Day 4: July 13, 15 miles, (m. 2561-2546)
I woke up this morning feeling like I was going to have a good day. Very glad i woke up feeling this good because it was a pretty tough day with a lot of steep incline and rough terrain. One thing I am really enjoying about being with the girls is that we always choose a lunch spot to meet at, as well as a campsite at the end of the day. This gives us the freedom to hike alone or with each other, but always gives us time together at lunch and at night. This day in particular we had a beautiful lunch. Everyone was finding the day really hard, except for me (surprisingly). We went off trail a bit to a campsite with a beautiful view, laid out in the sun and enjoyed our lunch. Definitely one of my favourite moments on trail. We ended up spending a little too much time here, but it was definitely worth it. Because of our extended stay and the constant incline all day, we didn’t put in the mileage we intended. We got to camp and we were all pretty sore, so we went to the “recovery creek” to soak our feet. My blisters are getting real bad and my feet are starting to swell, but I can only hope it doesn’t get worse.
Day 5: July 14, 20 miles, (m. 2546-2526)
Today was my favourite day on the PCT. The morning was an easy hike through one of the most beautiful forests I’ve ever seen. All day I found my eyes wandering everywhere and taking everything in. It was so magical and enchanted and I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings.
The weather was gorgeous and the sun was shining through the leaves of the trees. For some reason, I was cruising through and got to our lunch spot an hour and a half before the others. We had another nice lunch and continued on, hoping the rest of the day would be as easy as the first half. We were wrong. We approached some switchbacks and were climbing up rainforest for forever. We FINALLY got to the top and realized how worth it it all was. We were at the top of Glacier Peak and the view was absolutely, insanely gorgeous. The whole time I was hiking I couldn’t even process it.
I was at the front of the group and was apparently so distracted by the view that I passed our planned camp spot. I ended up hiking 2 extra miles to another site but it just meant we added more to our day!!!!
Today I was feeling very thankful that I am actually out pursuing not only my dreams, but other people’s as well. I am extremely proud of myself and these other girls that we are all the type of people who can go out and do these adventures on our own.
Day 6: July 15, 18 miles (m. 2526-2508)
Today we were not blessed with the weather we had had the day before. Lots of rain. We were going to be at high elevation for most of the day so we knew it would be a cold one. My feet were really starting to hurt but I was pushing through. We got to Mica Lake which was a beautiful, small, blue lake at the top of a mountain. It was so quiet and remote, we all just hung out there for a bit.
We continued our day to encounter lots of snow, which made us lose the trail a bit. We had trouble navigating back and it took us a while, but we finally got on trail and were very relieved.
Day 7: July 16, 18 miles, (m. 2508-2490)
Another day of rain. I honestly don’t remember much from this day other than the fact that my feet were really starting to slow me down. It wasn’t only the blisters, but the swelling now too. I was behind the girls for the entire day and caught up with them at lunch. After lunch, I trailed behind again, cursing my feet on every step. To make things worse, I got off trail at a trail junction which took my off course. The good thing about the PCT is that it’s pretty easy to know when you’re not on trail. It looks and feels different. Right away I knew, and since my phone was dead I had to navigate with my maps and compass, quickly finding out where I was and how to get back. This course took me about 3 extra miles, which really sucked considering my feet. I finally got back to camp but still had a smile on my face. We camped at Lake Sally Ann and I quickly ate and went to bed and hoped for a better next day.
Day 8: July 17, 20 miles (m. 2490-2470)
Today was definitely the worst day yet on the PCT. We woke up to another day of rain. Everything including my socks, shoes, pack and DOWN sleeping bag had been wet for the past few days and all I wanted was to be warm and dry. My feet were not okay today, making me so incredibly slow that I could barely walk. We had another day of high elevation where we would run into snow, we were just hoping it wouldn’t be like the day before. We ran into some bad spots around Red Pass where we had to put on crampons, which I was happy to use again just to get my use out of them.
My feet were so incredibly sore today that at one point I was barely moving and knew I would never make it to town if I kept going like this. I had no other choice but to take my boots off and hike in my flip flops. I was so behind because of my feet that I didn’t even bother stopping at our lunch spot because I had assumed the girls wouldn’t be there when I arrived. It was already 3 and I had only done 10 miles, only halfway through the day. It poured all day which made hiking in flip flops extra not fun. I summited Grizzly Peak, where I finally caught up with the girls. Each step was pure torture today and I really didn’t know how I would make it any further. I was glad for it to be done and really hoped the 10 miles to town the next morning would go by fast.
Day 9: July 18, 10 miles (m. 2470-2461.7)
We woke up at 4:30 so we could get a move on to town right away. The pancakes and hot chocolate were calling our name and were a good incentive to keep moving. The first 5 miles flew by, but after that things definitely dragged out. Lake Vahalla gave us stunning views and I would have loved to spend more time there if we weren’t so eager to get to town. The last miles dragged on forever but we finally got there. We all ordered glorious hot chocolate and indulged in our cell service which had been the first time since being on trail. We hitchhiked into town which didn’t take much, and headed straight to Cascadia Inn for our blueberry pancake breakfasts. After that we got a ride from John to the Dinsmores, which is a famous Hiker Haven along the trail. They have a den set up just for hikers filled with memorabilia, PCT artifacts, and gear. They have every service available for hikers such as laundry, showers, hiker bins, TV, wifi, beds and more. It is truly amazing the time, work and effort they have put forth to help hikers along he PCT. We spent the night here, ordered some amazing pizza and watched movies until it was time to sleep.
The Dinsmores Hiker Haven
Day 10: July 19, 0 miles!
Today was our first zero day! We were all unsure if we wanted to take a zero today, but we felt like we did not have enough time the day before to get everything done that we needed. We went for breakfast at the Cascadia Inn again, went to the post office and did some errands. We cleaned our packs, dried our gear, relaxed, and enjoyed our day off. We ended the night in a similar way, with pizza and movies. I’m nervous for tomorrow because of my feet again, but I know this next stretch will only be about 4 days. My feet definitely needed the recovery time and are feeling much better, so hopefully no more hiking in flip flops!