There are many reasons why people love the outdoors and backpacking in the high country, here are a few stories from our participants:

Bennett Silbert (PCT hiker 2022) “A group from Pass to Pass shared their delicious dinner with my girlfriend and me near Goat Rocks this past summer, and the hot food and inspiring conversation was a highlight of our PCT experience! “

Alex Garner  Renton, WA (2022) The trip was very special for my Dad, Andi and myself. It was a very emotional trip for me in a good way and I was very proud to see my Dad get back up in the mountains on a big trip again. I know how hard he worked to get himself ready for that trip and it has given him a lot of confidence on future trips. Goat Rocks will always have a special place in my heart so much so that I actually went out there for another long trip a couple weeks ago and further explored past the Knife’s Edge along with Goat Ridge.

Dave Worthington Bellevue, WA (2022) I had a fantastic time on the Pass to Pass trip. We had great hikes, wonderful weather, and nice accommodations. Most importantly, we were blessed to have a fantastic leader (Judi) and support from the Pass to Pass leader (Bill).

Jerry Bassett  Wenatchee, WA (2022)I wanted to specifically thank everyone on our team for caring for me, especially the last afternoon when my back pain was at its zenith.  The departure was rather a blur and I don’t think I adequately expressed my gratitude.  I am scheduled to see the neurosurgeon this Friday to discuss treatment options for my spinal stenosis.  I hope this will resolve the issue for next year’s hiking season!

I also want to thank…

      Dave Baumgart for his wonderful leadership, organizational skills  and tremendous backpacking experience, who put in hours and days for our benefit to make hike #7 a success.  And thanks for all the latrine constructions!

     Eric Matson for taking time to be with us in general , handling the llamas, packing the saddlebags daily, and communicating on the blog daily to keep our loved ones informed.

     Bonnie Matson for being a joyful, steadfast, intrepid example of persistence on the trail.  And we all enjoyed Eric’s story about you and your parking tickets.

     Dr. Phil Garner, my fellow chemist, chess player, and fellow Parkinson’s person.  You truly are a “machine” on the trail and you were a great man to follow.  I enjoyed the day we shared together watching the llamas and you were brave to jump into frozen Goat Lake.

     Andi Garner for being such a great lead, sweep, and you made a great saddle cowgirl (dare I say llama girl?).  Your lovely demeanor was a joy on the trail!

     Alex Garner for being so kind, thoughtful, and willing to use your energy to help those of us who are older.  You took on extra duties, never complained, and were a delight to get to know.  This hike would have been much more difficult without you.  I am impressed you made it to 2:20 in Goat Lake!

     Dave Baer for bringing to other’s attention my difficulties on the trail, even when I was refusing help.  You are a true gentleman and you were a God-send on the trail.  And thanks for letting me borrow your stuff bag.

     Bill Meyer and wife Nadean for the vision, hard work, and long hours transporting llamas, providing food and drinks before and after our trek, and being such dependable support people for us.  You both are a tremendous asset to the hiking community at large and the Parkinson’s group in particular. 

      Finally, I want to thank my hiking buddy, Jim Gerner.  You are a true friend who put aside your own schedule to go with me even as we rescheduled the trip a year later.  We share many good memories together and we just added some more!

Andi Garner  Moscow, ID (2022) It’s a treat to read your words of gratitude for each and everyone of us. I enjoyed being part of our upbeat and supportive team. Your positive attitude, daily kindness, and perseverance helped shape our team. Thank you. 

I echo Jerry’s thanks to the team members. It was a delight to spend time with each of you while we climbed through the wilderness. I want to give a special shout out to David Baer, Jerry, and Phil for their accomplishments; although it was a challenging trip, they certainly didn’t let Parkinson’s hold them back. And thanks to Dave and Eric for their calm and wise leadership; the overall success of our trip is due to your planning and preparation.

Phil Garner Moscow, ID (2022) I want you all to know how much I appreciate your efforts that made team 7’s trek such a success. Under Dave and Eric’s excellent leadership, we overcame the obstacles that are expected of such an endeavor – and we had fun! As I told Dave at the end of our hike, it was a personal milestone for me. While I was preparing mentally and physically for my longest backpacking trip ever, I was worried that I might not be up to it. However, I came out of the adventure with renewed confidence that I might not have to shelve my backcountry adventures just yet. Special thanks to Andi and Alex, who served as my coaches to get me in shape for the hike. Of course, none of this would be possible without Bill Meyer’s vision and action that made Pass to Pass a reality.

I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you again on the trail.

 Jim Gerner  Seattle, WA (2022) This trip must have impacted me even more than I realize.  More than half of the nights since the trip, I have woken up half way through the night, thinking I am still on the pack trip.  The first night home, I sorta woke up realizing I wasn’t sleeping on my Thermarest pad.  I was wondering how I got such a big, cushy mattress into the tent.  A few nights ago, for whatever reason, at 2 AM the smoke alarm went off.  At first I thought the smoke alarm wasn’t in my tent, so it must be in Eric and Bonnie’s tent or David Baer’s tent.  Finally I realized what was going on, got up and shut it off.  

Yes, this was an excellent trip and a pleasure to be with such kind, positive people as you all are.   Blessings to you, my friends,

 Ken Wilson   Port Orchard, WA ( 2022) As a direct result of the Pass to Pass Goat Rocks trip, I felt confident enough to take on another backpack in Olympic National Park — this time without the llamas! A loop hike with a full pack; slightly less than 40 miles over four days, but with total elevation gains probably in the range of 8,000 ft, perhaps more. The couple of 11-mile days were not particularly difficult. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to join you a few weeks ago.

So Thank You, And thanks to each of the other co-leaders. PS I’d enjoy hiking with you again anytime, anywhere. And if not, have a truly wonderful and inspiring life.

Greg Bachman  Akron, OH    (2022) All of you were incredibly wonderful on our backpacking trip! From talking with all of you and seeing you Parkies in action on the trails, I have decided to go on Parkinson’s medication myself. My neurologist has already sent in a prescription for Sinemet. It should be waiting for me when I get home.

Meanwhile, this week, my buddy Steve and I have hiked the Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier, Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh River Trail in Olympic NP and the Pacific Ocean beach at Cape Disappointment. What epic, diverse hiking there is in Washington state. Keep at it everyone

Stella Chao Seattle, WA( 2022)I can personally attest to the incredible volunteerism and the deep impact that the trip had for us. Mike’s confidence, mood, and physical ability all improved during the hike – all things that are worsened by the loss of dopamine which Parkinson’s Disease brings.

Rose Gallagher  Point Lookout NY (2021) It was such an honor to share the trials, the fun, good conversation, and the beauty of the past 6 days with all of you!

Irene Pasternack Bellevue, WA (2021, 2022) I thoroughly enjoyed this trip: the Goat Rocks area was beautiful, the trip design with a day-trip day and shorter miles was a good fit for participants, and it was nice to have my arm more functional so I could do more with the llamas. I’m interested in becoming a trip leader for next summer.

Jheri Ketcham Yakima, WA (2021) Thanks again Linda and all, for providing an experience I’m sure I will never forget. I loved the country, the challenges, the llamas and best of all- our wonderful team. I hope to be back on a future trip where I can look forward to new challenges and new sights.

Barbara Hackett Fort Myers, FL (2021) I wanted you to know that I will be making a couple of donations to Pass to Pass to honor all of you who made Trip 2 for Eleanor and I so wonderful. Even though our participation was cut short it was a very valuable experience for both of us. My first donation today is in honor of Judi and Warren Spencer, our trail angels and new friends. Their kindness was so appreciated and our time with them just amazing. I will be making other donations and will send you an email as to I do so. Your selflessness in starting and growing this very worthy organization is to be applauded. If I were a millionaire I would buy you your own Llama’s! Looking forward to our continued affiliation,

Michelle Gustin-Jones  Boise, ID (2021) A heartfelt thank you to everyone for the shared experience of trekking in the Goat Rocks.  What an amazing group to spend time with!  The diversity of backgrounds and love of the freedom of the outdoors made a most memorable week. Appreciate the photos, my grandson particularly enjoyed the llamas. Spokane Bill, thank you for your vision, tenacity and love of the trail!  Linda, thank you for your calm wisdom that kept us moving, safely. Best to all on your future trails and adventures!  Hope our paths cross in the near future. Be well!

Terry Hopkins  San Luis Obispo, CA (2021) Thank you is not a big enough word to describe my gratitude to the two of you for all the work you do to make a pass to pass happen. I am still reliving moment after moment of our trip, yes despite the rain. I am pleased with myself for having accomplished it and I’m having fun thinking back on all the adventure. Thank you again.

Bill Clugston  Auburn, WA (2021)  Hi all, I too am enjoying all of the photos. It was an adventure that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!  Thank you Bill Meyer for having the vision to put such a program together! I’m already working out for another trip 

Linda Lee Marysville, WA (2020, 2021, 2022) Thank you for sharing this adventure. It was certainly that. It was so good to meet you all and spend time hiking and chatting together. I encourage some of you to consider the Goat Rocks trip next year. It was a wonderful trip this year with good views and good weather. We stayed in 1 campsite for 2 nights allowing for hiking a dayhike if desired or a day of rest if desired. The freedom, space, beauty and simple basics of life in the wilderness has such a pull on me. Having gotten a shower and a butterfinger blizzard at Dairy Queen,  I already want to go back! In 2022 Thank you all for such a fun trip into the beautiful Goat Rocks. Every time I go on these trips, I feel so grateful for the experience and the time spent with the incredible people who participate in PasstoPass! You all have the tenacious spirit and gusto for life lived to its fullest, no matter the circumstance, that I desire to have. You all inspire me! Thank you! 

Tim Webster  Clemmons, NC (2021) Hope you’ve recovered fully from the trip. I just added a new donation to PtP but my contributions are way less than the value of my experience. You’re doing a great service with PtP. Thank you to you and  you and Nadean. It was a pleasure to get to know you a bit on our trip. Hope to see you again in the future.

Randy Todd Port Washington, NY (2021) This was a giant step for those of us with Parkinson’s and on behalf of us, I would like to thank those who helped us accomplish this feat. It couldn’t have been accomplished without you. I will be forever grateful and look forward to next year’s hike.

Mike Watkins Evansville, IN (2021) Thanks to all of you I have a lifetime memory!!!!!!  Caleb, you will never know how much I enjoyed this time with you,   its at the top of my list.  I won’t get too mushy here since it is going to everyone. Bill,  Thank you for the passion you have in organizing the PasstoPass to provide this great opportunity for Parkies.  It is a dream that came true for me.  And I couldn’t say thank you without saying thank you to Nadean. Dave and Eric, Thank you for your patience in letting me figure out that my backpack was way too heavy.  Without your assistance in going up and down the mountain I may have had to use that Lifeflight Insurance.  Diane When you were  leading me I always felt like there was a least 4 of us on the path.  It made the hike feel like a party. Irene, First let me thank you for the wonderful dinner you had to kick off our trip.  Everything you cooked was delicious.  And eating that ripe fig was awesome.  The kayak experience with Dave was an eye opener, but I haven’t told Lisa if I have closed the door yet. Randy, If Lisa and I ever run out of food we will make a trip to Long Island.  Thank you for all the information on DBS and I will keep you informed on my progress.  Congratulations again on your new role as an Ambassador. Rose, I am going to set up an appointment for the Rock Steady Boxing class.  Thanks for setting up my tent with Randy and Steve.  The mints you left were much fresher than the one Randy gave me at the hotel. Steve, I totally appreciate the responsibility you took for the Llama’s.  I was not much help in that aspect of the trip. I am looking forward to  seeing the video of you doing the steeple chase run with the Llama. Thanks everyone,

Mary Verbeck Bend, OR (2021, 2022) We got off the trail around noon today. What an amazing and inspiring trip! I talked to one man who said he’d donate when he got off the trail for sure. People were really interested and I know cards were handed out. Thanks for starting this.

Diane Schuirman-Hagedorn Tacoma, WA (2019, 2020, 2021) In March 2019 I flew to California to day hike out of a base camp in Joshua Tree National Park with a group I didn’t know called Pass to Pass. I wasn’t a hiker. I had no idea if I could physically do the hikes.

In late 2014 I was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease. In the nearly six years prior I’d gone from walking five miles a day to literally unable to walk a square block. With an accurate diagnosis and appropriate medication, I regained some physical function, though I hadn’t tested myself. I showed up to hike with a shiny new sleeping bag and minimal physical conditioning. I signed up for … I think it was “4-6 miles per day, relatively flat.”

  • Day 1: Probably about 6 miles, with a steady incline and a difficult descent.
  • Day 2: Flat … and about 8 miles.
  • Day 3: About 5 miles, with two short hills so steep I practically had to crawl up them. The guys already at the top grabbed me as soon as they could reach me.

… And I did every single step. Not without discomfort, but I did it. Since then I’ve completed three 30-mile Pacific Crest Trail section hikes with Pass to Pass.

These hiking trips are like showing up and being taken care of by favorite uncles, thanks to terrific hike leaders and fellow hikers. The scenery and camaraderie are both amazing. I am grateful for the opportunity and the ability to go on these adventures.

Llamas (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022) Dear PasstoPass folks, Thank you for the fun adventure, great company, beautiful scenery and your kindness. We enjoyed the trip. The carrots at the end were especially appreciated. Happy Trails, Gina and Amos, llamas.

Judi Spencer  Graham, WA (2020, 2021, 2022). Thank you for an amazing adventure with a wonderful group of hikers! You know how to live life – and Pass to Pass is a Lifetime experience for all who have the opportunity to saunter the backcountry together. Happy Trails! Songbird

Mike Calbaum Heartland, WI (2020, 2021, 2022) Thank you for including me in this year’s hike. I had a fantastic time and met some really great people. I also want to thank you for providing such good team leaders. Eric, Linda and Dave did a great job.

Everyone that decides to be a back country backpacker has made the decision to leave behind their reliance on society’s safety net. Once we  are in the back country we are all dependent on each other. That is what I love abut being on the trail. We depend on each other and we help each other because we are all we have. I know that I will receive help from my trail family without having to explain why I need that help or feeling a need to apologize for needing help.

Eric Matson  Bellevue, WA (2020, 2021, 2022) Just wanted to say Dave did a fantastic job leading this trip.  Your compassion and support for the Parkinson’s hikers was amazing and heartwarming.  What a nice and compatible group of folks, sharing stories and life experiences, and helping each other.  Thanks for asking me to come along and assist.  It was a great experience.

Scott Edson Corvallis, MT (2020, 2021)   “An Atypical Wilderness Adventure Which Bolstered Myocardial Rhythms. ”  Jul 31 to 8/5/2020  As Bill Meyer’s (Bull Dog Bill) support hiker from Chinook to White Pass on The Pacific Crest Trail, WA.  Ten participants; a great group, with impressive team efforts.  I was humbly taken back by everyone’s will & dynamics. As we hiked, the group naturally would space-out along the trail providing other hikers easy passage without inconvenience. Usually, hikers recognized the Lamas & team and yielded the trail allowing smooth, uninterrupted continuation & well wishes exchanged. Periodically we would re-group for: how’s everyone, trail snacks, lunch & water breaks, refreshing pauses, and discuss the magnificent scenery, savoring joyful moments  …various mountains, wild flowers and much more!  When we reach our daily camp destination, backpacks were dropped and immediately tended the Lamas; panniers & saddles removed, assured safe grazing (some floral types are poisonous), watered & treats, and secured to a longer lead. Then community camp needs; potable & sanitary water, (no camp fires), camp-stools circled & meal preparation area set, followed by personal needs, tent spots and so on. Evening meals as well as the day’s highlights were enjoyed & replayed. Lamas didn’t spit at us, but occasionally did at each other if irritated. Lamas were very curious, observant and alert. They liked to smell us, even after several trail days. Authoritative sources {?) claimed bears do not like Lamas …our natural bear spray (having years experience with bears & wildlife species, I wondered). Positioned near the group’s front, we took turns leading pairs, 2 sets of 2.Three Lamas were experienced trail veterans, a young one, first timer, was a bit feisty and occasionally needed treat enticements & / or a boost If she stalled “on strike”.  On a couple occasions, we’d be trekking along and suddenly this youngster would fold legs and plop down in the center of the trail, refusing to get up & continue on. They enjoyed “dusting” themselves, repelling biting bugs, and (I think) challenging our novice –ness! Insects were of minimal nuisance except for our last camp. That afternoon & post evening meals we all gladly headed into our respective tents, looking forward to our morning’s departure. After morning breaking camp, packing personal gear, each Lamas’ packs were matched in weight, near 30# ea, and readied, Lamas were then saddled & panniers secured. During such they would “hum a lets get a move on tune.” …anxious for us to shoulder our packs & get going. Quite amusing. All in all a fabulous time.
Closing:    An Eagle Scout & wild – crazy scientist with  …eager for next trek!

Dan Kovach Renton, WA  (2019, 2020, 2022)  As a support hiker, I remain constantly amazed and inspired by the toughness of the Parkies taking on these adventures (definitely a lot tougher than I am!!!).  I am in awe of their grit and determination, and am blessed by the time our participants allow me to hang with them.  I had a wonderful time I won’t forget, and hope I can do this again next year!!!

Peter Flynn Spokane, WA (2019) Wow! My Pass to Pass 2019 Hike 2 was a brilliant adventure. There was great camaraderie among our group. The llamas worked tirelessly and were fun to have around. A higher elevation climb rewarded us with spectacular views of surrounding mountains, alpine lakes to swim in and beautiful sunsets. Our team leader, Brian got us across the Knife Edge without issue. One night we had a lightning storm with gale force winds and rain. Thankfully, we woke to a sunny day. Learning about how the other guys handle their PD was very supportive. After seven days it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment to make it across the finish line with memories to treasure about our experience. Two thumbs up!

Joe Quinn Portland, OR (2019) Pass-to-pass was an unforgettable experience.  The beauty of the Pacific Crest Trail was incredible, but was surpassed by the beauty of determination, teamwork, compassion, and humor among our hikers.  I came home with a sense of peace and wonder that I hope will linger as long as all the great memories.  I feel privileged and truly blessed to have shared this trip with an amazing group.

Takahiro Shigemitsu  Bellevue, WA (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)  The trip had everything – full sun, partial sun, cloudy, rain, thunder storm. And it ended in a sunny day. This resembles emotional and mental roller coaster I often go through. The trip taught me to finish strong on bright side everyday like the trip ended in a sunny day. I have more smiles on my face after the trip.

Brian Lance Methow, WA (2018) I thought the hardest part of the trip would be the hiking. But the hardest part was saying goodbye to everyone at the end.

Esther Hammerschlag Methow, WA (2018) We raised money, we raised awareness, and we made new friends. But the most meaningful part was sharing an incredible backpacking experience with my husband Brian-it never would have been possible without the support of Pass to Pass and the llamas.

A.C. Woolnough Sandpoint, ID (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021) I want to express my deepest appreciation for creating PasstoPass and for including me in the 2017 hike. It pushed me to my limit, but it was an incredible experience that I will never forget. Although at times, it seemed nearly impossible for me to continue, the support hikers and the Parky’s together provided the sense of unity and community necessary for me to take another step. While I doubt I will hike again with PtP, I will treasure this experience forever–and I’m glad I did it!

(2019)Why I Hike PasstoPass

Three years in a row I’ve hiked the PCT with PasstoPass… despite cramps, blisters, bug bites (actually, they were hornet stings), sunburn and other unpleasantness…Participating also had some pretty serious financial issues—new backpack, new tent, new camp stove, trekking poles and on and on. I hadn’t backpacked in almost 50 years. So, why did I do it and why do I plan to add 2020 as the 4th year in a row?

As a Libra, I try to stay balanced. So far, I’ve weighted things on the negative side. Here are some of the reasons I keep coming back. First and foremost are the hikers— the PWP’s, the support hikers, the llamas and the through hikers on the trail. We form a community that understands PD and supports each other. We share, we learn and we show the world what we can do. Hiking on the PCT provides unique vistas, an opportunity to challenge oneself and provides all the benefits of participating in outdoor adventures.

Advocacy, education and research are my passion and PasstoPass covers two out of three,

Finally, if you are as lucky as I am, your 20 year old grandson will ask to participate as your support hiker—two years in a row! Talk about a bonding experience and getting to know him as a man instead of a boy. When all is said and done, the scales are not even close. PasstoPass wins easily. I hope to see y’all next year.

Jo Ann Fjellman Seattle, WA (2016) I could not have hiked with a more exceptional group of people. Everyone on the team showed up completely offering 100%.

Patty Driscoll Seattle, WA (2016) Our PD group and support team climbed, swam in lakes, ate huckleberries and worked and played well together. We handled adversity and were stronger for it. Our primary goal of pushing ourselves physically with exercise to help us maintain and improve our strength and endurance to fight PD was realized.

Dave Jarnes Spokane, WA  (2016) I value the experience of  hiking on the PCT  with you and the bonds that were formed so quickly.

Ken Kisch Sammamish, WA (2016, 2017) My favorite experience during the trail was the blueberries that Jo Ann picked for my morning oatmeal.  Good company, good laughs, hard work, great scenery and even the dusty trail, all good. Stehekin was a mystical place of my dreams since childhood which finally became a reality.

Frank Hagan Issaquah, WA (2016, 2017) The real rock stars are the “parkies” who dealt with so many issues and still had the energy to help with the llamas as well as camp chores. One couldn’t ask for a better group. Brian‘s involvement was invaluable.

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