PCT Day 138 Lovely Washington 

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  2nd September 2015

Mileage 24.9

Spade Creek (2439.0) to Ridgecamp (2463.9)

Miles to Canada 196.2 (315km)

It either rained all night or the trees dripped water onto the tent all night. My sleeping bag was damp, well, everything was damp. I packed the tent up in the rain, which I dislike doing. I could have just taken it to the nearby stream and thrown it in then packed it up. It was soaked, and heavy.

The rain eased then stopped shortly after I started hiking. The sun even briefly made an appearance. It continued to make all too brief appearances throughout the day. The day stated with a climb. The mountains ahead had a fresh dusting of snow near their summits which made brief appearances as often as the clouds would allow. There were also many deep blue lakes and cascading waterfalls to gaze at. It took me most of the morning to cover the several miles of the first climb. I’m tired. Really tired. All of us hikers are. This is hard work.

There were two more climbs to be completed before camp. A total of 7179 feet (2188m) of climbing. Northern Washington is brutal.  I was rewarded for the effort. The scenery was world class and I had several sightings of Pikas, the smallest of the rabbit family. They are almost as threatened by climate change as Polar Bears. A privilege to see them.

I chose to camp on the highest camp between Snoqualamie Pass and Stevens Pass. The weather forecast predicted snow above 5500 feet, my camp was at 5796 feet. It could be a cold night.


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  1. Yea, Washington is hard but think how much harder it would be it you didn’t have your “hiking legs”. I kept saying that the Wa trails seemed well engineered but I think having the “legs” was a big part. Ruggedly beautiful state.

  2. Ah, I’m just coming back from a section hike from Snoqualmie to Stevens – What a great section of the trail! The Waptus Lake Eastern campground is not to be missed – seeing the sun rise over the two big peaks on the other side of the lake was amazing. (But of course, you’re far beyond Waptus by now!) Have a good rest of your hike, good luck dealing with the fires!

  3. It is a tough journey, and you mind set is probably changing as well, as you know the end of the trail is near. Wishing you energy and great vibes as you complete your journey. Will surely miss your wonderful postings, in writing and in photos. How have you navigated the trail, via paper maps, via electronic support? Really interested in your electronic support and how you did it all, and keeping everything charged? Solar Power? Thank You Kindly. Bob / Palm Springs. Hard to believe you might see some snow and it is still 100 degrees plus here in the desert. Be Well.

    1. Thanks Bob, my body is doing it tough but I’ll keep moving north. I used electronic maps only. For the first time in my life I haven’t used paper maps. I use two apps on my phone, Halmile and Guthook. I use Guthook almost exclusively for navigation, water sources, camps etc. look them up on google. To keep my electrics charged I carry a 12000 mAh battery which can recharge my gear sufficiently to be off the grid for 6-7 days. I recharge my gear in cafes, hotels, restaurants etc along the way. Solar works well in the desert but not good in Washington!

  4. The end is in sight – figuratively speaking! May there be more sun than rain (or snow!) for the last part of your journey! Go well….

  5. Hi Shepherd,

    You answered my tent question a while back. Thanks so much for that. I took it out for a test run, and I really liked the Fly Creek. I think I’ll stick with it. It’s hard to believe that I’ll be starting my PCT attempt in just over 6 months! I’m excited and scared. Which is a good combination, I think. A couple years ago I did a transamerica bike ride. And I remember the last couple of weeks as some of the toughest. My body was worn out, as was my willpower. In some ways I felt like I was cannibilizing my own muscles to continue riding, even though I was eating as much food as I could. It sounds as though you are having a similar tough time. And the PCT is much longer and physically tougher than a transamerica bike ride. So, I guess I just want to let you know that lots of us are out here, wishing you strength and speed. You have given so much in posting your lovely writings and photos. I hope you can feel the energy of all of us readers giving you a little push up the trail when you need it. We are there with you in spirit.
    Godspeed and Happy Trails!
    Ps: should you pass through Portland on your way to your next adventure, please let me know!

    1. I think you’ll be happy with the tent it’s popular on trail. Yes I now feel it doesn’t matter how much I eat I’m just tired, my muscles are wasting away, but I’ll get there. Thanks for the kind words.

  6. Hooray! Finally, a drier day for you. Looks like the animals were out enjoying the weather, too. And what beautiful scenery on this day. What area of Washington is this?

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