SpiwakBy Bob Spiwak

A bright and sunny Monday, wake-up temperature of 29.8 degrees, the coolest of the season, and oh so dark yet at 6:30 a.m. The trees have about peaked now, and the leaf storms, even without wind to assist, are on the upswing. Or down-flutter.

Swinging into the valley for a visit last weekend came Bob Cram, long absent, with his son Doug, daughter Robin Hall and her lifelong buddy Vicki Hayes. We had a nice visit with Bob and Doug at SLIME Friday morning, and later in the evening Ms. Gloria and I went to Chateau Cram in upper Lost Mazama for some vino, snacks and lots of gab.

Robin is almost as frequent an inhabitant here as her father. Mother Martha could not make this trip, and as she and mom are avid gardeners, that aspect is over for the year. But she frequently spends a lot of her time with the constructive pursuit of quilting, usually with friend Vicki with whom she has worked for over two decades.

This time they arrived with two sewing machines, stationed them in front of the television and somehow were still able to work their textile wonders with the tube on. They are talented to the extent that recently at the convocation of the Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters, Robin took a third-place award in the non-representational art category. Asked if there were more than three contestants at the show, she laughed and stated there were over 300. This is an annual show and this year was at the Tacoma Convention Center.

The non-representational category applies to art work that does not adhere to any particular subject in what is known as scrap art, where various pieces of fabric are garnered from a variety of parent sources.

In this case the materials came from, among others, ethnic stuff, a shirt from Denmark and the coup de grace, a large piece of red fabric provided by Vicki. This was unraveled, then made into a series of squares throughout her quilt. Titled simply “Red Squares,” it won her the prize.

It seems to be Ladies’ (or Women’s if you prefer) Day for this column, for just this morning I was introduced to Carolyn Burkhart, no relation to the local family of that name. She was introduced by native Mazaman Geoff Gode, who recently soloed the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from bottom to top. Carolyn is a veteran of the trail, having done the Washington segment five times, and the entire PCT “almost twice – I still have a segment in California to complete.”

She bought a place on Davelaar Trail, across from the Mazama Junction, about a month ago. Her aim is to become what is called a trail angel – a person or small group of people who provide food, water, showers and advice to people along the trail.

I did not think Mazama could be considered along the PCT, but she pointed out that it was the closest to the only exits at either Harts Pass or Rainy Pass. For some it is literally the end of the trail, especially when the snow begins to fall, or possibly from sheer exhaustion, especially when begun in California.

For those who are continuing, she plans, in addition to the usual angel functions, to assist through-hikers with her expertise on snow travel, avalanche information, equipment, medical issues and other factors that hikers, especially neophytes, need to know.

Somewhat abashed when asked when she first took up hiking the PCT, she quietly stated that she thinks she is the first woman to do the whole thing alone, in 1976.

She can be reached at carolyn.burkhart@yahoo.com.