88 miles left in Washington! Section L is the final stretch in most thru hikers’ journeys- and it is fantastically beautiful!
We experienced snow, rain, wind, and a lot of sun which was awesome. Our first day out was quite damp and we were happy that we didn’t fully trust the weather report. With our recent memories of the previous week- we had issues keeping our spirits up! All of that changed the following morning when we saw sunshine however!
The North Cascades are magnificent and I look forward to exploring them more in the future- the altitude and vast landscapes made it feel as if we were in another part of the country (mini sierras perhaps?)
This stretch of trail was only about 70 miles long, so it was fairly easy to do in 3 days- the transportation to and from the trailheads took a long while and we are very happy that we could get a ride up there (Thank you Kim!).
Before we knew it… Monument 78 appeared out of nowhere on our left- this is the Northern Terminus of the PCT. Even though I still have quite a few miles left, I was very happy to be here. After some photos were taken, I signed the log book and we continued for 8 miles into British Columbia to a place called Manning Park. Very few hikers were actually making it into BC, and I am not sure why- it is shorter to end there, and Harts Pass (in WA) is a hard place to get a ride from. The only theory that might hold is that Canada denied them entry due to previous convictions. We bumped into one person who jumped into Manning just to get some treats and said that he wasn’t allowed in but did so anyways so that theory might hold.
April 14th, 2014 was my start date this year. I dropped out June 17th, and I hiked to the Northern Terminus on Sept 5th, 2014. I still have some more hiking time this year- but I think I am around 1,200 miles so far 🙂
After failing to complete the full Pacific Crest Trail in one year- I hoped to at least complete Washington. As of right now, it looks like that will not quite happen this year. I am actually fairly ok with that.
I have experienced more this year than I could have ever hoped to experience, met some amazing people, and enjoyed the immense human interaction along the way. Right now I stand at 1,360 miles of the PCT that I have hiked (1,045 miles this year) and I am not ashamed about those numbers at all! I am grateful that I have been able to experience it all, from the hook worms and scorpions of California Section F, to the crystal clear waters of Washington.
This past section that I attempted was an impressively intense one! We got hit by several days of nonstop rain and some snow which eventually lead to us ditching the goal of a full section hike. It was a good experience however, and I was able to meet up with Mr. President for a few minutes which was good. We didn’t talk for long however, as our bodies were losing heat very quickly whenever we were stopped.
I like to joke that my camera only captures the best part of hikes. This was very true on this trip as we only had a few hours without rain and I don’t take my camera out if it is raining. Here is a lovely picture of Lake Janus:
Soon after this picture- the hike turned into a nonstop push through cold rain and wind. It wasn’t fun- to say the least.
We hiked for a while longer before finally choosing to depart the trail after hiking for 53 miles. Our gear was soaked, we were cold, and most importantly- we were not having a good time out there. I took no photos until departing the trail- when we finally got a 30 minute sun break.
With every choice in life- we discover something new… This time we met up with two amazing people that gave us a ride back to Seattle- they had planned a longer excursion but decided that it wasn’t worth it if they had no fun up there. We talked quite a bit in the car and learned that they had done pretty much every hike that Washington has to offer- I was incredibly impressed and picked their brain for a little bit.
We will see what happens in the remaining days of the hiking season, I hope to go out hiking a few more times and start my job search and become a productive member of society again 🙂