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Tagged With: PCT

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.

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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.

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Day 136: A Marathon Finish

September 13, 2015
Junction of Two Creeks past Cathedral Pass (2450.8) to Steven’s Pass – Skykomish (2476.0)
25.2 PCT miles
2510.6 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,712 ft, – 6,957 ft

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Throughout this hike I’ve appreciated the contrast and comparison of hiking the PCT to running a marathon. Since the PCT is about 2,600 miles, and a marathon is about 26 miles, this particular comparison has worked well. I’ve only run one full marathon in my life, the Chicago Marathon back in 2008, and I can’t say I ran it particularly well. But my body and mind went through certain stages that I haven’t forgotten to this day, and to some extent, they have mirrored quite well the sensations I’ve experienced on the PCT. Being around mile 2450 on the PCT feels remarkably similar to being on mile 24.5 of a marathon. Of course, if this were a marathon the bizarre physical and mental sensations we’re experiencing would last for another 15 minutes or so, but out here we get to experience them for another 10 days. If you love running marathons but are looking for something more, might I suggest a 5 month thru-hike of the PCT.

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Day 118: Is This Real Life?

August 26, 2015
Hwy 26 – Portland (2097.0) to Seasonal Stream before Timberline Trail Junction (2104.8)
7.8 PCT miles today
2150.7 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 1,165 ft, – 739 ft

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And just like that, we’re back here in our tent, listening to huge trees creak in the wind, and brushing our teeth by headlamp. The juxtaposition of life off trail with life on trail is sometimes more bizarre than I can explain. This morning we slept in and when we woke, we were wrapped in flannel sheets on a memory foam mattress. We made breakfast in the kitchen, brushed our teeth in the bathroom, and then used the computer to get a couple things done. It was a typical relaxing day at home…which made it anything but typical for Pickles and I. This afternoon, despite Shyam’s earnest attempts at keeping us around for one more day, we found ourselves once again on trail hiking north. We didn’t get going until 6pm, but the few hours of walking that we did get in felt distinctly different than all the other miles that we’ve logged in the past few weeks and months.

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Day 2: This Feels Familiar

May 2, 2015 Campsite on trail (12.5) to Creekbed near Buckman Springs Road (25) 12.5 miles today 25 miles total Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,007 ft, – 2,119 ft

We woke up this morning with the sun, packed up our gear, and hit the trail by 7am. I was out in front, eyes glued to the map, reporting mileages, landmarks, and pacing; Don was bringing up the rear, a steady source of encouragement and positivity. While I worked and re-worked the numbers, Don took in the big picture. He pointed out scenes that I otherwise would have missed, and I kept our water in check and kept tabs on how many more miles we’d be climbing. This all felt very familiar. Actually, it felt just like bike tour! The comparisons between hiking the PCT and biking across the country are plentiful, from the early days of planning and rationing food to the anticipation we feel in the evenings when we start looking for that perfect campsite. Fortunately for us, we loved bike tour and were sad when it came to an end after 70 days. Now we have all summer to come up with systems, feel our bodies become stronger and healthier, and earn that incomparable sense of accomplishment. 

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Day 1: Off to a Good Start

May 1, 2015 Mexico border (0) to Campsite on trail before Lake Morena (12.5) 12.5 miles today 12.5 miles total Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 1,485 ft / – 1,170 ft

We couldn’t have asked for a better first day. Don, my mom, and I left La Jolla this morning full of first day jitters and more than ready to finally hit the trail. We’re a bit embarrassed to admit this, but with food, water, and fuel all factored in, our starting pack weights were 40 pounds for Don and 38.5 pounds for Rochelle. And we tried so hard to be ultralight! I guess part of the adventure will be paring down our supplies.  

Once at the Mexican border, we took our obligatory photos at the PCT Southern Terminus and then said goodbye to my mom and started walking toward Canada. Our plan is to keep our mileage low to start and then increase it once our bodies are more conditioned. So, we’ve planned for 12 miles these first few days, then we’ll meet my mom at Mt. Laguna for a re-ration, then 4 15-mile days to Warner Springs, and then we’ll go from there. Don and I made the mistake of starting out too hard on our cross-country bike tour, and paid for it with terribly painful knee problems that nearly ended the trip, so we’re trying to learn from the past and be smart about how we treat our bodies. 

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The Countdown Begins

IMG_3092Welcome back! Nearly five months have passed since I wrote my last blog, but it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. By early December both Don and I were hard at work at our new jobs at Northstar and between various ski resort “high seasons,” the blossoming of new and wonderful friendships, and the development of our ski skills, we have kept ourselves incredibly busy. Above all, Don and I have devoted every spare moment to planning our upcoming adventures. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for the next stage of life as I am right now. In just 7 days Don and I embark on a whole series of wonderful adventures. First, we pack everything up and drive to Los Angeles in order to catch a flight to the tiny island of Mauritius for my best friend’s wedding. Then, after two weeks spent in paradise we begin a 4 to 5 month thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. We start in Campos, California (right along the border with Mexico) and hike 2,668 miles to Manning Park, Canada. My mother will help support us for the first 1,000 miles and we will send ourselves resupplies after that. When we complete our hike, we will move back to Tahoe, hopefully find our own perfect little home, and then get married at the end of October. We plan on returning to Northstar for another season, and are looking forward to having a bit more free-time for friends, camping trips, and hopefully lots of wonderful skiing…this time as a married couple!

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