Left Stehekin on a cold rainy morning September 16th with 5 days of food and 80 miles to get to Canada. (Plus 31 miles back to Harts Pass my exit point) The hike did not start out too well. About 18 hikers were on the bus to the trailhead and by time we started it was raining steadily. Lucky I got coffee and a lunch time cinnamon roll from the bakery and was set for most of the day. I hiked with the group most of the day just kicking out 23 miles in the rain. Camped up above 6,000 feet just below snow line so it was pretty cool the first night. I was able to stay a bit drier than most using my trekking umbrella. But everything was a bit damp.
The next morning was foggy at the campsite and wet but the rain had stopped. Big climbing day and was soon above the fog looking at incredible views. When you can see Washington is spectacular.
I did see a few bears right on the trail. One had found a wasp nest and was eating the wasps. The wasps were not happy and were everywhere. The bear did not want to leave the nest when I walked up, so I made some noise to get him to move away from the trail.
Got to Harts Pass after a 27 mile day, just missing the trail angels who had been cooking burgers for the hikers. They were able to give me a beer and some chips so I did not totally miss. Also another day hiker had some left over pears that she was handing out they were marvelous. Got set up that night in a light rain. It was off and on all night with a bit of snow.
Next day my plan was to hike 26 of the 31 miles to Canada and then go to the boarder the next morning on 9/20. My plan was interrupted by a blizzard. It rained all morning and turned to snow about 16 miles in from Harts Pass. The snow was accumulating fast but luckily there were enough hikers going both north and south to pack down the trail so you did not have to guess where it was. It got a bit crazy in the afternoon with sometimes 6-8 inches of new snow on the trail that I was walking through – way too much fun.
Got to my planned spot at around 5:30 and decided to go down to Canada on the 19th since it was 1,500 feet lower and out of the snow. Got to the Northern Terminus of the PCT just before 7:00 and took a few pictures and hiked into Canada to camp (against all rules)
Next morning worried about the weather I packed my stuff and planned to go as far as possible or to Harts pass (31 miles) The weather was partly cloudy, cold but no rain or snow. I started hiking up the 3,000 foot climb back to the 7,200 foot pass with all the snow. It was fun seeing all the other hikers all day going north and all the excitement about finishing. I pass 50 other hikers going north, many who I had met on resupply or at various campsites along the trail. I did make it all the way back to Harts Pass on the 20th where it was snowing again. I could not get a ride out of the pass area that night so set up my tent and crawled in to stay warm.
At Harts pass I met some deer hunters that were going back down the road to Mazama (19 miles) they said they could take me to town which was great. Got to the Mazama store and got lunch and tried to figure out where to stay for two nights. The suggestion was the Freestone Inn, since they had a restaurant that served everyday. (only one in Mazama). So I walked 2.5 miles to the Freestone Inn and got a 2 bedroom cabin (since they were sold out of rooms) Worked out great as my friend from the trail Sharp Shinned (a type of hawk) joined me and split the cost. It was nice to hang out at the Inn for 2 days until Tom H. picked me up and gave me a ride back to Seattle / Tacoma Airport. Home late Friday.
I would like to thank all the great people that help me on this Journey. Thanks to Kathy for letting me go away for six months and putting up with me before the PCT while I was planning and getting ready. Also for sending me boxes of food, additional gear and driving me to trails, love you. Also to all the others who drove me places, brought me gear and provided me with encouraging comments. Also thanks to all the trail angels that gave me a ride, cooked food, or just made the trail more welcoming. Everyone was fantastic!!