Often when PCT thru hikers reach Washington, they have mailed themselves extra rain protection, warm weather for the threat of snow in the north Cascades, and are mentally preparing themselves to spend days in nonstop rain. Well just to brag again that this was the perfect year to hike the trail, we didn't have to deal with any of that. 2012 on the PCT has been the most enjoyable year comparable to the previous two especially because of it's wonderful weather. I was gifted with actually seeing Washington, not running through to escape the rain. If you have never traveled to Washington please do. It proved to be the most beautiful state along the trail.
If you are ever looking for the perfect 80 mile backpacking trip, you should hike from Trout Lake to Whites Pass. I had been told by past thru hikers that the Goat Rocks Wilderness was one of their favorite places on the trail and of course I would have to agree. From Trout Lake you follow the trail along the base of Mt. Adams on it's western side and continue into a lava field with a beautiful spring. As you drop back down to 4,000 feet, you climb back up into the Goat Rocks Wilderness which is arguably more beautiful than the High Sierra. As you climb you cross over two passes with 360 views of Mt. Adams, Mt Saint Helens and Mt. Rainier. There are waterfalls, goats (which I sadly did not see any), and glaciers. It is absolutely beautiful!!!
We had a few days of weather leaving Snowqualamie Pass about halfway through Washington consisting of beautiful big flakes of snow, sleet and rain. If we didn't experience some weather, I would have been disappointed. Our 'weather' day was filled with laughs though. Honey Bear and I decided to cover ourselves in trash bags because we were carrying them for some sort of rain protection. Although I had a rain jacket on and a pack liner, the wind attractively blew my grey trash bag from side to side as I walked every mile. We passed a few day hikers in the morning, and a friend of ours hiking half a day or less behind us ran into the same day hikers. These day hikers proceeded to tell her that she looked way more prepared than these other thru hikers she saw earlier. She told our friend, "You look like you know what you are doing and are going to make it; I'm not so sure about those other girls in the trash bags." This made me smile and laugh when I heard it. Don't judge a book by it's cover, or a hiker by its trash bag! We rocked the trash bag for one day only, and it filled our day with laughter.
The Love Train reunited in Washington and completed the trail together on September 21st. The evening before was most emotional for me. I decided to hang back and walk alone over the last pass of the trail, Woody Pass. As I looked north tears filled my eyes because I knew the mountains I was looking at were in Canada. I was overwhelmed with emotions of pride but was really sad realizing that there is an end to this trip. When I crawled into my sleeping bag that night, it was strange to believe I wouldn't be sleeping in my tent anymore. My routine of packing my bag, cooking on a single burner backpacking stove, and walking for days on end was over. The beautiful thing about knowing it was over was that I knew I had made it. I had reached my goal, Canada.
|The Love Train at the Northern Terminus of the PCT|
This journey has been an amazing experience, especially since Honey Bear and I started and finished together. To have a friend and support throughout the entire trail with me every day has been an experience of a lifetime. You learn a lot about a person walking with them every day. She is off to grad school and I could not be more proud of her!
Thank you so much for supporting me on this adventure and if you ever wish to hike the trail, please contact me with questions. I cannot thank my family, friends new and old, and even complete strangers that supported me along the way. I will surely pay it forward.
|I made it!|