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Begins: Apr 29, 2008
Date: Fri, Sep 19th, 2008
Start: Glacier Pass
End: Foggy Pass
Trip Distance: 1,644.7
Entry Visits: 743
Journal Visits: 63,406
Guestbook Views: 4,029
Guestbook Entrys: 23
Counting down the tenths of a mile
This morning, I got a slow start, climbing up to the "high alpine garden" (what is that, and how am I supposed to know when I've reached it when the entire hillside looks like an alpine garden???). The views from the switchbacks as I was climbing were gorgeous with the sunrise coming up and hitting the rock and snow-covered peaks across from me. At the top of the climb, the trail wound around to a campsite that was supposed to have water somewhere, but I didn't find any there. There was a creek in the valley below the trail, but it was clearly too far down to be worth a trip. This campsite is the start of a 20-mile stretch that is theoretically waterless, so I was very nervous and upset at not finding any water there. I sat down and poured through the guidebook to see if there was anywhere nearby that had water, and fortunately, there is a campground just off the trail only a few miles ahead. I had plenty of water to get to it, so I continued to the turn off to the road. The trail comes around a ridge nose, then circles around to cross over another small, lower nose. Just past the second nose, you can see an old forest track down the hill to the right, and a small footpath leading to it from the PCT. The track leads uphill to a parking lot on a gravel road that leads left to the campground, which has water in the center circle. I was so relieved to get water from it, and happily, the road from the campground leads over to Hart's Pass, where the trail crosses it. Since Good Times caught me at the water source, we stopped for an early lunch before continuing on to the Pass.
Above Hart's Pass, we passed a trailhead, entered the Paysayten Wilderness, and realized we were fewer than 30 miles from the border. Incredible. It is amazing how 40 miles feels impossibly far, but 30 miles is within a day's walk. It made a huge change in our attitude to the final stretch. I had heard fro ma friend who hiked the trail that in the final 40 miles, he and his group just didn't stop hiking. They night-hiked into the border, reaching it at 4 am. I didn't really understand why anyone would want to do that- I was thinking about how great it would be to be there at a good time of day for taking pictures, hanging out, then meadering over to Manning Park. However, when we hit the 30 mile to go mark, I suddenly got it. It made complete sense to me. Despite it being late in the afternoon, I still felt like 30 miles was completely do-able, and I wanted nothing more in the world than to get to the border as soon as possible. Good Times was so excited that he started counting down the tenths of a mile to the border, and I was so excited that I didn't even find it annoying when he would cry out "27 miles and 3 tenths to go" every 2 minutes.
In the late afternoon and evening, we had a nice walk along a series of ridges and past a series of passes, kept company by Oasis and Scratches and one amazing game of 20 Questions, Places. We've played it so much that we've got a whole set of stock questions, plus certain definitions of geographical areas. It was a lot of fun to play with the two others because they know Europe so much better than I do. Unhappily, our game and Good Times and my hike for the day was cut short by my rolling my ankle pretty badly late in the evening. We camped at Foggy Pass on mossy patch with light shrubs around it. Not the best campsite, but I was ready to call anything camp at that point.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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