a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
Thursday and Friday, 30/31 May 2019
As I‘m writing this we are somewhere up in the mountains of Northern Oregon, back on the PCT.
Yes, this is Day 1 of Round 2. We are filling in the gaps, piecing the puzzle together, mile by mile, step by step.
Why? Well yes sure, we remember the hardships we endured in Washington, hiking in rain, and eventually snow, for days on end, just wishing to be in Canada already. Or in the Caribbean. Anywhere but here. I know that this is how I felt a lot during the last days. But I also felt an era was coming to an end. An era of a great life spent outside, of meeting the most beautiful and amazing people, of discovering how much we are capable of if we just pull ourselves together and do it.
We have been travelling for 13 months now, going on 14. Our travels took us to Canada, then Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia and finally Hawaii. Our trip after the PCT cannot be summarized in one blog post only, but let‘s just say it was the best year of both our lifes. We feel extremely privileged to have been able to embark on a journey like this. To live in a country where you can save up for 1.5-2 years (not even on a huge salary) and travel for almost the same amount of time. Looking back I feel truly grateful.
We missed the PCT, always. Lying on a beach in Colombia our conversations went back to the trail, climbing volcanoes in Ecuador reminded us of hiking. The mountains in Patagonia, strikingly beautiful, we compared to the PCT. We visited many trail friends in Australia. In short, the PCT was constantly on our mind and in our heart. So much that we decided that we will come back. We still have some unfinished business! Those miles we skipped: now we want to do them. We want to be able to say that we hiked every single step from Mexico to Canada, once across the length of the US. Also, we just want to have that trail life back. Life in the purest form. Eat, hike, sleep - repeat.
So after a week in Hawaii and mostly camping on the beach we land in Portland on May 30, 2019. Brad, trail name The Prodigal, a dear friend who we met on our first day on trail and have hiked with for quite a few weeks back in the desert and in the Sierras, picks us up at the airport and takes us to our hotel. Thank you so much, Brad! It's so awesome to see you again! Brad also brings with him two boxes that we had shipped to his place: 2 new pairs of trail runners (the beloved Altra Superior 3.5's for me, the HOKA One One Stinson ATR 5's for Dario, AAAAND a package from home. Dario's awesome parents sent us a box with Swiss mayonnaise, mustard, cenovis (like Vegemite, but so much better!) and Swiss chocolate. And yes, little hygienic dispenser bags, the best dirty toilet disposal system ever (I apologize if this is too much information). Anyway, thank you again so so much Phads and Mutz, this is the best resupply ever!
We get changed and then drive on to a Thai restaurant ‚Eem‘ where we are joined by Potluck, another PCT friend of ours whom we know from desert times. Both guys live in this super cool city. We have so much to catch up on, time flies when you‘re in good company. ;-) Later we get some beers, listen to some live music and eventually head back to the hotel at 2am to start packing for the next day. We plan to leave the city the very next day in the afternoon after getting all the usual chores done (resupply, ship boxes at the post office and pay a visit to REI, our favorite outdoor equipment store ever!)
The next day we do our stuff, feeling a bit hungover. And of course we underestimated everything we have to do! It soon becomes apparent that there is no way we will be able to drive to the trailhead at Cascade Locks and start our hike today. Brad suggests we stay at his place for the night and we are happy to spend some more time with him. So first things first. A real American breakfast. Dario has been dreaming about this for months, and ends up finishing both Brad and my plates as well! He's living proof that pre-hiker hunger is also a thing.
The day flies by while we head to REI and spend like 2 hours there, organize our resupply, ship two boxes to the Timberline Lodge (with resupply) and San Francisco (with all our stuff for home that we don't take on trail with us) in literally the last minute before the Post Office closes for the week and make a delicious pasta dinner. Brad's housemate Jamie joins us and we all share stories and laughs during dinner, sitting outside in their backyard sipping wine, joined by their two dogs Lucy and Stella. What a fabulous last night in civilization!
Tomorrow we will finally be back on the PCT. We're both feeling nervous and excited and anxious. Anxious because we know there is still a lot of snow around and we are not exactly well prepared for it. In fact, 2019 has been the highest snow year in the Western US mountain ranges since like, they started recording. In this much higher than average snow year every terrain above 5000 feet is still covered in snow and, guess what, a lot of the terrain we will be hiking through is above 5000 feet. Brad had us convinced to buy ice axes, so this does give us a sense of security (even though we don't really know how to use them). So before we go to bed we watch some youtube videos to learn how to use the ice axe. Let's just hope we don't have to use them to self-arrest.
Alright, time for bed. We blow up our air mattresses and go to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a big day.