This was my second year attending the Pacific Crest Trail Days in Cascade Locks OR, and it was filled with meeting new and exciting people, discussions of the trail, future plans, all types of gear and catching up with old friends.
Two-dozen or more volunteers and I arrived on Thursday to erect the stage, install fencing, and stakes in grounds identifying the vendor areas. After 3-4 hours of work, we were treated to beer and sandwiches at the Thunder Island Brewery, which is one of the sponsors of the event.
On opening day, I captured photos of the vendors arriving and setting up their booths, along with hundreds of current, past, section and through-hikers who were erecting their tents on Thunder Island.
During my time photographing, I met Eldon and Charlotte when our conversation, began about hiking the trail. Their comments utterly shocked me, to ask. Can you say that again?
Eldon stated they were not hiking the trail, but was to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, the following Sunday, and they were sleeping inside a “pup-tent,” for the very first time together.
The phrase “pup tent,” immediately caught my attention as I had not heard that phrase since the early and mid 1970s when I was a Boy Scout.
Eldon went on to explain he is a retired engineer who designed and sewed together the tent before he graduated high school over fifty years ago. They invited me to view their tent, and along the way, my mind was imagining what would a fifty-year-old tent look like?
Would it be a faded dark green tent with some dry rot?
But, as we approached their colorful yellow, red, and blue, A-frame tent with a screen mesh, staked to the ground and supported by a center aluminum pole with aluminum poles on the ends. My moth was agaped in shocked, and yet truly impressed beyond belief, by the design that has weathered the years very well.
Eldon and Charlotte explained how they met while hiking a trail for exercise in Washington State, when Eldon noticed Charlotte. Eldon was a little apprehensive feeling he could be seen as a stalker, but he was able begin a conversation that led to romance, love, and marriage.
Eldon found the Pacific Crest Trail event online, and they both decided to attend. Their time during the event educated them both about hiking and backing with new innovations on display since Eldon designed his pup-tent.
As they celebrate their first wedding anniversary on August 25, 2019, I’m hoping they are inspired to hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, because I’m looking forward to seeing them next year if not sooner on the trail.
There were many other interesting encountered I will feature in future blog postings.