a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 2413.8 to 2434.8. Creek camp to Alpine meadow camp.
It got really late last night when we finally fell asleep and therefore we allow ourselves a little sleep in until 6.30am. Everyone else is still here as well. When I look out the tent I see another hiker camped right next to us. He was cowboycamping! In these temperatures! Sleeping without a tent in these conditions is reckless in my opinion. He can’t have stayed warm enough! And his sleeping bag must be downright wet now, what with all the condensation. He must have arrived really late as we both didn’t hear a thing and went to bed late last night. His name is DirtyFabio, he is from Israel and we have never seen him before. He asks us for some tape for his knee which has apparently been hurting for a while. Luckily we still have some of Tanja’s and can cut some for him.
When we are all packed we try to cross the river. It’s not wide, but on the first look I don’t see anywhere we would cross it. I pick one spot and go ahead, but for some reason I am really anxious. The rocks are quite slippery. And then it happens. I slip and lose my balance! And somehow can regain balance in the last second and stay put on the rock. Wow, that was frightening. The water would be ice cold, everything would be wet. I am really shaking now with the adrenaline sensation in my body. Dario now takes over and crosses first, lending me a hand so I can cross safely too. I really don’t need an adventure like this at 7am, thank you very much!
We are now on Big Bro’s and Benjamin Button’s side of the river and find out that they both had taken the wrong turn at the section last night as well. And BigBro ran into Benjamin Button as the latter had already turned around, realising his mistake. Hiking in the dark, one has to be extra careful!
We leave camp before the others and attack the first 6-mile climb of the day. As the woods start to become sparse we are rewarded with some pretty amazing views. We know of a pond on top of the mountain and decide we’ll have breakfast there. It’s another beautiful sunny day and our breakfast spot turns out to be a new favorite spot. We can dry all our stuff, get water from the pond which is big and transparent enough to be called a lake in my opinion and make breakfast. We stay there for a while. Eventually Big Bro and Benjamin Button join us in our breakfast party, and later a stunning butterfly with which we end up taking a row of photos. We imagine how perfect it would be if we could stay here all day. But Canada is calling, and we must go. By now everyone else - DirtyFabio, Starburst and Poodlebee - have passed us. We let the other two go ahead and form the end of the line.
Now we are facing a 6-mile downhill section where we end up running into all the other hikers again. My feet really start hurting as we are hiking on many little rocks which are making the ground uneven. Thus we take a lot of breaks and end up being the last ones in the line again. We take another extended break down at a large river where everyone else is taking a break too. Here we find out that it’s actually DirtyFabio’s birthday today. We have some wine, he’s got some rum. We celebrate a little bit. Then we inform BigBro that we have decided to slow down a little bit. We are in no rush after all. My host mum Kim can’t pick us up until the 8th of October and if we keep going in this pace we will reach Canada on the 6th, with BigBro. We then would have to pay for another two nights at a hotel which we don’t really want to. It just doesn’t make sense moneywise, but also considering that slowing down would actually be more enjoyable for us. He completely understands. We will most likely see him once more at Stevens Pass, when we will arrive and he will be about to leave. So we don’t say our goodbyes just yet.
After everyone’s left we also decide - with a heavy heart - to get going again. It’s really tough making big miles in Washington. I am feeling drained and sluggish. Maybe my body is starting to break down, realising it’s coming to an end.
After 21 miles we reach our campsite. We will share it with Benjamin Button tonight. Everyone else has pushed on some more. But oh is this a beautiful campsite! It’s already dusk again, but there is a lake we can see not far from here because we’re on a flat plateau. After setting up the tent and our usual tasks - making dinner and writing down notes about the day - we snuggle into our bags and watch another Netflix episode. We are relieved that we talked to BigBro today. Now we have the completely realistic goal of reaching Canada on the 7th or 8th of October. 11 days from now. Less than 200 miles to the Canadian border. It’s getting real.
Miles 2393.1 to 2413.8. Snoqualmie Pass to Creek camp.
We slept excellently in this cozy bed. But by 7am we get up, pack our stuff and have breakfast at the nearby restaurant. Omelets for me, eggs over easy for Maya.
The weather is absolutely perfect today. Not a single cloud to be seen in the sky. At 10am we start hiking with BigBro. A steep climb awaits us. Up up up for about 2.5 hours. But then we reach the top of the mountain range and have a stunning view of one of the most beautiful mountain sceneries we have ever seen on the whole trail! Almost all the peaks are covered in snow, which makes it even more spectacular.
After a short break and some more snicker bars in our bellies we hike on for another 45 minutes until we hit the 2400 mile marker! Wow!!! And the views are again bombastic! It is no nice that the three of us have lunch here. Since we entered Washington I've had Ramen noodles for lunch every single day - and today is no exception. I probably will never eat Ramen after the trail again in my whole life... But they're good calories, quickly prepared and very light weight.
After lunch BigBro starts hiking on while we still sit here and enjoy the views for a while. In the afternoon we pass a huge white mountain goat. It looks like a polar bear from far away, it is massive!
Shortly before it gets dark, Maya and I are debating whether we should camp here on the ridge or go on and hike all the way down for another 5 miles. Finally I can convince her to go further to catch up with BigBro. But it is almost 7pm by now, which means that we will not be in camp before 9pm.
It turns out these 5 miles take much longer than expected since we are already pretty tired by now. Shortly before reaching camp we end up missing a junction, keep hiking straight ahead for about 15 minutes instead of turning left. Finally we make it to camp at 9.30pm next to a big river and see BigBro on the other side. He yells across the river, that his campsite is full and that we should stay on our side. The river is raging and we don't see an immediate way of how to cross it. Since the campsite is apparently full anyway, we set up camp on the south side of the river.
Luckily there is a good spot here as well. We quickly set up our tent in the dark and cold night and then prepare some Indian curry with Couscous for dinner. We eat it while watching another episode of the Great British Bake-off and then go to bed very exhausted.
Miles 2372.9 to 2393.1. Forest camp to Snoqualmie pass.
We actually manage to get up at 04.45am. It is still pitch black. Big Bro is still asleep but he is faster than we are anyways. We leave camp at 05.30 and now there is also light in Big Bro’s tent.
It is freezing cold this morning, but luckily it’s all uphill in the beginning and so we warm up fast. At least we can’t see how steeply the path is going uphill because it is still oh so dark.
We want to reach Snoqualmie by 2pm – it is still about 20 miles away, but doable. At sunrise, we pass Peachman & Co’s camp. They hiked about 4 miles further than we did yesterday but slept in for a bit.
But what’s that?! My shoes are falling apart! They look like the literally exploded! The front part of my right shoe is not attached to the actual shoe anymore! Hello, toes!
We continue our hike, pass Flow’s camp and shortly after find a nice, sunny spot to have breakfast. During breakfast I try to sew my shoe together which more or less works. But I don’t see how I am supposed to hike to Canada in these. We still have almost 200 miles to go! But there are no more shoe stores close to the PCT coming up until Canada to buy new shoes. Well, we will figure something out…
Soon BigBro joins us and we all eat together. It is now 10am and we already have hiked 10 miles! Yaaaay! While we eat, everyone we passed this morning passes by, and BigBro soon leaves too, which makes us the last ones of the pack.
At about noon we reach a plateau where there is cell reception again. And finally I can call my best friend Stefan, whose 30th Birthday it is today. He lives close to New York – so time difference should not be an issue. We speak for almost 45 minutes while we are still hiking. My friends have organized a surprise 30th birthday party for Stefan, which I unfortunately cannot attend.
And about one hour after finishing the call we reach Snoqualmie pass. It’s a little past 2pm and we hiked a little over 20 miles today! We pass several ski lifts and soon stand in the middle of this little village. We meet with BigBro first, get something to eat from a food truck (a Bagel Burger for Maya, a Hurry Curry for me) and then check in at the local hotel with BigBro, with whom we share a room.
We get our resupply boxes we had shipped here and do laundry. BigBro wants to order a fleeze sweater and Maya asks if she can order a long sleeved shirt as well. BigBro is Amazon Prime member and profits from super fast delivery. Of course he agrees and we order her shirt to Skykomish, our next stop.
There is also a hiker box at the hotel and I can't believe my luck! I find a pair of Altra Trail Runners (the brand Maya is wearing and I used to wear back in the desert) in my size!!! Now I can finally get rid of my destroyed pair!
At night the three of us get some delicious thin crust pizza at the general store and then hang out in the jacuzzi and the sauna of the hotel. What an exhausting day with a very comfortable ending!
Miles 2347.0 to 2372.9. Mike Ulrich cabin to forest camp.
The night in the cabin was not the greatest we have ever had on the trail. There was a lot of commotion, snoring and people going outside to go to the toilet aka the woods. Of course Maya also had to go, which means climbing down a metal ladder, trying to avoid stepping on sleeping people and somehow find the way with almost no light.
But at least we get up pretty early at 6ish in the morning. The weather is still not very good. There’s some big clouds but the sun is slightly shining through occasionally. We decide to have breakfast in front of the cabin under a roof together with Montana, a hiker we have last seen in the Sierras, which means about 2.5 months ago.
We start hiking at about 8am. Today is way harder than yesterday. We have to climb a lot. But the weather is getting slightly better and at lunchtime the sun finally breaks through the clouds.
We have lunch on a deserted dirt road to get as much sunlight as possible. Big Bro and Benjamin Button are already ahead of us. Our plan is to hike 26 miles today and set up camp in a forest area where there should be cell reception! Benjamin Button will try to hike 36! Miles today to get as close as possible to Snoqualmie Pass, since he has to finish the PCT on the 3th or 4th of October.
BigBro also wants to hike a bit further in the beginning but then agrees to camp with us. We will arrive at Snoqualmie tomorrow as well but will still have to hike about 20 miles. But we will start very early in the morning to get there shortly after lunch time.
The afternoon hike is similar to the one in the morning. Up and down and up and down. The story of the PCT in Washington. We pass a lot of colorful, autumnal bushes and collect more berries.
When we arrive at camp, it is pitch dark and the ground is very muddy. BigBro has already pitched his tent and we have a little chat with him. And indeed, there is cell reception! When we check our phones, we find out that Kim Frost, Maya’s host mum from Canada (Maya did an exchange year during high school in Prince George, British Columbia) wrote to us to tell us she will pick us up in Manning Park, our arrival town in Canada! Kim and her husband Gary live in Campbell River on Vancouver Island now and we can stay with them for as long as we want! Wow, thank you so much Kim and Gary!
With a very grateful feeling and excitement of arriving at Snoqualmie Pass - another milestone for us and the third last stop on the PCT - tomorrow, we go to bed.
Miles 2325.7 to 2347.0. Sheep Lake camp to Mike Urich cabin.
It was a rainy and windy night and therefore it’s not easy to get motivated and get up early in the morning. We make it out of our tent by 6.30am at last, tear down everything and start hikiing shortly after 7am.
It is still very cloudy and rainy, but at least it is not all uphill. We walk on several ridges and then decide to have breakfast on top of a mountain from where we have a beautiful view and meet Big Bro again here. We discuss sleeping options and decide to spend the night at the Mike Ulrich cabin, a shelter about 20 miles away from here. The main reason to stay there is because of the weather forecast which predicts heavy rain in the afternoon which will go on until the next day.
After our breakfast the terrain continues in moderate ups and downs. When we are hiking on the next ridge we suddenly hear voices and noises coming from behind us. Turns out that it’s Peachman, FreeWheel, Merman, Jandels and Montana! Man, does that group grow ever larger and larger! They caught up with us and plan to stay at the cabin as well. And so will Rocket and Flow. In total we will be at least 10 people! And we don’t know the size of the cabin. Well, somehow we will figure out a way for all of us to squeeze in, so no worries, we all think and hike on.
The weather is now turning worse and worse as it starts to rain heavily. It’s time for our rain gear once more. The rain gear is pretty good, however, it does not prevent the shoes from getting wet. They are soon soaking wet. Luckily the feet stay warm enough if we just keep hiking.
And so we continue hiking in these rather miserable conditions and get rewarded by seeing two gorgeous rainbows! We skip lunch today to make it to the cabin as fast as possible, as our feet feel like walking in a pool! There is water everywhere now on the trail, especially hiking in the woods is pretty shitty - there are thousands of small water pools and it is nearly impossible avoiding to step into them. And after a while we don’t even care about trying and evading them any more.
But then at 5.30pm we finally make it to the cabin. Big Bro and Benjamin Button are already here, hanging up their wet tents and trying to get a fire going. We have arrived before the big group and can choose to either stay on the floor or to spend the night upstairs on the gallery. The two BBs (Big Bro & Benjamin Button) and us decide to sleep upstairs. The big group arrives about one hour later and everyone has enough space to install themselves somewhere on the floor.
We all hang up our wet clothes and gear in the cabin, and with the fire the cabin soon starts to warm up. It’s now pretty cosy in this nice little shelter in the middle of nowhere!
Miles 2304.7 to 2325.7. Snow Lake camp to Sheep Lake camp.
Today is Benjamin Button's birthday. So when we all get up, Maya, BigBro and I surprise him by giving him the the two little cakes we got for him, including burning candles on them and sing happy birthday to him.
After a while Maya and I start hiking. It is pretty chilly today, but the sky presents itself cloudless and deeply blue. We hike all the way downhill in the forest towards a big river, which we eventually have to cross by walking across a log. On the other side there are several huge tents and we encounter some hunters (again!) strolling around their tents.
After some more minutes more we finally reach a beautiful meadow, glowing in the bright sunlight. We decide to have breakfast here and hang up our tent to dry. We have to do that every day now, since the nights are getting colder and colder now and therefore condensation water on the inside of the tent is really an issue.
To get back on trail we decide to take a “short cut” through the bushes next to the meadow. Well it turns out it is a real hustle and not a shortcut at all…After successfully earning new scratches on both arms and legs we make it back. BigBro and Benjamin Button for sure must have passed us when we were having breakfast in the meadow away from the PCT we both think, but after the next corner we meet BigBro sitting on the trail and smoking one of his selfmade cigarettes.
We continue together and soon reach a nice creek were we have planned to fill up our bottles. And we meet Benjamin Button again here. It is now about 10am and time for his second gift - a bottle of wine we have been carrying for him in a plastic bottle. So the four of us share the wine and are already getting a bit tipsy in the early morning.
The way now is a lot of up up and then down and up again. Soon we are quite exhausted and take several smaller breaks to collect delicious huckleberries and blueberries, which mother nature offers here in abundance, on every bush.
At lunchtime we meet the others again and spend about one hour together. It’s funny, we all have blue lips and hands today due to the huge amount of berries we’ve been picking and eating.
Since we are all already tired because of the ongoing climb we decide to only do 21 miles today and stop at a lake in about 10 miles. And the up up goes on until we reach the boundary to Rainier National Forest and for the first time see the famous Mount Rainier looking amazing covered in snow.
The path now is beautiful - all the leaves are turning into fabulous shades of yellow or red at this time of year. But it is also an unfriendly reminder that winter is definitely coming rather sooner than later.
We pass several gorgeous lakes. After the last one we do some pretty severe climbing for about 4 miles and then finally reach Chinook pass. There is a highway that passes right next to the pass and a small parking area with toilets and trash bins! That's one of the cool things hiking this trail, small things like trash bins instantly become a source of happiness. Why? Because we can dump a lot of trash there and the packs become lighter again!
Sadly there are several posters at the parking lot saying that a PCT hiker going by the trail name “Sherpa” has been missing in this area for two years now and has last been seen shortly before this pass. It is always very sad seeing things like that and one feels pretty down afterwards. But we always start looking for some signs of clothing or unusual things in the woods.
We continue our way and have to face a last climb to Sheep lake where we plan on sleeping. Only two more miles but it starts to darken now and the weather becomes worse. But then we make it. BigBro is already here and Benjamin Button arrives shortly after us. We are all tired and soon go to sleep without having a camp fire today.
Miles 2294.9 to 2304.7. Packwood/White Pass to Snow Lake camp.
We sleep in until 8.30am today. We were so tired from yesterday! Especially the nightly road walk really got to us. We hear stirring from the others and shortly after, Mama G and Benjamin Button join us. Mama G makes us some coffee and repeats several times to check carefully that we take everything with us. Apparently some hikers had forgotten their trekking poles in the past, another even had forgotten his wallet.
About an 1.5 hours later we say our goodbyes to Mama G, but not before taking a selfie with her, and head out with Benjamin Button to the town's famous pizza place, where we will meet with Big Bro. The only problem is that the pizza place is about a 45 minute walk away (and we are talking off-trail miles here!) from Mama G's house. So after walking for about 10 minutes the three of us reach the main road and decide to hitch to the pizza place. And only seconds later Benjamin Button suddenly realizes he has forgotten his trekking poles…:) So back to Mama G’s he goes while Maya and I start hitching. And we are lucky - after 2 minutes a guy gives us a lift in the back of his truck. Oh, the many interesting hitches we’ve had while on this trail. This time we share our space with dozens of hardware tools.
When we arrive Big Bro is already there, waiting for his omelette to arrive. I am so ready for a pizza, although it is only 10.30am. But turns out, no pizza at this time :(. Well then I will order an omelette as well I think and sit down at the next table. Suddenly the couple sitting at the table next to us start talking to us: “We were wondering if the people in here are PCT thruhikers or just ordinary day hikers. The two of you don’t look like thruhikers.” “Wrong!”, we both reply. “Is it because we aren’t smelly enough yet, having had a shower just last night or don’t we convey a starved-enough expression?”, we wonder. But it doesn’t matter. They have an offer for us. “Well in that case, would you be willing to do an interview with us for our youtube channel in exchange for a free breakfast?”. Ben and Michelle are travelling the country in their RV and have a Youtube channel called Freebirds (see following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCokw7ZEob9L0SJanMhcyA8w). “Of course!”, we reply without thinking. Should be fun!
So we give them a 10-minute interview, answering questions about us, our motivation and life on the trail and they pay for our breakfast! Awesome, thank you again guys and enjoy your amazing journey! The interview can be found here on their Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/YfBwOnx9_vs
After breakfast and the interview we still have half an hour left until our driver to the trailhead will arrive at the restaurant. So we hit the grocery store next to the pizza place and buy some cake, candles and a bottle of red wine for Benjamin Button as a birthday surprise for tomorrow.
Then our driver arrives and after a 30 minute ride we arrive at White pass, at the Cracker Barrel shop. In front of the shop several hikers are lying spread out in the sun, organizing their resupply they have picked up at the store, or just hanging out. Some we know, some we’ve never seen before. It’s funny, people suddenly turning up, having come from the same place but never having crossed paths before.
And we do exactly the same - we pick up our resupply boxes, do our laundry, finally share a pizza with Big Bro and organize our stuff in front of the shop. This is exactly why somebody came up with the term hikertrash for thruhikers. We don’t care what we look like, we don’t care what a bunch of smelly, beardy people lying on the ground look like. It’s sunny, it’s warm, suddenly we don’t have a care in the world and just enjoy being in this carefree moment, surrounded by great company. it doesn’t make us want to start hiking.
But at 3pm we finally head out again with BigBro. We only do 10 miles, which turns out to be longer than we thought, since we encounter tons of delicious blueberries next to the trail and can not stop eating them. The blueberry bushes carry all the different colors of autumn. Yellow, orange, red, dark red. They look so pretty! But then finally we make it and Big Bro and I start a fire again. This time it is fairly easy since all the wood is dry now. At 9pm Benjamin Button, who has had a few beers (too many, as a birthday pre-celebration) at Cracker Barrel, finally gets into camp as well. We all hang out next to the fire for a short time and then crawl into our sleeping bags.
Miles 2273.1 to 2294.9. Mountain Panorama camp to Packwood.
We get up first, of course. First because we always get up first. Second because we are really excited to see Wizard.
We check every campsite for her tent. Her tent is the same as ours, but for two instead of three persons. It’s also one of the bestselling tents for long distance hiking. It so happens that in every campsite we pass there is an orange Big Agnes tent set up. Which doesn’t make our search for her any easier and less creepy as we crawl close to every tent to find out if she’s sleeping in it.
We see her tent on the last tentsite before Old Snowy. We already assumed that this is the one she would be camping at. Other hikers further down informed us that there are 3 hikers, 2 female and 1 male, camped up there. Wizard, TwoBeers and Nemo! We know all three of them and couldn’t be more excited to finally see them.
But they’re all asleep. We spot Benjamin Button who must have slept here too. We crawl up to Wizard’s tent whispering how we should surprise her. We slowly unzip her tent and there she is! Looking at us in surprise and with so much joy! And also a little tired… It doesn’t feel like it’s been three months since we last saw her. More like three days. But it feels so good! We missed her so much!
How strange is it to run into each other on this mountain in Washington in the end of September when the last time we saw each other was in Bishop, California, in June! We have so much catching up to do!
While she is getting up, we prepare coffee and enjoy the spectacular 360° views unfolding around us. There’s Mt Adams, Mt Saint Helens, Old Snowy. Is there Mt Rainier too? It’s hard to tell which mountain is which. But they sure are very impressive. We sit down and have a looong breakfast together. Talking about everything. She even carried a huge cookie and a bottle of CabSav with her all the way from White Pass to give to Dario as a belated birthday present. Nemo, TwoBeers and Benjamin Button soon join, followed by BigBro and Flat Earth when they eventually hike by.
We sit there from 8am to 12pm. 4 hours of talking, laughing, playing cards, taking pictures. Such good people. Wizard tells us that she will leave the trail in Cascade Locks and hopefully come back to finish the trail next year. This is totally understandable. As great as it is to hike in conditions like today, we all know how quickly it can change and become downright dangerous. The three of them then inform us about the upcoming detour. Right after Goat Rocks we will leave the PCT and get on a detour taking us straight into the town of Packwood. The PCT is once more closed due to fire. We realize that we have to get going eventually, as we still have about 18 miles ahead of us.
Saying goodbye is hard, but we know we will see Wizard again. We will visit her in Australia in February. And off we go. 5 minutes after we leave her we are walking through a snow field. The scenery behind it changes again dramatically. There is a valley we can’t see for there is so much fog in it. And the fog is leaving the valley on all sides, overflowing. It looks incredible. But this is also the valley we will be hiking in later today. Not so much fun…
After the snowfield we start our ascent on Old Snowy mountain. The PCT would take the easier route on the side of the mountain but it’s common for thruhikers to do the Knife’s Edge route following the mountain ridge on the top. It’s a hard, but short climb and when we reach the top we are really on top. On top of the world. The world lies at our feet. It’s all downhill from here. The horizon is endless. The mountains are high. But we are higher.
We take some pictures and movies. They look funny because we are in our shorts and t-shirts. It’s not too cold up here but it looks cold because there is snow all around us. It’s one of the best views we’ve had on this trail, if not the best. It’s a moment we will treasure forever.
The ridge walk turns out to be quite sketchy. There is a lot of wind now, and whenever we get lower we are hiking in fog and it’s really cold. We hike like this for another two hours before we reach the PCT closure and start our hike into Packwood. We have no idea what we’ll do when we get there. We know of a trail angel called Mama G but we have no cell reception to contact her to see if she has room for us. It sounds like the last 2 hours of the trail will be a road walk on a desolate road from where it will be highly unlikely to catch a ride. So we do what we can do at the moment - and hike.
It’s all downhill now, in the fog and so the scenery isn’t as spectacular as before anymore. But we are hiking through dense rain forest now, which is still pretty. We have to climb across a lot of fallen logs and the steepness doesn’t help much.
We reach the bottom after a couple more hours of hiking. There is a beautiful lake there called Packwood Lake. Can’t be far to Packwood now, can it? But we are wrong. After we’ve surrounded the lake we reach a dirt road and follow it for another 2 hours. We then reach a asphalted road which is very deserted. It’s dark by now and we are exhausted. My shoulders really ache and we don’t know what we’re hiking for. We have no place to stay in Packwood. We still have 6 miles of roadwalking to do until we reach it. We’ve just had the most amazing day but now it feels as though it might end up in a fiasco. Why not just set up camp here? Well, we’ve looked, but there is no space anywhere to set up camp. We see the town of Packwood far below but it looks big. How are we supposed to reach Mama G? We still have no reception and according to Guthooks we won’t get any once we’re in town. No AT&T network provided here.
We are really desperate by now, but are still hiking because it’s the only thing to do. Suddenly we hear a car come up. Come up? Why? There’s nothing here! Except for us! The car slows down even before we stretch our hands out to wave frantically. It stops next to us and we see Benjamin Button in the passenger’s seat. What the…? He looks relieved to see us and states that he contacted Mama G (he has a different network provider) and she had someone drive up here to look for him as well as potential other hikers. Benjamin Button of course knew that we must be somewhere behind him and once he was in the car he asked the driver to keep looking for us. Lucky for us they did! I have never been happier to see a car in my entire life!
The rest of the night is a blur because we are both so exhausted. We get in the car, drive over to Mama G’s. She fixes us up with a huge plate of pasta, lets us shower and makes up the bed for us. Benjamin Button is also sleeping here and it seems like BigBro made it to Packwood early enough to find a hotel. After the shower we both fall asleep instantly, not really grasping just how lucky we were tonight.
Miles 2244.3 to 2273.1. Killen Creek camp to Mountain Panorama camp.
It was a really cold night. I might have to order some additional clothes to stay warm soon. There’s morning dew on the meadow that I cross in the morning to wash our dishes. The water has frozen over night. The water is icy cold, just the perfect temperature to rinse our pots in! And there is Mount Adams there. All white. All pretty. What a special moment this is. The sky is cloudfree. It’s so quiet. Coach and BigBro are still asleep. We start hiking fast to get warm. It’s all downhill or straight terrain and when we stop for our sunny breakfast break after two hours we’ve already hiked 7 miles. That’s pretty good! And I just can’t get over how beautiful today is! No cloud in sight. We are so lucky. If it stays this way until Canada we will be the happiest people ever!
While we dry out are tents and sleeping bags in the sun we take a lengthy breakfast. But nobody catches up with us. We get going again, getting more and more excited about our approaching encounter with Wizard, and Goat Rocks Wilderness.
When we stop to collect water at a creek BigBro finally catches up. He is also in an excellent mood today! We pass him again later when he takes his lunch break in the sun. And he passes us again when we are having lunch in front of this spectacular panorama view. If only it would stay like this! We would hike until Alaska.
Later in the day we start approaching Cispus Pass. There is no camping before it so we think that Wizard might camp at the first camp spot behind Cispus Pass. I can’t even begin to describe the breathtaking scenery we are hiking in right now. Mountains, meadows, creeks and lakes. Sun. The sun is already quite low, the mountains carry all autumnal colors available and the mountain peaks are white. And we even spot some mountain geese!
Cispus Pass itself is quite hard to climb. It’s steep and rocky but we don’t let it slow us down. We practically run up the pass. After almost 29 miles of hiking today!
The other side of the pass is equally beautiful. We are really close to our campsite now. The sun has just set when we reach it. BigBro’s and Flat Earth’s tents are there. Flat Earth calls out to us saying that BigBro walked up to the next campsite to check whether Wizard is there. How sweet!
While we set up, BigBro comes back. He didn’t see Wizard but left her a note in case she’ll come in later. That way she will know that we are only camped 0.6 miles further south. We don’t think we’ll still see her tonight though. But that means we will bump into her tomorrow. And hike Knife’s Edge on Old Snowy in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Today was bloody fantastic. How can tomorrow even surpass today?!
Miles to 2228.9 to 2244.3. Trout Lake to Killen Creek camp.
We sleep in. Hikerish for sleeping until 8am. The only morning shuttle back to trail leaves at 9am. Too bad we didn’t check that yesterday, because now we get in kind of a hurry. I pack and buy some sandwiches and huckleberry rolls for breakfast while Dario gets the tents at the community centre. We are just in time for the shuttle which is packed. Haven’t seen that many hikers in one spot in a while! The sky is blue, the sun is shining, it’s kind of cool outside, so it’s the perfect hiking weather! We get off the shuttle and eat a sandwich and a huckleberry roll for breakfast. Yummy, these are so delicious! It’s like cinnamon rolls, but with the local huckleberries we’ve been picking for days and days. And loads of icing on top, so tasty! At home I could never eat this, it’s probably got 1000 calories at home. But here, who cares. :-)
We are all standing at the trailhead, hesitating to get going. The ambience is good, relaxed, we’re all motivated. There’s BigBro, Coach, Flat Earth, Benjamin Button, and a SOBO called HappyFeet. Anticipation is in the air. Only 4 more resupply stops until Canada!!! It’s getting real. Suddenly someone storms out of the forest. It’s Sasquatch! The last time we’ve seen him was after Bend when he was just about to go into town. He looks beaten, exhausted, tired. He joins us and says “that’s it, I’m done. I quit.” We all stare at him, shocked, but also understanding. He had a tough, rainy night last night, while we slept in the comfort of our rooms. He looks relieved. Happy to be able to have come to a conclusion. He’s made it so far! I feel sad for him. But also jealous. I’ve thought about quitting a lot in the last couple weeks. And it’s the hardest thing to actually decide to go through with it. He puts his pack down and takes out his stove and starts making coffee. “Might has well have breakfast here while you’re all here.” We stay with him a little longer and eventually get going, back on trail. Back on this ass-kicking, yet amazingly beautiful trail.
And it is beautiful today. The forest is still wet, rain drops dripping from the plants and trees, but the sky is still as blue as ever. It starts with a slight uphill climb, after the forest we hike through a burnt area, and then we see Mt Adams. One of the famed Washington mountains. It’s covered in snow and very pretty. We keep seeing it all day, except for some time that he’s stuck behind some local fog. We will only do 15 miles today because there is supposed to be a great camp spot there, with a lovely waterfall and space for all of us. We’ll catch up on the miles soon…
When we reach the campsite it turns out that Benjamin Button and Flat Earth must have pushed on. But Coach and BigBro are here, getting started on a sweet campfire. We set up camp, then Dario joins the guys to make the fire. I am way too cold now to join in, but enjoy lying in my sleeping bag when it’s still light out. I can hear the waterfall nearby and the guys joking. Coach has an awesome Spotify playlist on. We feel great. We feel we are right where we are meant to be.
Hopefully our next couple of days stay rainfree, but it looks good according to the weather forecast. And we’re really excited for tomorrow as we will be reaching the beautiful Goat Rocks Wilderness. And we’ve also been in touch with Wizard, our Australian friend we hiked with back in the desert, and she’s skipped up north to hike south a while ago. And tomorrow is very likely the day we will run into each other. So many things to look forward to!
Miles 2209.9 to 2214.7. Wet meadow camp to Trout Lake.
Wet wet wet. Everything is wet. When we remove our sleeping pads we see that our entire ground sheet is lying in a pool of water. And it’s still raining. We try to pack our stuff inside out, meaning we first remove the inner tent while we keep the rain fly on and then pack everything else before we take down the rain fly. It kind of works, but our stuff still gets pretty wet. BigBro is still in his tent, wondering how he should take down his tent. Luckily we arrive in Trout Lake today. Of course I had to pee at night in the rain. Always great timing, thank you my dear bladder.
We don‘t take breaks. No breakfast, no lunch. Why would we? How could we? It‘s constantly raining and whenever we stop we get cold quickly. So frozen Snickers bars for breakfast while hiking it is. Aaaah! This is no fun. We are completely soaked. Another 12 miles (= 3.5 hours) to Trout Lake. Really? In Switzerland we wouldn‘t even leave the house if we didn‘t absolutely have to. At least the terrain is fairly easy. And just when I wonder how I am supposed to keep going for so much longer, we reach a parking lot. There are some trucks and campers there but it looks abandoned. There is a trail register there and while we sign it with frozen fingers and shaking hands, we hear someone calling out to us. We turn around and find a guy standing there, in his fifties. He asks us whether we want a ride to Trout Lake. I can‘t believe it. Did someone actually hear me when I was praying up towards the sky, asking for a miracle? Dario and I look at each other, we really can‘t believe our luck. I mean, yes, we would skip another 12 miles, but really, who cares? Still, Dario is unsure, thinking that maybe we should push through? At that moment the sky opens up and releases more precipitation than we have ever encountered before on this trail. Along with hail and wind. We think no more. Yes of course Tim, we would love a ride with you!!! He says he will be ready in about 15 minutes, which is perfect because it might give BigBro time to catch up with us and decide if he wants to come along. And indeed, there he is. And while he completely understands our decision he insists to keep going. We give him our rain mitts and he hands over his tent (so we can start drying it in Trout Lake) and Tim prepares some peanut butter and jam sandwiches for all of us. We really admire BigBro‘s determination. Of course we could do it too, but why, why, would we do this to ourselves? He has never skipped a single mile though, so it‘s definitely understandable that he wants to keep going.
Our feet are frozen by now and we happily climb into the car and drive towards Trout Lake. Thank you so so much Tim, you really helped us out!
We reach Trout Lake and check in at the General Store where we also booked one of their two rooms for the three of us. In the store we run into Benjamin Button again whom we haven‘t seen since Northern California. The rooms aren‘t ready yet so we go over to the church/community centre and hang up our tents to dry in the huge gym. Then we head over to the restaurant and order the usual: burgers and fries and cokes. We are still wet because we couldn‘t change yet but life is already treating us very well now.
Finally we can check into our room where we take long baths, hang everything up to dry and do laundry. It‘s warm and cozy and we are so so happy. BigBro reaches town in the late afternoon and is completely soaked but claims that it wasn‘t too bad. We had shipped two boxes here which we now organise. We have way too much food considering that we already carried too much to begin with. We put the rest in the hiker box and then put on some dry clothes and walk over to an inn to have dinner. The food is fabulous and a funny cat keeps us company.
On our way back to the general store I promptly walk into a large puddle. My dry clothes? Not so dry anymore!
Luckily the room is nice and warm, I hang up the clothes to dry and we make ourselves comfortable in the room watching Ocean‘s 8. But we are all really tired and fall asleep pretty soon.
Let’s just hope that the weather will give us a break now. Can‘t cope with that much rain. The cold is fine, we always heat up when we hike, but the rain - no, thank you very much!
Miles 2185.7 to 2209.9. Woods camp to Wet Meadow Camp
We are the first to leave camp. It‘s still dark outside and we need our headlamps to lead the way. As usual our goal is to find a sunny spot for breakfast where we can dry our tent and warm up ourselves. Even though we are mostly in the woods and the sun is hidden behind the trees we get lucky. Just as the sun comes out we pass by a little meadow and grasp this opportunity to take this break after 3 miles. Unfortunately the sun doesn‘t stay out for long and we are soon chilly again. BigBro catches up and joins us before we get going.
We are hiking quite high up, so whenever we are not surrounded by trees the views are quite nice. We are both listening to Harry Potter again and hike efficiently towards Trout Lake, our next resupply spot, which we should be reaching tomorrow afternoon.
We are in luck in terms of our lunch break. Shortly before we reach the campground where there should be picnic tables and pit toilets (yaaaay!) we cross paths with an elderly SOBO who hands over a mountain house meal he doesn‘t need. This is exciting! We stopped buying those dehydrated meals because they are quite expensive, and this is a very good brand and a meal we haven‘t tried yet, so yes, exciting! Beesknees also joins us for lunch and so it‘s the four of us sitting at an actual table in damp Washington eating the meals we are getting so tired of. Except for Dario who gets to eat the new Mountain house meal and is quite happy.
After lunch the terrain becomes quite easy and so we make good time and actually end up doing another 24-mile day today, incl reaching the 2200 mile marker! We had agreed with BigBro to set up our tents by a junction, but there is no room for any tents there and so we keep hiking until we find BigBro, on a large grassy clearing, setting up his tent. It looks beautiful. We hurry down to the little meadow and chose the flattest spot next to him. Just as we are done setting up the rain starts. This time it‘s not a drizzle. This time the sky opens up and let‘s the rain pour down on us bigtime. But we are safe, we are dry, we are warm in our sleeping bags. But was it a good idea to set up camp away from the relative protection of the trees? Little did we know then that we would wake up in a pond of water.
Miles 2162.1 to 2185.7. Woods camp to woods camp.
We slept really well and feel rested when the alarm rings. It‘s still dark outside and we try not to make too much noise when we pack up so as not to wake up BigBro. But his alarm rings soon as well and he sticks his head out of his tent and smokes his first cigarette of the day as usual. While we are packing up and talking to BigBro dawn fades and out comes the sun, shining through the trees, looking so pretty. I take a lot of pictures, and then we finally start hiking.
But we don‘t make it very far until I start taking pictures again. We discover a nice little rock out of the woods and step out on it. The most amazing scenery is right in front of us. A misty morning, foggy trees, the early morning sun. It‘s magical.
We soon take a breakfast break in the sun where we hang up our wet tent to dry. No sight of Big Bro. We leave again and keep hiking through forest. He eventually catches up with us and we decide to meet again for lunch. It‘s again a sunny clearing where we hang up the tent again. This will quickly become our routine now, the tent is pretty much always wet now. Condensation happening inside the tent, rain happening outside the tent. Luckily, we stay dry. So far.
We should be able to reach our goal of 22 miles today, walking is up and down but not too hard on us today. We keep getting nice views whenever the forest lifts for a bit and when we reach the bottom of a valley we leave the forest completely and are walking in lovely wheat colored meadows. Here the sun can easily reach us. Inside and outside. Such a simple life. What a good life.
We cross a few larger rivers and meet up with BigBro again on one of the many river shores. We stuff some M&Ms and Sour Patch in our mouths (still our favorite snack!) and attack the last climb of the day. Hey now, that‘s a steep one. Looks like the PCTA forgot that horses need to be able to hike this trail too (we say that whenever the trail becomes too steep for us)!
But we successfully climb it and finally reach our designated campsite at dusk after almost 24 miles. That‘s good for Washington standards! Beesknees is also camped there, a lovely lady who has been leapfrogging with us all day.
We set up, make dinner and write the blog and then enjoy our usual Great British Baking Show during dinner. The nights are coming in earlier and earlier now, and they are colder each night. Let‘s hope we stay warm tonight.
Miles 2147.1 to 2162.1. Cascade Locks to woods camp.
We caught up way until after hikers midnight last night. So we sleep in, take showers, eat spaghetti leftovers for breakfast, write some emails, pack our stuff. And are ready by 11am. We stayed about 2 miles away from the Bridge of Gods across the Columbia river, which is the state between Oregon and Washington. And every aspiring thruhiker knows this bridge. It‘s a big milestone. Even for us who skipped the last 49 miles to get here. It‘s also known among normal people who read the book „Wild“ by Cheryl Strayed. Or watched the correspondent Hollywood movie with Reese Witherspoon starring.
We don‘t want to hike the 2 miles of course because they are of the kind that don‘t count. So let‘s try hitching on this rather rural street. But we were lucky yesterday when we went grocery shopping so let‘s try again. And again, the first car stops and takes us directly to the Bridge of the Gods. It‘s a big deal walking across it. It‘s rather long, it‘s high up with beautiful views on both sides. We are not really in a hurry since we only want to do about 10 miles this afternoon. We take our time, take pictures and take in the change of states. We made it to Washington.
We know Dario and I, unlike BigBro, didn‘t do the whole thing. But sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we still hiked more than 1700 miles and have been living trail life for 115 days now. It’s more than we ever dared to think about. So crossing this bridge, it’s a big deal.
And Washington, from the start, isn’t making this easy. We’re back in the woods, it‘s going uphill, it‘s going uphill fast and we realize that the altitude on our app has again been adjusted to match the terrain. A steep mountain on the app is a steep mountain in Washington. Here we go.
After about 40 minutes Dario realizes that he must have dropped his sunglasses. He turns around while I wait for him. BigBro is long gone by now. He finally comes back 35 minutes later, completely out of breath, having run the whole way back again, down and back up the mountain. At least he found the sunglasses again.
We meet BigBro out on a clearing where we decided to have lunch before and just when we start eating our couscous, it starts raining. We eat very quickly and start moving again, putting the rain covers back on our packs. And off we are again. Not exactly the most relaxed lunch break, but that‘s what it will be like from now on. We have to adjust to the weather and take our breaks when it‘s not raining. The trail leads further uphill, and our tentsite will be on top of that mountain. We are very focused now to reach it soon and hope it stops raining soon.
It does stop raining very soon and the sky is beautifully clear, but when we reach our campsite we find out it‘s already taken and there is no room for both our tents - which is why BigBro probably went on. We keep hiking straight for another mile, it‘s dark now, when we finally see a flashlight and hear BigBro calling out to us. He found some flat ground but there‘s not enough room for both tents. We are in pretty dense and steep forest and it‘s hard to find a large enough area, but we encounter one eventually and set up our tent in the light of our flashlights. It‘s nice to have company tonight in this very remote and dark forest. Our first night in Washington, and with new and functional inflatable pillows. Yay! Dario and I will get up early tomorrow to cover some ground before BigBro gets up. We will try to do 22 miles every day now so that BigBro will reach the Canadian border in time for his flight. We are aiming for the 6th of October.
The sky is clear now, but the trees are still wet and keep dropping down on our tent. A ground sound to fall asleep to.
Miles 0. Timberline Lodge Camp to Cascade Locks.
And we have a new winner for the trail‘s worst night! Last night was awful, the wind kept howling all night, it has been constantly raining and we were really cold. It might not have been the best idea to sleep outside on almost 1900 meters above sea level in these conditions.
At least we can sleep in as the breakfast isn‘t served until 7.30am. It‘s really foggy outside the tent and the tent itself is completely wet inside out. We decide to let it stand while we go down to the hotel with the rest of our stuff where we are hoping to get some laundry done, or at least stuff everything in a dryer.
It feels like heaven to enter the hotel. It‘s nice and warm and cozy with lots of fireplaces. We would have loved to stay here last night but knowing it would knock us back about 230 USD we knew we couldn‘t. We inquire about doing laundry and are told that since we‘re not hotel guests we can‘t do laundry. This feels so discriminating! We wouldn‘t mind paying for it of course, but the receptionist remains firm on the subject even when hearing that everything we carry is soaked and we are really cold. This is heartbreaking. We are humans in need of warm clothes. How can she refuse us such a simple request?? It really hurts and just adds to the pain I am already feeling, increases the tight knot in my stomach even more.
There is nothing we can do about it right now. It‘s 7.30am and so we do what we do best - attack the breakfast buffet. The food is tasty and the company great, since the other hikers are all joining as well. It turns out they did get a ride to the lodge without any problems last night and decided to splurge on a hotel room. They ended up paying 30 USD each. This news doesn‘t make us feel better, as one can imagine. So yes, the breakfast is good but it‘s not the best we‘ve had. We don‘t actually know what the fuss is all about. I mean, they don‘t even serve bacon, so what kind of buffet is this??? Our lovely hiker friends offer us to shower in their room and do laundry with them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
But first we sit down in the lobby while we let our electronic devices charge. The weather hasn‘t changed. Or yes, it has. It‘s got worse. Rain has turned into snow. We are up on Mt Hood but there is nothing to see. No mountain peak, no views. I am feeling awful. I can‘t express just how bad I am feeling right now. Are we really supposed to get back out there and keep hiking in these conditions? It‘s 2.5 more days until Cascade Locks and the Washington border but I can‘t fathom how we‘re gonna get there when the weather stays like this and everything we carry is soaked through and through.
We both feel the same. We are at the very end of our powers. We should have been expecting this weather, and we have. But now that we are in it, we cannot deal with it. We cannot go back out there. We just can’t. It’s too much. The realization hits me. This is where we will finish the PCT. We already considered it yesterday and now we had time to sleep over it. It says to never quit on a bad day. So how many bad days justify quitting? Thinking seriously about quitting hurts just as much as thinking about the undoable hike that lies ahead of us. We are really at a loss about what to do. And that’s when we call our parents.
I talk to my mum which always helps. I soon start crying and she‘s listening and trying to offer advice. But obviously she‘s never been in a position of attempting to try and hike from Mexico to Canada. I know that she knows how much we’ve wanted this but she reminds me of our trip as a whole, in which the PCT is only the first leg of a long journey. She reminds me of how proud we can be about how far we HAVE made it. She says that whatever we decide, either way we have already achieved so much and ultimately, whatever we chose will be a good and justified decision. It‘s this classic first world problem, but it does weigh so heavily on us. My mum usually has the solution to every problem but she is right, this is a decision nobody can make but us.
Meanwhile Dario is on the phone to his parents and he is less emotional of course. But his dad grasps the desperation in his voice and understanding as he is, he goes over our options and makes us see that one of our issues right now is obviously a financial one. 1. We feel like we can‘t afford the lodge to stay here and think things over. 2. Another option we considered is taking a taxi to Cascade Locks and keep hiking north from there. It‘s 2.5 more days from here, but the weather forecast is a little bit better up there and BigBro is already there, urging us to get a ride so that we can go on together. It would take at least 1.5 days by public transport to get there, there are no Ubers or other carshare options and hitching from here is pretty much impossible. And a taxi is too expensive.
But Dario‘s dad is a big fan of our thruhike and has always been incredibly supportive of our crazy attempt to hike the PCT. „Whatever you need right now, I will pay for it. A night in the lodge, a taxi ride, whatever you need, I will pay for it.“ And as he offers us this we know that we can keep going. It does no longer have to be a decision between hiking out of Timberline Lodge today or quitting the trail. There are suddenly other options now. Options that will keep us on the trail. Christian is a real trail angel, and we will never forget this good deed with which he kept us on the trail. E riese Dankeschön Phads!!!
A night in the lodge sounds awesome, but the weather forecast doesn‘t sound great for the next days. Thus staying here for the night would only be a postponement of our problem. Going to Cascade Locks makes more sense. We call a car services company and get an offer for USD 100. It takes about 2.5 hours to get there, so we consider this a good deal. We have been in touch with BigBro throughout our crisis and he is so happy to hear that we might come to Cascade Locks today. He offers to look for accommodation while we confirm the taxi ride. It will arrive in 1.5 hours.
We feel so much better now. Heavy weight lifted off our shoulders. We had two boxes shipped to the Timberline Lodge which I go pick up while Dario goes back up to our tentsite to take down our tent. It‘s still totally wet of course. Then we go back downstairs and get our obligatory pictures taken with Johnny‘s axe from „The Shining“.
We go up to the bar and have a quick drink with our hiker friends who are still debating what they should do. Merman doesn‘t even have a rain jacket!!! And then our taxi arrives and we gladly leave this place. We will always remember the Timberline Lodge. Not because of the breakfast buffet, but because of the day we almost quit the PCT.
The ride is smooth, our driver is awesome and our mood has changed greatly. We reach Cascade Locks in no time and stop by the Post Office to pick up two more boxes containing new replacement pillows and a stuff sack from Sea-to-Summit. Awesome that this worked! Next stop is the Airbnb that BigBro booked. It‘s lovely! It‘s so so cozy and I never want to leave this place again! :-)
We go out to do a quick resupply for our next section to Trout Lake, get our laundry done while the rain is pouring down (but tomorrow should be better!) and after hitching in the rain for a long time have a lovely local give us a ride back to our place where Dario makes a delicious Spaghetti Bolognese dinner and we all share a bottle of red wine.
We are all freshly showered, our clothes are dry and clean. Our tent is drying in the bathroom, the apartment is warm and so comfortable. It‘s great to be reunited with BigBro. And just like that our last day in Oregon comes to an end. All‘s well again. What a day. With the best ending ever.
Miles 2064.9 to 2096.9. Spring camp to Timberline Lodge camp.
It’s cloudy. Cold. Even though the Timberline Lodge breakfast buffet is calling the next morning, we don’t hear the calls. We can’t get up. We’re tired, dispirited. It’s no fun in this weather! But once again, we are in the middle of nowhere and there is only one thing we can do. Hike. Which we aren’t so bad at anymore. So after snoozing the alarm a couple of times we finally get up, and hike.
First we have to climb a little mountain but once we’re on top it’s mostly straight forward, in the lush, green Oregon forest. We both plug our headphones in and are soon back in Hogwarts. There’s just something comforting and supporting about rereading/listening those books we both know so well!
We have a late breakfast and while we are sitting in the middle of the trail in a dry spot we are once again passed by Rocket, Peachman, Freewheel, Merman & Co. and realize once more that we are not alone out here. Of course you don‘t see other hikers for hours on end, but then, when you decide to sit down ON the trail, that‘s when people show up! (Or when you decide to take a bathroom break.)
We meet them again later for lunch at the beautiful Little Crater Lake - one of those places we‘ve been excited to see live! The water colors are stunning, never seen this kind of turquoise and blue water before. The others mention that they will skip the little hike up to Timberline and hitch from the road coming up in 12 miles. Our plan still is to leave about 7 miles for tomorrow and walk into the world-renowned hotel (the Timberline Lodge is a historic American hotel and filmset for the movie „The Shining“ with Jack Nicholson) the next morning, and so we tell them we‘ll meet them at the breakfast buffet the next day. Once they‘ve left though, it starts raining. Again. And we just don‘t know what to do. Of course, a little rain never killed nobody, but it‘s just no fun to feel wet all the time and miss out on some fabulous views because of the constant fog! And we doubt that we will be able to hike much further today, because we are both not feeling motivated at all. There is a family out by the lake, dressed in warm clothing and they’ve probably walked here from a parking lot 10 minutes away. They’re taking pictures and the two boys even jump into the lake. And I can’t help but feel very envious of the fact that they can just get into their (probably super oversized and well heated) car and drive off.
And so we decide to hitch to Timberline as well. Hike your own hike, it‘s called - for a reason. And to skip a part is still better than to leave the trail completely. With this plan in mind we leave Crater Lake again and hike the remaining miles to the highway.
We only reach it when it‘s about to get dark and it takes forever to get a ride into Government Camp, the little village on the bottom of Mt Hood. From here our plan is to catch another ride up to the Timberline Lodge where we want to camp next to the lodge on the PCT and walk into the hotel early the next day.
But no luck. We start roadwalking up the steep road in the hope that someone will stop for us eventually. But it‘s dark now and there aren‘t many cars. And if I haven‘t mentioned it before I will mention it now. Roadwalking at night is so so creepy! How come we aren‘t really bothered with the darkness on the PCT in the middle of nowhere, but get right out scared walking on a road?
We still don‘t get lucky and guess what - have to roadwalk the entire 6 miles up to Timberline Lodge in the rain, which we reach at 9.30pm. What a great day! Nooot! And when we reach the top we have to try and find our way back on the PCT via Guthooks. Which after some bushwacking works well enough and finally we can drop our packs and starting setting up. The wind is howling, it‘s snow-raining and the light coming from the hotel casts an eerie shadow all around. We are so relieved once we are lying inside our sleeping bags. Most of our stuff is damp, if not wet and we really wonder how much longer we can go on like this. Our trip is supposed to be fun. This doesn‘t feel particularly like fun anymore. Is it reason enough to quit or should be stop complaining and pull ourselves together? It‘s tough when the heart doesn‘t seem to be in it anymore and we keep wondering why we‘re actually out here. But let‘s put those unnerving thoughts out of our minds for now, get a good night‘s sleep with dreams about the upcoming buffet and not make any rushed decisions right now.
We are really hungry and make dinner at 10.15pm while we watch our nightly baking episode and finally, finally fall asleep. 28 miles today!
Miles 2040.2 to 2064.9. Meadow camp to spring camp.
It’s 05.30am. It’s still dark outside. And I believe there’s a light drizzle. It’s reeeeally hard to leave the comfort of our sleeping bags today, but we need to get going. We really want to reach the Timberline Lodge in two days, for their legendary breakfast buffet and in order to time it correctly, we need to hike 25 miles today. So grudgingly we get going.
It’s cold, it's foggy and it’s wet indeed, but by hiking fast we quickly feel warm and luckily we have good rain gear that keeps us dry. The sky is now turning into all shades of red and pink. We know what that means. Red sky at dawn = bad weather. Oh no! There is a resort coming up though, the Olallie Lake Resort. We didn’t plan on stopping there, but by 9am we are quite wet and crave a warm place where we can dry and drink a hot coffee. When we reach the resort we can’t believe our luck. There is a sign there saying “TRAIL MAGIC”!!! Yay! We are a little worried that somebody left the sign here by mistake and it doesn’t apply anymore. We quickly make our way down to the lake and indeed, there is a guy there asking us if we wanted banana pancakes. Well, sure we do! It turns out his name is Nate and he’s been out here a couple of weekends this summer just to provide trail magic to PCT hikers. He’s staying in a van with a friend of his who is still asleep and has this whole area prepared for hikers who might turn up. He quickly gets started on the pancakes while we sit down and sip some hot coffee he’s handed us. It stopped raining, which is awesome. How lucky are we!!! The banana pancakes are delicious and we each eat 4 of them. Then Nate makes us some quesadillas followed by bananas filled with chocolate. We eat everything! Oh this hiker hunger! It’s crazy! We feel like we should get going, but Nate is so hospitable and offers to make us hot dogs next. We would love to eat some more, but at this stage we are so stuffed and feel that we should get going. We sign his trail register where we discover the names of other hikers we know who have been here. Speedy! Ben & Sai! BigBro! When we are about to leave another hiker called Flow rocks up and we tell him about the great treatment Nate has got in store for him. He then informs us that he’s doing a 40 mile day today and doesn’t have the time to eat it all. We will see about that… :-)
We leave Olallie Lake but not without taking a picture with Nate first, with the PCT sign saying that we are 607 miles away from Canada. Nate made this sign and he is very touched when we tell him that I have seen the sign on social media before and we’ve been wanting to take a picture with it for a while now. So here we are. Technically you would be able to see Mt. Jefferson in the back. Today, not so much (see below).
After this unexpected and delicious breakfast we are energized and take on the trail with fresh motivation. 607 miles. We can do it! The only other people we see today are Flow and another hiker called Starburst. But since they will both be attempting to do 40 miles today it’s unlikely that we will see them again today. And indeed, we don’t bump into anyone else all day today. The rain also lets up and gives us a break. We are both listening to the fourth Harry Potter audiobook which is always a great diversion and keeps us occupied and moving forward.
We take our lunch break quite late (yes, we are finally hungry again) as the sun comes out briefly and we decide to seize this opportunity. For the remainder of the day we keep hiking up and down. The PCT is just never flat. Never. We still have another 10 miles to do after 4pm and only reach our campsite by 7.15pm. We chose our campsite in the woods these days to have some protection from potential downpour and consequently the campsite looks very dark and creepy even though night hasn’t fallen yet. We hurriedly set up camp and crawl inside our sleeping bags to eat our dinner with our nightly episode of “The Great British Bake-off”. It’s just so homey. I recommend you try it!
Miles 2023.5 to 2040.2. Forest camp to Meadow camp
We only went to bed at 10.30pm last night and therefore allow ourselves to sleep in today. When we finally manage to leave the warmth of our sleeping bags and get out of the tent, the sun has just climbed over the mountain tops. We decide to eat our breakfast in camp so that our tent can dry in the meantime. And also because we just don’t feel like hiking just yet. We don’t start hiking until 9am, which is probably one of the latest starts we’ve had on trail.
The first part of the day is all downhill and in the woods. I am always cold when walking in the shade of the forest and today is no different. But I refrain myself from putting on my down jacket because I know that soon we will start climbing again and I will be feeling too hot instantly. We reach a nice little creek in the bottom of the valley and then start hiking up again. And up we go, for a couple hours, through forest and burnt areas with no forest left. Those burnt trees always make us feel weird, it’s like hiking on a different planet. We have cell service here and immediately sit down and read our new messages. It’s even weirder to suddenly be connected to the outside world when you feel like you’re hiking on the moon or wherever.
We know that there is a large creek coming up in a few yards, with a dead horse lying in it. It says so in the Guthooks (our GPS app) comments. According to one of the comments, an equestrian tried crossing the creek, which turned out to be quite strong. During the creek crossing the horse slipped and fell, and the woman on the horse broke both legs and had to be helicoptered out. The unfortunate horse was beyond hope though and they had to shoot it. As to why they just left it in the creek to rot, we have no idea. While Dario is kind of excited to see it, I don’t especially look forward to this macabre scene and hope that we can’t make out the horse. It is said to have blended in well with its surroundings, namely the large grey moss-covered rocks in the creek. When we reach it I explicitly don’t want to look at it while Dario feels the need to spot it and take a lot of pictures of it. We have posted one below, maybe you will be able to make out the back of the horse. It does look surprisingly like one of the rocks though. Can you spot it?
The actual creek crossing proves more dangerous than any of the crossings back in the Sierras. It takes us about 25 minutes to find a suitable place to cross the creek without getting our feet wet.
We soon start looking out for a nice place to have lunch. And indeed, we find a beautiful spot right next to a creek with milky glacier water where we settle down to cook some pasta and ramen noodles. It’s hard to get going afterwards, this place is just so nice and would be a great campsite… but, it’s only 3pm and we still have a few, ok, 10 miles to go. We pull ourselves together and hike on. And when we enter a beautiful meadow we are soon rewarded with the most magnificent views of Mt. Jefferson in the background. And huckleberries. Loads of them. And time slips away while we stop every couple meters to pick a handful and shove them in our mouths. Our lips, are tongs, our hands, everything is soon blue. Dario starts falling behind, he sure loves those huckleberries!
We leave the meadow to climb another mountain and when we reach the top we can see Mt. Hood for the first time. Wow! That’s where the Timberline Lodge is, our next stop, three days from here. Let’s just hope the weather stays nice and we keep seeing Mt. Hood until we actually reach it. We say goodbye to Mt. Jefferson in the back and start our descent in direction of Mt. Hood. The scenery is absolutely stunning. The temperature and the weather is perfect. Our bodies don’t hurt. We eat delicious berries. Downhill. Only 4 more miles to camp. We are in a really good mood and enjoying the beautiful day. This is what we’re out here for. Moments like these. Priceless.
We reach our tentsite by a pond in daylight, which is quite special these days, and quickly set up camp. Some sun rays even reach us in the tent and we soak them up. As usual Dario makes dinner and I write about our day. The sun sets. We make ourselves comfortable in our sleeping bags, watch “The Great British Bake-Off”, which is the perfect entertainment in a tent in the middle of nowhere, and eat our pasta meal. Life is good.
Miles 1999.0 to 2023.5. Pond camp to forest camp.
When we get up, it is still pitch black. At least yesterday's hauling wind has stopped.
The night was not bad and we are positively surprised that the tent stayed dry although we camped right next to a pond/lake.
After our usual packing time of around 30 minutes we hit the trail again. The first miles are easy, since the terrain is flat and the ground solid. After about 20 minutes we reach the 2’000 mile marker. Wow, what a number! And “only” 650 more miles left until Canada! Even though we didn't hike all the 2'000 miles to get here, it still means a lot. It means that we've hiked about 1'600 miles, something we've never done before, and are quite proud of. We take some pictures and continue our hike. Just a couple of minutes later we need to cross the highway and find... trail magic! There are chocolate bars, candy and beer. I pass on the beer (never thought I would say this, but waaay too early in the morning for that) and gladly take some of the food.
Eventually we cross the highway and meet two horseback riders, decide some minutes later to have breakfast and have an amazing view. And the stunning views don't end here.
We climb up through a big burnt area with 360 degree views all around us. As we are approaching Mt. Jefferson the view gets even better. That's one good looking mountain! Later we have lunch at a small pond. Here we see several bow hunters going to hunt for elks. That's the season. But it does creep us out.
Later we pass by “Three Fingered Jack”, another very scenic mountain standing up to its name.
After a beautiful day filled with plenty of views and happy hiking we reach Mt. Jefferson. This epic mountain is now in front of us and we're going to camp right near it. The day ends at about 8.30pm after night hiking for about an hour. We then reach our flat campsite, quickly pitch our tent and spend the rest of the evening watching Netflix episodes, which we have downloaded earlier. This has become quite a tradition and something we look forward to when it gets dark and cold.
Miles 1983.7 to 1999.0. Bend to Pond camp.
As organized the day before, Lawrence, the Uber driver picks us up at 9am. We load all our gear into the back of his car and off we are again towards the trailhead at McKenzie Road. It is a lovely, sunny day today and Lawrence tells us lots of things about Bend, the forest and wildfires and about the volcanoes around here. 30 very interesting minutes later we arrive at the trailhead, which is directly located on a big black lava field. Now this is not where we left the trail, as we hitched from Shelter Cove to Bend directly instead of hiking to the McKenzie Road trailhead near Bend. Considering that we are late in the season we decided to skip around 70 miles and start hiking at this trailhead instead going back to Shelter Cove.
We say goodbye to Lawrence and ask him how much we owe him when he tells us that we don't have to pay him for the drive out here. He is amazing! We don't know what to say, especially since the drive took about an hour! Thank you Lawrence!!!
We then start our hike into the lava fields. I've always been looking forward to seeing the volcanoes in Oregon - and walking on actual lava! - since we started planning this trip. Now that we are actually here it feels exciting! But after hiking on these sharp lava rocks for 30 minutes our feet start hurting badly and we only wish to end this fakir-like walk over glowing coal. And thankfully our wish is soon granted and the lava field ends.
In the afternoon the once blue sky turns greyish, since there is a lot of smoke coming from yet another wildfire. Later we pass several bow hunters. It is kind of creepy to know that they are out here as well and you always hope they don't shoot you by mistake. But most of them are very polite and greet us. The last two hunters we pass shortly before we reach our designated camping spot next to a lake even give us some fresh water.
When we reach the lake there are other hikers camped there as well and all the spots seem taken. We start talking to this Australian woman when we realize that we've met her before! At Casa de Luna in SoCal, around mid-June. How nice! We have a little chat with her, then pitch our tent next to the lake. The wind is howling and the night is cool, but we are cozy inside our tent and after dinner go to bed early.
4 zero days in Bend - Dario's recovery from Giardia
Dario had another rough night despite the antibiotics but the next morning, Labour Day, he claims to finally feel a little better. We have breakfast in the hotel with the free vouchers we were given as first time guests. Dario manages to eat a little bit of porridge and camomile tea while I splurge on their amazing buffet. This is by far the best hotel food on the entire trip! Even though this involuntary break in Bend wasn’t planned I realize that this way I get to organize quite a lot of things and even get some much needed rest myself.
While Dario's digestion is still not back to normal and he goes back to bed, I borrow a bike from the hotel and bike over to REI to buy our rain gear and rain mitts for our wool gloves, as well as a new Sawyer Squeeze water filter (we want to make sure it works 100% in the future so as not to catch another parasite) and then take an Uber to the post office to pick up two boxes that we had shipped here. I then get a ride back to the hotel to get started on our resupply strategy. Resupply in Washington isn’t easy because the towns we will visit are small and usually only have tiny general stores with limited supplies and horrific prices. Most hikers prepare resupply boxes ahead of time and ship them to all the resupply points in the last state. We will ship 6 resupply boxes which means about a month worth of trail food for the both of us. I will not be able to do this by myself and have to wait until Dario is feeling better. We chill in our hotel room for the rest of the day, ordering soup up to the room, writing on our blog and going to bed early.
The next day I decide to wash our sleeping bags and down jackets. The down material requires a special laundry detergent which I also got in REI the day before. I bike over to the laundromat where they have larger machines, which is highly recommended. It takes forever until the sleeping bags are washed and dried, but they feel amazing afterwards! Finally they are puffy again and don’t smell anymore. :)
We are still waiting to hear if Dario has Giardia or if it is actually something else. The clinic should have called by now, so we call them instead to find out. They can’t get hold of his doctor and will get back to us. Luckily Dario’s state has much improved by now, he is feeling much better and can finally hold his food down. So it looks like it is indeed Giardia as the antibiotics seem to be working.
The next day we decide to go do the resupply in Safeway where we end up spending 450 USD on groceries. It is worth one month of food but still, it hurts! I picked up some empty boxes from the post office the other day, so once we get back I start distributing the items in the 6 boxes. Dario needs a lie-down, he’s still weak and our shopping trip - exhausting for both of us - really wore him out again. I soon realize that we will need two boxes for every destination (we are two people with big hiker hunger after all!) and it feels like a never ending task! Once Dario has rested enough he helps me with the boxes and together we complete this exhausting task. I never want to have to do this again!
Then Dario finally receives the phone call from the clinic. It’s Giardia! We guess that’s good news because he’s been successfully treated by now and has definitely started his recovery. We even jump in the hotel’s hot tub that night which feels great, especially for our legs and feet.
We take one more day off the next day and have a nice breakfast out in the town. Bend is a lovely place with a river running through the entire city. There are many parks, it’s generally very green and easy to get around. It has this laid-back vibe, it still feels like summer, people are als friendly as ever and the fact that Dario is finally feeling well again puts us in a great mood. We couldn’t be more excited to get back on trail.
We take our resupply boxes to the post office on a hotel trolley, which is kinda fun, even though (or especially because?) everyone is staring at us, wondering what we’re doing. Back at the hotel we decide to wash our tent for the first time, we might as well start all fresh! We end the day by going out for dinner in a great pizzeria, seated outside, enjoying the warm summer eve.
I think I can say for the both of us that this stay in Bend really helped us both. Dario recovered well and got rid of his parasite while I was able to organize everything we needed for the last leg of our hike. Now that we have boxes shipped all over Washington I guess we have to finish this hike. And with the new energy and motivation we just gained I guess we CAN actually finish this hike. Let’s go to Canada!
Miles 1906.6 to 1907.9. Shelter Cove Resort to Bend.
We sleep in today, which means until 7am. When I get up, I realize that my stomach is still bad, very bad actually and I feel sick. So apparently the pills did not help at all. That’s why we decide to hitch out immediately and try to get to Bend.
Since nobody seems to be leaving today either (tomorrow is a holiday), we plan to hike to the highway, which is about a 4-mile roadwalk away from Shelter Cove. We leave at about 8am and the road walk sucks a lot! I feel terrible and have to throw up again. It is not only a walk on the road walk but also uphill.
After a never ending 1.5 hours we finally reach the highway and start hitching. And we are lucky! After only 5 minutes a truck with a PCT sticker on the trunk stops and we hop in. It is a very nice lady going by the name of Jennifer (?) who works for the PCT Association! So cool, and she is going on a hike today with her two dogs. Therefore she will not drive into Bend but will drop us off at a junction where we can try to hitch again. We have a lovely chat and soon arrive at the junction where we say goodbye.
This time the hitch is difficult. There are tons of cars passing by but nobody would stop for us. We try to get a Uber or Lyft but there are no cars available since we are still too far away from civilization. But then after over an hour a car actually stops...and gives us some sodas! Thank you very much but we would have prefered a ride into town!
Well, we continue hitching and finally, after 30 more minutes a young woman stops for us and drives us into Bend to the next hospital. Unfortunately it is closed. We’ve now had enough of hitching and try again to get a Uber - and this time it works. After a couple of minutes a black car stops in front of the hospital and we get in. Our driver’s name is Lawrence and he tells us that he drives a lot of PCT hikers around in Bend. He furthermore tells us, that he actually gave a ride to a Swiss woman last year, here name being Heidi. “Heidi?!”, we both shout excitedly. “What’s her surname?” “I think Bronimann or so?” “We know her!!! We actually followed her blog last year when she hiked the PCT and met up with her in person two months before we flew to LA!” This is so funny!
We take a video for Heidi with Lawrence, he gives us his card, tells us to call him whenever we need him and drops us in front of the next hospital.
Here we are in luck. It is open, there is no cue and I get a proper medical examination, including giving some samples for the lab. The doctor is pretty sure that I actually do have Giardia and that the antibiotics the fellow hiker woman gave me yesterday, were not the right ones. But to be sure we have to wait for the lab results.
The doctor also gives me a prescription for antibiotics anyway and we go straight to the next pharmacy to pick them up.
Meanwhile Maya made some calls to our medical insurance and travel insurance to find out if they would pay for a hotel, since this is a medical emergency and we are forced to stay put until I get better. They assured her that they will pay for a 3 star hotel for up to seven days and we could just send them the bill upon check-out. This is really generous and we are so relieved that I get to recover in an actual bed without being rushed.
So we check in at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel and I finally get some rest in a decent bed, take my one time shot of antibiotics and go to bed very early today.
Miles 1901 to 1906.6. Diamond View Lake to Shelter Cove Resort.
We wake up at 6am to a freezing cold. There is actually a thin layer of ice covering the whole tent. Our shoes are icy, our sleeping bags are damp. And I still feel sick, not as bad as yesterday but still sick.
Trooper already left camp and after our usual 40 minutes of packing we are back on the trail again. It is a beautiful hike, even if I still don’t feel too well. We hike along a thundering river, pass huge trees which are covered in this gigantic, beard looking toxic green moss. And soon the 5 miles are already over and we finally arrive in Shelter Cove.
Shelter Cove is a small family resort next to lake Odell where people come to fish, to relax and to hike for a weekend. And today it is kind of busy, it is Saturday and Monday is Labour day, an official holiday in the States. As soon as we arrive, Trooper sees us and shows us where to find everything in the resort. He further tells us, that BigBro has just left some minutes before… Well, that’s a bummer, we were hoping to see him again here.
I start to feel hungry and we go get some breakfast food where we meet Rocket, Peachman, Freewheel and some other hikers. It is nice to see all of them again! We have a little chat and then grab our food, I have a chicken burrito and think it should be fine for my stomach.
Buuut...no, after 15 minutes or so I feel terrible again, have to run to the restrooms to throw up again. After this we decide to try to hitch out of Shelter Cove to find a doctor. We ask around if somebody knows someone who leaves in direction of Bend today, the next town from here. It turns out that the answer to this is no, but a fellow hiker offers me some antibiotics against Giardia, a parasite disease which is common in the hiker scene and causes the exact symptoms that I now have. One gets the parasite through contaminated water. And since we did not always filter our water, it is likely that I suffer from exactly this parasite. So I decide to take the pills. If it is Giardia I should feel way better the next day. We now decide to stay here in Shelter Cove, since it is possible that I might hike on tomorrow.
In the afternoon we lie down in the grass, enjoy the warm sun and listen to some hiker playing the guitar.
We pitch our tent in the hiker section of the Shelter Cove campground and go to bed fairly early. Hopefully tomorrow my stomach problems will be solved and we can continue our way towards Canada without any further delay.
Miles 1872.1 to 1901. Six Horse Spring Camp to Diamond View Lake.
We decided last night not to set an alarm clock this morning and sleep in. We really deserve a nice little sleep in! When we finally get going it’s close to 8am and we are pretty sure we are not gonna catch up with BigBro this time. He’s probably miles away now and chances are we won’t see him again. He texted us earlier recommending us to take a trail alternate to the PCT which would cut a few miles to the Shelter Cove Resort, our next resupply stop where we are meant to pick up some packages. In light of Dario’s health we actually consider taking this alternate just to get him to a doctor sooner. The sooner the better. He is throwing up a lot now and running off to the toilet, or behind a bush respectively, every 20 minutes. Diarrhea and nausea, I feel so sorry for him.
We decide to take the alternate, but take our breakfast break just at the Windigo Pass junction where we will leave the PCT for the next 17 miles. We are in the company of 5 different chipmunks who we feed with some nuts and watch them stuff their faces with up to 4 nuts per cheek. Then they hurry off to dig a hole for the nuts and save them for the winter. We wonder if they will ever find them again. :-) We also fill up at the water cache that is maintained by a devoted trail angel there and then start hiking on the alternate. We are hoping that Dario can do the total of 23 miles today which will get us right into Shelter Cove, and hopefully to a doctor. The alternate is called Oregon Skyline Trail, promising pretty views and flat terrain for the most part.
It does stay flat for the most part but is devoid of any views really. It still is pretty though, we pass by a lot of ponds and rather thin forest making it a sunny and bright hiking day. If only Dario wasn’t feeling so sick. It’s really getting worse and worse now. I try to make sure that he stays hydrated but it’s hard. We keep taking many breaks all day.
Suddenly Trooper shows up behind us. We thought he had left Mazama Village way before us and are astonished to find out he’s been tailing us that whole time. Together with him we keep hiking on the OST and decide to camp at the same spot as there is no way Dario can keep going much longer. Trooper makes it there way before us because Dario is really at the end of his tether and can hardly move. We are camped at Diamond View Lake, which is a beautiful lake 5 miles out of Shelter Cove. We will hike that in the morning and hopefully find a ride to a town called Bend from there. It’s still light out but freezing cold and we go to bed without dinner because it ended up being an exhausting day and we are both knackered.
Miles 1844.4 to 1872.1. Burnt Forest camp to Six Horse Spring camp.
We leave camp together in the dark, all three of us. I lead the way and we reach our designated breakfast point next to another water cache in no time. Even though the mornings are cold we are all sweaty by the time we reach the cache. After breakfast BigBro takes off as he wants to do a 30 miler today. He’s booked his flight out of Vancouver by now and it leaves on October 7, which means that sooner or later he is gonna have to leave us and do bigger miles. We are realistic that we won’t make it to Canada by that date which means that we will have to let him go, as sad as it feels.
Dario and I fill our water bottles at the cache and then head out as well. According to guthooks the terrain is going to get quite steep today but ever since we entered Oregon we realized that the elevation always looks much worse than it really is. The app is probably scaled differently in Oregon than in California, making us believe that the mountains are equally high, which they are not. That’s good news and so we happily “climb” our way through Oregon. Soon after breakfast Dario starts to feel really sick and we need to take a break every 10 minutes so that he can lie down. We wonder what it is, still consider Giardia, a common parasite along the PCT, and regret not having gone to see a doctor in Ashland. Now we are again so much further away from civilization and Dario is just going to have to pull through.
On a positive note we are hiking through the most beautiful scenery now. It strongly reminds us of the Swiss Alps as the mountains get quite pointy and cragged, there are more colorful meadows in between forests and streams trickling everywhere.
The next milestone coming up today is the highest point of the PCT in Oregon AND Washington at 7560 feet (= 2304 meters above sea level). After this point we will never find ourselves higher up. Surely you would think that the view from up here would be quite amazing, looking down at everything surrounding it, but we are actually on sort of a plateau surrounded by meadows and trees and mountains much higher than where we are right now. But they are not on the PCT, and we are talking about the highest point of the PCT here. Still it feels weird thinking that it’s basically “all downhill” from here. We find that we have some reception here and try to download some more Harry Potter books. But as the reception is very spotty it takes forever to download one book and we lose a precious hour trying to stand in the right spot to get the best cell service.
Luckily Dario is feeling a little better now after having had a (ramen noodle) soup for lunch and we get going again. It’s definitely not all downhill from here but easy enough and we make good time. We really want to reach our designated campsite which would make this a 28 mile day, one of our longest days yet, but it gets dark earlier and earlier these days and so we can’t avoid hiking in the dark. Which kind of creeps me out. Hiking in the woods after dark creeps me out. That’s why I basically jog through the forest trying to reach camp as quickly as possible. But we have to remark here that while we were walking in the woods the sunset behind the trees was one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. The whole sky turned all shades of pink and stayed that way for a long time.
When we finally reach camp it’s nearly 9pm. There is nobody else camped here and this creeps us out even more. We camp together every night and thus are never completely alone, but still, in moments like these we would really appreciate the company of just another little tent tucked away behind a tree. We hurriedly set up our tent in the sparse light of our headlamps and phonelights and hurry inside to make dinner and cuddle up inside our sleeping bags. 28 miles today! What an accomplishment, especially for Dario who has been feeling sick on and off all day.