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City: Prescott Valley
Begins: Jul 27, 2017
Date: Sun, Oct 1st, 2017
Start: Prescott Valley, AZ
End: Prescott Valley, AZ
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 515.8
Entry Visits: 134
Journal Visits: 4,918
Guestbook Views: 36
Guestbook Entrys: 4
Thoughts back at home
Our initial post listed some reasons we had decided to hike the Washington portion of the PCT northbound but we discovered some additional reasons as we hiked.
1. 1. The scenery gets better as you head north.
2. 2. Hopefully some of the trail maintenance will be done before you get there as was the case with us and boy did we thank God for those folks.
3. 3. In a normal year you can start earlier going north and the bugs, wildflowers and potential for storms are better. The mosquitoes and flies were mostly not an issue for the second half of the hike but the SOBO hikers we spoke to had bug woes for all of Washington. We also had wildflowers for most of the hike since the elevation gets progressively higher overall.
4. 4. Although not an issue for us because we live at 5,000 feet elevation, heading north would give you a chance to acclimate if you were only hiking Washington.
Our biggest regret of the hike was not taking a full day off in Stehekin. There is plenty to do and many people would not visit again. We would stay two nights at the Stehekin Valley Ranch if we had it to do over again although the campground in Stehekin sounded nice also. I was concerned that the bugs and/or the weather would make another night of camping not very restful (not an issue when we arrived) and that staying at the Ranch would be inconvenient since it is not located in the town where luxuries like laundry were located. Turns out the Ranch has laundry and we heard great reviews of their food and even how clean the shared showers are. They also have a great shuttle bus that we inadvertently rode to take you to see the sites including the falls, garden and the bakery. (If you want the story on our transportation, check out our Stehekin post on August 30th.) Our second regret would be not buying more from the bakery. Some hikers packed out bakery goodies and we were oh so jealous - don’t miss it!
We were really happy to have our mosquito head nets especially in the Indian Heaven Wilderness. If possible, walk the twenty miles through it in one day to avoid most of the mosquito plague. Wish we had been warned!
Washington had a hot, dry summer which was bad for fires and so we only used our rain pants one day other than to keep the mosquitoes off in the Indian Heaven Wilderness. That said, we would never go on a hike of this length without some kind of rain gear. Our sleeping bags were also too hot most of the hike but that may not have been the case in a more normal weather year.
It was surprisingly dusty so we used more wet wipes than expected but again that may not have been such an issue if it had rained more.
The PCT in Washington was easy on the shoe tread and the Tyvek ground sheet compared to other hikes we’ve done.
We were glad to have mailed ourselves supply boxes because the supply opportunities were limited and expensive in the small towns.
The Cascades are very pretty and the people we met from Washington expressed love for their state and were ready to suggest other great sights to visit. The resupply towns were friendly and welcoming to hikers even when they seemed to overrun the place like in Trout Lake. It was awesome to see Washington’s iconic mountains and the abundance of wildflowers and to eat berries right off the trail. Our biggest disappointment was that we were rarely able to camp alone and away from the trail. The foliage in Washington is so dense that we were limited to the campsites listed in the guide info and even added two miles to a day early on when we attempted to plan our stop from the topo only. This was also the most populated hike we have done which unfortunately brought more trash, toilet paper and unburied waste to the trail too. Support or volunteer with the Pacific Crest Trail Association if you can as they are attempting to educate hikers through the Crest Runners program and they work tirelessly to maintain this beautiful trail.
Contact us if we might be able to answer questions. Happy hiking!
Pacific Crest Trail 2017
Tom & Alicia
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