For those of you wondering what I eat on the trail after the first month of a long distance hike, (this is when the “hiker hunger” hits) here is what an average day of food looks like. Total caloric intake is between 2,500-3,000 calories. To add extra calories to my three main meals and snacks, I supplement with rather large spoonfuls of honey peanut butter which adds about 200 extra calories to each food item.
After two incredible back to back 27 mile days, I was within 4 miles of the border. I woke up early and reached the monument at 10 that morning. Success!! 506 miles in one month! It was July 22.
Because I couldn’t go into Canada, I had to turn around and go back to Hart’s Pass which was 30 miles south. I arrived on Saturday morning and rode in the back of a big white panel van with 3 other women all the way to Seattle. The couple that drove us were trail angels in disguise!!
Becuase my shoes had big holes in them, I went to REI and got new ones! I felt like a new man. On top of that, one of the girls let me spend the night at her apartment which overlooked the space needle. Very cool. Ended the night with a well deserved burger, jalopeno poppers, and a cold porter.
The next day, I rode Amtrak to Portland and then took a series of rides back to Cascade Locks where I started on the 22nd of June. Full circle. This sweet gem of a town is located along the Columbia River at the Washington/Oregon Border. This is also the lowest point on the PCT right at the Bridge of the Gods. It was this excact place where Cheryl Strayed ended her life changing hike on the PCT.
For now, it’s rest and reflection. Tomorrow, game time. Oregon, here I come.
This was one of the easiest sections I’ve hiked in Washington and also my best mileage days so far. 3 days of 22 miles, one day of 24 miles, and one day of 23 miles.
There were a couple of highlights in this section. One was the community of Stehekin which was situated along lake Chelan. I took a zero here and I was lucky enough to have been invited too stay at the lodge for two nights! Also, there a cherry pie at the bakery.
The other highlight was crossing rainy pass and canping below cutthroat pass. If you remember, I originally started at rainy pass and got turned around by deep snow and illness. To be able to finally connect the dots was a blessing.
The only complaint I had was the overgrowth. Soaked from head to toe and I didnt even eat any salmon berries!
At this point I was less than 60 miles from the Canadian border.
1 section to go!
This was a rather short section. It took me 3.5 days to complete it. I don’t remember much from this section so I won’t say a whole lot.
One thing that stuck in my mind was Dinsmores Hiker Haven. This was one of the coolest places I’ve stayed. The PCT dorm had sofas, bunk beds, hiker collectables, and guitars.
Also, the store across the street had excellent food and had a tent set up for hikers with a fire pit in the middle. There was a banner put up welcoming thru hikers.
3 sections down, 2 to go!
After escaping the mild ordeal in Goat Rocks Wilderness, I was ready to hit some easier patches of trail. Indeed it came true, as I was able to do my first 20 mile day hiking out of white pass. That night, I camped at the border of Mt. Rainier National Park. In the morning, I saw a spectacular view of the glaciated peak in all of its glory. Kinda enough to make you cry. Such beauty at our fingertips.
As for snow, it improved slightly with only one confusing snow field (fog blanketed the trail) at chinook pass. As for weather, well….it’s Washington. Wet socks were a constant. I lost my extra pair of darn tough socks before the interstate so I got a ride from a gentleman at the hotel to a specialty shop close to Seattle that had the socks I wanted. Now, I always carry 3 pairs of socks.
I took a zero day at the motel to let my feet heal up. The skin was raw from hiking 20 miles the day before.
Two sections down, three to go!
After 10 days of hiking, I have reached Hwy 12, which is the end of my first section on the PCT. So far, I have hiked 148 miles. I have been averaging approx 15 miles a day. This is quite an improvement from the Appalachian Trail where I only averaged about 10-12 miles a day for the first week and a half.
The past several days have involved extensive snow travel in the Mount Adams and Goat Rocks Wilderness areas. More specifically, I have hiked multiple miles traversing steep snow slopes, mountain passes, and ridgelines. Route finding has been challenging without a gps.
This brings me to an important point. Always carry a gps in the backcountry. Physical maps are a great resource, but when snow covers the trail as was the case during the past couple of days, maps can only get you so far.
Two days ago, I lost the trail and had to set up an emergency camp. By sending a SPOT gps tracking signal to my parents, they were able to direct me back onto the trail so I could retrace my steps. I saw where I made my mistake. Never let your guard down at the end of a long day.
So far, I’ve learned a lot of lessons on the trail. One, always carry a bug net. Two, carry a gps so you can plug in waypoints to make route fiding easier. Three, have a backup plan and tell people where you are going. Most inportant of all, stay calm and keep a level head.
All in all, I’m having the time of my life and seeing some amazing views. Next stop, Snoqualmie Pass.
Have a great 4th of July weekend everybody. God bless America.