned to snow and Mary and Gary experienced their first significant snowfall in Washington's Suiattle Pass.

Barbara said, "I didn't know how hard it would be, it was just a wonderful experience. You have to be in really good physical condition, willing to put up with a lot day to day whether you feel like it or not. It's as much mental as it is physical endurance to do a really long hike". Unfortunately health issues forced Barbara to leave the trail for three weeks but she managed to catch up to Mary and Gary for the last 70 miles of the trip so they could cross into Canada together. Barbara hopes to complete the remainder of the hike through Washington within a few years. The most harrowing experience they had besides the extreme weather conditions was an encounter with a hungry bear in Kings Canyon.

Mary, a sixth grade student at Sunol Glen, is probably the youngest hiker ever to complete the entire Pacific Crest Trail, but unfortunately there is no official record keeping of these statistics. "I thought it was pretty interesting, it was pretty fun 65% of the time. Going through snow and wading streams are certainly not fun. I'm really glad to see the cats and my best friends", says Mary.

What's next for this adventuresome family? There are planning another hiking expedition, but not until 2006.

Attention Sunolians: Don't forget December 4th is Sunol's 10th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Train. By now most Sunol residents have received the flyer announcing the festivities and you must reserve your tickets for the Sunol residents only train by November 15. For more information regarding this event you can contact me at the phone number, or email listed below.

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