Tuesday 27th August 2019 – Day 126 Mile 2626.1 to Mile 2653.1 The Canadian Border plus more (30.7 miles/49.7 km)

So the final day on the PCT finally arrived and I couldn’t sleep in past 4am, if I’d been by myself I’d probably have just gotten going at a much earlier time as I was awake anyway. It turned out Bubblewrap was awake really early as well, but we ended up settling off at 6am as per normal anyway.

Even though I awoke early, I really wasn’t feeling too much anticipation or excitement though, instead I had a slightly hollow feeling.

The walking today was pretty good to us and we had the last climbs of the PCT to tackle, the first was about 3 miles and the next was dragged on for about 4.5 miles. They weren’t bad climbs by any means, but they did give us some pretty nice high ground well above the tree line with beautiful views that were some of the best in Washington.

We descended to Hopkins Pass and had our final lunch here sitting in the shade before heading off for the final 6 miles towards the Canadian border. The walking was pretty much a flowing downhill in the green tunnel all the way there which made for easy walking.

We arrived at the border terminus around 4:30pm and spent a while there taking photos and filling out the trail register. We were very lucky to have a Canadian man from Hope there as well to take most of the photos for us. So once we were finished there we kept going a further 4 miles uphill to the last campsite before Manning Park. We arrived and set up camp with Slack’s parents, we’ve seen his dad quite a few times in the last week.

We also had another three hikers from last years PCT north bound group that have traveled back to complete the last short section that was closed by fire last year, the unfinished PCT was simply something they had to return to complete and couldn’t simply ignore.

Probably the most exciting things I’m looking forward to now is getting to Manning Park (all downhill thankfully), having breakfast at the resort and getting a successful hitch into Vancouver and of course not walking so much for a while.

Monday 26th August 2019 – Day 125 Mile 2595.4 Porcupine Creek to Mile 2626.1 (30.7 miles/49.7 km)

It was a very cold night and a bit of a shock to the system after the warmth on the night previous. I had to go to the toilet a few hours before getting up for the day and I had to cinch the sleeping bag right up to get the warmth back.

We continued the climb up from Rainy Pass up to Cutthroat Pass and found frost not much higher from where we’d camped the night. Up and over Cutthroat Pass and the views and walking became quite nice once again which was a very welcome change. The trail dropped steeply down to Granite Pass and Methow Pass, we then we had about 7 miles of slightly down hill easy trail through the green forest, it was pretty boring, but we made good time. We

arrived at Brush Creek and had covered 14.5 miles by 11am.

The big surprise for the day was that Heather who stayed at Scout & Frodo’s with me and started on the same day was sitting on a log at the creek. We both recognised each other and spent quite a while catching up. The last time we saw each other was on day 5 when I pushed onto Warner Springs for the night. Heather was quite close to me on the trail all the way up to Kennedy Meadows South and she did go through the Sierras until Kearsarge Pass. Not feeling the love for the continued snow journey, she flipped up to Chester and is heading to the Canadian border before flipping back to Chester and heading south once more. So tomorrow I’ll be finished the whole PCT and she’ll have about 550 miles or a month or so left to do. The most ironic thing was Bubblewrap and I had a conversation yesterday about how we’d like to see someone from the group we started with and the day after I did!

From the creek we had an annoying five mile climb up past Glacier Pass to the high ridges, the best thing was I’m pretty sure that was the last long sustained climb of that length left on the PCT. We had lunch before continuing the last few miles along to Harts Pass where we stopped by the Rangers Station. Apparently there’s a bit of a hiker food box here from south bounders leaving excess food and we enquired about it. We were just looking for a few bits of food to top us up as we’ve been a bit more hungry this last week and been a touch hard on our food supplies, I just grabbed a few bars and nuts to see me through without hunger.

Heather had set up camp about a mile from the Ranger Station and we said goodbye here as Bubblewrap and I kept going another 3.3 miles to camp at the next saddle.

Tomorrow we have 27 miles to finish the PCT at the Canadian border and 30.7 miles to the campsite on the Canadian side.

Sunday 25th August 2019 – Day 124 Mile 2562.8 Cedar Camp to Mile 2595.4 Porcupine Creek (32.6 miles/52.8 km)

The mice came visiting again and it seems that they prefer Bubblewrap’s empty peanut butter tubs over my rubbish. It definitely keeps them amused and their bellies full of nutritious plastics and more importantly away from our tents. It was very warm overnight and very comfortable indeed. Being under the tree canopy of large pines it was also very dark this morning.

It was nearly 10 miles to the gravel road that leads down to Stehekin and the trail loosely followed the South Fork Agnes Creek, unfortunately we only really saw the nice river a couple of times and stayed in the green tunnel for the rest.

We saw the red bus waiting for the 9:15am trip down into Stehekin but didn’t partake in the $8 each way trip as we don’t actually need any food. We went past a few established vehicle based camp sites and then it was straight back into the green tunnel pretty well all the way to Rainy Pass. There was a couple of nice river crossings and some high sections with views, but mostly it was very forgettable. We had a few hikers appear back on trail around us and they all had been dropped off by the bus returning from Stehekin where they obviously stayed overnight.

At Rainy Pass we both made use of the toilet block and it was great to use a real drop toilet once more. We had slight hopes of some trail magic here as it was a weekend and quite a busy highway, but we were out of luck. We pushed on 3.6 miles further up the hill and called it quits at a reasonable campsite for the night, it’s not perfect but is flat enough.

It’s only 57.6 miles to Canada now and 61.3 to the last campsite before Manning Park, so two days of approximately 30 miles and the PCT is done and dusted. We’re definitely ready for the finish to arrive!

Saturday 24th August 2019 – Day 123 Mile 2525.1 Milk Creek to Mile 2562.8 Cedar Camp (37.7 miles/61.1 km)

It was pretty dark this morning and a little layer of misty cloud was rolling up the valley and had visibility to a minimum. We crossed the Milk River and soon after began our first long climb of the day, this one dragged on through 5 miles of switchbacks up through the foliage and trees with no views. It took the best part of two hours and then the trail followed around the headwaters of East Fork Milk Creek where it was high and rocky with some views. The trail crossed over a saddle and dropped down to the Vista Creek and then the Suiattle River, both of these water courses are very milky in colour as the water is full of rock flour from the glaciers.

Eventually the trail began the second major climb of the day on the other side of the Suiattle River which was an absolute corker; the climb continued on for 8 miles. We both plugged along up the climb and eventually stopped for a late lunch right on the top of the climb. Marathon Man and his dog Barkley joined us here and we ended up walking the rest of the afternoon together. Most of the trail to Cedar Camp was under the trees or in the long grasses an was pretty mundane to us. Eventually we arrived at Cedar camp and we called it quits for the day a bit after 7pm. There’s heaps of people camped here as it’s only 10 miles to the road that leads to Stehekin and it’s a weekend, we still managed to find a spot down by the South Fork of the Agnes River which passes by very close to the campsite. We only have 90 miles of trail left to hit the Canadian border now, it feels so close.

Friday 23rd August 2019 – Day 122 Mile 2494.1 Lake Sally Ann to Mile 2525.1 Milk Creek (31 miles/50.22 km)

Poor Bubblewrap didn’t have a great sleep last night with her pet mice keeping her awake. I also woke around 1am and couldn’t go back to sleep as I was far too hungry; I rummaged and found and ate a bar of some sort and that fixed the issue and I fell back asleep.

We were off at 6:15am and had pretty good weather and some views from the ridges and passes. We entered the Glacier Peak Wilderness and things started getting prettier for the day, the glacier peaks are tall mountains with some smaller glaciers on the upper reaches of them. Probably what made the most beautiful scenery for the day to me was when we were above the trees and on the clear higher ground and could actually see the mountain surroundings.

There were some pretty substantial climbs today culminating in the last of the day up to Fire Creek Pass. It was pretty well all downhill from there to the valley of Milk River which we decided would be our camp for the night if we could find a tent site each. The trail fell and passed Mica Lake and lots of beautiful camping spots as we descended. Eventually we arrived and found some camping up on a high spot near the river but under massive pine trees and called it a night. We had been discussing walking further up the five mile climb on the other side of the river, but Bubblewrap didn’t appear to me to be quite up for that challenge and it would’ve had us arriving in the dark. I’ve also have never walked into the evening darkness on the PCT so far and I see no real reason to start off now.

Thursday 22nd August 2019 – Day 121 Mile 2464.7 Stevens Pass to Mile 2494.1 Lake Sally Ann (29.4 miles/47.6 km)

It was an easy start this morning although I was still a bit tired even after a day off. Breakfast was my last banana and the last of the chocolate milk followed by a quick visit to McDonalds which is right next door. We were on the main highway out the front of the motel at 6:20am and flicking the thumb up for a hitch back to Stevens Pass and the PCT. We’d been at it for 15 minutes when a man who’d stopped for a coffee at the little coffee hut opposite us called out and asked us which way we’re going. Cameron is a local businessman who manufactures concrete garden ornaments from the artist design stage through to production. Today he was heading down to Seattle and surrounds to deliver his weekly production to garden nurseries and was happy to give us a lift as it was on his way. Once again we had the chance to meet quite an interesting person and hear a lot about his interesting life.

At Stevens Pass it was fogged in little and had rained the previous night as well. It was neither hot or cold, but the foliage remained soaked with rain and wet my trousers a bit as we passed by.

The walking today was pretty normal as per the terrain around here, the main things I noticed were the few climbs throughout the day and the fact that my glasses kept fogging up resulting in them spending most of the day in my top pocket instead of on my face. We caught Speedy Gonzales again at Pass Creek and again at Sally Ann Lake where we decided to set up camp for the night. Unfortunately there’s quite a few other campers scattered all around the lake, but we still managed to find a couple of tent sites. I had finished my dinner and was watching stuff on my phone when a mouse made an appearance on top of my cooking pot about 40cm from my face. I rearranged my food in the tent to make sure nothing was close to the tent wall and warned Bubblewrap as well. We both left our rubbish packaging outside as well as they seemed to prefer her rubbish over mine. Either way we lost no food and didn’t gain any holes in our tents. It’s only 159 miles to go now!

Tuesday 20th August 2019 – Day 119 Mile 2445.2 Talus Lake Outlet to Mile 2464.7 Stevens Pass (19.5 miles/31.6 km)

The conversations continued last night to well after 9pm and seemed to be invigorated by the arrival of an additional hiker towards 9pm. It didn’t really bother me at all, but I wasn’t surprised when we had a couple of odd looks this morning from people we’d inadvertently woken up as we packed up camp. We hiked out just before 6am and started the first of four climbs for the morning on the way to Stevens Pass which was our days destination. The first climb was very easy over 3.5 miles and dropped off again before another short sharp and steep climb over one mile. The steep climb was so great to have and reminded me of the Australian and New Zealand tracks that I prefer; I would much rather a climb the same hill in one mile rather than over three miles zig zagging unnecessarily.

The trail started down around more lake districts and rocky terrain whilst more day and overnight hikers appeared the closer we got to he trail head at Stevens Pass. A final two climbs left us at the top of the range over Stevens Pass right beside the summit ski lifts at the top. A final decent back down to the pass saw us at the road and ski village. We dropped into the store for a quick snack before hitting the road for a hitch. We were absolutely filthy, yet got a lift from Gerald whose partner had walked the PCT multiple times. Gerald was a very lovely and interesting man with a military, police and real estate history.

Gerald dropped us in the centre of Leavenworth near the McDonalds which coincidentally looks nothing like a McDonalds; everything in the town looks like an old Bavarian style from the outside and has very limited signage. We resisted the temptation to eat straight away and went looking for the Evergreen Motel nearby which is one of the few more affordable places in town. Once we had our accommodation sorted it was back to McDonalds for a big feed and then it was wash time. It took me a while to scrub clean, but the only problem left then was there’s no laundry at the Evergreen. The solution offered was to walk 15 minutes to the other end of town to do the washing, wait for it and then walk back. It was also just warm enough that wearing rain over pants whilst walking that far is not very comfortable, nevertheless we had no choice. We had a little bit of a look around town on the way back and donned our clean clothes and grabbed dinner at the Safeway supermarket. That was pretty well the end of the day as I was pretty darn tired from the trail. Tomorrow is a rest day and I’m really looking forward to a days rest.

Monday 19th August 2019 – Day 118 Mile 2415.1 to Mile 2445.2 Talus Lake Outlet (30.1 miles/48.7 km)

I had a great sleep with the river noise in the background and luckily we also had only a touch of condensation as well. We had a five mile climb straight up this morning, but luckily it wasn’t really steep at all, the views were pretty good at the top before the trail fell back down once more. Naturally we got to climb back up again after going around and above Waptus Lake, I had a bit of a sweat going on during the climb which reminded me of how dirty and disgusting I feel, it’ll be 11 days tomorrow since I had a shower.

We stopped for lunch at the outlet of Deep Lake and had a few mosquitoes drop in as well as a few biting flies which was just a tad annoying. Another climb after lunch and a long slow descent pretty much summed up the day. We set up camp at the Talus Lake Outlet stream and there’s quite a few others here that are a mix of south bounders, flip floppers and section hikers. I’m sitting in the tent eating dinner and waiting for them to go to bed for some piece and quiet. Tomorrow it’s a straight forward 19.5 miles to Steven’s Pass where we’ll hitch into Leavenworth for some rest, recuperation and our last resupply for the PCT.

Sunday 18th August 2019 – Day 117 Mile 2391.4 Lodge Lake to Mile 2415.1 (23.7 miles/38.4 km)

We had an extra couple of hikers turn up at 9:30pm last night walking around and shining head torches all over the place before settling on a spot nearby, they were fortunate that there was a half decent spot left to accommodate them.

The night was nice and warm and I slept really well and rolled over this morning before finally getting moving around 5:30am. It didn’t take me long to get going as I skipped breakfast. It was a bit foggy as we came out of the trees onto the high ground above the ski field at Snoqualmie. We cut directly down to the village and made our way to the Summit Inn where we arrived a little before the 7am opening time. We spoke to the man at the counter of the Inn for a while and he asked the usual questions of are you north bound and did you go through the Sierras in this high snow year, he was impressed and said we were the first this year that he’d met personally that had gone straight through. There was a hiker box in the lobby that had some nuts and high end chocolate sweets in there that we grabbed as well. The Pancake House opened soon after and it was time for breakfast and I also caught up on the blog. It was great to have a nice feed and afterwards we went to the convenience store where I grabbed a new toothpaste tube and a chocolate milk.

We started out of Snoqualmie at 9:30am and walked under the I90 interstate and to the Snoqualmie Pass trailhead which was chock full of cars. On the climb we passed lots of day hikers and even got passed by a few ourselves, it was a bit of a surprise as not many people generally pass us. Once over the major climb the trail was very scenic and beautiful. The trail dropped down to a couple of big lakes and we stopped for a break here before continuing onto the next climb, luckily the day hikers generally didn’t come onto this section and the track became more quiet. Eventually the trail reached a high pass and wandered across some high country before beginning a very long a painful descent down towards Lemah Creek. I say painful because it seems the fool who put way too many switchbacks in California made his way up here, the trail way nearly level rather than descending most of the time.

Eventually we made the bottom and a bit further along found a lovely campsite right beside a small creek that we shared with an older couple.