Wednesday, October 3, 2012


    And just as easy as that, we entered Canada at 2:30 PM. Exactly 100 days after we had begun this hike in Kennedy Meadows, some 1800 miles ago. Words can not describe the feelings I have, so I won't even try. My one wish is that at least one person who read this journal will be inspired to follow their dreams, and enjoy the feelings that I am able to feel after completing a journey. It feels great to say, I can.
    I could not ask for a better partner for this trip. It took a lot of patience on her part, and mine as well. Hiking as a team is hard, hiking as a relationship is even harder. We shared the same tent almost every night for the last 3 months, and hiked together most days as well. It is not easy spending 24 hours a day with anyone. But we did it! I feel so lucky to have found someone who I love and whom I can share these amazing adventures with. I could not ask for more in a girlfriend, hiking partner, and friend. Thank you Lauren/Grolar Bear =).
   By tomorrow night we will be back in Montana, over 600 miles away. Feelings of achievement, happiness, sadness, and a little drunk. Time to sleep.


    We are camped only 20 miles south of the Canadian border. We plan to hike 30 miles tomorrow, which includes the 10 miles to the Manning Park Lodge. It is difficult to describe how it feels to end a thru-hike.
    I think it can best be described as a high school relationship. "We need some time apart". "Its not a breakup, its a break". At first, it feels really good, the feelings of freedom. But then, time makes one really miss the things that were good. So quickly the hardships and struggles are forgotten. So quickly you want nothing more than to have things the way they were before. But then it gets easier. The more time apart, the easier it gets. The pictures are still on the computer, but they are only looked at occasionally. Though parts of me want it to be over for now, the rest wants to keep going.
    Every single day I still think about how the trails I've hiked have helped shape my life and who I am today. The easiest way that I have found to cope is to have more goals. Right now, finishing school will be a large goal of mine. Maybe the Idaho Centennial Trail and Colorado Trail next year. Its hard to say, but this summer has once again renewed my faith in humanity.
   Last night on a long trail this year. Only a couple hundred miles short of a triple crown. Glad I had the time to do this, I am extremely lucky.


  I slept so well last night. The creek was roaring all night and made for excellent white noise. We woke around 6 and were hiking by 7. It was still very smokey out.
   We hiked separately to Rainy Pass. I enjoyed people watching at the trail head. It was a very busy place. The parking lot was full of folks headed out for day hikes or overnights. I talked to a bunch of them. I even talked with Day Break, a 2011 thru-hiker who gave me a beer. Very nice.
   We left the pass around noon and immediately ran into  a cooler with more beer in it from another 2011 hiker. Thank you class of 2011! I packed out a beer. The climb to Cutthroat Pass was easy, lots of switchbacks. Wish it wasn't smokey, but glad it was not raining.
    We are camped at a place called "Horse Heaven". It is a nice campsite along a creek. We hiked about 24 miles today. Only 53 to go! We are thinking that we will hike 23 tomorrow and 30 our last day. I have mixed feelings. Wish it was not so hard to end a trip.


    I woke up at 5 AM starving. I had luckily bought a bunch of stuff from the bakery yesterday. So I ate the rest of my cinnamon roll in bed. I think I will get very fat, very quickly if I keep these eating habits up when I get home in a week. But that's still a week from now.
   I woke Lauren up at 7, and we went to breakfast. This ranch is all inclusive, which is all amazing. So we ate a lot. I had a bowl of cereal, a bowl of yogurt with blackberries, an omelet, 3 banana muffins, and two heaping plates of potatoes, sausage, bacon, and fruit. This was the best breakfast of the trail.
   The food coma set in shortly after, and I laid around the ranch the rest of the morning. It felt good to have nothing to do except relax. There is only one public phone in all of Stehekin, and it was about 10 miles away. We also had no television, radio, or any other obnoxious noise makers. We were forced to relax in one of the most beautiful places on earth that I would recommend as a vacation spot for anyone needing some serious R&R.
   We took the 11:45 bus back to the trail. It was hard to leave that luxurious place, but it felt good to be moving again, this time with Soren, Justin, and Lauren.
   We took a very leisurely 11 mile hike to a campsite along a creek. Its really starting to sink in that this journey is going to end very soon. In just 79 miles, 3 more nights, we will end an 1900 mile journey. I will be just 200 or so miles from finishing a "triple crown". But that is beside the point. This Summer I have learned a lot about myself. Also a lot about Lauren. Its been one of the best summers of my life, and I would not trade it for anything. "The road goes on forever and the party never ends."
   Had a lot of fun with our friends Soren and Justin today. Glad we finally met up with them.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


We got up very early and after a record speed packup, we were on our way. 12 miles sounds like a lot of miles before 12:15 PM. But we were up for the challenge. The bakery in Stehekin was calling our names. It is legendary on this trail for having some of the best baked goods on the whole trail.
   We ran into our friend, Paws, who we hiked with in California, over a month ago. He is heading southbound through Washington right now. Very good to see him.
  But we were on our pilgrimage to the bakery. We said our goodbyes and were on our way. We made it to the bus stop before 11 AM. The bus took us down to the bakery where we went a little crazy with food. Then it stopped at a produce stand, where we bought peaches and goat yogurt. After that, the bus took us to Stehekin Landing. We had 40 minutes before a bus going back up to the ranch took off. We decided to divide and conquer. I would go to the post office and get our packages while Lauren called her mom. It was frantic but we did it with maybe 2 minutes to spare. Lauren's friends Soren and Justin were there and had gotten us a permit for North Cascades National Park.
    They were also staying at the ranch and joined us for dinner. This ranch is amazing. I am so glad we decided to stay here tonight. Amazing dinner and should be more amazing food tomorrow. Played Apples to Apples until the late hour of 9. Time for sleep.


  The campsite was my favorite so far last night. The sunrise was incredible. We left by 7, again hiking separately. It was a perfect morning. It was nice and cool out.
   I got to the turn off for the "old PCT" around 9. There was a sign at the junction and someone had written in pencil "no log xing". It was enough to keep us from taking the shortcut that would have either saved us 5 miles or cost us 4 miles. A flood in 2003 washed out the bridge over the Suittale River. Hikers still went through this area, even though it was closed from 2003-2011. They had been using a  log that had fallen across the river A new bridge was finally completed in September 2011, but to get to the bridge, one must hike 5 more miles than the old route. So as unexcited as we were, we decided to walk the new route. It actually was very pleasant though, newly redone trail. It also goes through some of the largest trees I have seen on this trail.
    After climbing over 3000 feet to Suittale Pass, the trees opened up again and we were once again in sweet above treeline country. We made it down to Hemlock Camp and have a great campsite. We are only 12 miles out of Stehekin and hope to make the 12:15 bus into town tomorrow. We hiked 27 miles today! Wahoo.


  We liked the arrangement of hiking separately in the morning yesterday so much that we did it again today. It was a great morning too. So beautiful out and the hike was spectacular. It involved a lot of uphill, about 4000 just in the first half of the day. Glacier Peak has been the centerpiece of our hike lately and as we got around to the north side mountain today it showed its amazing glaciers.
     I waited for Lauren at Mica Lake. It was beautiful there. The lake was still covered in ice and snow. I rinsed off in the lake and the water was some of the coldest I have felt in a long time!
   Lauren showed up and we began the long descent down to Milk Creek. This is the first year since 2003 that the PCT has been open in this section. A storm in 2003 washed out bridges, chunks of trail, and took down a large amount of trees. I am so glad the trail has been reopened and fixed up so nicely. The trail down to Milk Creek was in great shape, except for the last quarter mile which was very overgrown. We got down to where the old bridge crossed the river and I thought it would be fun to take the old PCT. It would save a mile and be an adventure. It was fine for me, but Lauren was not as excited. The scramble down to the river was tough on her knees. I made a bridge out of rocks and a large log and she was able to cross with dry feet.
    After that we had another 2200 foot climb. It was full of switchbacks and took a long time. Both of us were exhausted and out of water when we reached the top.  Decided  to camp just another mile down the trail. We have an amazing campsite. 360 degree views of mountains around us. Have I mentioned lately that the weather is great!
   We have another big day ahead of us tomorrow. Need to get to Stehekin soon, I am almost out of toilet paper...