For some of us, thru-hiking or long distance backpacking represents the truth and brutal honesty of this world and we are unwilling to accept substitutes after seeing it for ourselves. Washington is at the vanguard of these lessons, it is raw, breathtaking and unapologetically unpredictable.
Writing this post has been hard, but as the surprisingly wise man Henry Rollins once said, “In the winter I plot and plan, in the spring, I move.” Gone is the time to feel sad in the office, now is the time to move. But before I can move on, it’s time to finish the chapter on 2016 and Washington is far too awesome to be forgotten.
We started off from Cascade Locks after 5 days stuck elevating my leg and mainlining turmeric to stave off a cellulitis infection without paying for modern medicine. Luckily, those that came before us knew a thing or two, or I am simply Wolverine, because the infection faded and we set off into the state that eluded us in 2015. No fires blocked our path and nothing stood in front of us but 500 miles of beauty and walking. Exciting times.
Washington on the PCT takes a small amount of time to ramp up, but then is basically a series of bucket-list Wilderness Areas like Goat Rocks, Glacier Peak and North Cascades National Park.
For most of the state, the weather stayed clear, just as we had planned when we set out to finish at the end of August. It would not stay that way to the border, but primarily through Goat Rocks and Glacier Peak, it stayed about as nice as you could ask for, with only minimal rain.
We never slowed down, kept pushing mid to high 30s days in areas where many people cut their mileage by 50%. It gave us amazing perspective, crossing between these majestic mountain ranges, but also took their toll physically. T-Rex was weary and any insignificant amount of body fat remaining on my body melted off by Snoqualamie Pass. Finishing the trail and continuing to see the sights were compelling motivation, however.
Really, the weather stayed fairly nice until leaving Snoqualamie and heading to Grizzly Peak, that’s when the rains started and would never truly leave until the finish. It mae for some rough and cold going, earlier than expected, but also gave us some beautiful environments to trudge through.
Looking back now it is easy to forget this part. The rainy part, the cold part….the miserable part. What I know after a few years of this nonsense is: that’s the goods. That’s why I still do it, not for the perfect days in Jefferson Park, but for the struggle up through the clouds on the other side, the part that wakes up something older in our genetic code and reminds us we all have the tools to push on if we wield them correctly. We are born with the tenacity and ingenuity and plain stubbornness to prevail and unlocking it is addictive. Hard to remember these lofty goals after three days of rain and cold temps, but easy to recognize afterwards viagra portugal.
After leaving Stehekin, the final three days led through rain and eventually a whiteout above 6000 feet, forcing us into Canada instead of the planned turnaround to Hart’s pass.
We have big plans upcoming for the PCT in future years, including Washington. Quickly putting this post together feels alot like Washington…..a dream, a Valhalla that now feels nearly intangible. But in my soul, in that crucible of my values, it will never be forgotten. We walked up and down and around some of the most beautiful country that the slow shift of plate tectonics can bring us…and are better for it.