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Day 146: An End and A Beginning

September 23, 2015
Tentsite at Woody Pass (2649.2) to Manning Park – CANADA! (2668.7)
19.5 PCT miles today
2705.3 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,224 ft, – 5,956 ft

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We did it!! We actually walked all the way from Mexico to Canada. The completion of this journey has left me speechless. There is no way to accurately put into words the amount of pride, joy, gratitude, and disbelief that I currently feel, but of course I will try. We woke this morning to some of the best views that we’ve had since the High Sierras and the final 12 miles that we hiked to the Northern Terminus at the U.S./Canada border flew by. After that, another 8 miles delivered us into the arms of Mama Bear and the warmth and comfort of a restaurant and room at Manning Park’s lodge. We thoroughly enjoyed our third day in a row of crisp, clear blue skies and, in looking back on today, could not have asked for a better ending to this adventure. more

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Day 145: The PCT is for Lovers

September 22, 2015
Tentsite and spring after Glacier Pass (2624.2) to Tentsite at Woody Pass (2649.2)
25.0 PCT miles today
2685.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,400 ft, – 5,426 ft

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It is absolutely crazy that tomorrow is our last day on the PCT, and tonight is our last night. All of today was spent trying to process this fact, with varying emotions and thoughts as the result. I thought it was a somewhat more challenging day, with the miles dragging more than usual and my foot pain screaming at me to stop, but Pickles loved every minute of today, and used his positivity to keep me going and get us in our miles. more

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Day 144: Passing Through the North Cascades

September 21, 2015
Tentsite at Porcupine Creek (2601.3) to Tentsite and spring after Glacier Pass (2624.2)
22.9 PCT miles today
2660.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,318 ft, – 4,225 ft

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Today was easily one of our best days in Washington. Turns out that when you can see what’s around you, Washington is actually a beautiful state. When we fell asleep last night it was raining outside our tent, but when we woke this morning, the rain had stopped and we thought we could see some significant patches of blue peaking through the thick forest canopy above our heads. We began climbing up above tree line, and within minutes we were above the low-lying clouds and surrounded by bright blue skies and crisp, brilliant morning sunlight. We looked around ourselves and for the first time in quite a while, became giddy from the beauty of our surroundings. The higher we climbed, the more layers of sharp, rocky mountains could be seen, and the happier Pickles and I became. Fortunately this was only the beginning, and we ended up spending almost the entire day climbing up and over numerous passes, all with mind-blowing views of the North Cascades. more

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Day 143: Rain at Rainy Pass

September 20, 2015
High Bridge Ranger Station – Stehekin (2580.0) to Tentsite at Porcupine Creek (2601.3)
21.3 PCT miles today, 2 non-PCT miles today
2637.9 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,729 ft, – 2,177 ft

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Today marked the start of our final section on the PCT, from Stehekin to Manning Park. We now have less than 70 miles until the end, and it feels more real and exciting and scary and sad than ever before. Today actually went almost too well. I was going to say that if things continue this way then I won’t want the hike to end after all, but within the last hour the rain has come back in full force and so I am once again reminded of why I’ll be excited to get to Canada. more

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Day 142: Hike Your Own Hike

September 19, 2015 (27th Re-Ration – Stehekin)
Tentsite at Glacier Creek (2567.8) to High Bridge Ranger Station – Stehekin (2580.0)
12.2 PCT miles today
2614.6 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 838 ft, – 2,826 ft


We got into Stehekin, our very last re-ration on the PCT, early this afternoon. The 12-mile hike in was all downhill or flat and went by relatively quickly, but left us sopping wet as we plowed through dense overgrowth covered in last night’s rain and this morning’s dew. Image 4We had blue skies for about an hour this morning, something we celebrated with much ado, but by the time we reached the road to Stehekin, the blue had once again been replaced by Washington’s standard matte white. While we waited for the shuttle into town to arrive, we anxiously ate our lunch and chatted with a group of hikers who were just passing through on their way to Rainy Pass and a re-ration in Mazama. We hadn’t met Green Man, Van Gogh, Snake Bait and Rocket Man until a couple days ago, but we enjoyed seeing them again and learning a bit more about their stories. Much of today was spent in the company of fellow hikers, all of us eager and excited to finally be within 100 miles of Canada. As we made our way into Stehekin, ate lots of yummy food, and got all cleaned up for the final push, my mind kept going back to the diverse experiences each hiker has had on this trail. I think that 2,600 miles in, I finally understand the true meaning of the phrase “hike your own hike”. more

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Day 141: Putting the PCT Into Words

September 18, 2015
Tentsite at Vista Creek (2544.8) to Tentsite at Glacier Creek (2567.8)
23.0 PCT miles today
2602.4 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,838 ft, – 6,178 ft

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Any blogger will tell you that keeping a daily blog is truly a labor of love. And doing so while simultaneously hiking every day from Mexico to Canada takes it to a whole new level. My entire PCT experience has been so enriched by this daily public story telling, but like anything worth doing, it hasn’t always been easy. There have been more nights than I can count where all I wanted to do was sleep, but still somehow had to muster the energy to write. I’ve driven Pickles and Mama Bear crazy with my insistence on an hour of silence at some point in every day so a I could blog. Then there’s the whole process of getting the blogs posted, which often led to stressed-out mountain-top flurries of work. However, despite all the extra time and effort this blog has demanded, it has turned out to be a cherished and precious gift that I couldn’t imagine going without while on this journey. It has helped me sort out thoughts and feelings at the end of every day, has brought us new friends and a whole arsenal of encouraging words and motivation, and more than anything, has become a detailed record of this adventure that I know Pickles and I will look back on for years to come. more

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Day 140: The Beginning of the End

September 17, 2015
Tentsite before White Chuck Trail Junction (2521.6) to Tentsite at Vista Creek (2544.8)
23.2 PCT miles today
2579.4 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 7,511 ft, – 7,824 ft

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This morning we ate our last Thursday morning breakfast. We packed up our tent for the last time on a Thursday and even took our final Thursday poo. It is hard to process everything that goes on out here on the trail, but today we made it very clear to ourselves and everyone around us that we have exactly one week left on the PCT. And it’s a good thing too, because our gear, bodies, and psyches all seem to be breaking down to some extent under the harsh conditions of Washington. Today was easily one of our most challenging days on the entire trail, so we found it especially helpful to know that no matter how hard of a Thursday it might have been, it was also our last Thursday, and that made it worth all the pain and exhaustion. more

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Day 139: Things Just Got Interesting

September 16, 3015
Tentsite before Bench Mark Mountain Junction (2498.2) to Tentsite before White Chuck Trail Junction (2521.6)
23.4 PCT miles today
2556.2 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,580 ft, – 6,702 ft

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The sky today was white, not blue like we’re used to, but we didn’t dare complain because for the second day in a row, it didn’t rain on us. Image 10We woke this morning to a bitter cold, our little thermometer said it was about 34 degrees out, and hiked through the first half of the day half frozen and half asleep. As our conversations and thoughts have begun to run out of fresh material, we’ve depended more heavily on our surroundings to help the days go by, and today was not doing it for us. We felt bored and then guilty for being bored, because maybe we were just so jaded after almost 5 months of hiking that an area that others have raved about can barely hold our interest. But then, in the afternoon, everything changed. We had officially entered Glacier Peak Wilderness in the morning, but it took about 10 miles for us to climb above tree line and finally behold the epic and inspiring views that we had been told about. more

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Day 138: A Nice Change of Pace

September 15, 2015
Steven’s Pass – Skykomish (2476.0) to Tentsite before Bench Mark Mountain Junction (2498.2)
22.2 PCT miles today
2532.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,609 ft, – 4,853 ft

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I am excited to announce that it finally feels like we have come to the end of our hike. Today was the first day that we truly felt the end was near, and it added a little bounce to our step. This morning we packed up and got back on trail by 8am, but we were armed with a whole new plan, and most importantly new daily mileages, which eased some of our anxiety and brought back the joy of hiking. Instead of pulling 25’s all the way to Canada with a couple neros thrown in, we’re finishing just one day later than planned, and not forcing ourselves to do anything more than 22 miles a day. This may seem like a little change, but it has made a big difference. more

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Day 137: A Mandatory Zero

September 14, 2015
Steven’s Pass – Skykomish (2476.0)
0 PCT miles today
2510.6 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 0 ft, – 0 ft


Sometimes it takes getting well to realize just how unwell you were feeling. I woke this morning feeling less than rested and still experiencing the extreme bodily and mental fatigue that reduced me to a useless rag doll last night. I tried hard to pull myself together and take on some of our “nero day” responsibilities, but when Mama Bear announced that we needed to be checked out of our room by 11am, I lost it. The very thought of going back out into the elements, let alone finding the energy to take a shower and pack everything back up, was more than I could handle. I fell on the mercy of Mama Bear and Pickles and within minutes it was decided that today would be a zero. I crawled back into bed, flooded with relief, and let my mom and fiancĂ© take over for a few hours while I napped. more

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