PCT 2015 – Week 19

10 Sept – Day 126 – mi. 2569 – easy, cool morning with coffee – feeling great and energized – there is an indescribable energy pulling me along the trail – loving life and hiking – “It’s okay to finish alone.” – inspiration over material things – chef Legend makes canned chili spaghetti – porcupine sighting by Porcupine Creek – magic and stars fill the mountains and night – random forest camp –  mile 2602

Fading light in the last days

11 Sept – Day 127 – mi. 2602 – the magic energy is still there – these last days are phenomenal, personal, reflective, emotional, energetic and fun – everything finally clicks – long dry section – no love from the campground caretaker – fun, long ridge traverses – huge valley surrounded by steep choosy, bare ridges, punctuated by rock and water fall lines – nice talks with Ladies Man – compromise for what/who you love – Devilfish lives! – last night camping on the PCT – looking for Wrong Way – deer herd camp – mile 2635

Devilfish, a familiar trail angel from the desert, 2300 miles ago

12 Sept – Day 128 – mi. 2635 – Autumn/drought colors: yellow, red and green color the steep slopes and forest are aglow as the sun crests the ridges and peeks through the canopy – quiet and contemplative – slow morning with coffee and hot breakfast – no rush to finish – border clear cut – run to the voices of others – monument is anti-climatic as an object but huge in symbolism – day hikers don’t get it – whiskey and snickers celebration with Lucky – dehydrated food offering to the trail –  Canadian trail magic with Molson and Cheezies – quick pace for the 8 miles to Manning Park – overcome with emotion at the road – not a warm welcome into Manning Park lodge – hikers are in a daze – celebratory meal, beer and companionship – Canadians – Congratulations to all who finished today: Pounder, Twist, Sweeper, Popsicle, Lucky and Ladies Man and to all those before and after us – mile 2659 – Finish and Canada!

Time to take a seat

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PCT 2015 – Week 18

3 Sept – Day 119 – Goldmeyer alt. mi. 11 – psyched on big trees, lush forest, mushrooms and ferns – rumors of the fire closure opening –  more rain and lunch under an umbrella – waterfalls forever and more lakes – sunshine and warmth – Icy Hot is alive! – the trail is never what you expect – nightfall coming early – night hike – clear night sky – Cathedral Pass camp –  mile 2435

Lake along the alternate route

4 Sept – Day 120 – mi. 2435 – first sunny morning in more than a week – climbing and intermittent rain – sweat soaked under rain gear – rain clouds, fog and mist fill the canyons where smoke filled a couple weeks ago – WA is equally beautiful as it is challenging – The trail is open! – in the flow – ski lifts, lakes and passes – Stevens Pass – hitch with Index Lauren – chili, fried chicken, jojos and beer – full house at the Dinsmores – Hiker Heaven – mile 2462

Snack break with Leopardsauce, Hundo & Desert-hang

5 Sept – Day 121 – rest day – no miles – Skykomish, WA – Trail magic and family from Louisiana – stuffed with town food – frisbee in the street – serious hiker hobble – WA apples – trail angels here are awesome – Team Gnar Gnar is all together and then disbands – “can’t loose a Gnar Gnar by speeding up” – sad and tired – Cascadia Inn

the Complete Team Gnar Gnar: Middle, Leopardsauce, HoHo, Chicory, Backwise, Alpaca, Possum, Sneezl

6 Sept – Day 122 – mi. 2462 – hard to leave the warmth of town – I’m loving every town now – deserted trail – snow covered mountains – foggy, soggy, dripping forest – hiking in snow in a t-shirt – all day with Alpaca – fog covered lakes – dogs – large groups can be dramatic – ankles are wrecked – Sally Ann Lake camp – mile 2491

Leaving town for snow

7 Sept – Day 123 – mi. 2491 – 4 months on the trail – stars in the night – misty morning and fast moving clouds – Llama packing bear hunters – bandana ankle brace – blueberries and mountaineers – Glacier Peak Wilderness – new faces: Hawaii, Marathon John, Just Drew and Logan – these mountains feel huge and wild – Desert Hang camp – mile 2522

Colors & weather of Fall

8 Sept – Day 124 – mi. 2522 – mice scurried around all night – good morning switchbacks – very clumsy, foggy, drizzling morning – older hikers and a neurotic heeler – huge hemlocks – great rest stops – Sunshine! – forest floor carpeted with moss and shrooms – hot lunch with Desert Hang – spectacular golden hour views – night hike with Desert Hang – Chill Hards hiding in the woods – night hiking is one of the coolest parts of thru hiking -night time rock slides – stars and clouds – solo, established camp – mile 2553

Evening sun & God light

9 Sept – Day 125 – mi. 2553 – 5:15 AM wakeup – dawn patrol with stars and moon – damp bag and tent – soaked and cold from wet, overgrown trail – was a cold night – wildfire smoke still smoldering – hot and dry – big red shuttle bus to Stehekin – mandatory stop at the bakery with a cinnamon roll to die for! – Lake Chelan and Stehekin are more beautiful and magical than ever expected – get to see the Gnar Gnars – burger and sunset with hikers – much needed relaxing and healing – probably the best Post Office in the country – resupply – chillin with the Chill Hard Tribe – Veggie, Square, Popsicle and Easy – mile 2569

Lake Chelan

PCT 2015 – Week 17

27 Aug – Day 114 – mi. 2273 – 4:30 AM start – dawn patrol – rock and ice – the Knife’s Edge! – coffee and breakfast on the rocky, exposed ridge – wildfire viewing – to the north, Mt. Ranier, to the west, Mt. St. Helens, to the south, Mt. Adams and to the east, sunrise – one of the best moments of the whole trail!, I love this trip, trail and these people. –  missed goat sightings – single track, ridge trail inspires me to run – temptation by a chair lift – Whites Pass and Kracker Barrel store – town food – resupply – pace deliberation – indecisive waitress – cookies and the Tao from Peter – fricket – River Jelly & Chopsticks – highway horse camp – mile 2293

Mt. Adams & wildfire at sunrise

28 Aug – Day 115 – rainy morning = perfect sleeping weather – cricked neck – rainy, cloudy day = perfect hiking weather – quick pace – Lakes forever – Ginormous church/Russian youth group blasting horrible techno music! – lunch break to dry out, nap and wait – alone time and visiting with new hikers – more views of Mt. Ranier – reunite with Highwater going Sobo – emaciated, mountain man comment – Canada fever and exhaustion among the team – Dewey Lakes camp – mile 2318

Highwater reunion!

29 Aug – Day 114 – mi. 2318 – more great sleep -warm, rainy morning to Chinook Pass – Mt. Ranier National Park – beautiful, cloud filled morning with rain soaked views – Outhouses but no TP! – super nice father & son – climbs with rain and wind – broken umbrella – mountain goats – floating rainbows – lunch in a broken down shack – shadows of clouds racing across scree and ridges, dashes of sunshine – controlling, powerful wind – mushrooms – hints of Fall – the brunch club runs to catch up, Chicory passes us to BW’s frustration – No Trace & Unbreakable going SoBo – hot fire to dry out – 2nd coldest, wet day of the trail – Ulrich Ski Cabin – mile 2345

Above Chinook Pass

30 Aug – Day 115 – difficult to leave the warm cabin – trash bag trail fashion – elk sighting in a fog covered Government Meadows – Daybreaker and friend’s trail magic: coffee, pancakes, fruit, eggs, burgers and more – car cuddle – feel unprepared for constant cold, wet weather – sunshine and another Legend sighting – rain covered firs with clouds and dam light look like snow – early nightfall – dry layers, tent and warm food feel so good – Old road bed, cold & wet camp – mile 2368

German Homesteaders at the Ulrich Cabin

31 Aug – Day 116 – mi. 2368 – Snoqualmie Pass – rain all day – running with an umbrella in the rain – loud hiss and crackle of rain on the power lines – soaked to the bone – run for warmth and town food – cold & wet hikers – Hundo comes to the rescue, again – decision to dry out and wait out the rain in town – Dr. Drei going SoBo – Pancake Inn and pizza – crazy, unorganized hiker box room – Seattle, WA – Hundo apartment camp – mi. 2391

Dig for your box at Snoqualmie Pass

1 Sept – Day 117 – big city day – Seattle, WA – sleep in with big breakfast, Ali Cakes -resupply on cold, wet weather gear – Mario Kart – Fremont Coffee trail magic – Pho and ice cream – Fremont Brewing Co. – REI, hipster look of downtown Seattle men – Josh B. from Las Cruces – late night, delicious Mexican food – no trail miles

the City of Seattle

2 Sept – Day 118 – mi. 2391 – sleep in again – Silence Heart Nest breakfast – resupply – Hundo returns to the trail – Goldmeyer Hot Springs alternate – spectacular scenery: Snow Lake, waterfalls, craggy towers, ferns, Chicken of the Woods, huge trees, lush everything – land slides – slip, slide, fall and scrape – hiking alone, reflections on the trail, idea of the end setting in – space cakes – Goldmeyer Hot Springs and wilderness preserve is magical – mine shaft hot springs source – hot pool and cold plunge – hot soaking in the rain – cozy warm clothes after the soak – tough day with great ending –  Goldmeyer Hot Springs camp – mile 11 of Goldmeyer alt. route

Town days are hard