a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 2576.8 to 2598.8. Bridge Creek campground to snowy campground.
The alarm rings at 5.15am. Trooper has already left, Poodlebee joins us as we leave around 6am. And get lost shortly after. We missed the junction back to the PCT, but luckily realize it after a couple of minutes. It’s still very dark but we spot various stars in the sky so it appears to be cloudless today and we can hope to get a sunny day! Generally the weather forecast for the upcoming days is very changeable. We can expect to get something from everything. Some sun, some rain and even some snow.
The sun slowly rises and presents us with the most scenic valley. We are hiking slowly uphill, making our way to Rainy Pass, another milestone. It’s cold and we don’t stop for breakfast until we find a sunny enough spot to also dry our tents. The view is pretty spectacular. The mountain peaks are all covered in snow, there is misty fog hanging down in the valley, the sun is shining bright, the air is clean and fresh and we feel good.
When we get closer to Rainy Pass we hike through snowy forest. There is snow on the ground and on the trees. It’s really cold, but luckily we are moving and that way the fresh air feels very enjoyable. And when we reach the road at Rainy Pass, I can’t help but let out a big yell. There is a sign posted to the ground saying “Trail Magic”. I can’t believe it! Some trail angels are still providing magic in October! We didn’t dare believe we might run into some trail magic this last in the hiking season! How lucky we are! There is also a little terminus monument put up here. A couple weeks ago the PCT to the border was closed due to a quickly spreading fire north of here. Rainy Pass was defined as the temporary Northern Terminus of the PCT.
But we can keep going and we make it over to the parking lot/trailhead where there is actually a car parked, some chairs laid out and some hikers enjoying food and hot drinks. We quickly make our way over. There are already other hikers here, such as Badger, Trooper, Captain and her friends. We each get a hot chocolate and enjoy some snacks. They even have beers and wine and we decide to make this our lunch break here since we need to save our fuel anyway. But then Captain finds out about our fuel situation and offers to give us one of hers. She’s got two more which should be plenty to get her to Canada. We can’t thank her enough. Once more a fellow hiker turns out to be our personal trail angel. Thank you so much Captain, you rock!
Then a guy comes up to us, introduces himself as Ian and asks whether it’s possible that we started in the beginning of May? He remembers us because he had taken our pictures back at the Southern Terminus. Wow! We of course remember Ian! He took our pictures and asked us some questions back in the very south of California! He has indeed emailed us since, asking when our estimated date of arrival in Canada would be as he would be waiting at Rainy Pass in early October. We replied that we should be there around mid-October and that therefore we might not run into him. But now we have! He is completely amazed, takes some more polaroid pictures and asks if we would be willing to do an interview with him. We agree and satisfy his curiosity. How awesome is that guy? He came all the way up to the very north of Washington to meet the people again he met 5 months ago at the very beginning of their journey! Ian Tuttle is a professional photographer based in San Francisco and he plans to do a project with the hiker polaroids he’s been taking. You will probably see our pictures here once his project is finished: http://www.ituttle.com/
By reaching Rainy Pass at midday we’ve already hiked 15 miles and only 7 miles remaining until camp. By the time we leave with Trooper we are the last ones (even Sriracha and Puddles already left). The first 3 miles are uphill and are incredibly beautiful. The trees are yellow and green, the ground is white, the mountains around us are beige and white. I can’t stop taking pictures. And when we reach the pass we get to see a view that is even more epic. It’s absolutely insane. I’m afraid our pictures won’t do it justice. Because they don’t necessarily represent what we are feeling in this very moment. The sun is already quite low, we feel like we are literally the last people on the planet and we’re both engulfed by the beauty and the magnitude of it all. A moment that just belongs to us. We are silently looking at the mountain range surrounding us in 360 ° and feel very very lucky indeed.
Now we get to descend another 2 miles until we reach our camp. It’s a steep descend and it’s the snow that makes the whole thing a little sketchy. We should probably have put on our micro spikes but were too lazy to get them out. We make it to our campsite shortly before dusk. There is nobody else here, the others must have pushed on. While we set up Trooper joins us. It feels good to have some company and try and formulate what we’re all feeling. These intense feelings you only get to experience when you put yourself in such a unique situation. Happiness and anxiety go hand in hand and sometimes it only takes minutes to feel both.
We are camped on snow tonight. I guess that’s what it will be like from now on. Winter has arrived in the Northern Cascades. Now we just need to hope that the weather holds up for 3 more days. 3 more days. We are beyond excited!