Spoiler alert! We made it!!!
But let me tell the story from where I left it, at Snoqualmie pass. As I mentioned it’s only 260 miles to the border from there, so you’d think we’d do that without effort, right? But the pct didn’t let us go easily. The last days were hard.
Seen along the way – it seems we’re not the only ones feeling this way…😉 It made me laugh and thus helped a lot!
Climbing up into the mountains from Snoqualmie pass, the clouds start to cover first the valleys and then the sky – quite impressive, but also scary: According to the weather forecast it’s suppose to be cold and rainy for days now.
We’re still over the “sea of clouds” – but not for long…
And unfortunately, this is correct. The Northern Cascades are apparentely very beautiful, but we don’t see much of them. Most of the time, they are covered by big, dark clouds and fog. Not seeing the views makes our hike once again mentally very tough – it feels so pointless to climb up and down while being soaking wet and cold without seeing anything but wet trees. Hiking feels more like a chore and I often can’t enjoy the moment anymore. This is not what I want this hike to be – but I have to remind myself that in an adventure there are not only good but also bad times and that this is ok.
Despite of the weather we also have good moments. There is a great sunny day after hiking out of Stevens pass and there are a few hours here and there when the clouds drift apart and the sun shines through a little. Then we can enjoy spectacular scenery! After all, they call these mountains “the Alpes of the West”. It often reminds me of home… And even in the rain there are not only bad moments…
Wet trees…😉 But giant and therefore very impressive ones!
More wet trees…😉 It’s like a jungle – really cool!
A colourful highlight in the rain!
Although the bridge is broken, we can still cross without getting wet feet! We’re very lucky!
There is a lot of wildlife, too. It’s always interesting and fun to spot animals and watch them for a little. There are the omnipresent but still very funny chipmunks. Probably I only still think they are cute because we are lucky and never get chewed through tents, backpacks and foodbags… As we’re in alpine mountains again, there are marmots, too. And for the first time, we see pikas! Ever since learning about their existence in the Sierra Nevada I wanted to see one of these little rodents that look like a mixture between a mouse and a rabbit and live high up in the rocks. In the Sierra there was just too much snow and they hadn’t really gotten out yet, but now, they are everywhere! I try to imitate their calls which always confuses them a little – they are so cute when they sit on a rock looking around for the source of the weird noise…😉
This pictures was not taken by me – but I just have to show you how cute they are😄
Our good karma with meeting great people on and off trail continues, too. After an especially rainy, depressing day we run into four Russian-American section-hikers and spend a funny evening with them. On Stevens pass we meet Charlie. He not only takes us to town (although I look quite scary that day as a wasp stung me next to my eye which is swollen shut as a consequence😉) but also spontaneousely invites us to stay that night with him and his friend Emilia! Thank you so much again, it was an unforgettable evening!
And we meet many pct-hikers, some we haven’t seen for month! One of them is Second Chance whom we last saw after climbing Mt Baden Powell! Thanks to the kindness of him and his girlfriend, we not only can dry our wet gear before starting on our last section of the pct, but also have a very nice dinner and a fun time!
And last but not least, after all our frustrations with USPS, in Stehekin, our last town, I finally get the package with my new shoes! My old ones have carried me incredible 1100 miles (normally, shoes should be changed after around 600 miles) and are literally falling apart by now which led to a lot of pain and problems with my feet. Putting on brandnew shoes makes me feel like walking over clouds and my feet instantly start to recover!
Some milestones – we have come a long way… No wonder my feet hurt!
Giant cinnamon rolls for Cinnamon in the famous bakery in Stehekin where every hiker stops… A last treat before going back on trail to hike the remaining 80 miles.
Because we know now that we’ve got enough time to make it to the border, we start to slow down a little. What’s the point in rushing to the border, dragging ourselves out of our tents in the dark and rain only to arrive one day earlier? Pushing less makes our hike more agreeable and the weather more bearable and we start to enjoy ourselves again…
Andy, motivated on the last stretch… It helps that the sun shines that afternoon 😉
Yeah, I can do it!😉
As we get closer and closer to our destination, I unconsciousely start to say goodbye to the trail. I have so many memories of different parts of our hike as I relieve it in a way to be able to let go. I think of home way more often than before. And in a way, the – mostly still rainy – weather helps, because I want to finish now that we’re wet and cold and can’t see so much of the scenery…
As a goodbye-present, the pct gives us a little bit of everything – rain and even snow, but also blue sky and views! And even the clouds can be spectacular!
And then, we wake up on the final morning after another rainy night, only six miles from the border. We pack our soaked tent and get ready to go to Canada. I have to think of our first day on trail, how excited I was, how new everything felt. And now, I’m somehow excited again, although it seems completely surreal that the pct, who always stretched out before us, should suddenly end. The last miles don’t look different from what the trail looked like these last days and hiking feels so natural – unthinkable that it should stop in less than two hours…
Somewhere along the last mile…
A few switchbacks, and then we’re suddenly there – the monument, as I’ve seen it in many pictures, life in front of me. I cry, I can’t help it. Happiness, pride, relief, accomplishment, sadness, I feel it all at the same time. And then we jump and laugh, still not quite believing that we’re actually here, that we really, really made it! We’ve hiked from Mexico to Canada!! And it has been an absolutely awesome adventure!