Register-Guard columnist Bob Welch has twice been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists as best in the nation, and he’s won the “best writing” category in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s contest the last two years.

He is the author of 15 books, including three new ones out this fall:

“52 Little Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life,”
“Cascade Summer: My Adventure on Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail” and
“Resolve: From the Jungles of WWII Bataan, the Epic Story of a Soldier, a Flag, and a Promise Kept.”
He is the founder of the Beachside Writers, whose next event will be a “January Jump Start” in Eugene Jan. 12.

Highlights from Bob’s Program:

  • It all started by meeting Laura Buhl who hiked from Mexico to Canada (the Pacific Crest Trail – PCT) – she was the subject of Bob’s 4th column ever.
  • The Oregon portion of the same trail is over 500 miles and Bob put it in his mind that he would do it some day. He went with a freind of his, Glen.
  • To prepare, Bob hiked every butte he could find from Spencer’s to Mary’s Peak with weight on his back. He also bought all new equipment…he needed to become a minamalist. “To become a minamalist you maximize your credit card at REI.” He also did as much research as possible.
  • Blisters, fatigue, and snow were among the concerns of Bob and Glen.
  • Along the way they met more PCT hikers and quite a few obstacles. Most were friendly but always in a hurry.
  • Everyone on the trail had a nickname like “Runrunner” and “Cisco” who were always ahead of them looking very comfortable, as if they were on a cruise or from an LL Bean catalog. They ended up leading Bob and Glen out of a snowy area.
  • Of the four, two made it and two did not. You have to read Bob’s book to find out if he made it. You can buy it here.
  • Packs were 30 pounds and they had to restock around 4 times.
  • Biggest surprise was that the trail would be so snowy and high and dangerous.
  • There are points where you get really frustrated and crazy.
  • Bob and Glen lost about 25 pounds from the start of training.
  • Bob ate Costco danishes, wraps, junk, beef jerky, and freeze dried food. He planned the trip to be near springs and such as much as possible in order to keep up on water. It was a challenge to deal with water and filter it at the end of every very tiring day.
  • No wildlife bothered them other than a very drunk wedding guest near one of the lodges.
  • He wasn’t “without” anything the whole time. The mosquito net hats came in handy.

Program organized by Curtis Diama