Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Just a few details about the week that followed our "Big Finish" at the Canadian border! We took the Greyhound to Vancouver the next day (about 210 miles to the West) and stayed at a "backpacker's hostel" nearby (scary!!). We said good-bye to Slider. Thrust, Neighbor and I then took a ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island where we stayed in Victoria for 2 nights. Then we said good-bye to Thrust and we took a different ferry to Seattle, WA for 2 nights. Seattle was wonderful! We went to Pike St. Market and were in awe of all the fresh fruit (great peaches and apples), fish and flowers the market had to offer! We went to the REI headquarters and ran into Antfarm and Swiffer! We went to The North Face and saw our friend Numtum from the AT in 2005! Then on Sunday, we were leaving the hotel to go to the airport and were walking down the street when we saw Chief and Sarong walking up the street to meet us! What a great way to end the trip, seeing Chief again! We hung out with them for a few hours and then took a bus to the airport hotel. Flew home on Monday, saw the most amazing full moon setting with the sun rising by Mt. Rainier as we took off and then saw the Northern Cascades in Washington that we had walked right by, it was awesome! Landed in Manchester to see our families and HikerEd were there to greet us home, how great was that! Thank you everyone for the support we received while out on the trail, it's great to be home and see everyone, what a great trip it was! :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So excited! Up and hiking by 6:15 (we slept in a little on our last morning) The miles came fast and easy, it was COLD, I mean there was frost on the plants on the side of the trail! Our feet were wet in no time from brushing the plants as we walked. Neighbor and I saw the border swath just ahead of us and knew we were soo very close! Then we saw part of the monument through the trees and we were there! 0840am, we were standing at the border swath and end of the PCT, the end of our long walk. We took a few pictures then Slider and Thrust came along and we took more pictures and signed the register and hung out for 40 min or so, but it was too cold to stay any longer, so we started our 7 mile hike to Manning Park which couldn't come fast enough (for me). I wanted DONE (Neighbor says that he wanted to yo-yo...) We got to the pavement a few hours later and walked the 1 mile to Manning Park resort and got a room for the night. Washed our clothes and enjoyed the hot tub. I started feeling just awful and realized that I had caught some kind of stomach bug (bad food or bad water somewhere) but thank goodness we were in town and done, so I could rest!!! What a day to remember!!
Chilly morning, had the mittens on. Sunrise reflection on the big peaks around us and we could see Mt. Baker off to the West. More amazing views on this eastern side of the Cascades where the air is drier (and the weather is nicer!!) We hiked over the highpoint in WA of 7100 feet and we could SEE Canada!!! Amazing views (which I'll attatch pictures to soon) We took picture after picture this day, in all directions, just beautiful! So glad we had nice weather on this last week of hiking. Camped by Hopkins Lake for the night a mere 6.8 miles from the END of the PCT!! What a beautiful spot for our last night on the trail (camped with Slider and Thrust)
No mice! Pretty big climb out of Rainy Pass, but it was easy walking as usual, this is where the amazing views on this stretch started, what beauty all around. We just meandered along the mountainside for endless miles today taking in the views. Ended up hiking close to 30 miles by the days end and camped at Harts Pass (at a small campground) It was downright cold out this night and we were at 6200 feet. Only 30 miles left to the border from where we camped!
Warm night sleeping with lots of active mice around, beautiful stars and first night in a VERY long time without the rainfly on! Up at 6am and had one last breakfast at the Landing, then caught the 8am bus back to the trail (with a quick bakery stop on the way!!) On the homestretch, 89 miles to go! Pretty easy hiking, we camped at Rainy Pass (Route 20) basically at the picnic area after a 19-20 mile day out of Stehekin. Lots of Canadian Jays around just waiting to steal any food you might drop.
Got to sleep in and it felt great! Packed up and were out of the room by 1030, decided that we liked Stehekin so much that we'd spend another day here! (but would camp for free instead of spending more money on a room) So, we moved down the street to the Purple Point campground where the free camping was and set up shop. I jumped a ride to the bakery with one of the same ladies as the day before and saw Flippy, Swiffer, Antfarm and the 3 guys from Washington there. I got one of the bakery's famous cinnamon rolls (they are huge!) and took the bus back, basically hung around and relaxed the rest of the day away. Neighbor got an e-mail from Chief that he was leaving Skykomish today (so he's only 4 days behind us!!) We might get to see him again afterall!
Had a great night's sleep, went to the Landing for breakfast (amazing food there) I had pancakes with berries and cream on top! Neighbor had the French toast, yummy! Then we finally hit the showers and did some laundry (though I think our laundry may have been cleaner when it went in the washing machine than when it came out) We got a room at the Landing Resort for the night and were able to enjoy a real bed for the night. The PO opened at 10am and we picked up our many packages! Almost missed one from Yappy (because she addressed it to "Neighbor and Chickety" :) ) Gram and Papa mailed some homemade cookies! Letters from Chels, Grammy Peg and Mom (with $$ in it that we put towards are night's stay!!) Thanks!! Then we caught a ride to the bakery with a couple of nice ladies and had a great lunch there. Managed to get a ride back to "town" (the bakery is almost 2 miles up the road) and bought a few postcards, hung out on the deck and filled them out while taking in the beautiful day. Our buddy MJ bought us a gift certificate for the Landing Restaurant (where the food is amazing) and we had a great dinner on him and even split a bottle of wine :) Thank you MJ!!!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Slept like a rock. We were hiking by 6am, more uphill, but by the end of the day today, we'd be in Stehekin, so were were energized and ready to go! I was feeling great and motored right up Suiattle Pass. It was a cold morning, plants were covered in frost and we were in hats and gloves, brrrr, it feels like September in Washington state, that is for sure! Once we were at the top of the pass, it was basically all downhill the whole afternoon! Beautiful blue sky today, this is the type of weather we were looking for! Nice! Lunch break by Hemlock Camp and only 12 more miles to the road to town! By 5pm, we were at the ranger's station waiting for the busride to town! We loaded up at 6:15 and enjoyed the ride! Camped out for free on the outskirts of town after a great dinner at the Landing, what a day, and boy are we happy to be here!!!
In the middle of the night, I felt something "land" on my feet.....ahhhhh, MOUSE! Headlamps were on and stuff was flying, luckily it had escaped...through the same HOLE that it chewed right through the side of the tent. Great! We taped up the mouse hole and went back to sleep, but it was tough to sleep thinking the little guy would break in again. It rained on and off during the night. Morning came early and we were hiking by 0550, lots of ups and downs today, like 2,000 foot climb up and then 2,000 foot climb down! We hiked down to Kennedy Creek where there was a bridge over the creek (a broken in half one, but a bridge!) Then we climbed up to this beautiful glacial bowl with Mica Lake, then down some switchbacks that were half washed away and down to Milk Creek (which I forded and Neighbor found a couple logs to cross on) Before that creek we walked through lots of overgrown trail sections with steep drop-offs on the side (like scary drop-offs!!) Then we climbed back up to a ridge and had lunch and the sun came out, so we pulled some gear out to let it dry out a bit. Then we followed a ridge through a huge bowl for miles through grassy meadows and boulder strewn river beds, amazing how the scenery changes so quickly! Then we went back downhill towards the Suiattle river, but first walked through a few miles of HUGE, (I mean massive) downed trees, some were so big it was easier to just bushwack around the whole darn thing! All the guys ripped their rainpants climbing over and under trees today. (today was a looooong fun filled day) Then we finally came to the Suiattle (the river that EVERYONE talks about for miles and weeks before you even get to it!!) The floods of 2003 completely washed out the river, but there is one big tree for you to cross the river on. The guys (Thrust, Slider and Neighbor) walked over this log, I scooted across, there was no way I could have walked this log and not fallen off. I'll attatch a picture! By the time we got to the other side, it was 6:30pm and we were all exhausted and just camped right there on the banks. Good-night!!!!
It didn't rain last night! How great it was to wake up and not have a wet tent! Hiking by 6am, we saw a patch of blue sky and there was hope! Then it started to snow (yes, snow!) Hiked up to Red Pass in fog, windy, chilly, spitting snow type of weather. We entered Glacier Peak Wilderness area and you could tell it was a beautiful area, even if you couldn't see all that far. This area was hit hard by storms back in 2003 and the trail is still under construction, new bridges are being put in and blowdowns are being removed slowly, but it's hard work for the crew. We saw one of the old bridges that was swept away in the rainstorm of 2003 stuck right in the middle of the river (see picture above) Some of these crossings would be insane without the bridges, Thanks trailcrew!! Around 3pm, we realized that we were about to climb up 2,000 feet and it was already hailing down low where we were, so we decided to camp right there instead of hiking uphill into the snow and freezing for the night. It was a good decision, we even started a small campfire and dried off some gear!
Woke up around 7am and decided to make a go for it! Eric D was driving up to the pass, so he gave us a ride back to the trail and we were hiking by 9am! We said good-bye to JZ, JB and Boomer earlier and off we went. Easy hiking to start, overcast, but not a bad day, took a lunch break at noon by Lake Janus and it started to sprinkle a bit. More uphill hiking after lunch with rain showers on and off all afternoon, we even had freezing rain once too! Brrrr! Ended up hiking close to 25 miles this day and camped with Dave, Andy and Ryan (3 guys out hiking north to the border) Hi guys!! Peeled off our wet shoes and socks after dinner of Mac n' cheese/tuna and called it a day.