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City: Fort Collins
Begins: Apr 27, 2012
Date: Sun, Sep 9th, 2012
Entry Visits: 1,475
Journal Visits: 31,674
Guestbook Views: 1,231
Guestbook Entrys: 32
Last PLB Location
Pacific Crest Trail Map
We had a fairly big climb coming out of Snoqualmie, but honestly I barely felt it (or maybe that's how i feel in retrospect??) whatever, but we got payoff views as we got to the top, really epic pass into the Alpine Lakes, I'm so thankful that we had good weather cause AL was just jaw droppingly beautiful. The miles were a bit difficult, but at one point I saw 7 cirques from my viewpoint, it was easily in the top tier of PCT scenery and damn STEEP!! I couldn't imagine hiking that in winter, you could slide for thousands of feet before you hit bottom. We camped within AL and passed out the next afternoon where we luckily met up with Kristo, Damsel and Lucy who i hadn't seen since the Sierras (Kristo) and Castella (D and L.) we also met other hikers that caught up to us, Hollywood, Cactus, Extra Credit and Trip, all awesome people. We cruised into Skykomish where I met Major Upchuck who holds the record for days spent at the Andersons, that's a lot of partying! We hung out, ate a bunch of food and played a bit of croquette. TP, X, P and I got a ride back to the trailhead with Leisure Suit Larry and Little Feet whom TP had met back in the desert, they live near Skykomish and were fantastic people and super nice to us!
As we set out on the next to last section of the trail I was thoughtful much as I was near the Whites on the AT. I reflected back on my hike and bike trip and was sad that it would soon end, I wasn't ready to go home. I sort of brought myself out of my funk by remembering that experiences like this wouldn't have the same emotional impact unless they did end. So I tried to make the most of my last few days on the trail by taking my time and enjoying time with my friends.
This section was pretty damn difficult with a mess of steep large climbs and diminishing sunlight making the mornings and evenings colder.... making us sleep in later!
The major mountain in this area was Glacier Peak, we could see it for miles and it was absolutely bursting with glaciers, it was a sight to see.
the mileage was hard enough to make me start taking ibuprofen again, the knees were definitely feeling the accumulated strain. I was truly thankful to see this most remote part of the country there really is no way to see this area unless you hike in, there are no roads within a hundred miles of this place. Although this section was breathtaking, I was glad to descend into high bridge to take the bus into Stehekin I was looking forward to a hot cooked meal, there have been too few of those since we've been in Washinton.
One of my favorite views was descending into Stehekin and the Chelan lake valley, it reminded me of fjords in Norway with the steepness of the mountains cutting straight down into a glacial lake. We were informed that Lake Chelan was the 3rd deepest lake in the country... after Crater lake and Tahoe. Smoke filled the valley from nearby forest fires, seems like we can't escape the fires even this far north, they've been an everpresent companion/nuisance since Northern California. As we waited for the bus to take us back out of Stehekin all the hikers gathered in the communal room overlooking the lake and we drank up all the beers we had left over, It made me so happy to see all my friends ready to complete their thru hikes, everyone was in good spirits!
The last section of the PCT starts in the North Cascades and is truly epic landscape, sharp and rugged mountains abound for the first couple of days until we reached the Pasaytens. I had a wonderful time soaking up the northern PCT with TP, X&P and I can't imagine a better group to finish this trail that's stolen my heart from the AT!
The second to the last day on the trail the sky's finally opened up on us, we'd been so lucky for so long that i didn't begrudge mother nature this day. From the southern terminus to 30 miles from the northern terminus, it hadn't rained on me more than a light mist while i hiked. I had a smile on my face that we'd made it this far without walking in the rain, so I happily walked wet all day and down the devils staircase in a pouring rain. I set up my tent trying to keep my gear dry somewhat successfully while shivering so hard I thought I was going to draw blood from biting my lips! The next morning was damp and cold as hell, but within minutes of starting to hike, none of us felt the cold anymore, we were about to finish the PCT!!!
It didn't take us long to cruise down the 6 remaining miles to the border. Once we hit the first switchback, i knew we were close so I looked up and right in front of me on the other side of the valley was the long precise cut through the woods that extended over the mountaintop signalling the border. I can think back on it even now and get a chill reminiscent of that feeling, I got more out of this trip than I ever thought I could, it truly was a life changer.
Once we reached the border monument, TP and I took almost no time to polish off the bottle of Bushmills we'd been carrying for the past 200 miles. We stayed a couple of hours at the monument soaking up the happiness each of us was radiating, it was one of those times that i'll never forget.
February 3rd to October 13th, this was one hell of a trip, I have memories to fill a lifetime. I can't wait to add more memories after the CDT in 2014!!! Triple Crown!!!!