Quick recap!

A little recap: we attempted a thru-hike of the PCT in 2019, but due to a {legendary broken jaw} injury that required {Matt’s jaw to be wired shut for a month}/us to take some time off-trail , we ended up only hiking 1886 miles of the 2563 mile Pacific Crest Trail.  AND, because we apparently like to keep things complicated, those 1886 miles weren’t all in a row and weren’t all hiked in the same direction- we flipped & flopped around the trail from the desert (NoBo) to Washington (NoBo and then SoBo) to Oregon (NoBo) to the Sierra (SoBo) to the desert again (SoBo), in the end hiking “a continuous foot path” from Mexico to South Lake Tahoe, skipping NorCal, and hiking all but the most southern 30 miles of Oregon to 180 miles shy of the Canadian Border. 

In 2020, we set back out on the trail to hike the next 100 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, hiking SoBo from Sierra City to South Lake Tahoe. Due to fires and our camping permit in the Desolation Wilderness being cancelled, we had to end our hike 37 miles short of South Lake Tahoe- we were bummed, but since it’s so close to San Diego, we knew it would be an easy hole to fill in the future on a long weekend.  (It hasn’t happened yet, but it will!!) {I also owe a blog post for the last 2 days on trail- they will come!!}

In 2021 we had planned to hike a section in California with Big Momma and her mom Kim, but again, due to fires, we were forced to rearrange our plans and we ended up going on an off-the PCT backpacking trip in Washington with Big Momma and Kim, only briefly overlapping the PCT for maybe less than a mile.  That trip, without fail, blessed us with some shit weather, which prevented us from enjoying what we were told is a stellar view of Glacier Peak from the PCT.   Since we knew we would be returning to hike that section of the PCT in the future, we weren’t too bummed- we’d earn that view of Glacier Peak another time!

2022 found us yet again making plans with Big Momma and Kim to hike 120-ish miles of the PCT in NorCal, but soon after commiting to a date, we found out that that exact section of trail JUST closed due to forest fires.  Determined to complete some miles of the PCT, Big Momma and Kim suggested that we hike from Steven’s Pass to Stehekin, a section in Washington often said to be the most difficult on the PCT due to it being so remote and rugged.  Back in 2019 Matt and I had made the wise decision to avoid this section after Southern Washington had killed Matt’s knees and destroyed my soul, but for some reason I thought that doing this section now, on incredibly fresh legs (like, as in, not even a day hike since March) was a great idea.  Matt, the realist, disagreed.  We had only recently started working out again, we hadn’t hiked in months, and that section is supposed to be fuckin hard. (When I googled “what is the hardest section of the PCT?” An answer states, “by far the most difficult stretch of the PCT in Washington, Section K puts hikers through a grueling 127-mile trek over harsh terrain and treacherous conditions.”)  

After asking 3 times over the course of a week, Matt caved and we agreed to meet Big Momma and Kim for the 107 mile section from Steven’s to Stehekin, and we purchased our flights to and from Seattle.  (What I neglected to tell Matt at first, though, was that while he was still teetering with the idea of hiking the section at all, I had agreed to add on another 20 miles of this section, so that we ended at Rainy Pass instead of Stehekin, thus completing Section K in Washington- when I finally asked Matt his thoughts on those extra 20, he was surprisingly open to the idea.)

Despite our best efforts (or rather our best intentions), some things never change, and we put off packing until the VERY last second.  The night before our flight we realized that our water filters were no longer working (this is an improvement from 2020 when we found that out ON TRAIL!!) and that our camping stove was missing a piece.  Hours before our flight I escaped from work early to pick up our missing/faulty equipment, dropped our new dog Murphy at the Doggy Hotel, and then I returned home to join Matt in a frantic scramble around the apartment trying to pack, not forget anything important, and figure out our food for the 8.5 day food carry- eek!! 

Matt’s stress level hit an all time high when he realized that his food wouldn’t fit into his odor- proof opsack; throwing his food bag down on the ground in surrender, he exclaimed, “I can’t fuckin do this!” From 0 to 10, 10 being that we are quitting the PCT, I was afraid to ask where he fell, because I’m pretty sure we would have cancelled the trip.  Both challenged by the same food bag situation, we decided to take our chances and use the opsak for some of our food and for the rest, a ziplock bag in an Ursack (a bag said to be bear proof, although we did learn of a recent encounter Big Momma had on the Colorado Trail that disproves this.)  While bears are out and about in Washington, they were the least of my concerns; my biggest fear? Mice.  Back in 2019, I think everyone that we knew or even spoke to had a mouse chew through their tent at one point in Washington- if a fuckin mouse were to chew through our tent?! Ugh. I’d never hear the end of it. And then I’d probably die of the bubonic plague…

Once our bags were packed, we set off to the airport. After cocktails and dinner at the airport and an uneventful flight, we checked into our hotel in Seattle and settled in for our last night with a bed and a roof for 8 nights- early the next morning (at 7am- eeek!!) Big Momma and Kim were picking us up to head to Stevens Pass. Kim had driven from Montana to Rainy Pass the day before, so we had a car waiting for us at the northern terminus of our section hike…all we had to do was put one foot in front of the other to get there… 

The two bags on the left are my food bags. The orange bag contains my clothes (a thermal layer, a fleece, a change of socks, and an extra pair of shorts and underwear for emergencies!!)

And we are off!

4 thoughts on “Quick recap!

  1. Wait, wait!!! You’re going now?? Haven’t you already been? Is this a post-walk post? I don’t know if my worry waves can reach/protect you from here!

    Like

  2. Thank goodness you are home. I was excited for the read and your trip, and yet at the same time I could feel my anxiety rising!
    I’m going to repeat myself.
    I’m glad you’re home.

    Like

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