Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Last Days: Day 129 - 141

Day 129: PCT miles 2402 to 2414

Well the nine days off trail were very nice. The wedding was great as well as being able to eat as much as I wanted. However, I did feel quite stiff getting back on trail. I guess I should have done some yoga or stretching during my time off.

Day 130: PCT miles 2414 to 2438

The day started out cloudy, which was cool and it progressed to a light rain. The light rain turned to heavy rain for a while and I was happy to have my umbrella. I did get wet after stopping to set up my tarp but it wasn't too bad. The rain stopped long enough for me to make dinner and clean up and as soon as I got back under my tarp it started up again. The rain came down all night along with some serious lighting and thunder nearby. My tarp is a bit too small for prolonged wetness and I did get damp.

Day 131: PCT miles 2438 to 2461

Today continued to be wet and cool. All the vegetation along the trail was sopping wet as well so I remained damp all day. It wasn't bad as long as I kept moving. There was also snow at higher elevations but I was low enough not to have to walk in it.

Day 132: PCT miles 2461 to 2480

Sunny Day! The 15 miles to Stevens Pass went fairly quickly. However, I was dealing with some pain in my knees. On the uphill my left knee would hurt and on the downhill my right knee hurt. I don't know if it was because of the nine days off, muscles stiffening up, or the new insoles I bought. I took some ibuprofin and removed my insoles, the knee pain left but then my feet started to hurt. It was frustrating but I made it and hitched a ride to Skykomish quickly. After eating and resupplying I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and keep hiking. It took me longer to hitch back, about 45 minutes but I was able to put in four more miles. Not too bad, now I only have 100 miles to Stehekin and 4.5 days to do it in.

Day 133: PCT miles 2480 to 2503

Today felt like I was walking uphill all day. I know there were some descents but they passed so quickly and were not very noticeable. Washington is turning out to be as challenging as I had heard. I have scheduled myself for 22 miles a day and I have to push it to get that far. What views there are are beautiful but the trail does pass through a lot of forest. For tonight I am camped in an open sub-alpine area with a beautiful view to the east.

Day 134: PCT miles 2503 to 2527

I really enjoyed the scenery today. The steep, green mountainsides and the rugged peaks. The elevation gain and loss was not bad and I had 23 miles done by 5:30, so I stopped early to enjoy the sunset.

Day 135: PCT miles 2527 to 2553

There were a couple of good climbs and descents today. I think I am getting readjusted to the trail again, I really didnt mind the ups and downs. I also would have kept hiking but I ran out of daylight. Getting close to Stehekin, the last resupply of the trip. I have mixed feelings, I am looking forward to this ending but also don't want it to end. Mice are starting to become an issue, although they have not tried to get my food they were running over me during the night.

Day 136: PCT miles 2553 to 2580

I wasn't planning on pushing to get to Stehekin but it happened anyways. After the initial 3500 foot climb, the trail went downhill for the next 18 miles. I had 7 hours to make it to the last shuttle bus and the lure of food and beer was too much to resist. It was a little bit painful on the feet but worth the effort.
Stehekin is a cool little resort that is very isolated. There is no cell service or internet and the only way in is by boat, plane or foot. The weather has been incredible for Washington in September and looks to be good until I hit the border, only 4 days away.

Day 137: PCT miles 2580 to 2585

I spent most of the day in Stehekin doing chores and hanging out. A group of us left together and this is the last four days of an incredible trip. The mice are again running around camp and being a nuisance.

Day 138: PCT miles 2585 to 2609

Today went really well, the weather is perfect for hiking. There was a 19 mile climb but it didn't drag on like other ascents have. I ran into trail magic at Rainy Pass and ended up spending almost two hours hanging out. Tonight is cold, need to sleep with my water filter so it doesn't freeze!

Day 139: PCT miles 2609 to 2630

It got pretty cold last night and nobody wanted to get up this morning. We were all waiting for the sun and so didn't get started until 9 am. Despite this and a leisurely lunch we made it to camp in good time. Only one more full day of hiking left….

Day 140: PCT miles 2630 to 2654

A great last full day, cool weather and beautiful views.

Day 141: PCT miles 2654 to 2660

The six miles to the monument went super fast. I spent the time reflecting on the trail and my experiences. Each day seemed to be really long but the whole five months has gone by so quickly. I have met great people on and off the trail and had an incredible experience. It is hard to put all that has happened into words and I think it will take me some time to really process everything.

The group I have been hiking with the last few days has been tons of fun and we had a photo shoot at the monument. Everybody was really excited to have finally made it, it was not an easy task and we all had to have strong determination to go the distance.

Hello Canada!

The eight miles after the monument are lovingly referred to as the "Glory Walk" and it was glorious. I made it to Manning Park and got a room at the hostel. I had to wait a day until Lori could come and get me but it was a relaxing time. Now I must reintegrate back into society and get back to my life in California. Fortunately, Lori and I have a little time to visit with friends and family on our way back.

Portraits from the PCT has also been updated, click here to check it out.